The Next Big Thing in Children’s Storytelling

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is a chain of linked blogs, which is going viral. It includes some interesting Australian contributors talking about their forthcoming projects, while answering the same interview questions. Their responses link back to those who invited them and go live on specific dates a week later. Then each uses their social media connections and tweet or Facebook the others’ work.

The Next Big Thing is an innovative way of drawing attention to new books and associated media.

1) What is the working title of your next book?

I’ve got 3 interactive apps being produced in 2013 with developers, Flying Books (Israel). The titles are:

Shape Explorers

A Rainbow Surprise

A Race Against Time

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

These are education apps for littlies ages 2 – 5 years. I heard via Karen Robertson (digital children’s author) that Flying Books were looking for writers, so I approached them.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Interactive education storytelling.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

There are far too many characters in these apps to choose from, ranging from a robot, to children, to a rocket!

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

These are education apps that use an interactive story to explain the concepts of colours, shapes, and reading time to children 2 – 5 years.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The Publisher, or Developer, is Flying Books (Israel).

Description ‘Great Books for Great Kids!’

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7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Writing for interaction in education apps has been a steep learning curve for me. I have had to learn to write for animation, songs, sound effects, and child involvement using interactive activities as well as hand movements such as dragging, dropping, sliding etc. Fortunately, the manuscripts for these apps were written as part of my May Gibbs Fellowship, where I was able to spend one month full-time in Adelaide dedicated to writing.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

There are many education apps in the market, however Flying Books are taking a new approach of using ‘Story’ to drive all their education apps. As a children’s storyteller, this is where I came in.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I am a futurist when it comes to storytelling and have already published an interactive multiplatform novel this year, Kiss Kill (Really Blue Books 2012). Writing apps is a natural progression to my career in the digital story world.


10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

As well as a great story to read, children can learn by singing along with songs, recording themselves reading, listening to reading, interacting with the story to drive the narrative and watching the reading come to life with animation and sound effects.

The wonderful children’s authors I’d like to promote include the following:

Aleesah Darlison

Hazel Edwards

Karen Robertson

Moya Simons

XMediaLab Global Media Ideas 2012 in Sydney, Australia

Attended the mind-expanding XMediaLab Think Tank in Sydney last week and am sharing my favourite quote(s) from each presenter.

1) Don’t tell me what I want. Tell me what I NEED to want.
Kenneth Hertz on Music, Marketing and Money

2) Use creativity and innovation to do some ‘good things’ for others along the way.
Ian Charles Stewart on More Interesting Dreams

3) Don’t hate. Participate and Digital media = Participatory media
Corvida Raven on Learning to Listen

4) Interaction Design designs for people’s behaviour in order to provide a service for the way people wish to act, examples include iPod, WiiFit, Instagram
Steve Baty on Beyond the Interface

5) Our future will include UStream ie live video streaming globally.
Michael Naimark on Global Time, Global Space and Global Data

6) Our aim is to create an un-holdable China.
Helen Chen on Creative Futures in China

7) Indians today have personal aspirations for a different future for themselves and their children.
Domestic consumption and entrepreneurship is creating a huge industry of local Start-Ups going global so that they’re seeing Reverse Innovation.
Rajiv Prakash on India Start-Ups

8) Collective individualism gives communities a collective vision
Devices are the enablers of new collaborative and collective experiences eg smartphones
Bonnie Shaw on The Collective Individualism of People, Place and Technology.

9) There is a strong relationship between ‘Play’ and ‘Story’
Warren Coleman on Play Stations

10) The Art Form of storytelling is changing with the Internet unlocking of new voices.
Arvind Ethan David on ‘Small and Global’

11) The digital landscape in Indonesia is vibrant today.
Shinta W. Dhanuwardoyo on Vibrant Story in Indonesia

12) The challenge for Australian homes when they get the Next Generation Broadband Network is what to do with its enormous potential eg ambient intelligence.
Colin Griffith on Broadband Innovation

13) The new competition for television comes from new multiple digital platforms in terms of: Search; Digital Retail; Social; Consumer Devices + Apps; and Connected TV (XBOX 360).
Tablets are the consumers’ Second Screen, linking viewing on TV with smart phones.
Gerry Gouy on The War for Your TV

14) Networking, personalisation and mobility will radically change user patterns to create new paradigms in a multimedia market.
Computers are being turned into an appliance.
Anuraj Gambhir on New Paradigms: Visions of Future Mobility & Immersive Experiences

15) Because network activities are measured we are able to use this data to make it into a game.
Dr Steffen Walz on Network Detox: Connected Futures in Play

Came away from this incredibly successful day with mind explosion and brain strain 🙂

Writer Survival Tips for the 21st Century

It is becoming increasingly apparent that Author Survival in the new age of digital book publishing requires the development of new skill sets. No longer is it enough to have written a fantastic book and to put it in the hands of a publishing company.

Authors must not only be pro-active in all facets of the book, from writing to promotion to sales, they now must build an authority brand that is both visible and credible. Writer survival depends on knowledge, adaptability, flexibility, and a futuristic vision.

Self-Publishers Online Conference 8 – 10 May 2012

The SPOC 2012 conference was developed by Susan Daffron and James Byrd, owners of Logical Expressions, Inc, and is well worth a visit. Knowledge acquired will give you choices, even if you have no intention to self-publish. A few key Author survival tips are summarised as follows:

1) Writers must now be closer to their buyers and look at readers as customers, not just consumers. As such they will need to engage with their consumers via social networking, Review systems, forums, blogs etc.

2) Books are created to entertain, inform and to educate. Know exactly what your readers seek (expectations, habits), where they can be found, what makes financial sense for them, what value/benefits they get from your book, etc.

3) Build your Authority. For example, on writing, publishing, issues. Readers want to know/like/trust you. Realise that there is a non-monetary currency based on reputation. Compile lists of reviews, testimonials, endorsements.

4) Embrace new technologies.

5) Recognise that the digital world has created a ‘Long Tail’ for books.

6) Build your author brand in terms of both visibility and credibility. This will create multiple streams of income via royalties, consulting, speaking, coaching, plus teaching fees.

7) Learn effective book promotion strategies used for web sites, media releases, Amazon, search engine optimisation, virtual tours, email marketing, Facebook Fan Pages etc.

8) Look at multiple platforms but focus on specific ones that will work for you and for your target audience. Things to consider are Tweet Chats, YouTube, podcasts etc.