Immerse or Die is a tough-love book review project begun by Canadian author and editor Jefferson Smith. Page Fight, this reader-reaction companion app, is a collaboration between Jefferson and myself. He was the consulting editor for my first novel, and came up with the idea for the project.
Together, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the business of writing, how to improve its quality, and the difficulty of soliciting actionable feedback. This is our attempt to fill what we see as a critical gap in the self-publishing cycle: getting lots of honest reader reactions to a book’s marketing materials, before publishing. We gamified the entire process, with achievements that unlock more and more functionality, and a leaderboard, where players can see how well they’re doing compared to other top players, and authors can discover how their contenders are faring.
It was also a great deep-dive into the process of developing single page apps (SPAs) with mobile-first design. Over the first seven months of 2016, I designed the UX and built the app from the ground up using Angular 1.5, Bootstrap 3, Chart.js, jQuery, Firebase, Heroku, Node.js, and Gulp. Along the way, I open-sourced the User Profiles module, and wrote about the process of integrating with Slack for user feedback.
Responsive Mobile-first Design. The app works equally well on a phone as on a 27-inch screen or anything in between.
A Tourney Card. Genre = Science Fiction, Fight Style = Cover, Contenders per Bout = 2. A group of 5 contenders are chosen at random, arranged in all possible combinations, yielding 10 bouts, with 4 per contender.
Judging a Tourney. Contenders go head-to-head to win your love. For already published works, Amazon links are provided.
Player Activity. Daily, weekly, and monthly engagement, graphed by genre. Toggle the legend elements to add or remove a data series.
Author Insights. Authors can see how well their books are doing in the Fight Cage. This can help them make the tough choice between two different titles, for instance.
Leaderboard. Top Players are shown with their own activity charts, and stats. Positioned according to tourneys completed, weighted by judging consistency.
Social Sign In. OAuth integrated with top social platforms to provide easy access without having to create or remember yet another password. Users can still choose to sign in with email and password if they wish. Read about the process here.
Managing Books. A chance to try out different working titles and other marketing materials. Once a book has been entered into competition, it can only be retired or added to.
Driving Sales. Once a book is published, the author can configure a link to be shown when the book’s contenders appear in the Arena.
An author’s profile, where they can add, edit, or retire books, see their in-game achievements, and edit their profile.
Frequently Asked Questions. What app would be complete without a manual?