Saturday, March 12, 2011

How do I convince a player I’m writing a book so he’ll talk to me?

I’m one of those weird people. When I finish a book, I read through the “acknowledgements” section. I find it interesting who people feel the need to thank when it comes to a book. Do they thank their wife first, or save the best for last? Do they thank their high school English teacher? Who else makes the cut? Almost invariably, they thank a member of the Red Sox Public Relations Department, or a player’s personal publicist for putting them in contact with various players to be interviewed. I’ve always wondered how that worked.

Say I want to write a book. I want to focus on, say, the 2009 Red Sox and their amazing season full of ups and downs. Can I call the Red Sox offices and ask for the names and current telephone numbers of every member of that team so I can try to set up interviews? Do I have an easier time reaching one player as opposed to another? Will Manny Delcarmen be easier than Dustin Pedroia? Do I have to somehow show that I’m actually writing a book, and have a prayer of getting it published? Do I need to submit an summary or references to prove that it will be worth their time?

The authors also often thank people who knew other players. If you’re writing a book on a specific player, you often see thank yous for the player’s family, friends, teammates, first grade bus driver, and so on. Do those people need convincing? Will the Red Sox give me the number of David Ortiz’s wife?

Wouldn’t I have to at some point prove to a player that I’m not just a fan trying to set up a one-on-one drool fest? Do players get paid for their cooperation? I guess that would be one way to limit it. Or, they could only work with established writers. Although, that starts the chicken/egg problem of becoming established in order to become established. Do I need to write one strictly research book first? Do I need to write for a newspaper first? A blog?

Or, do I just get lucky? Can I ask the Red Sox to talk to Jed Lowrie, and just hope he doesn’t happen to have anything better to do with his afternoon? Just hope that he’d be willing to meet me for five minutes at a hotel restaurant just because it’s more interesting than watching TV?

How do you get that first guy to believe you?


  1. I'm guessing that you'd need some kind of a connection to get an introduction.

    If you have to go into it cold, I'd guess that you'd almost have to be an already published author.

    - Paul

  2. How about contacting someone who writes for (or about) the Sox professionally? That's a step that closer to the field, even if it's not a real player. Getting a response from them would at least help you know how likely the next step would be.


What people are reading this week