Apps For Authors, Going Mobile


Hi, Todd Massey, the Magical Words admin posting today.

Faith asked me to talk a little bit about the new App I put together for Magical Words and to talk in general about the shift in Internet Marketing taking place due to smartphones and tablets.

What? You don’t have your website built yet? Pfft! Don’t even bother. The mobile revolution occurred while you were looking down at your smartphone.

Now, what you need is, a mobile website and mobile apps to promote your brand.

Magical Words has actually been mobile ready for years. It may not have looked very pretty, but if you visited this site on a mobile device the website displayed in a different format. I recently updated the mobile display and it looks much better now.

Why should I even bother with mobile displays and creating a Magical Words App? The world is going mobile.

Let me share some stats from Magical Words.

  • Last month nearly 13% of the visits to the website were on a mobile device.
  • About 60% of the mobile visitors are using Apple devices.

mobile overtakes desktop internet use by 2014


Eric Peterson, CEO of Epic Digital said, ”Nearly 90% of our production income comes from businesses expanding their traditional media to mobile devices. This is specifically in the corporate, educational, and entertainment markets. Ever since 2009, the priority for companies has switched from just having Internet media, to making sure that media is cutting-edge and user-friendly on mobile devices.”

Writing and selling stories is part of the entertainment market. If you are going to promote your brand and you ignore the mobile market, by 2014 you will be ignoring at least 50% of your potential market.

most mobile devices are used to socialize


Most mobile users are simply socializing in some form. If people are at a convention they are going to Tweet, Facebook, upload pictures, chat, 4Square and use dozens of other socially engaging apps and websites to share their experience.

Simple apps are helping all types of entertainment entrepreneurs gain new customers and fans, plus stay engaged with them.


Going Native

In the App world there are 2 divisions. Native Apps and Web Apps.

Native Apps are the kind you would find at either the Apple or Google marketplace and most or all of the coding resides on your mobile device when you decide to download it.

Web Apps are mainly gateways with most of the coding residing on a server and acts more like a website.

Native Apps are typically more expensive to have built, especially if you want the app to perform various functions such as calculate the calories in a meal you just ate, etc. Think thousands of dollars. Especially if you want a game app. Think many thousands of dollars.

With a native app you also have to pay for an account at Google Play and pay Apple even more to open an account with them. The Apple approval process can also take weeks and your app can also be rejected. Google is a much faster process and your are not likely to be rejected since most of the Google acceptance appears to be automated. Oh, and every time you want to make a change to your app, it has to go through the approval process all over again.

Web apps are cheaper and there is no approval process but there is also no market place where people can find your app. You are on your own to spread your app. But there are some built in ways to make it easier and a little creativity can go a long ways. Just consider a contest where everyone enters free simply by downloading your web app.

The Magical Words App is what I consider an information app, even the NBC Olympics apps were information apps and acted as portals to other places at NBC.

Right now the Magical Words App is really is just another portal or marketing channel for the people that run Magical Words to try and spread their brand and to reach more writers that are looking for a place like this to learn valuable information about writing fantasy, plus for the people that already know about the website it provides another option for them to access the website. The app also makes it really easy for mobile users to have a nice little button available right at their fingertips to boot up the RSS feed or to visit the website.

Will an app make you rich or famous? Not likely, no more so than your facebook page, your website, your twitter account or any other social or marketing outlet. These apps are another tool in your marketing belt and some people will find powerful and creative ways to use them to expand their reach.

Is there a free way to make apps? Yes, companies are beginning to pop up that will allow you to make web apps for free. Here is one – the market is exploding and companies and websites are popping up all over the place. If the company offers free apps then most likely they get to put random advertising on your app. That is no way to brand yourself or your product.

Push Notifications

One important aspect you want to pay attention to is if you have the ability to contact the people that have your app on their device.

Push Notification is a way for an app to send information to your phone via some particular method such as a badge, alert, email, text marketing, or pop up message even when the app isn’t in use.

If you use this marketing method properly and engage your fans or customers with great content most people will see this as a benefit. For example a sports lover may get push notifications of scores, a convention goer may get updates of new events or guests or time changes. An entertainer may push out notification of a new video that has just been released. A restaurant may let customers know about a new dinning coupon or new dish on the menu.

