All kinds of awesome things happen to me because I live in Cleveland.  Others are seeing it too—my favorite line from the Beard awards reception Monday, slightly boozy but true nonetheless: “Cleveland is happening!” the California girl shouted to me.  “Cleveland is on the cusp of greatness!”

Earlier in the year a company called Sideways called me saying they were fans and cooks and wanted to create a template for an “Author App,” basically a fan app that allows people interested in an author to access everything he or she has to offer, in quick seamless fashion. I was game and I knew that my passionate, occasionally disturbed follow, would find it interesting.  Watch the video above, download it FREE from iTunes.

It is, of course, the irony of fate that I would introduce this iPhone app two days after leaving my own damned iPhone in the back of a taxi.

Would love to know what you think.  Don’t be shy.  Frankly I am—so I’m a tad self-conscious about this.  A long time ago, when I was visiting a friend’s parents’ house, my friend pointed into the room of his prominent father, a 2-star general.  It had medals, and photos of the general with famous people.  My friend said, “This is my dad’s I-love-myself room.”  I don’t want my app to seem like an I-love-myself room. As most know, I’m giving the new media a great bear hug.  Also, I want other people to know about this cool Cleveland startup,, founded by entrepreneur Charles Stack, and moving forward fast (look for there digital magazine for the ipad, devoted to the ipad and iphone soon; I hope to be doing a digital cooking column in it).  It officially launches at Book Expo later this month in NYC.

One of the features that I particularly like is the map, but it’s a work in progress. I’m able to update it and am especially eager to.  For instance, I had a great meal at Locanda Verde, kitchen lead by Cleveland boy, Andrew Carmellini (he’s got a terrific book out called Urban Italian, which he wrote with his wife).  I can put up a little knife and fork symbol about it.  People ask me where to eat in Cleveland.  Now I can point them to my map. I can already see that I need to update it with the great meals I had in Portland. Maybe I can include other people’s favorites in cities I’m about to visit.

Authors who may read this, publishers of authors, and chefs who have multiple platforms such as books, shows, appearances, etc., I’m happy to forward email queries to the appropriate folks if you’re curious.  And look for their digital magazines later this month.


28 Wonderful responses to “Introducing My New “Author App” WhoHa!”

  • jaybee

    Beyond the “create this app for android” comments that will inevitably be posted here, I must say that this is a terrific “why didn’t I think of that” idea. Beyond authors, I could see musicians, actors, and other celebrities utilizing just this kind of app to integrate all of the information that they already share, or are willing to share with the public.

  • Sarah

    I could see downloading this app for you and certain other selected artists, and I don’t see it as making you seem any more egotistical than any other social media page, profile, or whatnot. Also, I have to tell you that I went to Cleveland last week for a convention, and my husband flew out that weekend so we could play. We came in with few preconceived notions, pro or con, aside from watching your and Bourdain’s No Rez ep, and were utterly blown away with the place.

    We walked (and ate) our way from 4th street to tower city to the lakeshore to the warehouses and back, each gained about 5 pounds, and generally had a spectacular time. If it weren’t for the fact that our cabbie to the airport told us about your annual snowfall, us two southerners would be job hunting up there right now. At any rate, I think we’ve found ourselves an unconventional vacation getaway for when the temps hit the triple digits down here…

  • Obo

    Many authors are already using Twitter to announce all their when and where all their appearances/articles occur/appear. Keith Law does an especially good job of this. I have been frustrated with authors who do not. I want to read EVERYTHING Michael Lewis writes but he is published in so many places it’s hard to keep up. So, will this app require the author be on board, like Twitter does? Or, am I going to be able to find all of Michael Lewis’ articles whether he wants me to or not?

  • Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen)

    I’ll be the one to say it: When is the android version coming? 😉

    Cleveland indeed rocks and the whole state of Ohio seems to be on the edge of greatness. Perhaps it’s because visitors have such low expectations, but little by little those who experience Ohio are noticing that there is so much to do and eat here.

  • Lora

    Sounds like an interesting idea, and one I would probably get behind in a flash because I love the idea it aggregates everything into a nice easy to follow package – but like the Android crowd, I’m feeling no Blackberry love. Not everyone has an iPhone, nor wants one.

    I agree with Sarah that it’s no more egotistical than Twitter/Facebook or the rest when information is posted to point folks toward new posts or appearances.

  • Adam Jaskiewicz

    I’m downloading it now!

    I need to spend some time hanging out in Cleveland. I have some family there (well, North Olmstead) so I’ve been a few times, but never really explored. I work in Detroit, and I really feel that Cleveland can serve as a wonderful example of what Detroit could be in a few years. If people invest in themselves and their neighborhoods, and if we can get regional cooperation for transportation infrastructure (SEMCOG isn’t cutting it), I think Detroit can rise from the ashes.

  • ruhlman

    thanks for app comments and thanks for cleveland comments! i agree!

    android issue. i know. i wish there were a universal platform, but there isn’t. each one takes a from-the-ground-up build. android is even more complicated than iphone because of various types of devices that use it.

