Author Topic: Help with Some App Questions  (Read 547 times)

CM Raymond

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Help with Some App Questions
« on: December 15, 2018, 04:45:07 PM »
Hey, folks. First time posting to the forums.

My major side hustle that is accelerating our drive to financial independence is writing genre fiction. It's going quite well, but I am exploring a new avenue for fan connection beyond social and mailing list. I'm looking a mobile app for the business, but I know almost nothing about app development.

App can be pretty damn simple. But we'd be looking for the following in the least:
1. Push notifications for book releases and promotion/price drops with affiliate links out to Amazon and other sellers
2. Other updates that would normally go in the newsletter
3. A Free Novella. Text by chapter. Marks when the reader is through each chapter
4. Possibility of video updates
5. Social sharing from in app

The only higher end possibility down the road would be put the option to purchase and read books in-app if the audience is interested in this. Still working out whether or not we're interested in that.

I'm not sure of the next steps. I've looked at a couple of different template app companies that build it out based on your content, then you update/message through the back end. Something like this: https://www.appypie.com (Either $25 or $40 a month, plus Apple and Play Fees).

I'd be happy for a lower cost alternative, though this really isn't much in the grand scheme of things. I've thought about looking to see how much to just hire a developer and get it set up, as long as messaging and posting on the app isn't too technical once things are rolling.

What would you all recommend? Pleased to get other companies you recommend.

Cheers,
Chris



mr.neel

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Re: Help with Some App Questions
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2018, 06:06:09 PM »
Do you expect to have a lot of readers? Do you think your readers would want an app on their phone that was specific to just you? An app that you are describing takes a lot of effort to maintain which will take you away from other things. Do you think you could accomplish the goals of the app via a website and email newsletter?




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HipGnosis

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Re: Help with Some App Questions
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2018, 08:41:52 PM »
I was just telling a friend how annoying it is when a company uses an app for things that should be done via a web page.
Apps have a terrible way of assuming that the Co is the prime interest of the customer.  Which is statistically highly improbable.

nick663

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Re: Help with Some App Questions
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2018, 09:21:12 PM »
I was just telling a friend how annoying it is when a company uses an app for things that should be done via a web page.
I share this annoyance.

OP:  I would try to do some market research on if your customers have any desire for an app before investing too much time going down this path.

Smokystache

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Re: Help with Some App Questions
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2018, 01:49:58 PM »
I think to really help you evaluate this option, we'll need to know what the app will cost to create (in addition to the $25-40/month).

Even without that number, I can't imagine that this would create a good ROI. Apps need to be constantly updated, you'll spend time creating content to put on the app, you'll spend time coordinating with the app developer ... and then any time an OS update or other change in the system causes the App to have bugs, you'll do it again.

Personally, I'm assuming that investing this time and money into improving your email list, your free content, new books, and possibly using notifications through social media (FB; assuming you have a significant number of readers on there) would all be better uses of your time. I say this as someone who loves to get caught up in the shiny new ways I can reach my customers and needs to be reminded of what will/won't move the needle and generate profits.

Or put another way, I know people who make 6- and 7- figures a year online with a basic website and a simple system for capturing emails and communicating with their list. My mantra for 2019 is to keep it simple and focus on my primary product(s). 

Good luck and congrats on doing so well with your writing already!!

CM Raymond

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Re: Help with Some App Questions
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2018, 05:36:18 PM »
Do you expect to have a lot of readers? Do you think your readers would want an app on their phone that was specific to just you? An app that you are describing takes a lot of effort to maintain which will take you away from other things. Do you think you could accomplish the goals of the app via a website and email newsletter?


Thanks for all of the responses. We already have web and email list. Our consistent readership is in the tens of thousands, so yes, we'd have some current fans that would be interested. The hope would be for it to be attractive for new readers as well.

In the fiction community, there is certainly newsletter and social media  fatigue. Lots of noise.  Also, there is, of course, deliverability issues.

Most of the app template subscription sites charge $25-40 and then tier up based on quantity of push notifications.


Good luck and congrats on doing so well with your writing already!!

Thanks, Smoky. Been a hell of a ride so far.

If anyone checking this out has experience using AppyPie or others, I'd love to hear it.


mr.neel

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Re: Help with Some App Questions
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2018, 08:03:12 PM »
In that case you could probably get a pretty good app done with https://cordova.apache.org and use Google Cloud Messaging for free notifications. If you’d like help prototyping one feel free to pm and I can help you out.


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CM Raymond

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Re: Help with Some App Questions
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2018, 10:16:03 AM »
In that case you could probably get a pretty good app done with https://cordova.apache.org and use Google Cloud Messaging for free notifications. If you’d like help prototyping one feel free to pm and I can help you out.


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Very cool. Checking it out now. I might be in touch.

This is very helpful, me thinks.