Kingston MA Publishing student Mike Kerin recently won £250 in the University’s eleventh annual Bright Ideas awards. The sole finalist from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Mike shares the lowdown on his business idea and the inspiration behind it.
I enjoy telling people that I’m studying and working in publishing. Very often I get the response, “I have an idea for a story” and then, luckily, I get to hear the stories. Some would take tree-loads of paper to produce, some have simple plots, most are reflections on life, but all of these stories are new to the world. I love hearing each and every one of them. Many people have said that what stopped them writing was lack of time or the thought that they would only get a few thousand words into the story before being unsure of where to go next.
Very often I get the response, “I have an idea for a story” and then, luckily, I get to hear the stories.
It’s from instances like these that I had the idea to develop a short story app. There are quite a number of story-based apps out there already, so I investigated some popular features and considered a few to add myself. I want to develop an app where, initially, writers can post under seven genres, with a limit of 1500 words a week. Each week, readers can vote on their top-three favourite stories; I think the addition of a gamification element, whereby readers can comment on what they like and propose what happens next in the story, will help writers avoid writer’s block. I suggested 1500 words because I thought this would be the perfect length to read if you were waiting for a friend, travelling on a bus, or simply had a few minutes to spare anywhere. The voting system adds an element of support for the possibly fledgling writers and a sense of community for the readers.
I’m stuck between two names for the app. Because of the length of the stories and the intention that the app would be read on the bus I initially wanted to call it Busbytes. The other potential name is Bear With Me Books as the stories are short and the writers could be new to the game; I hope such an app would encourage readers to become invested in the featured writers and also that it would encourage writers to finish a short story or begin an epic.
A panel of self-made men and women were interested in my idea and considered it a viable business opportunity.
I was absolutely delighted to receive a prize at the entrepreneur award event, Bright Ideas. The awards took place the Wednesday after a weekend of analysing our business models and practising our pitches. I’m very pleased to say only 10 of the almost 400 entrants won prizes – that in itself was a huge honour, but I was more excited by the fact that a panel of self-made men and women were interested in my idea and considered it a viable business opportunity. I was very happy with the reception of my idea and I would really love to bring Busbytes/ bearwithmebooks to life.
Bright Ideas is an annual competition providing students with a unique opportunity to win up to £1000 to support their entrepreneurial innovations. The 2015 competition opened before Christmas with students being asked to submit their ideas in groups or individually. Over 350 entries from nearly 500 students were whittled down through two rounds of shortlisting. The finalists then delivered pitches to a judging panel who grilled them on their projects before deciding the winners on the night of the awards.