Sunday, 25 January 2015

If you Build It; The Treehouse At Number 9

Someone clever told me that I should use more pictures if I write a blog post about our musical story App The Treehouse at Number 9, so that anyone who stumbles here can catch up and join in.

So this week more pictures and more good news.

We are still happy and shocked at the 15,000 lovely people who have done as Cee-Cee here requested, and downloaded our App.

Across the week we have had bloggers and tweeters, mums, dads and carers, strangers and friends all helping the momentum to build.

Genuinely every download and message lets us know that there is an audience for these children and their stories. Which is more than we dared to hope for.

On Thursday I was at an evening talk about TV tax breaks, when I received some amazing news about our latest download figure.

Having realised quite quickly that this talk was not quite what I had expected, the call I got from Karen and the subsequent catch up emails put paid to any concentration remaining at all.

So while clever people talked about budgets and percentages, all I could think of was our number...

Does that say 30??

Did you say 30?!

Does that mean we have 30,000 downloads!!!!

And the answer was Yes.

We continue to be very moved by every download and message, which is driving us to think about what we can do next.  With a quiet-ish launch only just getting into its stride, it is clear that there are families out there who want to swipe, listen and read about our happy, positive kids and their adventures.

As a mother of a special boy I know the pride that he has in just the name of our gang, our Genies, because of the vocabulary I gave him that most children would never need. He has a script that is custom made, ready to answer back with pride should the need arise:

"I have two rare genetic disorders. That means I have a little bit more on 22 and a little bit missing on 18.
My genes mean that my body and mind sometimes work differently. But I can do everything that you can."

And so can our Genies

Have you downloaded the App on your iPad so you can meet them yet?  If not please do so here

And keep sharing with your friends and ask them to spread the word, also review it if you like it, and please feel free to tell us what you would like us to do next.

Remember we don't make money from this App which is why every new person who gets in touch is helping us in loftier ways.  Your support helps to raise awareness and spread the approach that we have taken, that difference is a good thing and it's time to bring it to the mainstream in children's fiction.

So come and join the 30 club, thanks and love from us and have a great week!


Sunday, 18 January 2015

Treehouse Dreams and Links

I wonder if we know the moments where everything changes? If at the time we can feel a ripple in the tapestry that says we are veering from the path we were on and branching out to something new.

If I look back at my last decade (which regular readers will have seen me doing a lot) I have had some awareness at times that things were changing:
Becoming a mum of one while still in a high level TV job.
Becoming a mum of two while in between jobs.
Being a mum of two with a complicated and poorly new baby and knowing that something irrevocable had gone for ever.

But then life slowly and surely reformed. The career was kickstarted, the hospital visits began to slow down and we regained a real semblance of being a typical looking family. Able to pay the bills, balance the work and home, see both our boys growing and developing and managing, each in their own way.

And how lovely that has been, mostly the same but with new bits thrown in.  A life like everyone else's.

Alongside work and home, I have quite publicly been a fundraiser for the charities that have helped me along the way and that is nothing new.
Something else that I have done quietly however, is getting louder and draws a line from that struggling mum to who I am now.  A new Sara into the mix - writer of children's stories and books.

In the last month friends and family have been heeding the calls from me and my amazing friend Karen Shooter to like our new Facebook page Treehouse on Facebook and to follow us on Twitter Treehouse on Twitter.

All this has been done by our wonderful supporters, often without knowing why, so what we now want to do is explain.  Firstly though we need another favour.

Please rush to the App store and download (for FREE) our musical ebook story app Treehouse at the App Store

Having done that we would love you to rate and review it glowingly so that we can continue to spread the word.

Because this App is a bit of a dream, one of the things that Karen and I have been quietly doing for the last 8 years.  As we explain here on the page put up by the charity who we support Treehouse on GDUK

From a story that sat alongside some others we had, our special gang of kids The Genies were lucky to be put through the prism of the new company CAAST. They were introduced by my lovely husband because they were looking for a story to test some amazing new tech they had.

I can't really remember sitting down and writing these stories if I'm honest.  I know that I started to rhyme as I walked Louis in his buggy, frustrated by the lack of proper role models on the page for the gorgeous and different children that I was meeting because of him.  And that I was inspired by the films I showed in the assemblies I did for Jeans 4 Genes Day.
I remember meeting with GDUK and asked if I could help them harness the power of stories to help the families and affected children and supporters that they had.

Then asking for a favour from Karen led to our friendship becoming something professional too, as we slowly became creative partners - her making all my scribblings look beautiful, fun and impeccably designed.

Little by little, piece by piece, we quietly carried on, until last week when we had a press release go out from our friend at Neat PR to launch the app officially.  We decided to look at the download figures and had a very big, and very lovely shock.

That with just a bit of Facebook and Twitter, and a soft launch upload to the App Store, we had somehow enticed over 15000 people to download our story.


Even before our PR plan began.

Fuelled by happy shock, what we hope is that maybe other parents ARE looking for something different too.  Something fun and bright with gorgeous music, sweet narration and a story that makes heroes out of everyone in it.
We think they might be out there, just like the mum who got in touch on twitter on Friday, with a daughter who has a similar condition to one of the Genies.  She said her daughter loved the stories and asked when could they read more?

Wow, and good question.  The answer to which will come from us daring to look at the future.

So this blog is linky and long for a reason, because it's time for us to shout out loud and clearly ask for your help.

Please will you:

  • Take your iPad and DOWNLOAD us now here Treehouse at the App Store
  • Then go back to the App Store and RATE and REVIEW us (kindly we hope)
  • Then SHARE SHARE SHARE with anyone asking them to do the same
  • Please find the time to BOOKMARK our Website because news will appear there when we have it 
  • And if you have one, please consider opening your BLACK BOOK to us, especially if it contains real contacts to a publisher, or a TV producer, or a teacher at a school that might want a visit, or to someone high profile who also knows how difference feels.

Although we deliberately put this up for FREE, a lot of people donated time and expertise to make it look so professional.  We would love to think that we might continue doing what we have started here, slowly but surely building something real, for now alongside the rest of our lives.

We welcome you all to be a part of these dreams and we can't wait to see you there
Just imagine what we could all achieve together.