#Storyappchat: a Twitter Chat for Story App Creators and Aficionados

Screen shot of #storyappchat's website
In the past half year, I've discovered a group of people who are passionate about children's story apps and ebooks: developers, publishers, authors, illustrators, reviewers, educators, and more. They meet every Sunday evening at 9 p.m. EST at the #storyappchat Twitter chat and share their expertise in this growing field. Storyappchat's website provides archives of past chats and its Facebook page continues the conversation during the week.
Wait... what's a Twitter chat?

A Twitter chat is a real-time conversation that occurs on Twitter. Anyone can follow or participate by using a hashtag (in this case, #storyappchat) in their tweets at a designated time. Websites like Tweetchat make it easy to follow a Twitter chat. The comments fly by quickly and often several conversations happen at once. Children's illustrator Debbie Ohi has a great list of Twitter chats for writers and an overview of how Twitter chats work.

So what is #storyappchat?

Storyappcat is becoming the networking hub for the growing industry of children's story apps. Organized by author/illustrator Brooks Jones (@brooks_jones), and co-moderated by ebook author/producer David Fox (@DavidBFox) and apps reviewer Carissa Kluver at Digital Storytime (@iPad_storytime), each week's chat features a different aspect of the making of story apps or ebooks. Often guest speakers will discuss their apps and lessons learned from the production process. Sometimes topics focus on specifics, such as sound effects, social media marketing, or new platforms (like iBook Author).

Some past chats have featured:

1. Tools to help authors and illustrators make apps or ebooks. For example:

Demibooks (@demibooks): provides both an authoring software to make interactive book apps (Demibooks Composer) and an online platform to sell them
BookCreator (@redjumperdan): a simple way to create ebooks for the iPad, resulting in a fixed ePub file that can be viewed in iBooks and submitted to Apple's iBookstore

Interactive Touch Books (@itouchbooks): an online platform to create and sell interactive book apps 

Moglue (@moglue): software that allows anyone to create and share interactive ebooks for iOS and Adroid devices

UTales (@utales): an ebook and apps publisher that connects readers with a community of authors and illustrators creating picture books

Kwisher (@kwiksher): a Photoshop plugin that allows designers to create comics and interactive books for iOS and Android devices

2.  Publishers of Apps or Ebooks:

Nosy Crow (@NosyCrow): a London-based independent publisher of books and award-winning apps like Cinderella and The Three Little Pigs 

PicPocketBooks (@PicPocketBooks): a publisher of iPhone and iPad story apps for children

Ruckus Media Books (@RuckusMedia): a publisher of original and classic storybook apps

3. Indie authors of ebooks and apps:

Will Terry (@willterry333): children's writer and illustrator who shares his expertise on ebooks, apps, and art on his blog and through video classes

Liz Castro (@lizcastro): author and ebook expert with a series of books on creating ebooks: ePub Straight to the Point

Lynley Stace (@lynleystace): author of the recently-released story app, The Artifacts

Melissa Northway (@MelissaNorthway) author of the storybook app, Penelope the Purple Pirate

What I like most about #storyappchat is how welcoming the moderators are and the vibrant community that meets each week. Some other regular chatters include:

Brooks Jones (@brooks_jones): chat moderator, author/illustrator, with a storybook app I Don't Like Pink!

Carissa Kluver at Digital Storytime (@iPad_storytime): chat moderator and host of an iPad app review site, Digital Storytime, and the blog, The Digital Media Diet 

Loreen Leedy (@LoreenLeedy) children's author/illustrator with over 40 published picture books with a recently published iBook, Tracks in the Sand; blogs about ebooks at her blog and e is for ebook.

House of Prowse (@HouseofProwse): children's writer and blogger about life in remote northwestern Australia

MTechman (@mtechman): librarian who blogs and tweets about tech. Participates in #storyappchat because, "As a librarian with no devices yet, I want to learn as much as possible to be ready to consume AND produce."

Ron Martinez (@ronmartinez): founder of aerbook.com, which develops and designs advanced interactive standards-based ebooks.

Diapered Knights (@DiaperedKnights): literacy professor and mom blogger

I've probably left many more off the list, but this gives an idea of the depth of talent and smarts that gather most Sundays. If you are making story apps and ebooks or interested in learning more, please feel free to join the conversation.  

* A bonus mini-interview with Brooks Jones, the founder of #storyappchat:

Q. When did #storyappchat begin? 
We started it back in May of last year. So it's not quite a year old.

Q. What was the impetus for the chat? 
A small group of us hung around after #kidlitchat and started talking about apps for kids. I started to realize that a chat focused on storybook apps for kids would fill a need for writers, illustrators, developers, educators and others interested in child literacy. The more I thought about it, I realized I wanted not only for the chat to exist, but also to be behind it. So I decided to go ahead!

Q. What's do you like best about #storyappchat? 
The thing I love most about #storyappchat is the free exchange of information and opinions. I have a feeling that it's become not only a good resource for people, but also a great way to network with other people interested in electronic books for kids. I love knowing that it's been helpful for others!

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