ran-cohen

Tell us about yourself and Leviatopia.

My name is Ran Cohen (a.k.a. Ranco). I'm married + 3 (Omer, Amit & Yuval). I live in Israel and work as an entrepreneur in the hi-tech industry, developing sophisticated computer-based medical devices. In my free time I read (well, mostly audiobooks), exercise, watch movies and TV series, ride my bike and enjoy life.

What inspired you to write your story?

During the last 6 years I've been working on digitizing my children's book Leviatopia, written many years ago. Originally, Leviatopia was told in Hebrew to all my kids, around their age of 4. My elder daughter is now 21, which means the story originated 17 years ago!

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Why did you decide to publish it as a book app?

I had a great story, I wanted to share it with the world. I’m also a computer geek and entrepreneur – put 1+1 together and you’ll understand why I just HAD to publish it digitally!

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How did you get your app developed? When and where did you launch?

Here is the actual timeline:

  1. Bedtime story told off the top of my head to my daughter Omer, around the year 2000
  2. Story told again to my son Amit around 2002-3
  3. And yet again to my youngest daughter Yuval, 2007
  4. Story put in writing (Hebrew) for the first time: summer of 2002, revisited in 2007 and decided to publish as a book
  5. Illustrations by my talented friend Sigi Elazar – 2008 – 2010 (on and off)
  6. June 2010: Book published noncommercially, 50 copies distributed to family and friends. Got GREAT responses, so decided, together with my kids to go digital – obviously that's the future!

Digital publication timeline (and actual costs):

  1. EOY 2010: translation from Hebrew to English, using the service of http://www.targem-li.co.il/. Cost: $120, time: 2 days
  2. Jan 2012: Linguistic editing by Marlo Garnsworthy via book-editing.com. Her (great) work included: developmental editing, copyediting & critique. Cost: $580 (2 weeks)
  3. Voice over, Feb 2012
    • English voice over: Tara Sands via Voices.com. Cost: $300, 1 day!
    • Hebrew voice over: myself and my kids, at home. Free of charge.
  4. Illustrations: Sigi Elazar, a very talented graphic designer and illustrator and a close friend of mine, had done all the work. At first, I paid by the hour, but at some stage when it seem to have taken forever, Sigi said that she'll finish the work for free. It still took forever and by the end of 2015 the book was ready!
  5. Building the app:
    1. Started with TaleSpring. Spent 4 month until decided to give up because:
      1. There's no Android support
      2. Found a few annoying bugs and some of the features I wanted were missing
    2. Switched to InteractBuilder, a great software but unfortunately quite immature. Too many bugs and performance issues. I was practically their best tester and most dedicated user but after almost 4 years and 750 emails, I had to give up because of lack of communication on their behalf. There was no way I could publish my finished app.
    3. Then I found PubCoder! Finally, such a great tool, hardly any bugs and great support from the creator. Took me one week to have the book up and running on my Android phone and iPad! Another 2 months to finish everything and publish to both app stores. Success!!!

 When and where did you launch?

February this year, both Apple and Android stores. Cost: $1.99

Links to your book app and social media?

AppStore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/leviatopia/id1070868262?ls=1&mt=8

Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.leviatopia.book1

Estimated budget?
Translation to English, voiceover, editing: $1000

Illustrations were the most expensive, but just a couple of thousands of dollars

That’s it – practically almost no expenses when you are doing all the work by yourself!

Any advice for other book app makers?
Yes – do it yourself! It is challenging, interesting and mostly fun! If I did it – I’m sure you can!