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almost 10 years ago

Submission tips

Good news, BookSmash registrants: you're nearing the finish line! Perhaps that's not such good news if you haven't started yet, but don't fret — explore the quick-start guide, get some inspiration from the HarperCollins App Idea Bank, and you'll be up and running in no time. The deadline is 5 p.m. ET, Thursday, September 5, 2013.

Here are a few tips on the OpenBook API and on getting your submission in tip-top shape.

Start your draft now

Starting a draft is a good way to make sure that your app meets all the competition requirements. There’s nothing worse than getting to the deadline, only to realize that you’re missing a key component. Once you begin a draft, you can save it and edit it at any time prior to the submission deadline.

Watch your throttle limit

The OpenBook API throttle limit is set for 4 calls a second and 5,000 a day. If your calls are putting you over that limit, you may experience errors and get a "Developer Inactive" message.

Call ISBNs with full content 

There are 19 Author Innovators who have made many of their books fully available to BookSmash participants. See the Author Innovators spreadsheet for a list of the all-access books provided. Portions of other books published by HarperCollins not on this Author Innovator list may be partially returned via the API, however there is no list of them available. You're welcome to use these books with partial content, or those that aren't available via the API, as long as you have the rights to use the material (see the rules for more details) and as long as your app also utilizes the OpenBook API in some way.

Make a great submission video

Aside from your app, your submission video is one of the most important things you’ll include in your submission. In fact, it’s sometimes one of the only things that judges review.

Although they are encouraged to, judges are not required to test each and every app. Therefore, it’s extremely important to demonstrate your app’s functionality in your video. That means carefully walking through your app’s features and showing how each one works.

You’ve already built an awesome app, now show it off with a great video! Here's how:

  • Perfect your elevator pitch. What is your product and why should people care? You should be able to communicate this clearly and compellingly in 10 seconds or less. Then you can start building the rest of your video content around it.
  • Use clear examples. Help the viewer understand how your app would be used. Use examples to illustrate your points.
  • Keep it short and sweet. The rules state that the video should be less than 5 minutes, which means you should get to the point quickly. But, don’t sacrifice clarity.
  • Rehearse. When your video script is done, run through it a few times... and then run through it a few more times. You want to ensure that your explanations come across clearly and smoothly, so practice makes perfect.

If you haven't made a video before, check out these helpful screencasting tips.

You're almost there. Good luck!

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Have a question?

See the FAQ, post questions about the OpenBook API on the HarperCollins Developer Forum, and email if you have questions about the official rules.


Help spread the word, and join the conversation with #BookSmash on Twitter.