Monday, March 17, 2014

Nice to be remembered

My friend Jeff alerted me to the fact that a mention of the book was included in the latest edition of the Brooklyn College Alumni Magazine. Pretty cool.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Where's the love?


Sorry for a second consecutive self-promotional item, but I have to admit I was a bit disappointed to see that 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die wasn't part of ForeWord Magazine's Best of the Year Awards in the adult sports category. At least it didn't make the final cut; I have no idea if it was even considered. 
This is kind of a like a tree-falling-in-the-woods thing: If I had not heard about it, would I have made this noise? Or something like. 
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Congrats to the other baseball authors: James Buckley for America's Classic Ballparks; Larry Ruttman for American Jews and America's Game; Joe Niese for Burleigh Grimes; Russell Schneider for Cleveland Indians Legends; Larry Rossman for New York Yankees Then and Now; and Raphael Hermosa for Speak English! The Rise of Latinos in Baseball ("and to the other non-baseball writers," he said reluctantly.)  

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Go west, 501 Baseball Books...

Jon Leonoudakis is at the Nine Conference in Tempe, Arizona. I've never been but hope to some day. In the meantime, according to this picture he posted in Facebook, I'm represented.


A reminder: If you'd like an autographed bookplate and/or checklist for your copy of 501, just send me an email with your name and snail-mail.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Jeff Pearlman, I feel your pain

Recently, my Facebook friend Jeff Pearlman, author of the new Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, posted this on his blog, reprinted in full:
Writing books is what I love to do.

I’m not just saying this. It’s my true passion; something that brings me happiness for 1,001 different reasons. I love delving into subjects. I love sports. I love travel. I love sitting in the rear of a coffee shop, digging through clips. I love finding myself lost in research. I love being able to drop my kids off at school in the morning. I love picking them up in the afternoon.

Writing books is what I love to do.

Promoting a book, however, is very hard. But, more than hard, it’s gut-wrenching. I’m not sure how many people even realize this, but Amazon has a ranking system that many authors live and die with. It literally ranks all books by sale totals. Some authors—King, Hillenbrand, Gladwell—know they’ll hit No. 1 without much effort, then stick at/near the spot for months, if not years. Other authors never even think about such things—they write purely for joy and thrill, and even having a book on Amazon is reward.

I don’t fit in either category. I’m not Gladwell. I’m not the guy who’s just happy to be there. I think, with Boys Will Be Boys, I peaked at No. 6 on Amazon—a huge thrill. Showtime recently hit No. 23, also pretty sweet. But, unlike the supersonic guns, I struggle mightily to remain in a high perch. I’m not entirely sure why. Name recognition? Quality? Marketing? Really, it’s a riddle I have yet to solve. But I desperately want to get there; want my books to sell and sell and sell and sell and sell. Instead, I watch—hand in front of eyes—as my book slowly heads down the mountain. I mean, I’m not complaining. I get very high, and am grateful for that. But as one goes from 23 to 43 to 56 to 68 to 98 to 122 … well, it sucks. I try doing more and more media; more and more Tweets; more and more … anything. Everything.

This, however, is the riddle that plagues me.

This keeps me up nights.
To which I respectfully reply

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Dude, as of this writing, Showtime is 159 for all books. And Boys was 6??? Not to compare our situations -- you've got several critically-acclaimed books to your credit from major publishing houses; I've got one from a university press -- but the highest my book every ranked was 9,005. And I was thrilled! Are my standards that much lower?

You've published some great baseball titles, including The Bad Guys Won: A Season of Brawling, Boozing, Bimbo Chasing, and Championship Baseball with Straw, Doc, Mookie, Nails, the Kid, and the Rest of the ... Put on a New York Uniform--and Maybe the Best and The Rocket That Fell to Earth: Roger Clemens and the Rage for Baseball Immortality, that latter of which I included as one of the 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die(which, also as of this writing, ranks a tad south of 752,000). And you're already fretting that Showtime might dip down to 123?

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Come on, Jeff. Think of all the other full-time professional writers who would love to be in your shoes. You're getting major air time on sports talk radio and TV and you know the reviews will be piling up across the country. I think I've got a gig on my town's cable access station in a week or so. Not to mention you write for Sports Illustrated!
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Don't get me wrong. I'm very grateful for whatever events and appearances I've had and the conversations and e-mails about 501; it's been a real hoot.. But if you ever wanna swap professional lives for a week or so -- with the appearances, acclaim, and royalties -- let me know.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I've got a good resource for them...

If, indeed, more schools are doing this, I would love to hear from them in terms of using 501 as a source guide:

HILLSBOROUGH: Kids can study baseball for credit

Really, if anyone knows about a school district or college/university that might consider using 501 Baseball Books as part of their curricula, please let me know.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I've got them "501 Baseball Books" blues

This is the time of year when you start hearing about all the exciting new baseball titles you can look forward to. And don't worry, I'll get to those soon.

But I can't help feeling a bit sad about the short "buzz-span" of a book. Heck, even that perennial best-seller Moneyball isn't talked or written about much, but the sales keep climbing. I know that people will still buy 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die since the information remains basically the same (although I wouldn't be surprised if an updated version is in the cards). But even so, the newness isn't there any more. It's like having a kid go from an infant to an independent adult in a year.

All the new authors will be enjoying their experiences and, save for a perhaps few events, my run is over. Even though I'm working on a new (non-baseball) sports book, it's not the same. 501 was my first, about a topic I love, so it will always be special.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Here's to the 'winners'

Awhile back I notched my 100,000th visitor. To celebrate the occasion, I put up copies to The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams, by Bill Bradlee Jr., and The 34-Ton Bat: The Story of Baseball as Told Through Bobbleheads, Cracker Jacks, Jockstraps, Eye Black, and 375 Other Strange and Unforgettable Objects, by Steve Rushin, to the Bookshelf readers who I figured came closest to the mark (without doing the actual study to determine who, in fact, was the 100,000th).

So thanks to everyone who wrote in and congratulations to our two "winners," Stuart Schiffman and Greg Macedo.
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Look for more Bookshelf giveaways in the weeks and months ahead. Good for you, in that you get new books, and good for me, in that my wife is happy I'm decluttering.