This is my final grant report, Teddy Story has come a long way since I started forever ago (October 2020).
At the start I was fully focussed on building a functional website, integrating web monetization, and getting the site live. The MVP went quietly live just before new year.
I then started working on building the customisation feature, where readers can put in their own names and genders of the main character and their teddy. That took me a lot longer than I anticipated (I struggled with React state), but I finally got it. Now there's a customisable version of Mars Teddy.
The second full story - Guardbot doesn't have a customisation option as it doesn't really fit with the story.
The next full stories - Cave Teddy, and The Bacteria Breeder, will have the customisation option.
I've experimented with a couple of different styles of extra content (100 + 20 model). In Mars Teddy I embellished the main story with inline bonus content. In Guardbot I tried to weave in a separate second story (which will probably become a full story at some point). I put the second storyline at the end of each chapter to try not to interrupt the flow of the main storyline too much.
Adding web monetized member content is easy. Working out the optimal place to put it seems to be the tricky part.
I originally intended to make the site multi-lingual during the grant period, but after a couple of unsuccessful attempts I decided to put it on the back-burner for the moment and focus more on producing content and marketing Teddy Story.
From Grant Report 1
Teddy Story public website available with no ads and some stories able to be customised.
WebMon integrated into website, uses the 100 + 20 model
TEDDYstory website account area to create profile that can customise stories
Status: Completed with variation
Reason for variation: to reduce complexity and cost I am just using local storage for customisation of the stories.
TEDDYstory website multi-lingual support
Status: Not complete
Reason for variation: I have had a couple of tries and each time I've stuffed it up and rolled back. I will keep working on this one as it's important to me, but will re-prioritise it to come after a site upgrade to Gatsby 3.
Marketing has been where the majority of my effort has been expended the last few months. I've spent more time working on it than I have writing kids stories.
I'm reading and learning a lot about marketing Teddy Story, I suspect what I'm doing will have a pay off, but there's going to be a long lead time before I start seeing significant results. That's ok, so long as it doesn't consume all my time and I still get time to write stories.
Marketing budget. I used my marketing budget getting some logos/designs created. I wanted to spend it on things that could be re-used, which was why I went for logos. In the end I chose 3, one for the branding on the main site, one for use on stories for younger readers, and the final one for older readers. The main logo and the icon are now on the site and I'm updating the site colours to match the logo.
I used different designers for each, I wanted to share the grant money out as far as I could.
I'm getting more active on Linkedin, making sure I like and comment on all GftW posts that I can.
I've just begun to write some articles for Medium. I re-packaged my first Teddy Story blog on there, and am trying to get a couple of other articles I've written that mention grant for the web and web monetization into Medium publications. Publications are supposed to get more views.
I've also set up the shells of Facebook, Instagram, & Pinterest accounts for Teddy Story. These are low priority at the moment but will be ramping up Pinterest. I'm starting to put together a bit of a photo library to use for Pinterest and am going to add them to Teddy Story as well, because why just create something for someone else's platform?
I have a plan for a mailing list, but at the moment that's also low priority. I wouldn't want to produce a terrible one, so I'll leave it on the back burner until I can dedicate a bit more time to it.
This marketing lark is hard work - who knew? Ok, the entire world other than me knew, but I'm working on correcting that...
First and foremost - I'm still writing stories. I currently have 2 on the go (Cave Teddy and The Bacteria Breeder [that's a working title]), and at least half a dozen on my writing backlog. That's the the messy, not public backlog, not the clean public board :).
Coming a close second is marketing. I talked about that in the last section. I'm taking a content based marketing approach rather than spending money on advertising. I'll still be pushing web monetization and GftW everywhere I can!
There's the usual ongoing technical work on the website. I will get internationalisation working if it kills me, ditto upgrading to Gatsby 3.
Maintenance aside I have a couple of additional features (that will of course be web monetized) planned. The photo library I'm developing for marketing is going to get its own section of the site.
I'll also build a signup form for mailing list sign ups when it comes time to produce a mailing list.
I'd also like to build proper profile area for storing preferences, not just local storage. But that's currently the lowest priority.
I put this report together over about a week, and that happened to be the week that Rafiki was announced. It sounds amazing - a massive leap forward in functionality.
I'm really excited to see what the community is going to do with that, and will be looking at any way I can integrate it into Teddy Story. Very much looking forward to reading a couple of how-to's :D
I just want to day a big thank you to the GftW team and the community. The grant has made a huge difference to my project. It's given me the means and the focus to push this project so much further forward than I would have if left to my own devices.