Thursday, September 15, 2011

Yo!

I’m back, and will be posting on wonderful Pyrenean walking soon, but while I was in Europe I got some interesting news. An article in USA Today has named the project I’ve been working on one of the 10 coolest book apps for fall. Despite the technical fact that it’s a book, not a book app, my partners and I are chuffed.

Twenty-some years ago, I had a little imprint that published Yo, Millard Fillmore!, a children’s book based on a friend’s idea to teach kids all the American presidents, using funny (okay, silly) mnemonics. He did the memorable hints, another partner did the art, and I did the more-or-less straight bios and most of the incidental writing meant to create a light tone. (I always write with a smart 10-year-old in mind ... a fairly tough audience, actually, but I have an ace up my sleeve: I have the instincts and sense of humor of a smart 10-year-old.)


Over the years, Millard was updated several times and sold a quarter-million copies. A second book, Yo, Sacramento!, using the same techniques to help kids remember all the states and capitals, sold another 150,000 or so (and we’re currently working on its iBook, version). 

Over the last few months, we’ve taken on a fourth partner to tackle the Apple iBook market. It’s been fascinating experience, and since Millard lends itself to an electronic treatment (and Sacramento even more so), we’ve created something actually better than a set of pages. Movement, sound, video.... In five years this may seem old hat, or even old-fashioned, but right now it’s near the cutting edge of iBook concept and production.

The books are both targeted toward late elementary-school children, but of course, are marketed to the parents and grandparents of these young geniuses. We’ve also found that teachers in droves buy both titles, and we’re hoping that electronic availability will make it easier for more of them to use.

It will be available at $7.99 from Apple’s iBookstore soon ... probably next week. And, of course, it comes with our no-nonsense iron-clad guarantee:
Watch the videos, read the book, and you'll soon be able to AMAZE your friends, DAZZLE your teachers, and GUARANTEE yourself a life of SUCCESS and HAPPINESS!
And now, having tooted the horn of the Yo! iBooks in the hopes that my dozens of readers around the world will buy it and make my fortune,  I slide gently back into my standard occupation of struggling to get a decent page a day of plain, old-fashioned, paper-based prose. Not for 10-year-olds. Which may be the problem.



2 comments:

Martin Benedict O'Brien II said...

Been away from your blog for a bit, changed browsers so my morning habits changed also. My, my you have been busy! Love this post. Good luck on the launch. I'll recommend the app/book to my niece who has three sons. Say hi to Uncle Dick. Cheers to all.

Mark Alvarez said...

Hi, Marty! Glad you're back. I'm just working on a final piece (a script to go with some of the effects) for the second book. Then it will be back to unproductive prose.

Best to all.