Home » Ebooks, Romance » A New App Turns Your Romance Novel Fantasy Into Reality

A New App Turns Your Romance Novel Fantasy Into Reality

19 January 2016

From The Huffington Post:

Reading a novel isn’t what it used to be.

There you sit, nose stuck in a book, á la Belle the Disney princess, when your phone buzzes with a text from your mom. After a long back-and-forth with her about when you’ll be able to make it back for a visit, you finally turn back to the book. Oops, another buzz — a text from your bestie containing just a string of random emojis. While you laugh, you swipe over to Instagram. I mean, as long as you’re checking your phone. Maybe you should just toggle over to Twitter too — surely you have some new faves on that last tweet; it was so clever. No? Well, it’s only been a couple minutes. OK, back to the book; you can check Twitter again after a page.

Bookworm Belle might have been able to remain engrossed in a book even as she wandered through a plaza packed with singing villagers, but she probably wouldn’t be any match for a smartphone’s endless stream of alerts.

So, what if all these distractions were part of the story?

. . . .

A new romance book app, Crave, which launched late in 2015, claims to reimagine the reading experience for today’s Snapchat-addicted consumer, and it looks like part of that means embracing those breaks in concentration.

As you scroll through an ebook on Crave, the app periodically breaks into the narrative to show you a text message conversation between two characters, a video of an actor portraying one of the characters doing an interview about the book’s events, a filmed moment (like the hero first looking up at the heroine) or even a reaction GIF.

But after around 1,000 words, you’re cut off. Crave slices each book into mini-chapters intended to take only three or four minutes to read, including multimedia. You can tune back in the next day for another bite-sized installment, generously salted with supplementary videos and text exchanges. Later, after you’ve returned to scrolling aimlessly through Twitter, you might receive a text alert from the book’s author, or even from the romantic lead of the novel you’re currently following.

Texts, notifications, GIFs — every part of how we communicate on mobile now becomes part of the storytelling medium in Crave’s platform.

And the folks behind Crave think this format might just save the novel.

. . . .

While the first week is free, a monthly subscription fee of $3.99 then kicks in — basically, once the reader is hooked, Crave starts to charge. But real devotees may find the price worthwhile; the app’s version of the book is packed with bonuses that provide behind-the-scenes glimpses at their favorite characters.

Paragraph created Crave after a meeting with Judith Curr, the president of Atria Publishing Group, a division of Simon and Schuster, in which she mentioned she’d like to forge still-stronger connections between their best-selling authors and fans. The app currently features major authors from Atria’s New Adult and romance offerings, like Hoover and Abbi Glines. These authors already have well-rooted fan bases and books that sell like hotcakes — ripe audiences for ambitious marketing.

“Romance readers are voracious,” Navoth pointed out, eagerly. “They read twice as many books as any other reader does. And when they discover an author that they love, they’ll read all of her back catalog.”

Link to the rest at The Huffington Post

Ebooks, Romance

44 Comments to “A New App Turns Your Romance Novel Fantasy Into Reality”

  1. Sounds like a nightmare to me.

    • It also sounds expensive to produce.

      Much more expensive to get right.

      And wrong – you don’t like their casting of the lead, you find the heroine incredibly annoying when she speaks…

      Don’t these people know that Stanford U. has PROVED multitasking is a myth?

  2. But after around 1,000 words, you’re cut off. Crave slices each book into mini-chapters intended to take only three or four minutes to read, including multimedia. You can tune back in the next day for another bite-sized installment,

    I’m confused. Does this mean you’re actually locked out of the book for 24 hours? And are paying for this curious “privilege?”

    This is nothing that would interest to me in any event, but I can sort of see the appeal it might have to others. EXCEPT for this lock-out business, if I’m reading this correctly. Who on earth would pay money for something like that?

  3. Ewwwwww! I’d hate this. Hate. This.

  4. Ah, yet another ‘gimmick’, rather than just writing things people want to read.

    Huffpo at it’s finest …

  5. … And the folks behind Crave think this format might just save the novel.

