Tag Archive for Six Innings Paperback

Poetry Friday: “In a Red Baseball Cap” by James Preller

Just dug this unpublished poem out of the file cabinet, must have written it about 25-30 years ago, so might as well finally see the light of day. I always liked this one, that connection between the boy and Willie Mays, the white ball a communion wafer, H.D.’s companionship of the flame across time, space, generations.

Speaking of my lifelong love affair with baseball, one of my happiest moments as a writer was the day I published this book, which felt like an outpouring of years and years of baseball thoughts, dreams, memories . . .

I love the new paperback cover.

More on Book Covers: New Paperback Cover for SIX INNINGS

In 2008, Feiwel & Friends published my first hardcover novel, Six Innings, a book that was eventually named An ALA Notable. The cover was fabulous, featuring the work of gifted illustrator Chris Sheban, whose style you might recognize from the covers of Because of Winn-Dixie, Brooklyn Bridge, Punished, The Tiger Rising, and more.

Six Innings sold reasonably okay, earned some kind reviews (and a Judy Blume comparison!), and nobody got rich; we were happy. When it was time for the book to go to paper, my publisher had to make a decision. Come up with a new cover, or simply reproduce the existing cover in a paperback format, which is what they did.

And the paperback edition did not sell. Understatement. It struck out, looking.

This could be for a variety reasons, but one line of thought was that we were dealing with two different markets. The hardcover, with awards and good reviews, sold well in the institutional market. Paperback was a different animal, targeted more directly to the reader. I want to say the less sophisticated consumer, but that’s not right. Children these days are plenty sophisticated, it’s just that their tastes are their own. To them, these days, the photographic approach seems to hold more immediacy.  At least that’s the current thinking.

So check out the new look (the original is up top in the header):

While I’ve got you (as my dad used to say), Linda Sue Park’s Keeping Score was another baseball-themed book that came out at the same time. And I confess: I hated the cover. That poor book, I thought. It just struck me, a former 10-year-old boy, as all kinds of wrong.

Someone must have agreed. Take a gander at the paperback.

Quite a difference, huh? It doesn’t look remotely like the same book. Curiously, in this case, the publisher went from a photographic to an illustrative approach, but more significantly re-thought the cover content and updated the design. A successful change, I think, though a dog and a fire hydrant makes me think of only one thing. Was that the idea? Dog pee? Maybe dog pee figures into the book somehow (I have not read it). The ex-boy in me wouldn’t have picked up that cover, either.

It’s also possible that the book was rewritten, with the girl character replaced by a black lab.

In the end, covers are a tricky business. The author’s job is what’s inside.

“Six Innings” in Paperback, Only $6.99, Cheap! *

“The novel goes beyond fastballs and first base to the heart of the game—the players—in a way even non-sports fans will love.”USA Today.

Six Innings went into paperback last week. So now all you tightwads you can pick up a copy at consumer-friendly prices! The book includes a special Q & A with the author (me!), a sample chapter from Bystander, and advertisements!

Here’s two questions from the Q & A as a FREE BONUS SAMPLE for my bloggy friends:

What was your best subject in school?

P.E. and recess.

Where do you find inspiration for your writing?

Since I usually write realistic fiction, I try to begin with an accurate understanding of a child’s world, often by sitting in on various classrooms in my community. I have three children, ages 9, 10, and 16, so that helps me stay connected. I don’t think you can examine something like “childhood” under a microscope, like a lab technician in a cold, white room. For a writer you’ve got to feel it, and for whatever reason, I still remember.

Actually, um, I changed my mind. That wasn’t free. What am I crazy, giving this stuff away? In today’s economy? Think again. You owe me, oh, $2.95, which I’ll accept in cash, check, money order, credit card, PayPal, or shards of pretty glass.

I mean to say . . .

The surprisingly decent folks over at the Mac Kids Blog are featuring the book on something called the interwebs! They did a nice job.


Sob, it’s times like these when I wish my mother could turn on a computer.

Seriously, we’re done here.

Get moving.

* $6.99, that is, unless you’re in Canada, where it’s $8.50.  Hey, I saw that Olympic hockey game. You didn’t realize payback would come so soon, so hard, did you?