Criminal Reshelving and Other Seedy Book Details

The first few weeks since Love Is in the Air published have been super fun, super exciting. We receive great pictures texted to us from friends and family around the country who have so kindly ventured out to bookstores to pick up a copy. Here’s one from our dear friends, the C—– family who may or may have not engaged in a little “criminal reshelving.” That’s the practice of artfully promoting your loved one’s books to the front row. Ahem, totally not condoning the practice but….thanks ya’ll!

http://www.jonathanfenske.com

 

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http://www.jonathanfenske.com

 

Other Fenske news: Jonathan heads into the studio tomorrow with Room 214 for some visual scribe work. That’s where he sits and draws and they take like a million pictures of him and then editors stitch it all together into something really cool. He’s also doing painting commissions, per usual. He’s currently working on a commission of an Andy Warhol portrait and the other day, Jonathan had a slip of the tongue and called it an “Einstein portrait.” We both giggled because there’s kind of a big difference.

Jennifer (that’s me!) is scheduling children’s book blogger visits for Jonathan. Jodie from the awesome young readers blog Growing Book by Book has graciously agreed to post about Love Is in the Air; writing coach and all-around awesome author Rochelle Melander will also have Jonathan do some guest posts in February and then again in May.

I also work on Fat and Appy each day. Still find it crazy that we have an iPad app for sale on the App Store. Wild! People ask me what our next app will be and I think definitely ebooks. We both love children’s books so much and it would be a cinch to take Jonathan’s orphaned books and turn them into digital wonders. First, though, we have to get through promotion for Guppy Up! which comes out next month.

 

 

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Heavy Odds: We’ll Take Them

Yesterday, we woke up to fun news and several “congratulations!” emails: Healthy Creatures, our children’s app for iPad was featured in the Denver Post. We were interviewed by technology reporter Andy Vuong; Aaron Ontiveroz took our portrait. Both journalists were awesome and couldn’t have been easier or nicer to work with. I liked Andy’s angle in the story about the hard road ahead of us as indie mobile app developers in a crowded market. He’s absolutely correct—finding mobile app success on the App Store without Disney or Dora in your name is really, really tough. But here’s the thing: working our tails off in the creative world is all Jonathan and I have ever known.

It was tough when Jonathan was a talented painter in search of a gallery. He walked in and out of galleries in Atlanta until he found one that believed in him. Jonathan’s paintings now hang in collectors’ homes across the U.S., a museum, foundations and currently, Santa Fe. His commission backlog is months long.

It was tough when I wanted so badly to publish my novel, I could barely step into a bookstore without being overcome by longing. I wrote query letters and was rejected by everyone on my list–until an agent took a chance and asked me to rewrite my first novel. That one didn’t sell, but my agent sold the next one to St. Martin’s Press. And the next one.

It was tough when I wrote novels at the kitchen table after working all day at my marketing job. Both times, my belly was swollen with a kicking, nutrient-sucking daughter. But Jonathan would not let me give up. When the development dragged on for Healthy Creatures, Jonathan told me to dig deep and keep at it—that we would see it through, together. And we did, with a third newborn daughter kicking on the floor beside me as I worked.

And it was tough when Jonathan kept rising to the top of the slush pile for his children’s books that he wrote and illustrated. He came so close several times before a major publisher offered a contract. We rejoiced, champagne flowing, and then plummeted to earth when the publisher shuttered the imprint, dumping all of the recently acquired titles. I watched in awe as Jonathan picked himself up and headed back out there, pitching his books on his own. In December 2012 and then again in February 2013 Penguin USA will publish Jonathan’s children’s books Love Is In the Air and Guppy Up!

Do you have a dream? Of course you do. If you’ve read this far, let me tell you: it will be tough. You’ll never work harder. But don’t you dare give up.

The odds are heavy? Of course they are. You are short of money? Time? Connections? We are, too.

But here’s the thing: the alternative is not trying. That’s not an option for so many of us. So, for that, I’ll take a longshot any day.

What’s your longshot dream? Tell us in the comments so we can encourage you.

Fenske Art Roundup

It’s been a while since I blogged, so we apologize for the tumbleweeds. Here’s a roundup from the Fenske studio. Enjoy!

