There's an App for That: What is an "App"? - article

For an author, especially a new one, the need to expand his fan base and attract new readers is a never-ending process. In the new digital market, where hundreds of millions of consumers are accessing information around the clock, one of the most popular trends is the increase in mobile access. Part of mobile access is accomplished through what are called “apps” or “web applications.”

These “apps” are a great source of information for the user because they’re cheap and easy to install on a mobile device. The great advantage of apps is that they have a small file that doesn’t need to be updated regularly. Instead, it accesses fresh data every time the “app” is launched.

For the author who uses such an “app,” the advantage of their configuration is that he never has to distribute potentially thousands of updates. Instead, he just needs to maintain the main file, much as he would with a website. Another benefit of apps is that they create an icon on the reader’s device, directly linking the reader to you and to all of your newest information. So when you publish new books, blogs, or schedule an event, readers will have access to that information, wherever they find themselves.

You can also offer your writing in the form of an “app.” We’ve all heard of e-books, and their popularity is constantly on the rise, but an “app” version of the same e-book can open up even more doors for you and your fans.

It is even possible to create a genre-specific “app.” If you have a history-rich tale, then create an app that covers the historical facts behind the story and provides links to graphics, such as maps and pictures. Get creative. Whatever you decide to include will only add to the value of your “app” for the user.
Most “apps” also have a “direct-connect” feature, so that the user can access your Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as your RSS feed (not a bad thing to have sitting directly on their menu).

You don’t have to be a programmer to build your own “apps.” To get started, just check out a little website called and start building your app for free. (It’s a simple step-by-step process that can be accomplished by anyone who can point-and-click.) After your app is complete, simply link it to your main web page or blog for anyone coming through to download. Be sure also to make a note of your app on all of your social networking accounts.

An author shouldn’t ask whether to develop an “app,” but rather consider the question why not?

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