Movellas.com is an online story sharing community aimed at teenagers. In an interview the UK editor, Jordan Phillips tells us about its origins, rapid take-off in the UK and the sort of writing we can expect to find on the site. We also have details here of a new competition launched today in collaboration with trans-media producer, beActive.
What is Movellas.com?
Movellas.com is a community site where everyone can share his or her passion for great stories. You can publish your own stories or ‘movellas’ (the word derives from novella, meaning short novel, and mobile devices), so that everyone can read them and give you feedback. The site is filled with fantastic movellas from every genre and encourages you to talk directly to the authors and the rest of the community.
Who is it aimed at?
Predominantly, the site is used by young adults aged between 13 and 20, but we have some older users who help to give a great blend of voices to the community.
The site originated in Denmark, who were the founders? What were their original intentions for the site? How successful is it over there?
The site was founded by Joram Felbert, based near Copehagen. He saw the success of keitai shousetsu, stories shared by text message, in Japan and wanted to bring the model to Europe. Japanese writers were seeing their writing read by hundreds of thousands of people and it seemed to be embracing a new way of reading, writing and publishing. Quickly, smart phones began to make this model somewhat obsolete, and Movellas.com, the website and then the app, began to be seen in its current form.
It achieved almost instant word-of-mouth growth in Denmark, where it is now a known brand with nearly 20,000 unique Danish users, 85,000 monthly visits, and 750,000 eBook downloads.
Is the site being launched in any other countries, e.g. the US?
It was launched in the UK in February 2012 and has been growing strongly ever since. But we have also had visitors from 180 other countries and Movellas is starting to grow internationally. This is one of the best things about something that is so hooked into the digital sphere and social media, it is never confined to a specific location. Languages are important though and the site is already available in Danish, Spanish and German, with more languages coming soon.
Is it free to use? What is your business model?
The site is completely free to use and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Our focus is on building our user base and generating awareness. Once you have a critical mass of users, there are many revenue streams that you can explore.
Tell us about some of the content we might find on the site.
The writing on Movellas.com is as diverse as our users. There is everything from fantasy worlds to poetry, fan fiction to gritty realism. Users often update their stories chapter by chapter, keeping the audience hooked as well as letting them influence the writing and the story. It is almost a return to how Charles Dickens used to publish his work in newspapers, but for the digital age.
How do users interact with and support each other?
Once someone publishes a story to the site, it is available for everyone to see. It does not take long for a Movella to start being liked and commented on. To continue to follow the story as it is updated, you have to favourite it or become a fan of the author, but it is our comments page where the majority of discussion takes place. Here people post constructive criticism or give input into the story. We are very proud of the community that has built up around Movellas, it really has become a place where writers can develop their craft.
How important is it to have a ‘go to’ place for writers in this particular demographic?
Being a young writer has always been hard and you can feel like giving up. That’s why so many teenagers end up with notebooks of poetry hidden away in shoeboxes. Movellas uses the rapid rise of social media and smart phones to make it much simpler to share and get feedback at this important age. A big part of Movellas is based around our social aims, we are passionate about reading and writing and providing a platform that encourages meaningful interaction.
Tell us about the accompanying App
We launched our ioS app in February this year and it has been featured on the iTunes app store as new and noteworthy several times and has been downloadd 12,000 times. Our android app was launched in May this year and is also proving to be very popular. The apps make it that much easier to read and comment on the go. Thousands of stories co-exist inside one App and are constantly evolving. You can search by genre, so it is easy to find something that you want to read.
How does Movellas compare with other teen writing sites like Figment.com?
Figment and other similar sites tend to have more traditionally literary aims, whereas Movellas is really an extension of the social media phenomenon. It is a community of like-minded individuals built around sharing stories and writing. Sharing and community really are core to our road map. Also, we’re focusing on Europe, not North America, even though we still get a lot of visits from that region.
What’s the future for Movellas.com, and its subscribers?
We believe we are the future. The publishing industry is ripe for disruption and we’re wedged very firmly in a disruptive space. Our community will continue to inform our product roadmap, and we’ll continue to aim to delight them with new features and interesting content. Our mission is to ‘Provide the best social experience for creating, discovering and promoting stories and young talent across the world’, and that’s what we’ll aim to do. Watch this space!
In breaking news, Movellas have just announced a new partnership with trans-media producer beActive whose new novel Beat Girl by Jasmina Kallay will be available as a free ebook across the UK via site.
To celebrate, a competition has been launched for all Movellas users encouraging them to upload their own stories to a bespoke Beat Girl page. As well as the chance to get published, the winner will receive a tablet and the 5 runners-up a copy of the book.
BeActive MD, Nuno Bernardo, says ‘There are now so many different ways to tell a story across multiple platforms and we are always looking for new channels to reach people. It is great to partner with Movellas. They are a community dedicated to storytelling and a perfect fit for what we do at beActive. We are looking forward to seeing the contribution from the Movellas community; and who knows, maybe our next big project could come from a Movellas user’s submission.’
Jordan Philips adds, ‘Our community is passionate about sharing stories and it is great to work with someone who has a history of cross-platform storytelling to such a high calibre. We are really looking forward to working with beActive and seeing what will be created as a result of this project’.
The competition has just gone live (9th July) and will run for 6 weeks. We look forward to seeing the entries !