I write and illustrate books for kids so I know all about ABCs. But RFPs and NDAs? Not so much.
Turns out RFP stands for Request for Proposal. And NDA = Non Disclosure Agreement. An RFP basically describes your idea. About 18 months ago I wrote one for my app and I drew out a storyboard with the result of every click, swipe, tilt and shake by the hand of the player.
Who Hops? No, it is a game-slash-book. That's what it is. An interactive book?
I guess that's another thing to add to my list, The Things I Don't Yet Know About eBooks, Games, Apps, and Math list. (Math doesn't apply here, but math is on every list I make about stuff I don't know about.)
Anyway, after I wrote my RFP, I needed to find someone to turn my design into a gorgeous app type thing that would sell like crazy in iTunes. I started my search to find a developer. I put the word out, I did google searches, and looked at apps I thought were great, and even ones I don't like, but were selling well. I approached people, and if they were interested, sent them my NDA. I didn't show anyone my RFP and storyboard until I had their signed NDA, which legally prevents someone from disclosing what is in an RFP.
One young and talented college-aged kid told me he'd do it free. I had a couple of developers tell me they could create the app between $1,000 -$2,000. Another company, which had created an app I think is beyond fabulous, quoted $8000. Another company I love, which is run by a dear friend, gave me a price of $25,000.
So I got quotes between free and 25 grand.
I wanted to jump at the free offer, but the phrase, "you get what you pay for" kept echoing in my head, and I didn't want to spend all that time, energy and effort on something I wasn't completely happy with in the end. Sometimes I regret that decision. And I couldn't afford the 25k.
The company with the $8,000 quote told me that was the lower cost since I wanted to do the art and if I would do the animation myself. I was fine with doing the art, obviously, but I added 'learn animation' to my Stuff I Need To Learn About list (math never makes that to that one somehow).
I'd just gotten a big royalty check and decided I'd reinvest it in my company (AKA myself). I handed over half as a deposit and got to work.
The animation wasn't horrible, but it wasn't what I wanted and it was taking me so long to do it. And then I started getting ignored by my developer. I suspected they got a bigger client. I emailed, called, texted and sent carrier pigeons and heard nothing. I was getting nervous about my $4,000 deposit but kept assuring myself that I knew where these guys lived (yeah, 3,000 miles away, in Silicon Valley).
Finally they told me they had, indeed, snagged a big job and were fine with sending me my deposit back. I was relieved, but exhausted.
To spin it positively, I decided to wait until I learned more about what is available to me and how I can make my plan come to life.
What actually happened? I got discouraged by the thought of all the tech I'd have to add to my Stuff I Need To Learn About list and I lost steam. I was so relieved about not having spent that huge chunk of money, too, because prices were coming down bigtime. The animation was time consuming for me, and I had other work to do like my books, my podcast, and other projects.
After this experience, I was so happy when my friends and colleagues started this coalition and asked me to join in. I'm learning a lot from them, and hope my contributions will teach something, too. Now I'm learning a lot about this process and am happy there are so many companies coming up with ways to create new digital stories to ease the learning curve.
I'm happy to have a long Stuff I Need To Learn About list. As long as there is no math on it.