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Tamson Weston: What About Apps? Five Reasons for Picture Book Authors to Stay the Course
What About Apps? Five Reasons for Picture Book Authors to Stay the Course.
A few weeks ago I wrote post for this blog about the state of picture books. There is some belief that the world of apps is somehow to blame for this downward turn. It’s tempting to blame things on technology, sometimes. But the picture book market started to dip long before the onset of apps—mostly due to a glut of picture books that came earlier and a lack of space for them at the big chains. The rise of apps for kids, despite the impression we may be getting from the media, has really yet to happen. Sure, some kids have early access to Ipads, but most don’t. As of the middle of this year, just 8% of adults in the US owned tablet computers. And if you’ve tried out kids’ apps, you know they’re really much more difficult to enjoy on a smart phone. This may change, but if you’re a picture book author, what you’re doing should not change. Here’s why:
1. Picture Books are shareable; Ipads make car rides bearable. While Ipads and tablets may help keep kids busy, most parents still enjoy cuddling up with their kid and turning pages. Many want to relive the experience of their childhood via their kids and this means sharing favorite books.
2. You can’t submit a picture book app—or at least not through the traditional means. Agents aren’t acquiring apps writers yet. They’ve told me—and Rick Richter of Ruckus Media has confirmed—that the majority of apps are being created from pre-existing content and most of the remainder of them have been made to order by a writer who was hired specifically for that purpose. In other words, there isn’t really a broad and consistent submission policy yet for apps creators.
3. One man’s app is another man’s picture book: The distinction between a picture book and an app happens in development. It may be that what you had envisioned as a picture book may eventually make a good app, but your focus should be the same regardless—good writing.
4. Picture book lovers are still out there! If you’ve been paying attention over the past month, you’ve noticed that picture book lovers everywhere are renewing their commitment to the format--see here, here and here. People who love picture books want more picture books to read. Don’t you?
5. Writing picture books is fun! If you dig deep enough you can always find a reason NOT to keep writing picture books. But if you like it, why would you want to do that? Just write, for Pete’s sake.
Thanks to Mary Kole, Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Emily Van Beek at Folio, Tracey Adams from Adams Literary, Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary, Rick Richter from Ruckus Media for your insight.
Tamson Weston is a published children's book author and editor with over 15 years experience at several prestigious publishing houses including HarperCollins, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Disney Hyperion. She has edited many acclaimed and award-winning books for children of all ages. Tamson loves to collaborate with people and help authors, illustrators, agents and publishers bring projects to their full potential.
Among the authors Tamson has worked with with are Adam Rex, Mac Barnett, Robert Weinstock, Adam Gopnik, Jane Leslie Conly, Anne Rockwell, Deborah Hopkinson, Jen Violi, Alexander Stadler, Dan Santat, Florence Parry Heide, Dandi Daley Mackall, Brian Biggs, Marilyn Singer, Megan Cash and Mark Newgarden.
Tamson has an MFA in Writing and Literature. You can visit her website at Tamson Weston Books.