The roller coaster ride of book marketing is perpetual. The highs and lows, twists and turns, rises and falls can leave you screaming with exhilaration one minute and crying in desperation the next. The only way to stop the madness is to jump off and walk away. Otherwise, you better get a tight grip and prepare for a wild, volatile, ride. My most recent example of the marketing ups and downs involves Goodreads. After putting my book on the Goodreads site I did a promotional giveaway for two copies. The interest was good as over 450 people signed up, and over 180 of them put my book down as ‘to read.’ It looked to be a successful endeavor. Unfortunately, to date, neither of the winners in the giveaway has submitted a review. And the 180 plus ‘to reads’ haven’t equated to ‘now readings’ or ‘have reads’ yet. As well, there were no significant increases in book buys. But, we often forget, book marketing is a marathon not a sprint. Patience and perseverance are key components to book marketing success. I have just this week received 2 four-star reviews on the Goodreads site. One was written by a grandmother from the American heartland through another site’s ‘a comp copy for a honest review’ agreement, and the other was from a gentleman from the country of Georgia, formerly part of the Soviet Union. These two reviewers are particularly encouraging because, on top of their great reviews, they show the potential wide ranging appeal of my book. I’ll share a brief piece of each review below but you can see both reviews in full on the Goodreads site or on Amazon.
“You can tell that David A. Bates has a passion for documenting this tribute to Ali… I enjoyed this book and even if you aren’t interested in sports consider reading this book.”
“Also the author wrote about Ali with admiration and gave a number of good opinions about why Ali might be considered greatest, he did not just recite the fact about Ali’s life and his boxing career. Plus, the format David Bates chose to write, the Ode style, makes it to be more compelling and exciting than a typical biographical book.”
With the NBA playoffs now underway, what better time to reveal my pick for basketball’s best ever? For any team sport selecting an individual as the best ever can be tricky, and controversial. But just like my pick in boxing, Ali, size matters. And like my pick in baseball, Willie Mays, consistent longevity in total contribution and overall rankings in career stats are key components. That’s why my pick is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. From the time he started playing basketball his teams were dominant. In high school, his team won over seventy straight games. In college, his UCLA Bruins teams only lost two games in his four years and won three straight NCCA championships. The only thing that prevented them from winning four straight like the UCONN women’s team did this year was that freshman weren’t allowed to play on the varsity during his college years. The fear of his potential total dominance of the college game led to the dunk shot being outlawed upon his arrival. That just encouraged him to develop and perfect, what has been called by many the single most unstoppable shot of all time, his sky hook. It was deadly accurate from an incredible range and virtually unblock-able. As a pro, he took a lowly Milwaukee Bucks team and quickly turned them into consistent contenders. He led them to their one and only NBA championship. After being traded to the L.A. Lakers, he was the centerpiece of teams that won five NBA titles. His longevity, 20 seasons, and consistently high level of play, 19 all-star appearances, are also testament of his value to the game. Even now, after almost 30 years in retirement, Kareem is still the NBA all-time leading point scorer. Other career rankings include: minutes played, 1st, games played, 2nd, total win shares, 1st, offensive win shares, 1st, defensive win shares, 3rd, MVP shares, 3rd, total rebounds 4th, shot blocks, 3rd, fga, 1st, fgm, 1st, 2 pt fga, 1st, 2 pt fgm, 1st, fta, 6th, ftm, 10th. As far as individual awards, he was the 2-time AP Player of the Year, 3-time Final Four Outstanding Player, and 68-69 Naismith Player of the Year in college. As a pro, he was 6-time NBA MVP and twice the NBA Finals MVP, as well as the already mentioned unprecedented nineteen-time All-Star. He was also named a member of the NBA 35th and 50th anniversary all-time teams and one of the fifty greatest players of all-time. In addition, Abdul-Jabbar was named to the all-defensive 1st team five times and to the 2nd team six times demonstrating his all-around game and value to his teams. Personally, I believe that due to his size and dominance many fans and so-called experts alike don’t give him credit for being the best because his play seemed almost effortless. Smaller players, relatively speaking, are given credit for seeming to put forth greater effort and thus being more impressive. A prime example of this prevailing attitude being that centers never win the dunk contest. But as they say, the numbers don’t lie. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s numbers have stood the test of time. He won just as many titles as Jordan, and scored more points. And he exceeds Mr. James in both those categories. If I was asked to put together a basketball team for all the money, and could pick anyone, my first choice would be Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Period. And that’s the reason why, along with all of the above, in my book, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the greatest basketball player of all-time.
