We’re giddy to announce that Guinevere de la Mare has joined Storybird to lead community programs.

Guinevere joins us from Chronicle Books (Chronicle Books!) where she single-handedly built their social media and blog channels into one of the most respected in the industry. She’s overseen their affiliate marketing and outreach programs, including their highly successful Give Books campaign, and is a much sought after speaker, having presented at Alt Summit, Social Media Week NYC, and O’Reilly Tools of Change for Publishers.

A writer and editor, Guinevere is also trained in visual arts and holds a BA in Art History from U.C. Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts. With our focus on art + words, this was the pink icing on the artisanal cupcake.

Guinevere will work with Head of Editorial Molly O’Neill on Storybird’s social media outreach, internal community events, and a global program for writers and artists that rolls out in 2015. Her focus will be to bring the outside world into Storybird, and vice versa, both online and offline. Importantly, she resides in San Francisco, a strategic location for Storybird as it gives her unfettered access to TCHO and Dandelion chocolate and completes the triumvirate with Molly and Nick in Brooklyn near Mast Brothers and Kaye and me in Toronto close to SOMA.

Conche aside, we are thrilled to have Guinevere join our almost 20-person team. We continue to grow our programs and tools to support writers, artists, readers, educators, and families worldwide, and G’s cheeky, artful sensibilities will only help broaden our ambitions and results.

Welcome, lady of the lake.

Photo: Sarah Deragon

Hand-made stories need hand-made cards.

by Storybird on May 18, 2014

Want to tell someone you REALLY love them? Hand cut your cards. It’ll only take two months.

 

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of longform books on Storybird.

Longform is a new story format, ideal for writers and artists looking to serialize their books and build an audience, educators with students looking to master narrative skills, and readers who want to stay engaged with stories and characters over time.

Longform stories can be lengthy novels serialized into multiple chapters or a short story on a single page. They can include art interspersed throughout the story or just on covers. Writers will find them flexible and as easy-to-use as our award-winning picture book format.

Readers love the new format. It’s easy to read on a phone and notifications alert them when new chapters are published. That’s important for professional authors looking to build readership or students getting peer feedback.

We’re equally excited to announce the beta of Storybird Creative Partners and the first slate of authors and stories built atop the longform format. We’re working with ten entrepreneurial writers, artists, and agents to bring readers a wide range of exciting fiction and to study new forms of serialization, distribution, and commercialization. We’ll be adding new authors each season; professional writers and agents can learn more about the program in our FAQ.

Longform is available throughout Storybird but in beta for classrooms. Teachers can experiment with v1.0 now and expect full school integration by summer.

The first chapter of Storybird was written with picture books: 10 million and counting. With longform and our Creative Partners Program, we’re excited to usher in the next chapter and our vision to be the Scholastic of the 21st century—providing the tools and platform for writers, artists, and readers to create and share stories that entertain, educate, and inspire.

Longform Launch Writers & Artists

Alone in a Crowded Place by Bruce Wishart, art by Elizabeth Baddeley

The Archer Chronicles: Lost Boy by J.A. Stone, art by Claudio Cerri

Breaking the Code by deepfried_freak, art by Aleksei Bitskoff

The B.U.L.L.Y Club by figment68, art by Sam Wedelich

Elle McGraw: Teen Millionaire by Kay Cassidy, art by Justine Formentelli

The Endsister by Penni Russon, art by Victoria Usova

The Mystery of Dogwood Cross by Eliza Osborn, art by Ingvard the Terrible

The Shadow Gate by Myra McEntire, art by Alina Chau

Some Pig in the City by Jodi Kendall, art by Katy Betz

The Wrong Side of the River by Wen Baragrey and Natalie Bahm, art by Aleksei Bitskoff

Our response to the Heartbleed vulnerability

by Storybird on April 10, 2014

On Monday April 7 it was announced that an important technology that protects information on the internet had been compromised. The codename for this vulnerability is Heartbleed.

To use a metaphor, Heartbleed is the equivalent of laying the keys to everyone’s homes on their doorsteps. If found, those keys could then be used to enter the home and steal valuable information.

A fix for the problem (known as a “patch”) was announced soon after the news. Major online services immediately began applying the patch so they could hide the keys and stop anyone from entering their homes.

Storybird was among the first responders and made immediate changes to ensure Heartbleed would not affect our members. In fact, you may have noticed some bumpy sessions over the last few days because we were hard at work.

Given our quick response, and after reviewing the problem, we have seen no evidence that Storybird or our members were affected by Heartbleed. However, as a precaution, we have logged everyone out of the system which will require that you sign-back in on your next visit.

We also recommend you change your password—on Storybird and ALL other services you use (make sure they’ve first fixed the problem on their site. If you change your password before they fix it, you’ll have to change it again after their fix).

Also, now might be a good time to invest in a password manager like 1Password, LastPass, or iCloud Keychain. They solve a lot of headaches.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions on this issue.

The National Department of Poetry

by Mark on March 20, 2014

Grant Snider is the American Tom Gauld.

