With the launch of Apocalypsis, a serial novel designed and developed for digital devices, Bastei Lübbe founded its own digital department, Bastei Entertainment, with the objective of focusing on similar digital projects. We asked Diana Rosslenbroich, Bastei Lübbe’s project manager, to present the department and the competences behind it.
Which are the skills you were looking for? How did you incorporate them in a traditional publishing house?
With the launch of Apocalypsis, a new team was created by pulling together different people in the company from every department (editorial department, distribution, production, public relations, marketing). Those interested in new technologies, new forms of storytelling and new forms of reading were chosen for the project. Since this project was something really new, Bastei Lübbe didn’t have specific skills in mind. Inquisitiveness and excitement for a totally new project were the requirements. The type of people we are looking for today are: digital enthusiasts, creative minds, engineering freaks, heavy users of new technology market mavens, networkers, and people interested in other media like music, movies or games. In the Bastei Entertainment department we have our own editorial team, our own distribution team, our own app developers. In every other department – such as public relations, marketing, production – there is one person in charge of the digital workflow. That’s how we integrate traditional with electronic publishing.
Apocalypsis includes text, illustrations, videos, audio, and interactive content that merge in a multimedia reading experience. What about the team behind it? Which is the workflow in this kind of projects?
The team behind Apocalypsis consisted of the author, an external company that developed the app, the project manager of Bastei Entertainment, and the art director. We had regular workshops in which we read through the text and discussed which illustrations, videos and interactive content would be adequate. The author kept this in mind while writing Apocalypsis. After the workshop the art director tried to visualize the ideas we had brainstormed in the workshop. When the art design was accepted by author and project manager the app developer implemented it in the app. The project manager was responsible for keeping the project on schedule.
Bastei Entertainment worked together with an external company that wrote the software program for Apocalypsis. Which criteria guided you in the choice of the technological partners?
For us it is important that the service of the external company covers more than just programming the app. In the best case they have an art director who create the artwork, they are able to shoot videos for the app, and can record sounds for the app.
How many projects did you develop so far? Which are the main results you achieved? Which are the ‘lessons’ you treasured the most?
We have developed four projects so far. We have learned that it is very important to have a customer-friendly price strategy. App users are more sensitive about prices than the traditional reader. A customer-friendly download size is very important. The app must not have any bugs. App users are very critical and one negative review in the app store could be very bad for the app.