Unlike most of the book app creators I’ve talked with, Laura has developed her app herself using Kwik! Because she’s good with Photoshop, she found Kwik easy to use and has created a beautiful musical story. The art is stunning!
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to write The Snow Queen Musical.
I am primarily a musician. I write music for film and TV, but a huge passion of mine has always been both broadway and animated children’s musicals. I always wanted to write a musical myself, but never quite knew how to get it out there. When I had my daughter, she loved animated musicals so much, but I didn’t want her watching too much TV. I thought, a book musical would be such a great thing for kids! During the creation of the music for The Snow Queen we decided to turn it into an app instead. My daughter was really enjoying the storybook apps we had on our iPhones, so it was kind of a short leap for us to realize that there was probably far more potential for our musical as an app.
Q: What’s unique about your book app?
As far as I know, The Snow Queen Musical is the only storybook musical so far available as an app. The songs are produced and orchestrated by my husband, and I am not bragging when I say they came out amazing. The app features 5 fully orchestrated dramatically performed songs with sing along text.
Q: How did you get it developed? How did the development process go?
We decided to turn it into an app last September. At that point we contacted our web developers (for our other online music business) and got a quote to make it into a book app. This quote was for about $8000. We started thinking about how to come up with $8000, and in the mean time I was busy researching the entire storybook app publishing thing. Somehow I stumbled across a blog by somebody talking about 3rd party methods for app creation. Then I started learning about Demibooks, Moglue, Kwiksher etc. I was totally relieved! I could probably program the app myself and save $8000! I ended up using Kwiksher to program the story, and it was a great choice.
The illustrations were such a stroke of luck. Not having much experience I put up an ad for an illustrator, and was lucky enough to find Blue Monkey Studio. They were so professional, so talented, and provided me with the PSD files of the art so that I could easily program the app using the program Kwik (which is a photoshop plugin).
I wrote the songs for The Snow Queen in less than a week, but it took over a year to actually orchestrate, record, produce and mix them! The music and audio portion was by far the most time consuming part of this process. Luckily I live in Los Angeles, and finding talented actors and singers to perform the parts made the process a little easier.
Q: When did it launch?
May 19th 2012!
Q: What have been your most effective marketing strategies?
It’s hard to say. The app is so new. I am using your book like a bible, and have been soliciting reviews like crazy. I have an app promotion scheduled for June 29th with Moms with Apps (who have also been so wonderful and helpful). I have done one paid review, and have not seen much change in sales from that investment, however I think in the long run it could still prove to be a wise choice. I plan to start banner ads next month after my promotion.
The video, website, Facebook, Twitter have all been effective to some extent. Maybe not Facebook so much yet, but I can see it playing an important roll once my audience begins to grow. Twitter has been a great resource for connecting on a professional level.
Q: How have you used “How to Market you Book App”
I used it to guide me through launch and post launch, and I have used it to find review sites. And thanks to the advice in your book I have become involved with Moms with Apps, and am now going to do a promotion with them.
Q: Estimated budget?
$1500 for art, $500 for software, $1200 for my Mac Book Pro, $300 to hire singers and actors. About $250 or more went to software and extra programming details I ended up not needing. Then the normal app store, amazon, and google fees.
Q: What’s the biggest surprise?
How few sales come from simply being in the app store. It really requires a lot of marketing to get seen. This was a surprise to me, because until all of this, I was one of the few who simply browsed the app store until I found something I liked.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you very much for interviewing me. I hope this information will help other developers. And I want to quickly mention that my next storybook musical app is already in production. It is going to be a musical version of “The Frog Prince”. It will be about half the size of The Snow Queen, so hopefully it won’t take me a year to produce. I have high hopes for the cross marketing potential!
Links for Kwiksher (Kwik)
Contact: Alex Souza, Founder – firstname.lastname@example.org