Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Star and the Brick

“A Coach’s Life” received two unexpected tributes recently. They symbolize where the book stands at this point in its existence.

One of the tributes, which came in the mail as a complete surprise, was a silvery paperweight in the shape of a star with the name “iUniverse” impressed on it. It was a keepsake from the book’s publisher, and it signifies the fact that “A Coach’s Life” was granted iUniverse’s rare “Star” designation.

The Star designation means that iUniverse has chosen to issue a second edition of the book with a new cover and a slightly revised text, and to promote the book in a variety of ways—all at the publisher’s expense. Fewer than one percent of all the author-published books issued by iUniverse earn this designation.

So the star stands for the belief that the book has the potential to reach a far wider and more diverse audience than I ever intended as I went about writing it.

The Star version of the book is now making its way into the marketplace.

The other tribute came in the form of a brick. Pictured above, it is one of many that are mounted on a donor’s wall in the Marion (Iowa) High School building. Benefactors who donate $300 to the school district foundation are entitled to have a red brick placed on the wall with their names on it.

For years before the book was published, and ever since, the foundation directors, LaNisha Cassell and Nancy Thornton, have championed the book in many ways, including selling it to alumni, teachers, and townspeople.

Incredibly (to me), the book generated enough profit for the foundation to warrant its own brick.

I had no idea that LaNisha and Nancy were keeping track or that such a wonderful thing was even possible.

But I’m certain my old coach, Les Hipple, would be pleased.

The brick tells me I achieved the goal I had in mind when I started this project so long ago. Every time I faced an editorial decision as I worked on the book—and there were thousands of such decisions—I always opted for the one that I thought would best meet the interests of my target audience. And that audience was the people of Marion, Iowa, who remembered the coach and his times.
If I can write a book they will like, I said, I will succeed.

The brick says I did it.  The star says more is possible.

-- Dan Kellams

Above, the donor's wall in the Marion High School building