Checking out the Competition

James Joyce: It took the world a while to catch on, too. (His favorite cricket player was Arthur Shrewsbury.)

Between Martin and myself, we may have logged sixty years of book-publishing experience. We know our way around the block. Not to be confused with one of those Amazon-obsessed authors, I do admit, from time to time, finding myself sneaking a peak at our sales and *rank* on Amazon. Of course, with Right Off the Bat, one finds (bless you, Amazon) Related Titles. Among them I was mortified to discover a book on baseball, by an Englishman no less, published exactly one week before ours, and today ranked about 1 million jumps ahead of us. To compound the humiliation (if this is the right word), the volume is published by Bloomsbury, USA. Now, Bloomsbury, UK, is famously the publisher of J. K. Rowling and the Harry Potter franchise. But to make things even weirder, the day before our book was released to the visible (and invisible, as an e-book) universe, July 12, the publishing world learned that the company for which Martin and I had toiled for many of our sixty publishing-years, Continuum, had been sold to Bloomsbury. Flip Flop Fly Ball, by one Craig Robinson, does sound amusing. I have seen it in several Barnes and Noble superstores. Robinson carries all sorts of excellent notices and endorsements. Yet, I keep reminding myself that Keats’s “Endymion” fell stillborn from the press, Joyce’s Dubliners took almost a decade to see the light of day and then probably did not sell out its initial print run of 1,500, Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury barely made any noise in the marketplace, and Moby-Dick caused (another pun intended, what pun?) barely a ripple. Well, dear reader, you get the picture.


About rightoffthebatbook

Co-author of the book, "Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life"
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