Tag: Apps

Sleeping bookworms

This Writer Makes Serious Money Putting Readers to Sleep

As a writer, the most important thing is to hold the reader’s attention… unless you’re paid not to.


In an era of deeper intersecting of technology and consumerism, even sleep has become a business. Sleep app Calm aspires to be the best in that business, offering audio libraries of music playlists, guided meditations, and relaxation classes. (Sounds fake, say the students, who do not find class at all relaxing.) But its most popular feature is its Sleep Stories: twenty to forty minute audio stories read aloud by comforting voices, including that of Stephen Fry. Calm asks: “we loved having bedtime stories read to us as children, so why should that stop now that we’re all grown up?”


Calm's 'Sleep Stories' promotional banner

Image Via Calm


When travel writer Phoebe Smith got a call from Calm founder Michael Acton Smith, she wasn’t sure whether or not to feel insulted. She reacted: “should I be really offended that he thinks my writing has the effect of boring people to sleep?” As a travel writer, there’s a particular incentive to be exciting—yours is the story to take people around the world on their vicarious vacations (a vacation on which there need not be overbooked hotels or unpleasant airplane passengers). P. Smith thinks that travel writing and ‘sleep writing’ aren’t necessarily opposites, citing her primary goalas “encouraging [listeners’] imaginations to play.” Her most popular story, “Blue Gold,” offers a “soothing tour of the lavender fields and sleepy villages of Provence.” It has around 15 million listens.


Lavender fields of Provence

Image Via Traveler Comments


No one is sleeping on Calm—the app recently hit a staggering value of $230 billion. Calm launched some of its profits into the world’s first “sleep story tour,” which may be one of the only events at which it’s ruder not to fall asleep.


Preview for "Blue Gold," narrated by Stephen Fry

Image Via Byrdie


Is there anything about sleep writing that isn’t a dream? Smith admits there is one problem: “people say to me, ‘I really love the stories, but I never get to the end!'”



Featured Image Via Healthline.com


The Best Apps for Every Step of NaNoWriMo

So it’s the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, and you only have time to do things like go to school for eight hours, sleep for an inconvenient five or so, and occasionally eat. Writing does take time, but you have more time than you probably think (unless you thought you had twenty-four hours in a day, which is technically accurate but unlikely for a functioning person). While there are some circumstances where you can’t whip out your laptop, there are far fewer cases where it’s unusual to take out your phone. So instead of lamenting your wasted time, use the moments you do have to chip away at that 50k on iPhone or Android… with some (all free!) apps to help you with every step of the process.


1. The research process 



Charlie Kelly from 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'

Image Via Imgur.com


Evernote, free for iPhone and Android, is perfect for keeping track of all your research and inspirational quotations. Its Web Clipper feature allows you to incorporate your source material directly into your notes, so you don’t crash your computer (again) with your 22 dubiously-useful open tabs.


2. The outline 



Millie Bobby Brown Gif

Gif Via Tumblr.com


Go Writer Lite for iPhone incorporates note-taking into the writing process with the draft board feature, a temporary storage space for text fragments (like that one sentence you just can’t figure out). As a bonus, the app will read your text aloud to you, so you can hear for yourself what sounds the way you imagined it.


Workflowy for Android is perfect for complicated outlines, allowing users to see any heading and its subheadings in isolation to prevent distraction (to the extent that it can). The app also includes searchable hashtags, so you can mark problem areas you want to remember for later—and then actually remember them.


3. The first draft



'Tom and Jerry' Gif

Gif Via Github.com


Writer for iPhone is more powerful than your typical word processor, saving all drafts of your product so that you never lose any material. In addition to your usual built-in spell check, this app also comes with a built in thesaurus to help you find the right (write?) word. On top of that, the app has simple yet varied table of contents formatting to help you and (and your eventual readers!) stay organized.


4. The editing process 



Frantic Typing Gif

Gif Via Gfycat.com


Unlike your typical sticky note phone app, Jotterpad for Android keeps track of your word count, paragraph count, character count, AND reading time. With a built in dictionary and thesaurus, this app is already better than many word processing computer programs. Jotterpad is especially good for your second and third drafts, as its snapshot feature allows you to revert to earlier versions of your story.


