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Authors, How About an App for Your Book?

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September 24,2015

By Scott Lorenz, Westwind Communications


Books are turned into movies all the time. But what about other money making avenues for repurposing content and expanding the reach of the book? How about creating an iPhone or Android app for your book?

The bestselling book What to Expect When You Are Expecting has an app that is a great example of how a book can expand its reach by creating a useful companion app.  Expectant moms plug the due date into the app and it then tells you via message every day what to expect along with helpful advice. It walks with moms through their pregnancy day by day.  This is a terrific companion for first-time moms and dads and the grandparents too.

In fact, 15 seconds after my daughter announced her pregnancy my wife pulled that book from her purse and handed it to my daughter (some people know exactly what to expect!). My daughter finds the app extremely helpful. Guess what? My wife put that app on her iPhone too. Now THAT is a great app that reaches beyond its target audience of expectant moms.

Is your book perfectly suited for a companion app? Perhaps you can see how you can tap into this market by checking out these book apps.

  1. Arcadia by Iain Pears
  2. Edgar Allan Poe Interactive Stories (iPoe 3)
  3. ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go!’ by Dr. Seuss
  4. Brain Rules For Baby by John Medina
  5. iPad For Dummies, Portable Edition by Edward C. Baig and Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus
  6. Lights, Camera, Capture 12th edition by Bob Davis
  7. Stories and Magic Dust by Marie-Florence Gros, (An app that lets kids choose the ingredients for their story)

The App Must Have a Purpose Beyond Just “WOW That’s Cool!”

In the case of Arcadia, author Iain Pears wrote in the Guardian, “The app was conceived to help the business of reading, not to make the reader go ‘wow.’  Arcadia is ultimately just a story; a tale of three worlds, historical, ideal and dystopian, with a cast of characters whose actions and decisions change and affect their surroundings and interconnect endlessly. It is also about memory and storytelling, and the possibility of drawing together fragments of all the great tales of the world as they are remembered by one or other of the characters.”

Pears said that as his story evolved the app design evolved as well and that in turn influenced the story.  “Arcadia has minimal graphics, no music and no animations. The reader does not choose outcomes or influence decisions, and there are no prizes or levels. You read the text; how you see characters depends on how much of it you read, where you start, and whether you read strand by strand, or hop from one to the other,” said Pears.

When exploring the possibility of creating an app for your book don’t be fooled into thinking an ebook is a book app. According to Karen Robinson, app expert and award-winning author, “A book app is an ebook on steroids because, from a functionality perspective, you can do so much more with a book app. Ebooks are for reading and book apps are for engaging and interacting.”

“There are book app specialist development companies and do-it-yourself tools (that don’t require programming skills) that you can work with,” says Robinson. “I wrote, What is a Book App and Could YOU Create One? as an introduction to what book apps are and the step-by-step process you can use to create one.”  Her book takes authors through the decision making process needed to make a book app and includes the personal stories of dozens of people who have published their books as apps.

The main reason to create an app for a book is to improve the reader’s experience. If you make that your goal then you’ve started with the right mindset.


The Bottom Line: If by creating an app for your book it has the potential to improve the reader’s experience, then give serious consideration to developing one. By tapping into the power of an App you’ll have an opportunity to increase awareness of your work and gain more readers which ultimately will improve your bottom line.


Looking for more book marketing tips? Check out another PR Toolkit article, "How Authors Can Promote Their Book Using Webinars."



About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it's their first book or their 15th book. He's handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman's World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist



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