Book update No. 24 — first pass

I’ve been working for a solid week on the “first pass” of my manuscript. Basically, what that means is…the book was finally type-set. All the fonts and headings have been laid out, and all the artwork (more than 100 photos!) has been placed. Even though the book is still just a stack of papers at this point, it’s finally looking like a book for the very first time.

Look how thick the stack is:

(That’s 356 pages.)
In the photo above, you may have noticed a memo on top of the stack. Here’s a closer look at it:
Of course I had questions. (I always have questions. When I was a kid, I used to get made fun of for asking too many questions.) I emailed my editor’s assistant and asked the following:
1) What exactly should I be looking for?
2) To what extent can I make changes?
3) How exactly should I note the changes?
This was her response:

Hi Zack,


At this point, you’re giving it another read to see how the design and text are working together. You can make small changes to the text if you think it’s necessary (like the stats you mentioned in previous emails), and if there’s a particular piece of art that you don’t think is working the way it’s been laid out, you can note that and we can discuss with design. Go ahead and write any changes in the margins with colored pencil. If you want to mark them with Post-It notes or tabs to make sure we know where they are, you are welcome to, but it’s not necessary.


Jenny might have more to add, but hopefully that’s enough to get you started!




Jenny (aka “Jennifer”) is my editor. She was also my editor for Watching Baseball Smarter, but anyway, Andrea had indeed given me enough info to plunge into The Baseball. And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last week. I basically read the whole book very slowly, word by word, line by line, and looked for every little thing that needed to be adjusted. Take my bio, for example. Even that page needs a couple of tweaks: 

I’ll show you one more page for now — a page that’s absolutely perfect — to give you an idea of what the inside of the book will look like. The page is from a chapter called “The Evolution of the Ball,” a gigantic timeline that begins in the 1840s and goes all the way up to the present. It covers all the different manufacturing techniques and examines how that affected the sport. I realize that might sound stuffy, but trust me, it’s a lot of fun — lots of scandals and controversies and juiced ball theories and wacky scientific experiments and hilarious quotes. Check it out…
Right now, I’m getting ready to head over to Random House with the manuscri
pt. I’m going to discuss some of the changes with the folks there, and in a few weeks, “second pass” will be coming my way…


  1. Stuart Jon

    Oh great, thanks, that’s made waiting for this book easier, NOT. What size will the book be? I don’t mean thick, I mean x by y. Any more info about book tour? signings? etc You know this book would have helped me in my off season cold turkey stage, but I am having to wait for this just like spring training!!

  2. zackhample

    Ha. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the same size as “Watching Baseball Smarter,” but of course it’ll be a bit thicker. Book tour? Signings? Nah, haven’t figured any of that stuff out yet. It’ll probably be a couple more months before my plans for the spring start taking shape.

  3. Howie

    Hey Zack,

    Congrats on (mostly) finishing the book. I just thought u would appreciate this tidpit of information on New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro, courtesy of the isles website.

    DiPietro added, ?I remember when I was a kid. I used to send letters to professional players. Just to get a puck thrown at me or something signed would have meant so much. I caught a foul ball at a Yankees-Red Sox game just this year and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. So I know how they feel and I realize what an impact you can have on a child?s life and that means a lot to me.?

    It was from an article. I thought you should see it. Have a good one.


  4. zackhample

    Sorry for the very slow reply. I somehow didn’t notice that you had left that comment until now. But anyway, I don’t think I’m going to be doing an official book tour. I’ll probably do a few talks/signings, but that’s about it. The travel is too expensive.

    Man, I wish I’d heard about this sooner. I would’ve written about him in my “celebrity ballhawks” section.

    You’re welcome. Glad you’re enjoying it. Talk to you soon…

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