New Guides Teach Basic Life Skills
Seeing a need for “short, sweet, concise books” that help prepare young people for the “real world,” Steve Schultz, a successful Atlanta-based entrepreneur founded Real U Guides in 2003 and, together with Random House Distribution, has launched a how-to series that is both informative and reader-friendly. A hybrid between a book and a magazine, the guides are designed to be entertaining as well as useful and feature four colors, loads of visuals, and easy-to-follow advice. “Every topic we have covers a step in life,” explains Schultz. “With today’s fast-paced world, there is no nurturing time…I’ve got six kids, but rarely see all of them around the dining table at the same time.” Saying he had learned the basics of living from his father in a slower age but today sees “a void in family education in practical life skills,” he is determined to fill the gap.
The first eight titles, recently released, are the Real U Guide to Your First Apartment, to Buying Your First Car, to Living On Your Own, to Planning for College, to Your First Job, to Bank Accounts and Credit Cards, to Saving and Investing, and to Identity Theft. Scheduled for publication this summer are the Real U Guide to Traveling on Your Own, to Car Care and Road Safety, and a revised book on Identity Theft. Although the series was conceived for young adults, it quickly became apparent that parents were also reading the books and needed Guides for their own lives in topics ranging from buying a home to planning for retirement to caring for aged parents. Books for a broader market are planned.
Megan Stine, editor-in-chief of U Guide, wrote the prototype for the initial book, Your First Apartment, and has hired writers as the list has grown. Some writers are experts in their fields such as Peter Greenberg, known nationally as a travel editor on TV (U Guide to Traveling on Your Own), Mike Kavanagh, Certified Financial Planner and financial talk show host (U Guide to Saving and Investing), Ilyce Glink, money expert on national radio and television shows (U Guide to Bank Accounts and Credit Cards), and Frank W. Abagnale, author of Catch Me If You Can and authority on forgery and embezzlement (U Guide to Identity Theft). Other writers are young journalists whose “real expertise is they know the readers because they are close in age.” They acquire subject information through research. The Real U voice is “hip, edgy, humorous, and to the point,” explains Stine. Guides “contain no more or less information than you need.” They are designed to be fun and eye-catching. All books are 64 pages long and sell for $6.95.
Watch for the publisher’s mobile campus this summer and fall as an RV draped with the Real U logo visits college campuses, book stores, sporting events, and shopping malls offering seminars, author appearances, and related activities.#