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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). www.flyingbooks.me

Description ‘Great Books for Great Kids!’

Download: http://bit.ly/flyingbooks
QR Scan: http://bit.ly/flyingbooks.qrcode
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlyingBooksApp
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/flyingbooks/

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.

Amazon http://t.co/h3XUTe5t

publishing@reallybluebooks.com

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
www.aleesahdarlison.com/

Hazel Edwards
www.hazeledwards.com/
http://www.hazeledwards.com/page/f2mthe_boy_within.html

Karen Robertson
http://treasurekai.com
www.digitalkidsauthor.com

Moya Simons
www.moyasimons.com/

Behold a Digital Storyteller

new beginnings

Tunnel’s End

In a small but majorly significant way I’ve turned the Titanic around and have caught a small current. At the SCBWI Sydney conference I went to Karen Robertson’s talk and she mentioned an app developer looking for writers. I contacted them and have been working on 3 education apps with them. It is truly lovely to find a digital publishing house who judge me for my work, not for my age, gender, sales figures etc etc. I feel as excited when I had my very first ms accepted by Macmillan Education 13 years ago!

And it is incredibly wonderful to be ahead of many in the writing game, not trailing so far behind that I felt I no longer belonged. I still feel I don’t belong but I don’t care any more. Now, I can at least say that I will have something coming out next year. Between the ebooks, the apps and the transmedia novel I feel I truly can call myself a digital storyteller 

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2012

Happy New Year!

To all the story tellers in the world we’re living in exciting times.

Here’s to a wonderful year of creation, innovation and appreciation.

It’s all about the story!

Frank Rose on ‘Transmedia’ at the 2011 CaT Conference in New York

The points of difference between Transmedia storytelling and traditional storytelling are that the story is:
– Non-linear
– Participatory (engage + share)
– Has immersive possibilities.

Writers today must give forethought to the development stage of Transmedia by seeding their stories with possible multiple platform extensions.

Similarities between Transmedia storytelling and traditional storytelling are:
– Story still has a beginning, middle and end
– They both build aspirational story worlds (“I want to be there”), rich with backstory and futures.

Frank Rose is the author of the amazing book ‘The Art of Immersion’.

Why Kiss Kill Breaks New Ground in the Telling of ‘Story’

Kiss Kill is ground-breaking as a way of telling a story for the following reasons:

1) It’s a story told using multiple text types, not just prose narrative.
2) It is transmedia, incorporating a character blog, YouTube performance (How Do You define a Man?) and iTunes (Thought I Knew You), Facebook and Twitter @kisskilldigital
3) It is a story of relationship abuse where the abuser is the female and the victim is a 16 year old male.
4) Kiss Kill has permission to link with Headspace and Mensline Australia.
5) It is framed in philosophy which is only beginning to be taught in Australian Schools.
6) Humour is used as the voice of young males.

Digital Book World 2012 Conference

Am so enamoured with this conference line-up I’m going to blog it!

Children’s Publishing Goes Digital

Presented by Publisher’s Launch Conference

The takeoff of tablets and the proliferation of smart phones are igniting opportunities for digital children’s books — interactive ebooks, apps, learning products and online communities — that are vastly different from both the maturing adult ebook market and traditional children’s board books and chapter books. A flood of new entrants is reinventing — and supplementing — children’s publishing, from classic illustrated story books through to middle grade and YA. Children’s Publishing Goes Digital looks closely at this disruption and how the marketplace for children’s content will change in the coming year, and what publishers need to know about this new continuum of content, games, animation and interactivity. This will be the first of a series of events created by Publishers Launch Conferences, in conjunction with Lorraine Shanley of Market Partners, to address digital publishing strategies for children’s book professionals.

To learn more from Publisher’s Launch Conference – Click Here!

To Register for the Children’s Publishing Goes Digital – Click Here!

Children’s Publishing Goes Digital Program

8:45-9:30 am: Traditionalists Gone Digital
Though there are many new players entering the digital children’s market, traditional publishers are also innovating in the digital realm. What routes are publishers taking to develop digital content, and to market this and traditional print, online? What have been the challenges and successes through the transition into digital, and what do publishers see as being the future of children’s content—games, animation, or ebooks? Representatives from Macmillan, HarperCollins, and Alloy take on these questions and more in this discussion of what it means to be a traditional children’s publisher moving into the digital world.
Speakers: Josh Bank, Alloy Entertainment
Jonathan Yaged, Macmillan

Corinne Helman, HarperCollins

9:30-10:00am: Sizing up the Children’s Market
Kelly Gallagher, VP of Publishing Services at RR Bowker, will present findings from a study PubTrack and its UK partner, BML, on the current children’s print and ebook market.

Speaker: Kelly Gallagher, RR Bowker

10:00-10:45am: New Players, New Partners
Digital media companies developing apps and ebooks for children are using their skills in animation and gaming – and often new sources of content –to move into the “space” in the children’s market that publishers used to have for themselves. Who are these new players, and what impact will their products have on the established children’s book market? What role do they see their products playing in the future of book-like content, and how do they see themselves interacting with traditional publishers? Insight into new players will come fast and furiously as five companies will have five minutes each to pitch their new initiatives.
Speakers: Rick Richter, Ruckus Media
TouchyBooks

Lisa Holton, Fourth Story Media

10:45-11:15 am: Break

11:15 -11:45 am: Nook and Children’s Interactive eBooks and apps
Kevin O’Connor and Wendy Bronfin talk about Nook Color and its work with children’s interactive ebooks and apps. They will be joined by a children’s author in conversation about developing children’s books and apps for the color tablet and what the technical implications are of developing an interactive product to make the most of the development costs.
Speakers: Kevin O’Connor

Wendy Bronfin

11:45 -12:15 pm: What Trends Are Emerging for Children – and their Parents?
Two futurists talk about their analyses of where the market is going, and what the biggest influences are on children, and their parents.
Speakers: Amy Henry, Youth Beat

Ira Mayer, EPM Communications

12:15 -1:30 pm: Lunch

1:30-2 pm: Russell Hampton

Russell Hampton, president of Disney Worldwide, presents on Disney’s approach to turning its popular franchises into Disney Digital Books.

