Episode 175 – Augmented Reality, Texting Stories, and Whale Readers

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Question of the Week: Which is going to hit big first and why: texting-based stories or stories with augmented or virtual reality?

Thank you, listeners, for helping us reach this landmark episode! This week, Jim and Bryan talked tips about scheduling social media, adopting habits of successful authors, and evolving with your readers. After thanking their patrons The Commons: Book 1, Time Code, and Stalked by Flames, the publishing pair discussed using Overdrive through Draft2Digital, refining your Amazon Ads, WattPad’s Tap app, virtual and augmented reality, and whale readers. This week’s Question of the Week: Which is going to hit big first and why: texting-based stories or stories with augmented or virtual reality?
What You’ll Learn:
  • How authors can use sales and social media data to reach fans worldwide
  • How authors can expand their fan base with best practices from the pros
  • How authors can evolve their writing to resonate with their readers
  • What new way authors can get their ebooks into libraries
  • What new interactive features Wattpad has added to its Tap app
  • What strategies one YA author used in her Amazon ad campaigns
  • Why one blogger thinks Amazon has plans to add VR to ebooks
  • Why whale readers are so important and what authors can do to keep them

get show updates

  • One of the best shows we’ve ever done.

  • Chris Syme

    Hey guys–On the scheduling thing: figuring out when people are online takes about ten minutes and it doesn’t change much month-to-month so it’s an easy thing to figure out. No math involved and you don’t have to check this daily or even weekly. But yes Jim is right about scheduling. This is the way to do it. Both Buffer and Hootsuite have free schedulers authors can use–that is the way to go. But Facebook has its own built-in scheduler that’s easy to use. Thanks for the shout out guys.

    • I use Hootsuite and love it. But scheduling is more than just a convenience. If Joanna Penn only tweeted on her hours, we’d never see them, because when she’s tweeting we’d be *asleep*! Scheduling is critical if you’re trying to reach an international audience. If you only tweet when it’s convenient for you, anyone who follows you in a different time zone than your country won’t ever see your tweets.
      As I’m saying this, I realize, even though I’ve used Hootsuite for years, I haven’t scheduled any tweets for my nighttime. Guess I should get on that, huh?

  • George Sirois

    Question of the Week: I’m gonna go with the Tap App for the very reason that you both mentioned in the show. To get the full VR experience as it is today, you would need to carry around the goggles that attach to your phone. With the Tap App, it’s simply downloading, getting your account set up, and you’re off and running. Plus, the Tap App allows for a much wider range when it comes to creating material for the app, and with the growing rate of social media stars on YouTube, I can see a lot of people taking advantage of what this app offers. I know I’ll be checking it out myself.

  • Tracy Barnhart

    Question of the Week: I’m going to say augmented or virtual reality because I think it will be bigger with kids. I have a 13 year-old daughter who dislikes chat stories and would never use the Tap app.

  • Daniel Martone

    First, the most important issue. Firefly showed the toilets and sinks… in use!

  • Daniel Martone

    Question of the week. Both augmented / VR and Tap require more production than simply writing a book. You will have to deal with video/audio/special FX, etc. Both are meant to be more immersive than simply reading but I don’t believe either one will take over for the written word.

    That said, if I were Amazon, I’d do an update to the Kindle App that gave you the ability to send out all books to your text app. It would be easy to separate each paragraph into a individual text and would be equally easy to separate dialogue. If the kids like reading in their text apps, this would provide them the opportunity to continue doing so. Also, the conversions could be done via chapters, so each piece would remain fairly short.

    • Laura Martone

      What Dan said. (I know, I’m so unoriginal – but sometimes, we really do share the same brain.) And yes, I second what he said about Firefly – Captain Mal is seen kicking the toilet back into the wall. Why do you think we made sure to have a bathroom in our own Serenity? (Well, actually, that was for practical reasons – we would have had one even if Firefly didn’t – but it’s still a cool tribute, dammit!) And as for that Bruce Willis flick – Surrogates – I agree with you, Jim, I think it’s pretty interesting, even if most people don’t. Oh, and you should definitely go to the Vegas conference in November – it’s going to be a blast!

  • Lavie Margolin

    Hey, I got a shout out! Cool. Thanks

    • Laura Martone

      Dan and I did, too! Feels good, doesn’t it? We love being two of Bryan and Jim’s biggest fans!

  • Penny Sansevieri

    Thanks so much for the mention of 14 Habits of a Highly Successful Author post from our blog, really appreciate it!

    • Bryan

      You’re welcome!

  • Congrats, Bryan!

    As for the QOTW, I’m going to go with texting, because like Daniel mentioned, producing AR and VR content is going to take a bit more work. And I think that it’s easier for readers to switch to text-style reading, while AR and VR (well, maybe mostly VR) might require special equipment to access it, which would make it an extra hurdle to widespread adoption.

