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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please feel free to add to the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

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Sunday, March 04, 2012

Apps for Book Marketing: What Is an App?

This is the first in a series on apps. We'll cover what they are, why they should be part of an author's book campaign and how an author can get started or hire it done.  The entire series is by guest blogger Aggie Villaneuva and I thank her for that.  I plan to do these in small bursts. Tune in the next four days for more essentials and then later in the month for an expansion on the concept.

What is an App?

by Aggie Villanueva

Introduction: Why is it imperative to Have My Own App?

The iTunes Store (for iPhones) and Apps Marketplace (Androids & compatible) is mostly ignored by authors. This is a mistake. It’s a market of billions of users who probably won’t ever see your website/blog even though their smartphones are capable of internet browsing. (Why they won’t see your site is explained in-depth in another post of this series, but trust me--many won't!)

Smartphone users browsed over 97 million apps (in 2011), up from 37 million the year before. And on February 24, 2012 the iTunes App Store announced it was about to hit 25 billion downloads.

That’s how fast it’s growing, and it’s growing at this rate because businesses have discovered there is money in being represented in this vital market. Today there are literally trillions of apps downloaded weekly.

As with Mother Nature, it’s not NICE to ignore such vast opportunity.

But understandably businesses/authors can’t even consider entering the mobile marketplace with their own app until they grasp where and what that is -- until they get some answers. Each post in this series addresses a different set of question and aspects of mobile marketing with your own app.

What is an App?

App is short for a mobile application program. In a nutshell, the type of app an author wants to create is like a Cliff Notes version of their websites/blogs, and also does so much more than your website is capable of.

But in the next few years these kinds of apps may realistically replace internet sites altogether to smartphone users. For example, Pizza Hut won’t allow mobile devices to enter their website – when a smartphone arrives they are given Pizza Hut’s app to download instead. I’ve noticed HootSuite does the same thing.

Along with the ability to purchase your books/products, apps offer the reader something for free, just as your sites/blogs do on the internet. This gives people a reason to keep browsing your app once it’s downloaded to their phone.

If you have any further questions, please check out the remaining articles, or leave them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you wish to know more about Aggie Villanueva and her company check out this page. She has a custom QR code (those are the ones that look like little flower squares--kind of like barcodes but with more personality!). Hers is even personalized with her headshot in the middle. That could just as easily be a book cover image or logo.  When people scan it with their Android phones, they're taken directly to her free application.  She has an iPhone version coming soon, too.)  Note: Learn a little more about QR Coes for authors in The Frugal Book Promoter (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo). Use the index to find entries on QR Codes.

 Summary: Can I Afford an App?

True, there are cheap do-it-yourself-type apps available online, but they begin and end with the entry level app you purchased and a few add-ons. Plus they can’t take full advantage of smartphone functionality like the Location Based Search (mentioneded in the marketing techniques articles in this series) or most other marketing campaigns.
Each app must be programmed specifically for your needs. This from-scratch-programming is the most desirable, but where the high costs could come in.
But it doesn’t have to be expensive -- offering you competitive prices for an entry level app is what my company, My Book Marketing Systems, is all about. Imagine your own app for just a few hundred dollars.

Even more importantly, we differ in that our apps can be upgraded a la carte to your heart’s desire and as you can afford it, all the way to our high-end super interactive stand-alone e-reader. Having a stand-alone built-in e-reader in your app is extremely desirable. (That desirability is beyond the information addressed here, but will be covered in-depth in an upcoming article of this series).

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second ediction of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:


  1. What an interesting piece Aggie. I've used a few apps, but have yet to get my head around how I might create one for readers. Perhaps some kind of interactive poetry app with vocal and video options like the Faber app for Eliot's The Wasteland. Would love to do something like that (with a more frugal budget!) for our books Carolyn. Aggie, for future pieces, a few examples would be great. Thank you for this.

  2. Aggie, what great information. I'm still in the dark ages with just the ability to text on my phone. But, I'll be upgrading in the near future - I hope.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

  3. Hi Magdalena. This is just the first informational article in a series.

    Great ideas for your app. The app company I started uses a programmer who knows just about everything!

    I'm sorry about the lack of examples. I use lots of images/video/audio on the Android app sales page (iPhone app coming soon), but Carolyn's blog doesn't allow them.

    You can take a peek at the link included in the summary under Get Your Own App. http://www.mybookmarketingsystems.com/getyourownauthorapps/android-author-app/

    Thankx for taking time to comment. It's great to hear from you.

  4. You're welcome, Karen. I hope you enjoy the rest of the articles in this series. There's more to come! And you'll see that it takes little knowledge from us, the right programmer is the key, and I have a great one!

  5. Interesting info. I've bookmarked your company to come back and check out.

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