If you're like me and love to create, then you'll love the present. It's a great time to be alive! I was fortunate in that I have this creative talent that has been unlocked! I love what I do and couldn't be happier knowing that God has given me the talents, and Apple has given me the tools to help me succeed! I just celebrated my first year wedding anniversary, and Apple has given me a gift that I'll never forget; the permission to sell my new app, Hippos Name in the App Store! This is only the beginning, but it's the start of something big. I've already started the wheels turning on the second book and have a mile long list of things I need to do for the first one. But this is where the fun continues. I get to tell people about how much fun it was to create this app. How I started with an idea almost 18 years ago telling stories to my niece and nephew and taking those characters today and weilding them into something more than words in the air. It was my nephew who at age 18 told me to take those characters that I created and make them real. Draw them out. Give them names and personalities and traits. That was eight years ago. And I did do that that three years ago, but it never came off the ground. I had trademarks, logos, a web site. But it just wasn't there still. So I changed the name of the collection, kept the original names, and changed the focus. It's now turned into something wonderful and I'm very proud of it. I'd love to one day be able to hire my nephew and write books together, but I'll have to sell a lot of apps to do that. In the meantime, I hope you will join with me in celebrating this great feat. In the next few days, I'll post some of my original pencil drawings and how the characters have matured over the course of three years.
I'm in day five of my wait to get approved for the app store. The waiting is nerve-racking. In these days, I've been busy "spreading the word," everywhere and anywhere that it pertains to. And might I add, this is this first time I've done it BEFORE my app was released. I've read a lot of marketing material that speaks to the point of doing your marketing before the app comes out increase exposure. I'm being careful not to spam as we all know is a bad thing. About six months to a year ago, I started conversations on various groups on linkedin.com and when I do comment, I make an effort not to sound desperate. We're merely people sharing information. I ask questions, talk about my apps and then respond where appropriate. Since my customers are parents and children, I have joined writers groups, associations, and the like. I've asked about contests and I'll scour over old threads to see if any information will pertain to me. Granted I do a lot already being the writer and designer of the app, plus the main evangelist as well, but in the beginning, you have to wear many hats. I think it's good to talk to people on the ground-level. I try to reach out to people as much as I can. I have been heavily involved in the 8-10 groups I belong to on Linkedin.com, dropping small teasers on facebook and twitter.
The other thing I should note is that I have two additional web heavyweights in my corner; Corona and Kwik. Since I used both of their software products to create my app, they also will help me in the marketing. This is already true for Kwik. Because I was the second app ever developed using their software, my second app, "Opening Rome" is featured on their masthead. When I look at my stats for the website, Kwik is a huge referral site for me.
By the way, I just finished my new app trailer for my web site. It's also up on Facebook, Twitter, my IntenseMedia Youtube channel, and on my own site as well. The goal is to build the "IntenseMedia" brand as much as I can all the whilst building a following. It's not that easy to do so, and it's a lot of hard work but I actually enjoy it. I wasn't someone who used to follow my web site's stats until recently. And I can honestly say that in the last two months, we've made substantial gains in followers, unique visitors, and hits. Whether I'm receiving sales from this is unclear, however I have made gains from my effort in traffic and this is important. Whenever I post something pertaining to my blog, my traffic spikes. Today should be a good day because not only did I release a new blog post, but I also posted a link to my new trailer. The idea is to constantly "Spread the Word." You are your best advertising! Keep plugging away. AND HAVE FUN!
Okay, now that you've got some of the logistics out of the way, I have to throw some more at you.
This blog is for anyone who doesn't have the foggiest where to start, is an author or designer and pretty much anyone who wants to or has always wanted to create their own app. In essence become a software studio. That's what I did, and I'll show you how too!
I have little to no background in coding aside from HTML 3.0. But if I see something that is popular and alows me the flexibility to publish something that I've created, I'm going to do my best to figure out how to do it.
Today it's easier than ever to create your own app without the need of a programmer. But that wan't the case in 2009 and 2010 when building apps was in its infancy stage. Since I'm not a programmer, I found one on Craig's list in my area and hired him. He did a great job coding my first app, MyBasketballStats which is available on the app store. I believe it took between 3-6 months to complete. For my second app, I wanted to have more creative control, decrease the production schedule, and save money. I thought about going the route of someone else publishing it for me and their are lots of companies out there that do that, but their terms didn't seem that attractive to me. I wanted complete ownership without paying any royalties to anyone, aside from Apple of course. (By the way, Apple takes 30% off the top. More on that later).
Back in June of this year (2011), my old college roommate asked me how to start making apps. I told him about the Apple Developer program he had to buy ($99), and that he had to own a Mac ($999 -$2,000), and that he needed to learn Objective-C. Although he was a programmer, he didn't know Objective-C and asked me if I had ever heard of Corona. I checked it out and after reading what they were about, my jaw dropped. Yes I reached Nirvana that day. Thanks Mike!
Corona is from a small but quickly growing company called Ansca Mobile in Palo Alto, CA. Started by two ex-Adobe engineers who worked on Flash-lite. They started their company just this year and have a huge following. More on them later. Corona is much like X-Code, but it uses .lua instead of Objective-C as a language to write code. Lua is very easy to learn and was made for newbies and professionals too. In fact, do you know that little app called Angry Birds was built using .lua.
With .lua, you can drastically cut your coding down to minutes in what would normally take weeks! I'll cover Corona more later. So here is the nitty gritty. Corona will help you make apps not only for the iPhone, iPad, and iTouch, but also Android apps, the Nook, and other tablets in the market today. So your book/or app can be seen by twice as many people as you thought possible.
I also recommend using Kwik, which is a Photoshop extension. It's great for anyone who doesn't want to write a line of code and still produce their very own interactive book or comic book. Great tech support and new features added all the time. My first book and second app in my store was created using Kwik, Opening Rome!
If you want to do this, you can. And here's your shopping list.
Corona works on Windows too but you will need to have a Mac to compile it in X-Code before you upload it to Apple. Here's the list of items you'll need.
Apple Developer Membership ($99)* Yearly
Apple Mac, ($699-$2,000)
Corona Subscription ($199 -$349)* Yearly
Photoshop (check prices)
Word Processor (check prices)
Nick Nebelsky, is CEO and Creative Director at Intense Media, LLC. Intense Media focuses on products that entertain, enrich, and empower their customers. They create and publish their own line of books, ebooks, CDs, and software for the iPhone and iPad devices. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.intensemedia.com.