OLD POST ALERT! This is an older post and although you might find some useful tips, any technical or publishing information is likely to be out of date. Please click on Start Here on the menu bar above to find links to my most useful articles, videos and podcast. Thanks and happy writing! – Joanna Penn
This podcast is for authors and writers considering iPhone apps as a way to make sales and promote themselves. Making an app is one of my goals for 2010 so this interview was one of the first steps along the way.
Tom Evans is an author, bookwright and poet who mentors writers on how to unleash the book inside themselves. He specialises in removing writer's block which we covered in a previous podcast. Tom has also just released 3 iphone apps as well as starting an iPhone app publishing platform, Commutabooks.
In this podcast, you will learn:
- How you can publish your own books in multiple formats to a) get more readers and b) make more income. Tom has done this with ‘100 years of Ermintrude‘ and it has previously been published in print, PDF, audio and video.
- How your fans will buy the same book in multiple formats, for example, I have Gary Vaynerchuk's ‘Crush It' in print, audio book, Kindle version and Vook format.
- How Tom has created Commutabooks to publish ebooks for the short commute market
- How creativity and tech can blend, just like the alchemists!
The steps you need to take in order to create an iPhone app
- Understanding even the basic technicalities will save you money and help on design, so download the Apple Developers Kit. Tom also bought a few books on how to build an app.
- Decide on what you want to do and whether you already have the material/text/images etc
- Design the app by knowing what you want to achieve as well as how the technology can be used.
- Find yourself a programmer. Tom used Twitter, but you can also use Elance, Guru or Odesk
- Submit to the Apple store for the approval process
- Is it worth it to have an iPhone app? Tom explains how the marketing aspect is very valuable even if you don't make huge sales, although some apps do sell and make money for authors. There is a market for book apps, especially while it is a new idea.
- Marketing on the Apple store. You have to market your app just like marketing a book. There are tags that can be used on the app store. You can also market to app review sites with free promo codes. Get people talking on the social networks and try to achieve the ‘tipping point' that gets you in the Top 25 on the store.
- On opportunities for the iPad including interactive experiences
- It is also easier to migrate to other platforms once you have material converted e.g. Google phones, possible
- Tons of ideas for what can be done with the apps – think experience, not just as a text based book
You can get Tom's iPhone apps here (priced free, 99c, $1.99 so all affordable)
You can also get Tom's book ‘Blocks' here which I also mentioned in the podcast.
Here is a really useful post from the Guardian that basically outlines the same steps.