    • Chuck

      If it’s helpful, Michael, I can recommend a service that helps developers vet their Android apps for the various Android devices out there:

      I’m not involved with them, just have heard good things about their service.

  • Eleanor Hoh (wokstar)

    Thnx for sharing Sideways, going to contact them. I like that you’re always ahead in technology and your wonderful “no-recipe” approach to cooking/baking, reflects my own philosophy. Many folks still can’t break out of the ‘recipe’ mode, so your pioneer efforts help all of us.

  • Christine Valada

    Love the new app. I see it as a big plus when I travel and need a good place to eat.

    It would be great for my husband, comic book writer Len Wein, as a promotion tool. He does a lot of public appearances and has a big project coming out this month.

    I agree with the comment that it should expand into other areas of the arts. As a photographer, I could see it used for recommended supply houses, studios, stylists, labs (how old fashioned is that?) and even locations for shooting. I’m wishing great success to the start-up.

    • Bob

      Small world! Old comic book fan & convention geek here … used to hang with the West Coast comic crowd, Steve Leialoha, Trina Robbins, Tom Orzechowski, Lois L. Buhalis, etc.

  • Natalie Sztern

    Honey, in this day and age if you ain’t pushing you and you ain’t payin’ someone to push you…you just ain’t!!! (on anyone’s lips or radar, I mean)

    This is a fabulous app; and for fans of you and everything you (and other authors) it is a dynamite program. Now I have one question. Do you or Donna ever get the slightest bit concerned about stalkers? Even in Cleveland?

  • Darcie

    If you start a magazine and put your photo on every cover, then maybe you have an ego problem. Otherwise, this is just a marketing vehicle that should be utilized like any other.

    I suppose this will work on the iPad touch, no? I’ve been thinking about getting one and between the Ratio app and this one you are sorely tempting me.

    Cleveland is a great place. DH and I will be there in July (to visit friends in Barberton and get some famous Barberton chicken). I’ll go to the Westside Market and perhaps VTR if I can find a date.

  • Mark H.

    Nice app. I’d bury the books bit, you don’t need it because presumably someone downloading your app already has some, knows where to find them, and is certainly already a fan.

    Map feature is fantastic, but need better zoom capability. Maybe enter a zip code and a ‘mile’ radius. It started on map of entire US, which took a few tries to get where I needed to get.

  • John K.

    Well, I may now need to get an Ipad….otherwise all these nifty apps just fly by me, with no personal application.

    Wonderful to see the positive words on Cleveland. We always seem to struggle with our identity, and getting people to see all that is good about the place I am proud to call my hometown.

  • Big Red

    Not having an iPhone, I can say that this is the one time I wish I had one. Apps like this make it seem far less…dorky? I dunno I don’t have a better word for it than that. (My students say the phone is sick, but if you don’t have any cool apps, it is anti-sick. Ummmmm….whatever?)

    In all seriousness, it is a little like an I-love-me thing but it is a functional thing, and unlike people like those weirdos on the Travel network who will remain unnamed, I can actually learn somthing from you, though your writing, presentations and research. I actually like to spend leisure time reading your books and learning about techniques I didn’t know or knew very little about. Now that you have an iPhone app, I may have to break down and buy the damn thing. So much for living off the cell phone grid.

  • ekc

    Looks great – almost makes me want to ditch my crackberry for an iPhone! Glad you had some good meals here in Portland – would love to hear where you ate …

  • Vivian

    This is awesome! The app looks great but I am not sure about the Map thing, I understand the novelty of it, but it creeps me out to have strangers know where I am.

    As far as the self promotion goes, it’s now a necessary evil for you. I am noticing more and more, that publishers just aren’t promoting their writers in the ways they used to so don’t even feel remotely bad about this.

    Love that the app connects easily to your blog and other website features. I think it will work out to be a great tool.

  • Vivian

    Oops! Misunderstood how the map thing worked. OK now love it because I am actually making my way to Cleveland this summer and will probably put some of your favorites to the test.

  • Andreas Duess

    Downloaded it, tried it, will be deleting it.

    I love your Ratio App, but I can’t see the benefit in this, for me. That doesn’t in any way mean that the app is in any way bad, it’s actually very pretty, it just doesn’t fulfil my needs.

    I read your blog in google reader, I clip recipes I like to Evernote and I get community reviews from yelp and others.

    I also follow you on twitter, so the app isn’t really adding anything for me.

    Again, this is just a personal opinion and in no way meant to be a negative review of the app itself which might very well be useful to others.

    • Rhonda


      It is disheartening to see that you do not like Ratio.

      Shoemakers are needed in order to make others shine

      • Andreas Duess

        You got me wrong – I love the Ratio App and use it all the time. It’s genius.

        I personally do not love the Author App, but that’s just me. Much to my chagrin I am not the king of the internet, yet, so I am perfectly happy for other’s opinions to differ from mine. 😉