App Expert Karen Robertson

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Are you thinking about developing a children’s app, but have no idea where to start? Karen Robertson has helped many writers realize their goal of producing a children’s story app, and has detailed her process in her Kindle book What Is a Book App and Could You Create One?  Here she shares the first step in her system.




After creating three book apps myself and coaching numerous others on their projects, I’ve identified a proven, step-by-step system you can follow to transform your book into an app. I call it the D-R-E-A-M system. When you complete the steps, you’ll publish your book as an app!


The primary steps of the system are:


D – Determine your objectives and get educated
R – Review your book and create your brief
E – Evaluate developers
A – Assemble your assets (the “ingredients of your book app; illustration, narration, sound effects, etc.)
M – Manage your project to completion


Let’s look at the first step in the D-R-E-A-M System for Creating a Book App in more detail. I’ve deliberately kept most of this information at a high level so as not to overwhelm you.


D=Determine Your Objectives and Get Educated


This is your most important first step because your objectives will determine whether or not you create a book app, what type of book app you create and the type of people and suppliers you work with.


So what kind of objectives might you have? Here are some possibilities:



“I just want to publish my work so my family and friends can enjoy it.”


If your primary objective is to create your book in a format where others can see it, then you might not do a book app at all.  You might want to create a simple eBook or even publish it as a PDF. Or if you want your story to be interactive, but you’re not looking to market it or reach a big audience, then you might want to minimize costs by using do-it-yourself (DIY) service.



“I want to extend the life of my work.”


One of the really exciting things about digital publishing is that books that have gone out of print can now be reborn as digital books for a worldwide audience. If this is your objective, then transforming your work as an app could be a great option for you.



“I want to reach a global audience.”


Digital publishing is definitely an option for you if you want to reach a global audience. My “Treasure Kai” apps have been downloaded in nearly 100 different countries and it’s so exciting to know that kids from Australia to America and from Kuwait to Kazakhstan have searched for gold with Treasure Kai!



“I want to create an interactive reader experience.”


If you want to create a story that brings the reader into the narrative, or nonfiction content leveraging the functionality of devices like the iPad, then a book app is definitely the right format for you.



“I want to provide content ‘beyond the book.’”


Another strength of the book app format is that you can integrate all kinds of content that goes beyond the text into to app. Things like video, other documents, audio interviews, puzzles, games and so much more.



“I want to demonstrate ‘proof of concept’ to secure a publishing or TV deal.”


I know writers who want to use their book apps to prove “proof of concept” to secure a traditional publishing deal. And I know writers who want to create book apps to demonstrate “proof of concept” for a film deal.


If your goal is to attract a publishing contract, your story will need to be exceptional quality and will most likely need to sell well so you can demonstrate that you have an audience.


If your goal is to attract interest from film makers, your production values will need to be very high.



“I want to make money.”


If your primary goal is to make money, then creating a book app is probably not the best idea. A lot of people think that an app is a license to print money. It’s not! The market is crowded. Marketing an app is challenging and it takes commitment from the author and time to build awareness.


That being said, the same thing is true for marketing a printed children’s book. In today’s world, marketing is the responsibility of the author. Very few publishers put time or money behind marketing new books. And marketing children’s books has become more challenging as the number of book stores are closing, distributors are closing and reader habits are changing.


Once you’ve Determined your objective, it’s time for the R in the D-R-E-A-M System: Review Your Book and Create Your Brief.  Stay tuned!




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Book Apps for Beginners


Karen has created a special, free ebook for Children’s Book Insider subscribers called “Book Apps for Beginners.” It’s designed to introduce you to the book app format as a publishing option for your work. In this ebook, Karen takes you through the what, why and how of creating book apps and has included the personal stories of 11 CBI subscribers who have published their books as apps.


If you’re not a CBI subscriber, click here to join us and start enjoying all your bonus content.


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