Rick Richter and I recently chatted on the phone…almost an old-fashioned way to meet these electronic days of iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android Mobile devices. Story Apps are now available on ALL those devices through RUCKUS MEDIA GROUP which Rick launched this FALL. Several other publishing veterans are actively involved as well: Jim Young, Jack Romanos, Emma Dryden, Rubin Pfeffer and Dan Weiss among them.
Rick has been involved with traditional publishing for over 25 years, most recently as president and publisher of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. He said it seemed that for years that the more specific S&S digital plans were, the more they won projects and books. His getting involved with the emerging technologies for publishing seemed “the logical next step.” He feels a new company , not encumbered with traditional book formats, is an easier way to break into this App world.
Ruckus has begun with remastered editions of licensed titles from The RABBIT EARS LIBRARY of classic stories read by Hollywood stars, but they have already begun signing new authors and artists for original, high quality Apps to come. They are looking for ‘compelling, high concept packages’ and they are not limited to the 32 page format. Whole story projects can be pitched using story boards and samples of the finished color. Artists now involved with Novelty, animation and Pop Ups have a good background for this need. Stories and Apps must be designed to be interactive. Digitally created art would work more easily but may not be required. Clean lines and color…no cross hatching for instance…would work best generally. Amazingly, Rick says that they ‘can deliver a finished product in 12 weeks rather than two years”…and this would allow for speedy reactions to the market trends and events.
Besides wondering how to present ideas and be considered for this exciting new type of publishing, the biggest concern for writers and illustrators is the question of how they will be paid! This could be changing of course as things progress, but Rick said that Ruckus uses a Revenue Share Model = no advance on the work but a % of the revenue stream. This % might change per project, so he couldn’t share with me what might be ‘market norm’ at this point. The Apps are priced now at $3.99 a title generally. As an Artist Agent I can say this is a new way to think, for artists at any rate. So if you are creatively interested in this App Arena, Rick’s advice is to look, play and enjoy Apps that are available now and then “pitch your own!”
And remember …THE STORY IS STILL WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT… no matter the format!