Ethan Bryan didn’t know six-year-old Bo Macan or his family and somehow felt compelled to write a book about Bo.
Bryan’s sister was on the website Go Shout Love, and she told him to read Bo’s story.
“When I was reading Bo’s story, it was an idea that hit like lightning,” Bryan said. “I should write a story about this and help spread word. It was one of those ideas that wouldn’t leave me alone until I did something about it.
“It’s been a long time coming — 10 months beginning to end — I’m glad it’s going to be a reality this calendar year.”
Bryan worked with illustrator Wilson Tharp, who was a student at Missouri State University, Bryan’s alma mater.
With Bryan living in Springfield, Mo., and the Macans living in Northeast Johnson Country, all communication was done via email, texting and calling with Bo’s mom Carolyn.
What excited Bryan about the process was forming new relationships. Bryan didn’t meet Bo and the Macans until Oct. 23, at Bombs 4 Bo, a home run derby to support Bo.
But the process wasn’t easy.
Bryan needed the approval of Major League Baseball and former Royals player Bo Jackson.
“I didn’t know what I was doing,” Bryan said. “I’d say every step of the way was filled with ignorance. The first thing I needed to do to do the story I wanted to do was get permission from Bo Jackson. Well, I don’t know how to get in touch with Bo Jackson, so I sent out so many emails and of course no one responds.”
A few weeks had gone by until Bryan received an email saying Jackson was in favor of the project.
Next, Bryan worked with the Royals, who introduced him to the licensing company that works with Major League Baseball.
“You get 12-page contracts in legalese and you’re trying to figure out what it’s saying,” Bryan said. “They just walked me through it and helped me and were supportive of the project. They were very patient with my ignorance.”
All the proceeds of the book will benefit Bo, but preorders will only be taken through Thanksgiving.
The only way to purchase the book, Bryan said, is via the family’s website and let them know the donation is in honor of the book.
It costs about $7 to publish each book and donations of at least $10 are recommended.
“The publisher I work with in Springfield will do a one-time printing and hopefully everything turns out all right,” Bryan said. “Books will be available by Christmas…or by Spring Training.”