    The novel is in danger?

    “Romance readers are voracious,” Navoth pointed out, eagerly. “They read twice as many books as any other reader does.

    How does that square with only letting them read a few words at a time and locking them out of the story for the rest of the day? And before the lockout you interrupt the reading?

    This sounds like the 21st century version of the Twilight Zone’s “Time Enough At Last” episode. Your glasses don’t break, but you still can’t read the story.

    • The computer is your friend, Citizen! It will tell you how much romance is good for you.

      This sounds…amazingly bad. Like someone who neither reads romance, or knows anyone who reads romance, or bothered to *ask* anyone who reads romance. I don’t myself (except for the All Holy Heyer) and I know romance readers like to read THE WHOLE THING, usually at once.

      Hmm. Maybe this is a misguided attempt to electro-shock cure romance readers, so they will like literary stuff instead and save the market? Or maybe a “think outside the box” session that not only escaped the box but near-Earth orbit???

    • Exactly, Jamie — this “might just save the novel” caught my eye too.

      Literacy is up globally. Book sales are up globally. Variety of formats are up globally.

      Analysis: rejected.

  6. Am I the only one that knows how to turn off notifications when I’m reading on a tablet or phone? Heck, I have mine on silent most of the time anyway.

  7. Maybe the big publishers have decided in their vast wisdom that if they can make books as expensive and complicated to produce as a movie, they’ll shut out the little guys who don’t have the budget or the resources to compete with this new version of the novel.

    • Yeah, those poor saps are going to be left writing books that are read by people without being thrown across the room each time a mini-chapter ends. I feel sorry for them already…

  8. This doesn’t sound aimed at real readers (people who prefer reading as their past time). This seems solely designed for the NA market and within that genre, it targets young women who would really rather watch TV shows with hot, often-naked guys, but are forced to read books instead because there aren’t enough TV shows with hot, naked alphas.

    Any older reader isn’t going to want this and not many regular romances (not NA) feature text conversations between characters.

    This is just NA stuff.

  9. No thank you. But you go right on ahead.

  10. I need a list of these hot, often-naked guy tv shows for research purposes.

    It sounds like taking the experience of being a fan and all the fun fan-produced content for any medium, creating artificially, and selling it in ridiculous slices. yuck.

  11. I just spent my lunch hour complaining how the tv version of a favorite book was absolutely terrible.

    This sounds like more of the same.

  12. . . . sigh . . .

    Yet another technological assault on the imagination.

  13. “And when they discover an author that they love, they’ll read all of her back catalog.”

    Yes, they will. Which is why smart romance authors are careful to keep their content out of the hands of greedy, greedy publishers who seek to exploit them. This app is just a new way for middlemen to grab rights and money that shouldn’t be theirs, while wrecking the author’s good name by foisting over-priced nonsense on her fans.

  14. You know, they’ve got it wrong from the first sentence. “Reading a novel isn’t what it used to be.” Just because Huffpo says so doesn’t make it so.

  15. You need 250,000 Facebook fans as an author to be considered. Leaves me out. LOL

    From their website: For now, we’re only featuring authors with 250K or more FB fans.

  16. Sound nightmarish.

    • its really about trying to monetize an existing customer base by creating a new medium: short attention span video.

      Which sounds a lot like tv ads to me….

      Maybe they will segue into short-form softcore porn for women.

      It doesnt really have anyhting to do with novels or reading, its just using romance novels as the audience interest sorting filter.

  17. People who come up with things like this are obviously not readers themselves.

  18. It’s really worth reading the entire article to appreciate how much contempt the designers have for romance readers.

    Describing this app in another way.. “Dear Romance Fans. We are going to hire your favorite authors to stop writing the books you eagerly await and instead hire them to write web pages. You can only read a few pages a day and we will interrupt them with pop-up ads that emphasize that you are not the heroine. We’re sure you will want to pay $3.99 a month for this valuable reminder that women aged 25-60 are all Candy Crush playing walking ATMs. ”

    The next logical step would be to leverage the fan base into supplying free content.