Love Is In the Air eBooks
Jonathan’s first children’s book with Penguin USA, Love Is In the Air, is publishing Dec. 27, 2012. We just found out that Penguin will be making ebooks for Love Is In the Air and for Guppy Up! which publishes Feb. 7, 2013. Hurray! Since we have just completed making an app, it was a joy to hear about the ebooks. Someone else will be in charge of every single detail. Someone else can test, test and test some more. Making an app or ebook is hard work. Even so, I think that Fat and Appy’s next project will be an ebook of a fun children’s book that Jonathan wrote last year called Happy Thoughts. It hasn’t found a home yet, so we’re thinking it’s a perfect way to dip our toe in the book app market. (Wait—didn’t I just complain that making an app is hard work? Well, it is, but we just can’t stay away….)

www.jonathanfenske.com

Healthy Creatures Launches on the App Store
Our first children’s app for iPad launched one month ago! Healthy Creatures is a creative app for children ages 3-8 that allows kids to make creatures out of fruits and vegetables. It’s .99 on the App Store and we’re thrilled to have ten reviews of 4 and 5 stars! We’ve also been featured on awesome blogs such as 5DollarDinners.com, TodayIAteaRainbow.com and MileHighMamas.com. We’ve even been mentioned on the App Nanny’s podcast! Along the way, we’re learning the ropes of app promotion, app marketing and the general app-ecosystem. Want to see Healthy Creatures in action? Watch the app trailer.

Westgate Community School 5K
Westgate is a wonderful charter school in our neck of the woods that just moved into their forever home (the first three years of the school’s existence was spent in a rented old middle school). Jonathan designed Westgate’s first ever 5K logo which celebrated the new building.


www.jonathanfenske.com

The Kitchen Sink
Jonathan has been working with Room 214, a social media agency in Boulder, doing some visual scribe work. Jennifer is researching tee shirt companies to produce a line of toddler and kid’s tees. We made two one-offs with Fat and Appy’s logo for the Denver Startup Bash a few weeks ago. Jonathan is also working on a handful of painting commissions from clients around the country.

www.jonathanfenske.com

That’s it for now! As always, we’d love it if you followed us on Twitter (@fatandappyfun or @jenmanskefenske), Facebook or YouTube.

Making a Children’s App for iPad: Why Are We Doing This Again?

Just dropping in while the house is asleep to post a link to our second YouTube video for the new app company, Fat and Appy. You can’t start up smaller than us! Exhibit A is this homemade video. But you know what, I love it. We are doing this new app out of our (sappy language alert!) creative wellspring.

I really need to go to sleep. I think I just wrote creative wellspring.

Okay, dear reader, I am signing off. Because I respect you too much to continue.

But before I go, a quick update on the art garage sale. We have sold two of the four paintings. Thank you, social media!

Also, this: The new app for iPad, Healthy Creatures, comes out later this month. We had thought it would be the 11th, but alas, we are still in line at Apple.

For those following carefully on the video, I am wearing a Lisa Leonard necklace called “Captured Heart” and it is turned around backwards. I love me some Lisa Leonard. 

Finally, Jonathan’s first Penguin USA children’s book is ready for pre-order! It comes out Dec. 27, 2012, so if you like to get your New Year’s 2013 shopping done early (ahem), here’s a link.

We’re Making a Children’s App for iPad!

We’ve been missing from the blog world lately because we’re working feverishly on our latest project. It’s a children’s app for iPad called Healthy Creatures. The app is aimed at ages 3-8. Kids can make creatures out of fruits and vegetables, which makes playing with your food all the more fun! The launch of the new app is set for the end of July.

Our new company is called Fat and Appy. We plan to make as many apps as we can (if the first one sells okay, of course!) and also create fun digital games that go with Jonathan’s children’s books. His first book he wrote and illustrated—Love Is in the Air— is coming out Dec. 20, 2012 from Penguin USA.

Please head over to Facebook and like us. Your clicking “like” gives us so much confidence! We’re also on Twitter @ fatandappyfun and on YouTube. We just posted our first video. Jonathan talks about app development and how he came up with the art direction.

By the way, I did this entire blog post on the iPad…first time I’ve done it that way!

Thanks so much for your support. We couldn’t do any of this without you!