Carisa Kluver of Digital Storytime, Brooks Jones, author of storybook app, I Don’t Like Pink from PicPocket Books, and David Fox of Electric Eggplant created #storyappchat two years ago that acts as an online community and resource for people interested in writing or developing children’s storybook apps. Most Sundays, you can find them on Twitter at 6 pm PST with the tag #storyappchat as well as on Facebook here. But what is #storyappchat exactly? It’s a weekly Twitter meeting for those interested in creating storybook apps and ebooks for kids. They talk about all aspects of the business, from the latest software tools to avoiding burnout. Most of their weekly visitors are either authors, illustrators, software developers, librarians, consultants, app reviews and parents. I like that each week after their chat, they will provide a transcript on their website in case you missed something or missed the chat entirely. This has been a great resource for me as an author and parent!
I had a chance to speak to some of the members about the motivation behind creating #storyappchat and what changes they have seen in the industry since the group was founded. Make sure to stop by this Sunday night, the 8th at 6pm PST as I will be hosting the chat and talking about how to incorporate a holiday or event into your marketing efforts, plus handing out a gift card, some signed Penelope the Purple Pirate books and codes! See you then!
Tell us what was the inspiration behind creating #storyappchat?
Brooks: A small group of us hung around after kidlitchat and started talking about apps for kids. I started to realize that a chat focused on storybook apps for kids would fill a need for writers, illustrators, developers, educators and others interested in child literacy. The more I thought about it, I realized I wanted not only for the chat to exist, but also to be behind it. So I decided to go ahead, and I reached out to David Fox and Carisa Kluver, who agreed to help get the chat going. The three of us have been going strong for more than two years. The #storyappchat community is fantastic, and David and Carisa have been instrumental in its growth–I couldn’t have asked for two better co-hosts. The chat has become not only a good resource for people, but also a great way to network with others interested in electronic books for kids. I love knowing that it’s been helpful.
David: When Brooks invited me to participate, it sounded like a great opportunity to learn more about the art of story apps (both creation and marketing), but also as a way to help elevate the state of the art by sharing what we’ve learned from our own experience. And it’s great to hear from other developers, educators, and consumers what they’re looking for in story apps.
What are some things that have surprised you about the industry since you became involved in the app business?
Brooks: I’m constantly amazed at the sheer number of new apps available each week. It’s becoming harder and harder to stand out in the app market. These days the hard part isn’t creating the app, it’s being heard over the noise, and finding an audience.
David: How fast it’s changing! When our first story app was submitted, there was no iBookstore to speak of. So Apple’s continuing push to get developers to move their less interactive stories from apps to the iBookstore was an important development.
What is one important bit of advice you can offer authors and/or developers when trying to get their app noticed.
Brooks: It’s not a “if you build it, they will come” sort of marketplace. Creating the app is much easier than getting it noticed. Review sites were a big help to us (but that only works if you have a great app), and so is the ParentsWithApps community. You build your app once, but marketing it and getting it noticed is never ending.
Thanks mates for creating this great forum for authors, parents and developers!
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