  • Last year Pokemon Go was a big hit so amazon could be planning a Kindle Go app; As for serialized story texting, sneeze and you miss who done it … LoL

  • OMG a mention on the SellMoreBookShow! Better than hitting the lottery.

    As for the scheduling thing. If you are going to run Facebook ads I would go through the trouble of figuring that stuff out and day part the ads that are most expensive. Other than that I couldn’t be bothered since I have done extensive a/b testing and it is usually the same results month after month.

    Without giving away exactly how Awesomegang.com social works I can tell you that I do most of my stuff in 4 chucks. They basically work around morning, afternoon, evening and late night. At least that is my Twitter plan.

    I do nothing from 12am – 4am est. First batch hit from 4 to 1030am then a gap until noon. Second batch goes from 130 until 430. Third batch 6pm until 9pm. The last batch is for the people in Europe and that runs from 1030 until midnight.

    The 12am-4am time slot gets less traffic because the East coast is sleeping and the West coast is heading to bed. Probably with a book in their hand.

    Most of my stuff is done using a combination of Shareist and Hootsuite. Each site does about 7500 scheduled messages each so about 30k in messages scheduled across my social.

    Jim just like sending email there really is no best time.

  • Brecht Ryckaert

    Hi Jim & Bryan

    First and foremost, congratulations on hitting episode 175. I’ve been following the show since about episode 100 (but worked my way throughout the backlog). I can’t thank you guys enough for everything I’ve learned or discovered through the show. It has been lifechanging for me personally. Thanks for 175… now let’s go for 175 more 😉

    On the question of the week:
    I am convinced it’ll be the TAP-app, but only when it gets extended with AR integration. This could be location based, but not necessarily.

    You’re reading a scifi story in TAP where an alien invasion occurs. How awesome would it be to get the instruction to aim your phone towards the sky and see the UFO passing over your head on the screen, imposed over the real sky? And that’s just an absolute basic example. One could go miles beyond that….

    The tech is already here (ingress, Pokémon go, etcetera). We only need a clever company the combines the 2 technologies in this immersive experience. So I’m betting on “Tap, the Augmented Reality edition”.

    Best whishes from Belgium.

  • Dave Core

    I suspect that Jim is correct that text based is poised to be big, but I doubt it will have a long life. First, the target audience is too young. They don’t have deep pockets. Plus as they age they will leave it for something fresher just like we all left choose your own adventure and Goose Bumps behind. Then the next generation will want their own thing.

    As for augmented vs virtual reality, again I see augmented as fadish. Pokemon Go was hot for a hot second, but the idea of a holodeck or a “Surrogates” experience where everything seems real and tangible and present, but is entirely ephemeral and safe; that’s irresistible. When they perfect VR, it will be everything.

  • I think market divisions are going to make a big impact on technology. For example, and AR integration would be awesome for kids who are now growing up on Pokémon Go and are used to using their phones as all-purpose devices. Tap is perfect for busy millenials and travelers in need of quick entertainment. Both are already here, now, and just need an enterprising company integrate and make it work.

    However, I agree with Jim that VR won’t work until the tech is better…and cheaper. I can see gamers in another five years buying chairs and headsets, but we have to have the quality of Oculus at the price of Xbox for it to really take off.

    All that said, any of these platforms are going to require corporate or start up investment. I don’t think they’ll be accessible to every day creators, in the way writing and publishing an ebook currently works.

  • Well, @jimkukral:disqus, the Amazon Ad courses and books are here, big time. I’ve even seen Amazon ads for Amazon Ad books.

    • Bryan


  • In my opinion the kind of texting story modelled by Jim is a form of Augmented Reality making AR the dominant form even now.

    Oh, and the published plans for the original enterprise had bathrooms all over the ship.

    • Bryan

      Yes! Take that, Nerd Kukral!

  • Spider McGee

    If it’s a book about pirates, is it yaaargmented reality?

    Seriously. I got nothing.

  • Andrew

    Re. question of the week, I think strongly that augmented reality is going to be important and lasting, as it will be another way to present and use information in the world around us, and less isolating than VR. We’re very much at the front end of this, but Apple’s upcoming release of ARKit will instantly turn millions of iOS devices into tools for the consumption of AR. As with many technologies, I think it will, ultimately, fade into the technological landscape and not be something we point to as a thing on its own. When your phone can make a tape-measure style measurement of an object in your room, it’ll be an AR application, but will eventually just be another thing your device does. For some context, you might like to see this list of ARKit demonstrations up on YouTube. Note: ARKit has only been available to developers since June, so again, very early days. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOHUIgL-HmMWeLD4evdqqGa9xPMEYRdeb (And to be fair, Google has a similar tool, but less control over the hardware it will be used on.)