Spotlight on The Orange County Children’s Book Festival

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This coming Sunday the 29th is the Orange County Children's Book Festival and I will be attending in the Author's Booth section dressed in my pirate gear.  This festival holds a special place for me because years ago when we attended with my (then) three year old daughter - Penelope the Purple Pirate was just a dream and I was at the very early stages of writing the story and had yet to meet Paul Johnson, our Illustrator.  I still remember walking through the book festival looking at the authors selling their books and thought to myself that one day I will be here too, selling my book.  I didn't know when (or how) this would happen, but I was determined to make it a reality.  Fast forward four years and this is my third festival where I will showcase Penelope and now Gerry the Giraffe.  My daughter has been there with me the past few years which made it even more special as I was able to … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight :: Robb Monkman of React Mobile

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Last month I was contacted by the React Mobile and was so impressed with this app that helps keep our kids (and family members) safe.  Basically, React Mobile is  an app that allows you to use your mobile device as a tool that will alert your pre-established network of emergency contacts with the push of a button. React is a powerful tool that was inspired by React Mobile cofounder, Robb Monkman’s life-altering experience of being held at gunpoint in a home invasion. My mother-in-law and I were talking about how we plan to download this app as well just for a peace of mind for ourselves when we find ourselves walking alone at night.  I had a chance to speak to the Mr. Monkman about the motivation behind creating React Mobile and how it helps keep our kids safe.       1. Tell us what was the motivation behind creating React Mobile. I first realized the … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight :: #Storyappchat

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  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 … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight :: Roxie Munro

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    I met Roxie Munro through Karen Robertson's eBook What is a Book App and Could YOU Create One? How 27 Writers Did! where she and I (and 25 other authors) wrote about our journey as a children's storybook authors. This group of authors connect weekly with emails to let one another know about what is happening with their apps or books, radio or TV spots featuring their books and is a great group of authors who support one another.  Some have been published with traditional publishing houses and yet others have taken the indie author route. Roxie is the author/illustrator of more than 35 books for children and recent apps include:"Roxie's a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure," an interactive game app, and the 3-D app, "Roxie's DOORS." Out Fall 2013: K.W.I.i.StoryBooks (Kids Interactive Walk-in Story Books), with ten AR apps. Out August 2013: Slithery Snakes. Fourteen of her … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight :: Mike Bowen of Monster Mobile Marketing

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It is always interesting to me to hear about others in the app industry doing what they can to help promote fellow indie authors/developers as it can be a tough market for small independents.  Mike Bowen of Monster Mobile Marketing has come up with a great idea to help others build their audience and get their apps noticed.  Mike likens The App Collage as 5,000 developers standing up at once!  I had a chance to speak to Mike about his journey of creating apps and why he created The App Collage. Tell us how you got involved in the app industry. I have always been a huge fan of the iPhone since the very first one launched. After learning as much as possible about the devices and staying up to date on all the current apps, I came across an app that was described as learning how to build your own app. Even as a kid I always had a ton of ideas that I couldn't wait to create at some … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight with Stephen Mooser, Editor of SCBWI Bulletin

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    When I was first thinking (and dreaming) about writing a children's picture book over three years ago, the owner of a local bookstore told me to join The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).  It is the only professional organization specifically for those individuals writing and illustrating for children and young adults in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia. Several of the most prestigious children’s literature professionals sit on the SCBWI Board of Advisors. I ended up joining the organization and have attended several of their events.  They offer events where you have the opportunity to have your book reviewed by some of the best editors at the major publishing houses in the country, to top agents.  It was a huge learning curve for me but one I am so glad I embarked on as it helped me to … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight :: George Karavias of Anlock and App Friday

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When I first started out in the app industry I was told by several developers to join the Moms With Apps group.  Moms With Apps was created by four moms who were developing family-friendly apps and connected over Twitter in November of 2009. What started as a small brainstorming session on cross-marketing soon grew into a much larger and more diverse collaboration of developers. Original founders included Alesha Bishop and Jill Seman from MomMaps, Lynette Mattke from PicPocket Books, and Lorraine Akemann from My Busy Kit. (Source: www.momswithapps.com). Moms With Apps has gone on to be one of the go-to resource leaders in the app industry, especially for indie developers, though you will find large developers members as well.  Their weekly App Friday is always very popular and if a developer joins in, they are almost guaranteed a large boost to their sales and/or downloads. App … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight :: Tom Anderson of Blackfish Children’s Books

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Jodi Murphy of Geek Club Books introduced me to Tom Anderson who heads up the app developer company:  Blackfish Children's Books.  I was impressed with the platform that he and his brother have created and the quality of storybook apps they offer.  Their book engine allows the app user to choose the main story character, add customizations to make the story about yourself, and the ability to create choose-your-own-path adventures.  I know my daughter loves to create stories where she is part of the adventure.  The Blackfish Children's Books offer this unique ability for your kids to not only be a part of the story but chose different main story characters.  I had a chance to speak to Tom about his company and their new project called The Great Illustrator Project. What was the inspiration behind creating Blackfish Children's Books? Our former company was a video game company. After … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight with Brian Felsen, CEO of BookBaby

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  If you are a self-published author you have probably heard of BookBaby.  They can convert your book (or manuscript) into an eBook for a very reasonable price and help with getting your book into major distribution channels.  With so many authors opting to go this route it is great to have BookBaby around.  One of the things I like about this company is that they charge you a flat up-front fee and that's it.  They don't take a percentage of your sales once it becomes available as an eBook.  There are not many services around that do that.  Having an innate sense of curiosity about the people behind the companies I like - I wanted to find out more about the person who created Book Baby.  In my eyes, this person and company is helping to realize people's dreams.  How many people wish they could write and publish a story they might have been working on forever.  Well, BookBaby can … [Read more...]

In the Spotlight with Michel Kripalani, President, Oceanhouse Media

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Last year I met Natalie Aller at the home of Rebecca Cox whose son was getting a new iPad from an organization that provided  40 iPads to over 40 Kids in 40 States!  It was a great experience to see firsthand how remarkable how much this device can help children with special needs.  Since that time, I have seen Oceanhouse Media grow into one of the best developers out there.  The quality of apps they provide are pretty remarkable.  Of course, we love all of their Dr. Seuss and Berenstain Bears apps but they are such a wide selection of great apps.  I had a chance to speak to Michel Kripalani, the President of Oceanhouse Media about how he got involved in this business and how his background in the gaming industry helped him to acquire such classics as the Dr. Seuss series. Q&A with Michel Kripalani, President, Oceanhouse Media, Inc. Tell us what inspired you to create Oceanhouse … [Read more...]