Give your fans first dibs through your app and they won’t mind this style of social marketing, it is all voluntary.

I have put together a demonstration of a web app that has a lot of easy marketing potential. You don’t even need a website.

View the web app at Author Demo on any type of computer or mobile device.

That is one of the great things about a web app, it allows you to bypass the need for a website. You can easily distribute your web app via QR codes, in an email or basic links. The web app is viewable on all mobile devices and on regular desktop or laptop computers since it is built in HTML5.

Imagine you are at a convention promoting your book, normally you might have to hand out a business card or flyer or tell them you website name. Hopefully they will remember to visit.

With a web app you can just email your app to them on the spot. Boom! they have your app with all your important information inside. Or just have them scan your QR code that is automatically made for you and, again. Boom! They can bookmark it and put your app on their phone.

If you are interested in seeing the potential power of the type of web app that you can easily build and control, then please visit this Author App Demo I put together to help show you some of the possibilities.

You can always contact me for questions at my website, Web Werks.

So what do you think about the mobile shift for entertainment entrepreneurs? Is it just a another tech oriented approach to good old fashioned back slapping salesmanship? Can understanding the power of social media devices elevate your career?

Let us know about any success or failures you may have had with social media promotion.


7 comments to Apps For Authors, Going Mobile

  • When Todd first presented this concept to David B Coe / D.B. Jackson and me (over sushi, natch) I found it fascinating — this from a self proclaimed Internet and Compu-Dunce. Seeing over the horizon into the electronic future is absolutely essential, which is why I asked Todd to present this talk. (Well, and because I didn’t totally understand it at the sushi place and wanted to read more about it.)

    Why was I interested? In the lab, I work with two age-20-something readers, and I have watched their metamorphosis into adulthood, which means also into electronic users. They used to read book and bring laptops to work. No longer. They both have Kindle fires and cell phones. Neither one has a computer. Let me state that again. Neither one has a computer. Their school-age children have laptops. The tech-savvy mothers use their phones and kindles for all Internet access. They read all their books on the same devices. Is two a good number to base my conclusions on? No. But it is eye-opening.

    My fans tend to be younger. They buy e-reader versions of my books instead of paper versions. In other words, most of my sales are e-versions. My website needs to be ready for this new generation. Am I ready today to go out and buy a Faith Hunter app or a Jane Yellowrock app? Nope. Frankly, I am going to wait until the prices go down some. But as I follow the trends, I see the app future rising over the electronic horizon. And book marketing will follow the trends or die.

  • And I see it with my kids, who are constantly plugged in to the web. They both still use their computers, but less and less. Mobile is the future, and Todd is taking MW there. Very cool, very exciting. Thanks for a great and informative post, Todd.

  • Actually, I am going to reconsider my firm NOPE above. I am going to be talking to Todd and my webdesigner about all this and looking to be among the first. Seems smart… You know. Money willing!

  • Argh! All them young whippersnappers and their new fangled doodads! Behind the times again. Well, seeing as I’m not published yet, can’t afford an iSomethingorother, just recently managed to get a Kindle, and don’t have the money for building an app for an iPresence, I think I’ll have to wait for the next big thing and jump on that once I’m picked up and need to advertise. 😉

  • Gypsyharper

    You’re still ahead of me, Daniel – I don’t even have a Kindle yet. 🙂 I used to think I was a pretty tech-savvy gal, but this whole mobile thing kind of boggles my mind. I can’t even imagine doing away with my computer completely – although maybe if the only thing I used it for was internet. I’m pondering getting some kind of tablet so I can start learning more about this stuff. Thanks, Todd, for teaching me all kinds of fun stuff about apps today!

  • admin

    I think people limit their marketing thinking a little too much just because they don’t have a product to sell.

    Here is a scenario:

    Use a genre you love and build an app around it.

    Say you read every zombie book and watch every zombie movie that comes out. Love to participate in zombie walks and take pictures of cool zombie make-up.

    Build an app about zombies. Spread it on forums and other social areas, when you go to conventions share it with other zombie lovers.

    Then when you publish the zombie book you wrote you have a built in audience to tell about your fantastic zombie book.

    Here is another free app maker to try. appmakr

  • Heh! Funny thing, I write about datapads, holographic communication, nanotechnology, and cerebral micro-comps and I don’t even own an iPad. 😉