Monday, 2 July 2012

Social Media workshop with Karen Robertson - USING APPS

From your roving reporter, Nathan Luff :)
What is an app, its benefits and how to create your own app?
With Karen Robertson
Some information from the workshop:

What is an app?
An app is an experience. An ebook is a book published in epub format for many different devices – there isn't much interactivity. An app is an ebook on steroids! It is a program and much more interactive. Apple dominates the market (ipad, iphone) – apple users are more likely to buy, whereas google, for example, expect things for free. ebooks live in an ibook store, apps live in an app store. There are more sales for children's books in the appstore rather than the ibook store.

It's not just a book – you can add: video interviews, sounds, choose your own adventure options, animation, narration, music, text highlighting and more...

If you own your rights, you can do a book app or you can create one from scratch. There is a much bigger market at present in the US.

The benefits?
A big benefit is the global market opens up to you. Apps are actually cheaper and easier to market. You have the creative freedom to do what you want. There is a lot of crap out there, however, so STORY is still the most important thing.

What about the costs?
There are costs involved but it varies. You can do partnerships, revenue share deals, crowd funding or you can bankroll it yourself.
The costs are:
- Editing. Get a professional editor!
- The cost of illustrations – this could be cost for service, or it could be a partnership with rights and revenue share. You need to be fair and discuss things like marketing.
- Narration – professional narration makes such a difference. There are sites like that can help.
- Sound effects – there are royalty free sound effects that you can get very cheaply.
- Marketing costs – though there are many free options
- Music – again there are royalty free options, or you can get some custom made (again cost for service, or revenue share)

How do you assess your project creatively for an app?
The interactivity should enhance the story or it shouldn't be there. Interactivity needs to bring the reader into the story. Too many bits and pieces however can make things confusing – take you out of the story.

You start with broad decisions – what will your text look like? Will it have text highlighting (for younger readers). Will you have music? What sort of illustrations will you have? Will it be a straight book with turning pages, or will there be interactive things within the app?

Unfortunately we ran out of time and there is SO MUCH that you can discuss with book apps.

Want more?

 Karen operates a training webinar on creating apps. She has also published a book on how to market a book app. Check her out:


  1. I am the mysterious blogger of this one ...

  2. Thanks Nathan, I missed the end of this session so it is good to read it here. Ta