Book update No. 22 — DONE!!! (mostly)

I have so much free time right now that I almost don’t know what to do with myself, and you know what? I couldn’t be happier. For the last 19 months, I was working full-time on my book — and then some. Whenever I took a day off (or even an hour off) to do something else, I felt guilty. That’s not a fun way to live. I was always racing a deadline, stressing out over a chapter, chasing down someone for an interview, and tweaking various paragraphs into oblivion. Six weeks ago, when I was working on the Rawlings chapter, I kept waking up in the middle of the night because of all the stress.

Now the stress is gone.
Last week I turned in the Rawlings chapter. That was the final chapter that I needed to write (although it’ll appear in the middle of the book). I even got permission from Rawlings to use several photos that I took at the factory, and let me just say that the chapter is filled with so many incredible/descriptive details about the current manufacturing process…you are seriously not going to believe it. Last week I also turned in the copyedited manuscript. Basically, what that means is that the whole book was printed out on regular paper, and there were lots of markings and notations in colored pencil. Those markings were made by a copyeditor at Random House whose main job was to clean up the grammar and punctuation. The book was already in pretty good shape by the time the copyeditor worked on it, but there were some issues. For example, there were several typos, lots of misplaced commas, and a bunch of hyphenated words that were actually supposed to be one word. Did you know that “postseason” is one word”? I’d always written it as “post-season,” so hey, I learned something new. I also learned that “web site” should be “website.” And the list goes on. The copyeditor, meanwhile, made some changes that I vetoed. To a certain extent, that’s my right as the author. Obviously, some grammatical rules must be obeyed, but for example when the copyeditor changed “Spring Training” to “spring training,” I explained that even though it might look funny, those words are capitalized in the baseball world.
Right now the book is being laid out by the typesetter. All the headings and fonts and photos and captions and page numbers are being put into place. That’ll take a few weeks and then the “first pass” (as it’s called) will get sent to me. I’m also still dealing with the cover. My editor and I finally agreed on a particular photo of a ball. Now she’s talking to the art department about whether the background will be gray or black. I’ve seen both versions, and I like the black one more. But whatever…the point is that there are still countless details that need attention. Just before I wrote this entry, I spent two hours compiling a list of media contacts for my publicist. Writing the book was only the first step; spreading the word about it will be just as important, so hopefully I’ll be doing a bunch of interviews next season and getting lots of chances to promote it.
Am I done with the book? Yeah, kind of, mostly. The hard part is over, and that feels incredible. I’ll post another update soon.


  1. Mateo Fischer

    Congratulations Zack,

    I know it has been a long time coming. It is still amazing how you are able to do so many things in a certain span of time all under the circumstances and pressing deadlines. I will now attempt a fraction of that at

    I might only have fifty seven balls to this point but “never turn your back on a charging tortoise”,

  2. wewill1992


    Count me in for an interview. We can iron out the details, but I will use the interview in a future article. We can determine when the interview is and I’ll complile questions. This can reiterate interest in the ballhawking community with the hopes that they pass on information of the book to others.


    Congratulations! Can’t wait to read it! Also, are you allowed to tell us what title you decided on for the book? Or did I miss that blog?

  4. zackhample


    The blog looks good. Keep it up. It takes a while to build a following, and of course you’re starting a blog when baseball is just winding down for the year, so don’t get discouraged if traffic is slow at first. It certainly was for me back in April 2005 when I started this blog.

    Awesome. Thanks very much. Just drop me a line once the book is out and we can work out the details.

    I blogged about it before, but here it is again…
    The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals, and Secrets Beneath the Stitches

    Cool. Thanks.

    If only my editor read these comments…

  5. hooksfan

    Zack, even though I have never written a book I did end up doing a paper for my research seminar that turned up being 53 pages long. It was a 16 week course which we meet for only the first four weeks and from that point on we were on our own. The stress was there as you try and figure out what belongs and what doesn’t. I’m very grateful that I have a wife who is an English teacher because I know what I wanted to say but it didn’t always come out that way on paper. I’m still debating the idea of turning that paper in and see if it would be worthy of a short book. Will be anxiously waiting for your new book.


    Yea, it’s me! First time on your blog, usually we correspond via email. Anyway, CAN’T wait for the book, especially the Rawlings chapter. If you have any extra “preview” copies, please put me “first” on your list. . . . .after Mom and Dad, of course!
    Great season despite the Rockies fall from grace at the end. One year you win 13 of 14, 3 years later you lose 13 of 14.
    I’m ready for the Pitch-In statement whenever you are finished with the playoff games. Good luck. Danny and Netttie

  7. zackhample

    Well, good luck with it if you try to take it to the next step. I once dated an editor, so I know how helpful it can be to have an English expert around. I’m normally pretty good with grammar, but she put me to SHAME.

    Is it really you?! Great to see you on the blog after all these years. Sorry for the delayed response. I’ve just been dealing with a lot of stuff lately. I’m not quite ready to wrap up the charity fundraising this season. There’s always a chance that I’ll make it to a World Series game. I’ll keep you posted.

    I wish you could. Just a few more months…

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