With any luck, these apps will help you put your (relatively few) moments of down time to work writing the novel of your dreams (or occasionally your nightmares).


Featured Image Via WeScreeplay

Chat Fiction Apps

Chat Stories Are the Future of Fiction, These Are the Apps You Need to Read Them

Chat story apps have been cropping up by the dozens in the last few years.  In case you’ve never used one before, these apps allow users to read stories in the form of a text conversation between characters.  The concept is pretty interesting, and if you have a few minutes to read some fast-paced fiction, then check out one of the apps below.


1. Hooked (iOS and Android)




Image Via FrostClick


Hooked is the OG chat story app. It offers up stories from several genres including horror, mystery, comedy, sci-fi, and romance. Users can create an account in order to comment and like stories. Paying for a subscription will also give you access to pictures within the stories and allow you to read as much as you want with no time limits, but the stories are still enjoyable even without images and having to wait to continue.  


2. Yarn (iOS and Android)



Image Via the App Store


Yarn is very similar to Hooked.  It has many of the same genres, but it also has the ability to view videos in addition to images in its stories.  Like with Hooked, you have to subscribe in order to get these features and bypass a time limit.


3. Cliffhanger (iOS and Android)



Image Via the App Store


Cliffhanger takes the concept of chat stories a step further.  Like a modern-day version of the classic Choose Your Own Adventure stories, Cliffhanger lets users choose the action at regular intervals in the narratives. There are stories from a variety of genres, like with the other apps, and the app also has images and videos which can be unlocked with a subscription.  Cliffhanger has a wait time as well, but it is significantly shorter than that of the others and totally worth it for the quality of the content.


Feature Image Via Business Insider

We Read Too

New App Allows Readers to Find Writers of Color at the Tap of a Screen!

Software engineer Kaya Thomas designed an absolutely awesome app called We Read Too. It lets readers easily find children’s books by writers of color featuring characters of color. It’s not always easy to find diverse children’s literature, and Thomas noticed this growing up. We Read Too should help future generations read from a wider array of authors.


The app is sleek, colorful, and easy to browse. It allows users to filter by picture, chapter, middle grade, and young adult books. With over 600 books included, the simple browsing system allows parents, teachers, tutors, guardians, and basically all adults help children find books by writers of color, featuring, hopefully, characters that look a little more like them.


Thomas is an Associate Engineer at Slack Technologies (yes, the site you use to send funny memes to your coworkers), but We Read Too is her passion project. It’s available to everybody for free, and that’s how Thomas wants to keep it. Speaking to Apple, Thomas said, “I wanted We Read Too to be accessible to everyone, regardless of whether they could afford to buy a $1 app. I have no intention of ever charging anyone for access to the information.”


We Read Too gives us a reason to be optimistic, as more young readers will now be able to read books by writers of color. Thomas hopes to partner with libraries in the future. If that pans out, then it will help ensure the information she’s gathered is going to the right people. Pick up We Read Too on the App Store and Google Play today!


Feature Image Via We Read Too

Book in pocket via DIYCouture

This New App Puts Your Local Library in Your Pocket

Meet Libby, an app that lets you borrow and read from your local libraries in three simple steps:


1. Fish out your library card.

2. Open the Libby app.

3. Find your local library and/or browse more than 30,000 libraries in 40+ countries.


Libby App

Image Via Google Play


This app is a pleasure to use and is available on iOS and Android. Apart from letting you browse, download and stream ebooks, audiobooks and more, it also has a convenient note-taking amenity so that you can save and organize the information you obtain. This makes it perfect for students and teachers. Libby works in conjunction with Overdrive, only it is easier to use, more intuitive and visually, its interface is very aesthetically pleasing.



Inside the App

Image Via Twitter


The one thing users have found disappointing about the app is that it lacks full accessibility. You are unable to universally search for a particular book, audiobook or ebook across all libraries you are a member of. Instead, you must switch libraries on the app each time. Aside from the app’s search engine, all your books whether they have been borrowed, returned or starred will be available to view on one page in a clear and concise format, as you can see below.




Image Via Google Play



Featured Image Via DIYcouture