“Development H#ll” for sportswriters


Trying to get a basketball book done has been one of the toughtest things I’ve dealt with here in Vietnam. Working for a publishing house that makes educational materials, the production of books is more or less greenlit already, and it’s simply a question of which schools/enterprises will buy X number of copies. But trying to break into the sports book field has proven to be a massive headache.

Publishing as a whole has changed dramatically since I graduated from journalism school a couple of decades ago… The Internet has proven to be a source of endless content, of varying degrees of quality, and the traditional print industry has taken a hit. Having spent more than 15 years writing and editing for newspapers and magazines, I can see how wariness has crept in to free up any kind of money for untested projects. In Vietnam at the moment, there are practically no locally produced sports books…. Just translations of Manchester United books and the like.

As such, it’s an unknown quantity. And no one wants to invest time or money on the unknown.

The answer to everything these days seems to be crowdfunding. I wrote an earlier ebook with no promotion/backing/or printed copies, and it’s as simple as uploading it to Amazon. No, really. The immediacy of it is the nicest part. There is also little doubt as to its readership: Not many. Promotion is still a massive part of the book world, especially when anybody can get a Smashwords account and upload whatever they churned out.

I approached the other parties involved in this venture in October… We’re now closing in on September and things don’t really seem to have progressed. I definitely need the backing of one party for anything to proceed. The other may have written itself out of the equation if they just make it too difficult to work with.

All to say the struggle is not over — I am confident this manuscript will be available sometime in the near future. Whether it’s with all the current stakeholders remains to be seen. Waiting on multiple parties to make up their minds makes an impatient guy like me grind my teeth… Some streamlining may make liftoff possible.

About hodgedude

I'm a Canadian journalist and teacher, most recently living in Edmonton and Toronto, now located in Ho Chi Minh City. Graduate of Concordia University in Montreal. I've taught English in S. Korea, pulled rickshaws in Canada, taught at a Taiwanese language boot camp, edited newspapers in China and played a French-speaking Spanish colonel on Vietnamese TV. I also play Australian football. Pick up a copy of issue one of my independent comic, "Getting Lucky," at Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton, the Comic Hunter in Moncton, New Brunswick, and the Spotted Cow Pub, 111 Bui Vien, District 1, Saigon.
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