Friday, April 8, 2011

An App Debut

My first app has been published! Or could I say my first app book has been published? Look, Ma, no paper, but it's still a book.

Why did I go this route?

TEN KINDS OF CHAIRS TO COUNT has a humorous, rhyming text aimed at toddlers. I wrote the story years ago and tried to peddle it as a board book, but individual board
books (from decidedly less-than-famous authors) are a hard sell. So when the app market opened, I started investigating companies. The first app publisher I submitted to loved the story, but they wanted it already illustrated. Then I discovered Okenko Books and learned they would supply illustrators. They bought TEN KINDS OF CHAIRS, a second manuscript called FALLING LEAVES AND FOOLISH BROTHERS, and plan to schedule a third.

As their website explains, Okenko Books works on a subscription basis - pay for six months, or for a year, and you receive one new title each month automatically downloaded to your reading device. Interesting concept. Some Okenko titles will become available as single purchases. They plan to give my TEN CHAIRS a voice over and eventually sell it as a standalone title - then I will get royalties.

I'll never get rich, and no publishing company is perfect, but it's an alternative for manuscripts dwelling in a dark drawer. I have favorites I've never been able to sell. My foolish brothers stories (in spite of numerous revisions for different big six editors) weren't bought as either picture books or easy-to-reads. Does the traditional publishing world have higher standards than the app world? Maybe, but I think each world publishes excellent, as well as mediocre material.

Has anyone else who writes for the 3-8 crowd considered entering the app market? What do you see as the pros and cons?


  1. I have! For the same reasons you did. I have stories that are probably not "big" enough to interest a publisher, but that I think have great potential as an interactive app. I'll have to look into Okenko books.

    Congratulations, by the way, on getting your first app published. Exciting!

  2. Breaking new ground! Congrats to you, Gale, in testing the waters.
    I imagine we will see more soon.


  3. Good for you! I've considered this, and have even submitted a story (to another company). Apps are certainly part of the changing world of publishing, so you might as well jump in.

  4. And the art looks great! We all have to learn to navigate this new turn in publishing. Gale, you are a pioneer!

  5. Julie,
    Yes, this new market has promise for those stories that don't fit traditional print models.

    Thanks for the congrats! Seems to me your animal early readers might work in this new app world?

    Anne and J.A.,
    Yes, might as well jump in, though I don't consider myself a pioneer, I've just stuck one baby toe in a new ocean.

  6. Gale...Congrats!! I remember that story and your frustration with it - that's inspiring news. :)

  7. New steps in a new direction. Congratulations. It is exciting.

  8. Add a congrats from me, too, Gale! I agree with J.A., the cover art looks lovely. I'd love to read it....yet another reason to buy an iPad.

  9. I've considered it, but it seemed like complicated and difficult voodoo. You make it sound - not simple, but doable. Thanks & congratulations!

  10. Robin and Meg,
    Yes, you both probably remember this story - and the number of times I had it critiqued!

    J.L. You could even get it on an iphone - though it might look a little cramped. :)

    I didn't have to be involved in any of the technical process. Okenko Books, in that sense, is akin to a traditional publisher. They took care of production.

  11. This is so exciting. A whole new age for publishing. Congrats!

  12. Gale-- Congratulations! It is beautiful! (And I do think you're a pioneer. In a very intriguing new world. :o) )

  13. Christina and Brianna,

    Thanks for the comments. This app world is growing so fast that it's hard to keep up with. Wonder if, in time, some of the app producers will begin consolidating the way the print publishers have.