    • To be fair, they plan to do this with books that are being traditionally published as plain old books. The first one was out before the app was ready to launch, but they plan to do it in advance of the plain old book being available for most of them.

      Which makes an additional level of sense if you look at it as a form of advance marketing for a book that they can subsequently buy and devour in one go.

      • Which makes an additional level of sense if you look at it as a form of advance marketing for a book that they can subsequently buy and devour in one go.

        Maybe it makes sense for the publisher and author, but I don’t really see the numbers working out for the reader.

        A 40k word book would take a month and a half to trickle out, by which time the reader has paid $6 for the book. Of course, you can (and should?) be reading multiple books at the same time to amortise that cost down.

        Lets assume a moderate-slow reader who would normally read that 40k book in three days, or 10 per month. This poor reader is going to have to keep the plot and characters of 15 simultaneous stories straight as they jump between snippets. I don’t know about you, but I start to struggle when I’ve got more than three books on the go.

        It might be possible to batch each story, say read 7k pages of a story once per week, and rotate through the stories… which would be *slightly* easier to keep straight, but seems to miss the point of the interactive features – take this strategy to its extreme and you’re back to reading novels… though given the way that other services have dropped romance from subscription options, I don’t believe a $4/month service is going to hold all of its content available for binge-reading after the interactive bit is complete.

        It’s great to see new things being tried, but this attempt just seems to miss the target market, in my estimation. That or I don’t know what the target market (really) is.

  19. I’m a romance reader, and I cannot imagine enjoying something like this.

  20. So the take-away is that romance readers have the attention spans of gnats and no imagination to call their own. Uh…no. But please S&S and every other BPH, go right ahead!

  21. As a romance reader, my first thought was how do they plan to get a hot tattooed man out of my kindle, and what do I do with the spousal unit for a few hours?

  22. Knowing Judith Curr is a pretty savvy lady, I was interested in the idea of melding straight narrative with mixed media, being partial to the occasional hot tattooed guy myself. That was until I got to the “cut off at 1,000 words” part. If this happened to me, I suspect Hot Tattooed Guy might be missing a key part of his anatomy. And yes, “a reminder that you’re not the heroine” kind of kills this whole deep POV skill I’ve spent years honing. 1,000 seems short even for NA readers. I’m guessing it’s about the length of this article plus comments, and I read that faster than you can say “hot tattooed guy.” Potentially good idea killed in the execution.

  23. I would imagine it might go far if the reader can insert a living moving holograph [sp] of themselves in the actual and carry on at will, moving the narritive in whatever direction they wished.

    Poorly executed however, it would perhaps fall into being like something the ministry of truth would try to press on Winston saying it is far better than reading, or having to risk whatever germs hawt tatt guy might have if one met same in person.

    • I had a similar thought. I figure they could turn this into a ‘choose your own adventure” romance. The reader can be the main character and texts from other characters pop up. The reader can then choose if they take the advice or follow the instructions or buy the product or eat at that cafe or whatnot. I have no intention of making it happen but I could see it coming into being.

      I would totally succumb to the hologram thing, though. I would buy the app and the accessories and lock the door and turn off my phone during my ‘reading’ time.

  24. The day my reading is interrupted by a film clip or text message is the day I hurl my kindle against a brick wall.

    • “The day my reading is interrupted by a film clip or text message is the day I hurl my kindle against a brick wall.”

      So that’s how they intend to get people to go back to paper!

      Paper/hard backed books are still mostly readable after bouncing off a couple walls, not so much most e-readers …

  25. I saw the title of this post and thought it was going to be a link to this article:

    http://the-digital-reader.com/2016/01/04/the-little-bird-connected-vibrator-gives-reader-participation-a-whole-new-meaning/

    #justsaying

  26. This sounds utterly ridiculous.

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