Travel Writer 2 Travel Apper

by Jules Older

 

Meet the Olders, Jules and Effin.

Jules: former magazine editor-in-chief, former website Director, Global Interactive Content, former person with income.

Effin: widely published photographer, suddenly not widely published.

Hi. I'm Jules.

Not long ago I start getting emails asking if I'd like to write all about San Francisco for a travel website. It would be oh, two or three month’s work. For which they'd pay me, oh, $400.

As calmly as I could, I asked, “Did you inadvertently leave out some zeros?”

That ended our correspondence.

Ah, but was I discouraged?

Yes. Deeply discouraged.

Then, one day, an email arrives, asking if I'd like to create an iPhone app. Thinking it’s one more of those $400 opportunities, I'm tempted to trash it, unread.

But when I read it, this offer is a fair one, and the subject is one of my special interests. Thus is born, San Francisco Restaurants, the app.

Creating it is three months hard work... OK, soft work. I'm eating at favorite restaurants and writing about it — how hard is that?

But it’s long work. Seventy-five restaurants later — text by me, images by Effin — it goes to Apple for app-roval. I settle in for the infamously long, long wait.

One (1) week later, on Thanksgiving eve, Apple approves it. We are thankful. We are mega-tres thankful. San Francisco Restaurants is up and for sale — 99 cents, please.

Since Thanksgiving, it’s jumped from 104 to 14 in the listings for ‘San Francisco.’ It’s number one for ‘San Francisco Restaurants.’ (Choose your name well, Grasshopper. Fortune favors the descriptive title. At least on iPhone apps.)

It helps that we started publicizing it from Day One. We even made a two-minute YouTube video called, ‘San Francisco Restaurants, The Movie.’ As I write, 181 folks have seen it. (Dunno if YouTube counts views by the video’s creator. If so, better make that 171.)

Are we rich? Uh, no. The video’s free. The app’s 99 pennies get divided between us, the programmers who hired us, and Apple. Oh, and as I write, we've sold 99 of ‘em.

So — are we potentially rich? Too early to tell, but this may well be just another get-rich-slow scheme. Hardly my first — I'm a travel writer.

If this is a financial loser, are we sorry we spent the time and effort on it?

Hell, no. We learned a lot, tried something new, had a lot of fun. That’s what travel writing’s all about.

The Olders hang out at http://julesolder.com. San Francisco Restaurants, the app lives at the App Store on iPhone and iPod Touch and at the iTunes Store, http://sutromedia.com/apps/sfdining. San Francisco Restaurants, The Movie plays daily at http://www.youtube.com/julesolder#p/a

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