A history of the Adventures in Hippoville Series would be incomplete without first mentioning that Hippoville arose from a convergence of self-identity, illustrative inspiration and academic opportunity. The genesis of the Series is credited to these factors and the progression of innovative and readily accessible technologies.
As the world of Hippoville became a steadfast component of the future author’s identity through the illustrations of hippopotami on greeting cards, it was suggested by a high school art instructor to develop a body of artistic work for the Concentration portion of the Advanced Placement Studio Art course. What began as a “Day in the Life of Harry Hippo” evolved into the first book of the Adventures in Hippoville Series, Harry Hippo’s Flight. On completion of the project, that art instructor, John Tate, highly encouraged publication. Due to the realities of the market, partly as adventure, partly as experiment and partly as business venture, the author soared into self-publishing.
To be as economically sustainable as technology allowed at the time, the first edition of Harry Hippo’s Flight was printed in house – on demand. The books were essentially hand-made: illustrations printed on one side with a laser printer, text on the verso with a Xerox copier, trimmed and staple bound with a report cover edge. This process, once refined, allowed the author (and now publisher) to print and bind a finished copy in less than 10 minutes.
As this was a product of high production values but extremely limited to low-end technology, widespread success of the book [selling at bookstores] was not possible – at the time. In 2003, the company was closed so that the author could refocus – on what worked and what didn’t, the second book in the series, and most importantly, an undergraduate education. In 2006, while on a Fulbright Fellowship, ideas on a second book from 2003 and 2004 progressed rapidly into what would become Harry Hippo’s Lake Party.
A second convergence occurred in 2007-08 as the author gave himself an ultimatum to publish the second book by summer 2008 (despite now being in grad school), else Hippoville would never continue. As evident, Hippoville Publishing is alive and well with a fresh new look and business model. And with new and affordable technology, the Series can take off in new directions; one being full color on every page for Book Three!