Interactive Stories with Katie Ernst #16

Tue Mar 06 2018 (24:01)

In this episode, Teri welcomes Katie Ernst, co-founder of Select a Story, to talk about voice first interactive stories and the release of her Amazon Alexa skill in Canada.

Welcome Katie Ernst!

Katie Ernst is a lawyer, author, and co-founder of Select a Story, one of the leading companies that produces interactive stories for the voice-first platforms. I was really excited to have her as a guest recently to hear about her perspectives of this growing sector of Alexa skills.

We also had a special surprise cameo appearance by a 9 year old girl, who is a fan of Select a Story…. and may or may not be my daughter (just saying’)!

Katie’s Story

Katie is an author, who has written 10 “traditional” novels for children. Katie’s introduction to interactive stories began when she first got an Amazon echo, and after trying “The Magic Door” skill, she was inspired and she decided that she had the perfect skill set to start writing interactive stories of her own. While Katie began writing her first interactive story, Cinder/Charming, her husband began the software development. They make a great team and co-founded Select a Story!

Some of Katie’s perspectives on Interactive Stories

Katie believes that there is something magical about being able to talk to a device, similar to “Computer” from Star Trek.

In her experience, Katie finds it challenging to self-publish traditional books for middle school grades as this age-group tends to have less e-reader devices then older kids. The voice-first revolution makes is easier for authors to self-publish books for middle grades because these stories are more easily accessible by children via their household smart speakers.

Katie’s first interactive story is called Cinder/Charming, a 30,000 word, voice-first publication, equivalent to approximately 120-130 pages. This story has 130 different scenes, all completely narrated with sounds effects. The listener makes decisions about the plot as the story progresses, similar to the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” books that I remember reading as a child. Katie has plans to expand the catalogue of stories that can be accessed through the Select a Story skill.

Select a Story Skill

Select a Story is a great skill and you can check-out my review here. I suggest you check out the skill too!

List of resources mentioned in this episode: