Author Interview: Alexis H. Purcell
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born and raised in San Diego, CA and have spent most of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area. After 31 years of working full-time in the corporate world I decided I was ready for a change.
I’ve always been inspired by how young children live life through unfiltered eyes and embrace daily freedoms we as adults sometimes take for granted. In a very sweet and gentle way, through my books, I teach kids about friendship, how to comfort friends in need, and how to pray for PEACE in the world. It is my heartfelt hope that my books bring joy, comfort, and happiness to all children.
Q: How did you come to write “The Turkey Who Forgot How To Gobble?”
It’s a sweet situation that happened when my kids were young and I was still working full-time. We had a bedtime routine each night where we would snuggle on the bed, one child on each side of me, and together we read a story of their choosing. One evening, after coming home exhausted from a long day at work, they asked: “mom, instead of reading books tonight, could you please make up a story?” Well somehow, as tired as I was, I made-up the story of Joey, The Turkey Who Forgot How to Gobble, a story about friendship, a cute little Turkey, and how his barnyard friends came to help him; a story about how friends will be there when you need them. They loved it and the next day recited it during “show and tell” time at their elementary school. Their classmates and teachers loved it too.
Every day thereafter for weeks they would ask me to “write the story on paper and get it published,” but being so tired that night I honestly could not recall all of the details of the story and I was very busy at work, so I never got around to it.
Months went by and they were tired of asking and no action, so they sat me down at the computer and told me they were going to help me “write the story on paper.” So, with their input and detailed memory of the storyline, the manuscript was written and we submitted and received a copyright in 2003.
Q: You created the story many years ago. What made you decide to create the book app 10 years later?
It’s one of those sobering moments. My daughter was heading off to college and it struck me that I had never fulfilled the dream of creating this book as a keepsake for them to cherish. I guess you could say my kids simply gave up that I would ever fulfill their dream. Then and there I decided it was time for me to step away from the corporate world and venture into this new journey for my children, and for me. Scary, yes, but for once in a very long time, I found myself feeling so full of life and joy…who knew?!
Q: How did you know how to begin or what to do to create the book app?
I had no idea where I was going on this new journey other than I needed to educate myself on EVERYTHING. I began the process of creating the book and book app in July 2012 and brought it to market four months later in October. I’m a driven person and must say that this was quite an ambitious effort, but was very, very fun at the same time.
I read as much information as I could on the internet, did some networking, talked to friends, etc. Karen Robertson’s name came up as someone I should seek out. She provided information and put me in touch with people in the industry who were very
helpful along the way. Most importantly, I couldn’t have done this without Karen’s help and guide books, particularly “How to Market a Book App”. The other thing that was very helpful is her seminars, where like-minded authors came together to learn from her, and she from us; it also provided great networking opportunities.
Q: When did your book app launch and how was the response?
My app was accepted in Apple iTunes in late October 2012 but I waited until November to make it available to the public so as not to compete with the Halloween apps. The softcover book was launched on Amazon.com a week prior.
The response was great! During November 2012, the app ranked #11 in Apple iTunes in the Paid iPad book apps category, November 2013 it ranked #3, and in November 2014 it ranked #1. It was very exciting to see my app rank so high alongside heavy hitters such as Dora the Explorer, Sesame Street, and Goodnight Moon.
Q: Were there any surprises from your book app experience?
Yes, there were several surprises.
Rankings and sales: Although we had great rankings each November in the Apple iTunes Paid iPad Books apps category, sales and ranking declined after about a month. It is difficult to get discovered in the Apple iTunes store as the market for children’s book apps is so saturated!
Customers: A nice surprise was hearing how others used the book. A speech pathology group used it to teach animal sounds to their students. An elementary school in New Jersey used it to teach their students about friendship. The situation that touched me the most, however, was what happened shortly after the shooting in Newtown Connecticut. A local elementary school asked me to come to their school for a “meet the author day.” They asked me to meet with the kids to discuss my book and, through the book, relay the message of how friends can help one another in time of need. It was quite a moving experience both for them and me, and I will never forget it!
Other Authors: Another nice surprise I discovered along my journey is how people in this industry are collaborative, not competitive. Everyone I talked to along the way were willing to help, provide advice, or provide names of others who might be able to help.
That was such a breath of fresh air!
Q: You’ve been quite busy since launching your first app in 2012. Can you tell us about your other apps?
I am the author of the following 5 books and apps, most of which are available in English and Spanish.
The Nighty Night Series
(in English and Spanish):
1. Nighty Night Zoo
2. Nighty Night Construction Trucks
3. Twinkle Twinkle Nighty Night
4. The Turkey Who Forgot How To Gobble (in English and Spanish, all in the same app!)
5. Twinkle Twinkle Hear My Prayers, A Prayer for Peace
I currently have two new manuscripts ready for production, but I’ve put them on “pause” as I want to focus on marketing.
Q. What makes your apps unique? Is there anything you particularly strive for in creating your apps?
I make sure there is a message woven in each storyline. For instance, The Turkey Who Forgot How To Gobble, is about friendship and how friends will be there to help you.
The three books from the Nighty Night Series are about bedtime routines, how your child will be ready for sleep knowing they will be loved and protected throughout the night, and how they can share with their friends the same love and comfort.
I’ve come to learn that children love to connect with stories. They like to interact with the main characters in many and surprising ways. They also like to be involved, as in “helping” to put the animals to sleep, and so forth.
Q: Any advice for other book app makers?
Writing books and apps is costly and rarely produces the financial windfall many authors would like to achieve. Reconsider the journey if this is your primary expectation.
Financial windfalls rarely happen, but if or when they do, enjoy that rare moment, be humble, take a bow, then continue forward.
Q: Links you’d like to share
Information about my books and apps can be found at:
Books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=node%3D4&field- keywords=alexis+purcell
The Pray for Peace Project: https://www.prayforpeaceproject.com/
* * * Twinkle Twinkle Books * * *
Popular Kids Books and Bilingual Stories for Kids. Stories for Children in English and Spanish
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