Here’s what we’ve all been waiting for: an interview the the Storybird team! Thanks to @molly, along with the rest of the Team for taking part in this!
1. What inspired Storybird?
A number of years ago, Mark, our CEO and Co-Founder, made a book with his son for their wife/mom. The shared experience was a memorable one, and it made Mark wonder if there was a way to build that would let many more people collaborate around the idea of creating and sharing stories. A few years later, Storybird was born!
2. When are you planning to release the Storybird iOS App? Will it have any exclusive features?
Our whole team is hard at work on the Storybird iOS App right now, and we’re on pins & potatoes with excitement about it! We expect to release it sometime this fall (no specific date yet). Keep an eye on the Feedback page on Storybird and we’ll probably share some updates when it gets closer to being available.
3. Many users (including myself) wonder why they cannot base their stories on narratives (such as legends or myths) in the public domain. Why not?
We definitely allow stories based on legends or myths in the public domain. The tricky part, though, is when those legends or myths have already been popularized by other books or movies. For example: the original/public domain Hans Christian Andersen story of The Little Mermaid is very different than the Disney movie version, and writers sometimes get muddled about which details belong to which. The names of Ariel, Eric, Ursula, Flotsam & Jetsam, Flounder, etc were all invented by Disney for the movie; they weren’t in the original story. Ariel’s personality and behaviour is quite different in the movie than the little mermaid’s behaviour in the original story, too. So if your Storybird included any details that were (even accidentally!) based on the Disney movie or its characters or interpretation of the original source material, we’d have to send it back to you for revision as it could be considered a violation of Disney’s intellectual property.
P.S. If you ever have questions/confusion about a story that has been returned, you can write to email@example.com and our Moderation team can help clarify what’s problematic so that you can revise it and get it published.
4. Will you be introducing Creative Partner features, such as Journals and the Biographies on their profiles, for Regular Members too, or are they just a CP thing?
For the near future, they’re just for Creative Partners. In the distant future . . . we haven’t decided yet!
5.Do Creative Partners have a separate moderation queue?
The behind-the-scenes-process for Creative Partners has some extra steps in it, but the same team that moderates your stories moderates the CP books, too.
6. There have been rumours of a Storybird Convention in 2015. Is it true? If yes, have you got anything finalized? What regions will it take place in? And most importantly, will there be chocolate?
Anytime there’s a Storybird event, it definitely involves chocolate! We may be visiting some cities in 2015 but we’re still in the very early planning stages. But we hereby pinky-swear that when we have plans finalized, we will shout about them all over Storybird so you’ll know (and because we’ll be too excited not to)!
7. How do you manage to keep Storybird a friendly place for all ages while still allowing some slightly mature material?
As you can probably imagine, the Storybird team has many conversations about this, and we try hard to get the balance right, and adjust certain details as needed over time, too. That means listening closely to our members—reading your stories and comments and the messages you send to us—so that each time we make a decision about how Storybird should work, we’re thinking about the many different kinds of readers and writers who all use Storybird in different ways around the world everyday.
8. Do you have any stories on your Bookshelf right now?
I definitely do, and so does everyone on the Storybird team! We’re all pretty avid readers, and we’re just like you—we get giddy and excited each time we get a notification about a new chapter in a book we’re loving, or when someone we follow writes a great picture book or poem.
9. Which heart icon makes you the happiest?
I’m partial to “This is dazzling” and “This is on FIRE,” because they’re so expressive, but the “Shamrocked!” one makes me laugh a lot, too, for some reason.
10. Are comments moderated by Storyspotters too, or do you have a separate team for that?
Comments are moderated by staff who work on the Storybird team. Storyspotters just focus on books.
11. What motivates you guys to keep going?
Good music, good chocolate, and an awesome team of people to work with everyday.
12. Describe Storybird’s community in three words.
Honest. Encouraging. Heartfelt.
13. Would you like to give Storybirders any advice on how to get their work noticed?
This sounds obvious, but it’s really true: write the kind of story you’d most want to read. Chances are there’s someone else (or many people!) with similar reading tastes to you on Storybird, and if you’re having fun and writing a story that you know you’d enjoy reading, it’s likely that others will feel the same way, too.
Also, the more you comment on and heart other people’s work, the more likely you are to get new followers and make new friends who will respond to your work in return. (There’s a nice natural loop of support-and-be-supported on Storybird that way!) And if you don’t already do it, try regularly checking the Read page’s “Recent” stories and also the Poetry tab there – it’s always a great way to find interesting new users and stories, and you might see one of your stories or poems show up there unexpectedly, too.
14. Do you guys have anything new planned for the future?
Always! We’ve just hired two new staff members at Storybird (say hello to @Guinevere and @Nate) and will soon be hiring two more and will be putting all of them to work on a variety of new projects – some for people who use Storybird mostly for reading, others for those who use Storybird mostly for writing, and some for Artists and future Creative Partners. One thing we’re particularly excited about – revamping official Storybird Challenges sometime later this Fall. Annnnd……we may have a very exciting refreshed Storybird logo to share with you soon (squee)!
15. Thank you so much for your time! Any last words?
We like you. All of you. Even more than chocolate.