“It was from this enriching and engrossing master piece I learned that there was much more to discover and pay tribute to the amazing personality of Muhammad Ali …”
“A heart warming homage to a universal personality.”
The great reviews just keep coming in. This time ENAS Reviews (enasreviews.com) expressed the above sentiments in their outstanding review of my book. I am both grateful for and humbled by their words.
You can read the entire outstanding review in its entirety at:
The great Muhammad Ali was as famous for his lyrically rhyming recitations and his bold poetic prognostications as he was for his lightning quick fists and nimble, fancy footwork. In my book’s intro I reference a television docudrama that speculated on Ali being potentially the first rapper. ESPN’s “ALI RAP”, released 2008, was based on the book, ALI RAP: Muhammad Ali the First Heavyweight Champion of Rap. Edited and designed by George Lois, published 11-2-06, it contained over 300 rap rhythms, quips, quotes, poems, witticisms, etc from Ali. The docudrama had various celebrities quoting their favorite Ali “raps” or sayings and paying their respects to the champ. Some rappers saying how his rhyming recitations had inspired and influenced their own musical creations. But even long before this tribute came about, Ali actually did record an album that could possibly be considered the first rap album. In 1963, prior to the then heavyweight contender becoming the champion, Columbia Records produced a spoken word record on which Ali, then Cassius Clay, performed his rhyming recitations, backed by musical accompaniment, in front of a studio audience. The recited verses had a round ending bell separating each sequence. Entitled “I Am the Greatest,” it was released in 1964. The album also included two songs, sung by Ali, including a version of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me.” It topped out at #102 on the charts. It could indeed be considered the first rap album.
With a new baseball season starting up I decided it was a perfect time to reveal my pick for the all-time greatest baseball player, Willie Mays. I believe that Willie Mays was the all-around total package. As it says on his Baseball Hall of Fame plaque Willie Mays excelled in all phases of the game, and was one of the game’s most exciting and colorful stars. He could win games with his bat, his glove, his arm, and his legs. He could hit for power and for average (660 hrs, .302 lifetime batting avg., 1903 rbi, 3,283 hits, 1,323 extra base hits, .557 slugging pct., .384 obp, 6,066 total bases). His speed allowed him not only to offensively leg out hits, steal bases, and take the extra base, but defensively to track down anything hit his way ( 1st player ever 30 hr/30 sb in a season and 300 hr/ 300 sb in a career, 2nd player ever to get 20 hr, doubles, triples and sb in same season, still no. 1 all-time with 7,095 total outfield putouts and no. 2 all-time in center fielder double plays with 59). His throwing arm prevented runners from advancing and cut down anyone foolish enough to try. His over the shoulder catch of Vic Wertz towering drive and whirling, dead accurate, runner holding throw in game 1 of the World Series is still considered by some as the greatest defensive play ever. He won 12 consecutive Gold Glove awards for his outstanding play in the outfield during the prime of his career. Willie led the league in home runs 4 times and in stolen bases 4 times. He was a 2-time NL MVP and a 2-time All-Star game MVP. Some of his career rankings are: hrs 5th, total bases 3rd, runs scored 7th, runs created 7th, hits 12th, games played 9th, rbi 11th, extra base hits 5th, slugging pct. 18th, walks 22nd, WPA 2nd, and WAR 15th. I gave consideration to selecting Babe Ruth due to his early success as a pitcher before switching to become a record setting power hitting first baseman. But Willie’s speed and defensive prowess gave him the edge. He participated in over 20 All-Star games. Baseball legend Ted Williams was once quoted as saying, “They invented the All-Star game for Willie Mays.” Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher once stated, “If somebody hit .450, stole 100 bases, and performed a miracle in the field every day, I’d look you in the eye and still say Willie Mays was better.” In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Willie Mays 2nd in a list of the 100 greatest baseball players. In my book, for all of the above, Willie Mays is number one!