Ladybird Books meets Modern Art

by Mark on February 26, 2014

British artist and designer Miriam Elia skewers modern art in a whimsical new book funded by her Kickstarter.

We’re new to Miriam and her goofy/charming/witty ways. She’s on full display in this interview if you want to see more.

Incidentally, she’s not the first to subvert Ladybird Books.

Disney characters, Leibovitzed

by Mark on February 8, 2014

Annie Leibovitz’s photos are themselves iconic, so it’s fun to see her interpret iconic Disney characters using celebrities. These images recently surfaced and are stunning.

Jessica Chastain as Merida from Brave.

Rachel Weisz as Snow White.

Taylor Swift as Rapunzel.

Queen Latifah as Ursula from The Little Mermaid. See the entire set.

Storybird Gift Cards.

by Kaye on December 17, 2013

We just launched E-Gift Cards for Premium Membership.

If you’re an adult, you can buy one and 12-month cards for the writer in your life. Premium Membership unlocks a world of awesome tools, like unlimited downloads, custom covers, emoticons, 2-day moderation for public stories, and, best of all, unlimited poetry with our fab Poetry app.

If you’re under 18, you can ask your parents for a Premium Membership gift card. We’ll send them an email with details on how to buy one.

Hats off to Ben, Paul, and Tyler  for the tool. Soon, we’ll add denominations like $25, $50, etc so you can give e-gift cards for ANY Storybird purchase (like buying books).

Kano. The $99 computer for everyone.

by Mark on December 8, 2013

We are big fans of Kano, a computer and coding kit powered by Raspberry Pi, as simple as Lego and designed for all ages. Priced at $99, it is truly a computer for the masses, the original vision of Apple computer.

Kano is currently in Kickstarter phase (one week left, as of this writing). Their funding goal was $100k. They just passed $1.2m. We’re not the only ones who love this.

Kano has a chance to be very big. At $99 anyone can afford it. When everyone can build and code computers, innovation flourishes in a way that is truly disruptive. Forget Apple and Google. This is the computer of the next generation.

Update: we’ve partnered with Kano to include their adorable character art in one of our shops. Pick up on the visual cues and turn out stories about imagination, technology, and DIY power.

Storybird for Education v2 has shipped.

by Storybird on November 18, 2013

We’re proud to announce that Storybird for Education v2 is now live.

Version 2 is the biggest software update in our history. Influenced by educators around the world and shaped by an amazing team, it offers smarter and faster tools to make your life easier and inspire your students—whether you’re focused on standards-aligned or freestyle learning.

Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll find under the hood:

Onboarding students

Onboard younger students (without email) by uploading a class list or auto-generating accounts. Older students can now create their own accounts and be invited to your class. And, we’ve added a tool for teachers to transfer existing students to another class. Result: onboarding in seconds rather than minutes.

Managing students

Whether you have 30 or 300 accounts, quickly search and filter your students to reset passwords, change usernames, and check last logins. No more multi-page browsing and hunting.

Assignments

Assignments have been redesigned and now include media support of all types to inspire and focus your students: add stories, poetry, or artwork from Storybird, or include video from YouTube, Vimeo, or SchoolTube.

Collaboration

Peer collaboration is popular in the classroom. While we’ve supported it from the start, we’ve tweaked the interface to better highlight collaborations among students and identify current “turn” status.

Reviewing work

Your default view is now Review, a power dashboard that helps you find, read, grade, share, and award any poems or stories from your students. It’s an elegant tool and the centrepiece of your experience.

Notably, you can:

-Read text separately from the book

-comment privately on both unpublished and published stories

-unpublish a story that was mistakenly published

-find and filter work by media type (poems, picture books, chapter books), published status, and assignment

-sort stories alphabetically, by student or username, date modified, and published status

-grade, alphabetically or number (and see those grades in list view)

-award decals/badges

-create custom embed sizes and share the work to any social network

The Review dashboard also switches to comment moderation, letting you pre-moderate any student comments before they’re seen by the authors. (Comment moderation can be turned off, if desired.)

Class library

The class library now supports views for poetry, picture, and chapter books (chapter books launch in the winter—stay tuned). A Featured marquee lets you highlight the best work in the class (directly from your Review dashboard).

Poetry, custom book covers, and emoticons

Pro users can now offer their students our beautiful poetry web app (works on tablets and phones), custom book covers for picture books, and additional emoticons when commenting on their classmate’s work. And, as before, Pro comes with unlimited PDF downloads.

 

Pro pricing

Speaking of Pro, we’ve unbundled Pro features from class headcounts. Previously, teachers had to jump up to a 150 student headcount and pay for a large license they didn’t need. Pro pricing is now available for ANY size classroom. A teacher with 10 students can buy Pro features for less than $10. Example. (This was a big request during our interviews and we’re so glad to have figured out a way to make it happen.)

We’re excited to ship this update. With over 200,000 educators around the world depending on Storybird, our goal was to make the experience smarter, faster, and more enjoyable. We think we’ve succeeded and would love to hear from you after you’ve played around in your new sandbox.