An interesting article is at Publishers Weekly concerning Apps connected to cookbooks. Here’s the link:
What I found interesting about this article is how many of the same concerns that exist for fiction writers overlap with those of non-fiction writers, and just because a writer goes all techno/geeky with their product doesn’t mean that the tried and true principles don’t have to be followed. Being an IT professional in my day job I’m always interested in what new techno/geeky “thing” is available and how it is being used and/or adapted but cool apps won’t make up for a poor or lackluster product.
When special effects were introduced to movie making I remember seeing some movies where the special effects were the only attraction of the movie, but when a movie blends special effects and storytelling well it can be an amazing and enjoyable experience. I believe the same is true for novels and other writings – the story telling is critical, despite the technology used to put it in the hands of readers.
Now you might not think that a cookbook, the process of creating that cookbook and how the reader experiences the cookbook would have anything in common with fiction writing but I propose that you’d be incorrect in that assumption.
I found it interesting that the article referenced above stressed that “Content is Key” and that connecting with readers is vital to the success of a cookbook even if you have a dazzling App that draws them in. Hum, so just because you build – or write - it doesn’t mean they will buy it and if you don’t engage the reader properly the first time if they do buy it they may not come back for a return visit.
For fiction writers it might be a book video/trailer on You Tube or some sort of other marketing instead of an App but the concept is the same. Drawing readers in is one thing and keeping them engaged is another.
BTW – don’t know what an App is or how to go about developing your own? Here are some useful references and examples:
- The Novel Engagement App from Romance Writers of America (RWA) but you may have to be a member to use it and there is an additional fee. It’s promoted as a book discovery app and is free for readers. I’m still exploring the possibility of using this app but from what I’ve read so far it appears to be worth it, especially for members of RWA.
Keep in mind that there are different types and levels of Apps and make sure that security measures are addressed. Blog and web hosted sites tend to have apps built in so the author doesn’t necessarily have to create their own but it’s helpful if authors know what apps are best suited to readers discovering and enjoying the books those authors have spent long hours writing.
Alas, writing isn’t just about writing anymore and the Indie author sometimes has to wear many hats but when the writing takes a back seat to those other tasks it may be time to call in some help.
Speaking of book videos/trailers: