[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Karen Robertson, who graciously offered to share her experience self-publishing material for children with the SPOC audience. Thank you Karen!]
Do you have books or stories that you know kids of the world would love, if only they could see them?
What if I told you there is now a cost effective way to reach a global market without the need to pay a fortune in printing, binding, warehousing and shipping? No inventory to manage. No returns to deal with.
If you are a self-published or unpublished children’s writer or illustrator, or if you’re published and own your electronic rights, then take a few minutes to read about the most ground breaking opportunity children’s story creators have had this century (and possibly, ever!).
In June 2010, I was in the exciting but daunting position of needing to reprint my book, “Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island,” and publish the next book in the series as well.
Because my book is an alternative format (it has treasure chests and toys on it), I’d chosen to self-publish.
I was facing big upfront costs. And I was frustrated because I knew my book had global appeal, but I’d seen from experience that it was a lot easier to sell my book where I live (in Australia) than where I’m from (the U.S.). So I was planning to take delivery of my books just in Australia.
That same month, I saw a book app on the iPad for the first time and my world changed.
Why? Because I knew I’d just seen a way to take my passion for interactive storytelling to a whole new level. And because I realized I could reach a global market, at a fraction of the cost, without the worry of managing inventory.
5 Reasons to Create an App
Here are 5 reasons why I believe any children’s writer or illustrator should consider turning their stories into apps.
1. The mobile device market is exploding and these devices need content
A book app is an interactive eBook that can run on a mobile device like a table computer (the iPad or Samsung Galaxy), a smart phone (like the iPhone), or a device like iPod Touch.
The mobile device market is exploding in growth. Analysts had predicted that Apple would sell 3 million iPads in 2010. They sold nearly 15 million and accounted for over 90% of the tablet sales. And there are nearly 200 million iOS devices in market right now (iOS is Apple’s software platform –so think “iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch”).
Analysts predict that over 155 million tablets will be in shipped by 2014.
And these devices need content, like book apps!
Note: I’ve focused my comments on the Apple products and App Store because we chose to develop our book app for Apple. We chose Apple due to their market position, quality of products, intellectual property protection and App Store distribution.
2. Reach a global market, instantly
If you sell your book app through the Apple App Store, you can reach the global market with your book app as soon as it’s posted in the App Store. Customers from all over the world can download your book app, in their own currency, and begin reading it instantly.
We sold our “Treasure Kai” book app to over a dozen countries in our first two weeks alone.
3. Because you can. And you get to keep your rights!
The good news is, anyone can create a book app. Whether you’re self-published, unpublished or published and own your rights, you can create a book app.
And, you get to keep your rights.
The bad news is that because anyone can create a book app, there is a risk of poor quality stories and writing being published.
Make sure that you spend as much effort with your story, writing and illustrating as you would if you were submitting to a traditional publisher.
4. Creative freedom
With the book app format, you can take your story telling to a whole new level, with narration, music, sound effects, animation, non linear storytelling and more.
Your book app will need to be interactive to be accepted by the App Store. If your book is simply turning pages with words and illustrations, it will be classified as an eBook and assigned to the iBookstore where you may get a lower percentage of the sales revenue and will require an ISBN.
5. Lower costs and higher returns
The cost of your book app will vary depending on who develops it for you and how much functionality you have. You can develop a book app for a few hundred dollars or spend ten thousand.
Should you create a book app, you will still incur costs like editing and illustration. But you won’t have the costs of printing, binding, warehousing and distribution.
My costs to produce the “Treasure Kai” app were less than 20% of the costs of reprinting the book. But rather than be limited to 5,000 printed copies in Australia, I now have unlimited sales volume potential and global reach.
When you sell through the App Store, Apple keeps 30% of revenue and you get the remaining 70%.
This article has focused on why books apps are such a fantastic opportunity for children’s writers and illustrators. For more information about the “how to,” visit www.digitalkidsauthor.com to download my free report, “The Top 5 Things you MUST know before Creating a Book App for Kids” or check out my eBook, “The Author’s Guide to Book Apps.” It’s the book I wish I had before I started creating our app.
About the Author:
Karen Robertson, Digital Kid’s Author - www.digitalkidsauthor.com
Author of “Treasure Kai”
“Treasure Kai” book app – Top 10 Most Original from Digital Storytime
“Treasure Kai” book – Gold Mom’s Choice Award - www.treasurekai.com