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Today's word is "ADAPT!" When I set out on this project, it first started as an ebook. I didn't know it was okay to put a book out there as an app. And though many people have published books as apps, the truly great ones are interactive and engage the reader somehow.

About two weeks ago (third week of development), I was ready to publish my children's book. Three weeks! That's pretty amazing. I created everything from the ground up and worked hard at the story, consistency of characters, etc. And then I found a tweet from someone I barely know. She posted a link to a wonderful app, "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore." All she said in her tweet, was go get this book, or something like this book changed the way I thought of book apps. And she was right! And to you, my faithful and new readers, GO GET THIS BOOK! Overnight it changed my vision for what I wanted my company to be and it set the bar for all books. Granted this was a short film before it was a book or an app, or maybe it was a book first, but regardless, the app is polished, has a lot of cool features, super interactive, and just fun to read. It brings together ideas from the Wizard of Oz, Buster Keaton, and all book classics in general. I was blown away. And I immediately pulled back my sleeves and adapted my book to something that was more fun and more engaging. I worked on the story until I thought it was magical. I created an opening scene that people said WOW to. And I made sure my characters were as lovable as they should be. Mr. Lessmore set the bar for me and all interactive book publishers. And I'm grateful for his contribution to fine literature. Oh and by the way, did I mention that "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," tops all sales charts in iTunes!

I wanted to also address something about this book. Moonbot Studios the publishers of Morris Lessmore, isn't a one-or two-man show. They had 28 people work on this project and their content came from pre-existing work that was written by William Joyce. They also brought in professional narrators, music composers, and programmers. They have a huge building to work in. Most of us little app studios are one and two-man shops. And it doesn't mean we can't pull off great work too.

If you take one thing from this blog post, take this. Be willing to "ADAPT" to make your work shine even brighter and also stay true to your vision. Don't be afraid to change a few words or paragraphs to make your work stand out even more. Look at what your competition is doing and embrace it. It just may take you in a different direction. But it's okay! It's the journey that makes all the difference!

 
 
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
Kwik ($79)
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 nick@intensemedia.com or www.intensemedia.com.
 

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