2:00-2:45 pm: Education Meets Digital
With the interactive capabilities of ebooks and apps, how are publishers and developers creating new
opportunities for education? What new innovations are emerging in the edutainment market, and how
are they accommodating new technologies as they develop their products? What type of interaction is
most effective to capture and maintain the interest of their target audience, and how do new apps and
ebooks grow with their readers? Developers explore these questions as they talk about new systems
and products that are combining the classroom with technology.
Speakers: Emi Abramzon, Panarea

Neal Goff, Egremont Associates (Moderator)

2:45-3:15 pm: Break

3:15 – 3:50pm: Jennifer Perry: How to Reach and Teach Preschoolers with Digital Books
Jennifer Perry, VP Global Publishing at Sesame Workshop, will talk about her organization’s qualitative research efforts with parents and children exploring how children use apps. Perry will also share Sesame Workshop’s experience creating 150 ebooks and 25 apps, and discuss its global expansion in digital media and how they will make it work with its 140 publishing licensees.

Speaker: Jennifer Perry, Sesame Workshop

3:50-4:40 pm: Marketing to a Community
Online communities and media that have already captured the attention of young readers constitute an important resource that publishers must employ. What sites and communities are most beneficial to children’s content developers, and to what extent do publishers need to customize their campaigns based on the communities they target? What are the ways in which publishers are reaching out to these communities/websites to make their books more visible? Panelists from the media will talk with a marketing executive about their experiences developing an audience among young readers and how they are working with publishers to promote books and apps.

Speaker: Laura Dail, Literary Agent

4:40 -5:00 pm: Closing Remarks

Kiss Kill Momentum Building

Every day is an adventure as Kiss Kill gets closer to publication. So many exciting things are happening:

Link with Headspace Australia’s National Youth Mental Health Foundation. www.headspace.org.au

Link with MensLine Australia for relationship help at http://www.mensline.org.au/home.aspx

Twitter @kisskilldigital getting more and more followers.

Kiss Kill FB page getting more and more followers.

Starting to post book futurist comments on FaceBook to see if we can get the Australian book industry to take their heads out of the sand.

St Jospeh’s College have agreed to read Kiss Kill with the possibility of review.

Adam Marks has revised the monologue ‘How Do You Define a Man?’ to fit in with YouTube recording. Filming to start soon with Director Danny Lim.

Phil Bowley has composed music for ‘Thought I Knew You’ lyrics. Recording in progress.

Sarah Bailey, CEO at Really Blue Books (www.reallybluebooks.com ), and I have been working on edits.

Character blog is up and running at http://whyidontgetgirls.wordpress.com

Requested permission to use Kevin Carter’s 1994 Pulitzer Prize winning photograph from New York Times and waiting reply.

Marketing a Digital Book

This is a copy of an email sent to Sarah Bailey, the CEO of Really Blue Books (www.reallybluebooks.com) with a marketing update for Kiss Kill.

Without you Kiss Kill would not be published. It is something for which I will be eternally grateful.

As you may have noticed, I’m passionate about this story, and I am passionate about it finding its readers. I want them to experience and connect with the story. I want to create a buzz so they’ll share it with others.

To be honest, I’m only cc-ing you on some of the leads I’m following. Didn’t want to swamp your inbox! But here’s a snippet of marketing goings on:

I’m in the process of approaching boy’s schools in the Sydney region and asking for staff to review the book. Word-of-internet is the goal. If the educators get behind this, it should do really well. Fingers crossed.

My List of Potential Reviewers is growing.

Have started looking at organising a Blog tour. Apparently virtual book tours can be done through www.pumpupyourbook.com

A music student at the Australian Institute of Music, Emily Winter, has agreed to write some music for lyrics to ‘Thought I knew You’, which I then hope to put on YouTube.

A Sydney Uni student and actor, Adam Marks, is going to perform and film the monologue ‘How Do You Define a Man?’ also for YouTube. I’m hoping he’ll help promote to student networks.

I’ve joined a Narcissist Survivor’s Chat group and have started tweeting about NPD.

Have approached Sydney Writers’ Festival, Melbourne Writers’ Festival and Byron Bay Writers’ Festivals to speak next year.

I’ve approached Inside-A-Dog a web site for teens on reading.

I’ve informed staff at the Sydney Writer’s Centre, the NSW Writer’s Centre and Macquarie University where I work.

Exhausted yet? I’m not. This is all essential to marketing in today’s world! Will keep you posted…

Digital Storytelling with David Varela

Went to David Varela session on digital storytelling organised by the Australian Society of Authors last weekend. Amongst many things David has been involved in the transmedia productions of Perplex City, A Global Adventure, and Clockwork Watch.

According to David, writers should consider themselves as auteurs, not authors, with the skills and vision to inform the creative process of storytelling. Given the simple equation:
Story = Story + Audience
… it’s the close relationship with the audience/fans that will carry the story and give it power.

The audience likes to be part of the process and will pay for this privilege. They will buy ‘rewards’, listen to podcasts, run character websites, exchange puzzle cards, write a Letters page, publish their own story(s), compile wikis, write songs, participate in real life street theatre, twitter etc.

The challenge for the writer is to create enough intrigue to entice the reader to stay with your story.

Visuals such as artwork or supporting imagery help to ‘sell’ your story or project.