Monday, March 27, 2017

Book Feature & Interview: The Lord of the Infield Flies by Steve Reilly

Author: Steve Reilly
Publisher: Strong Books
Pages: 126
Genre: Sports Memoir

The Lord of the Infield Flies will thrill readers with Coach Steve Reilly’s harrowing, challenging, and adventuresome baseball team’s trek from Connecticut to play in Maine. As a prequel to his award winning memoir, The Fat Lady Never Sings, Reilly, a high school baseball coach, narrates the true story from the beginning of his coaching career at the age of 20. In summer 1977, Reilly plans to take his high-school-age team on a weekend trip to the baseball mecca on Cape Cod to play a Massachusetts all-star team. When plans go awry, he jumps at an offer to take the players instead to the serene surroundings of southern Maine to play that state’s all-star team. Most of the team’s starters decline; their hearts had been set on “The Cape.” Determined to go through with his commitment, Reilly gathers ten players to make the four-hour trip in a cabin truck and his car on a Friday night. Will the team arrive in time to battle Maine’s best the following morning?

After his legal alcohol-age players convince him to stop at a package store on the way to buy just a “few beers” for the idyllic cabin they will be staying at in the resort area of Old Orchard Beach, they exit the package store with hand trucks filled with cases of beer. Chaos reigns. The cabin truck with its inebriated players gets separated from Reilly’s vehicle, losing half the team traveling in the opposite direction in Massachusetts! Will the team ever get to Maine? Will the team play Maine’s all-stars? And, will the players make it back to Connecticut?  



Book Excerpt:

March 25, 2005

HE PEARL WHITE DOOR opened before me. A gaunt man wearing a gray pin-striped suit and goatee held the door open with his left hand and gestured with his right hand for me to enter. As I passed through the door, nervousness came over me. The strong scent of roses reminded me where I was. A pedestal sign directed me to go left. After an elderly couple crossed my path with their heads down, another pedestal sign directed me to the right down a narrow hallway. To my surprise, the hallway was empty. At the end of the hallway stood a wooden pedestal with a gold banker’s lamp lit above an open book. I grasped the pen from the slot carved in the pedestal and signed the book like a schoolboy as I made sure my penmanship was within the lines. I picked up a small card from a slot in back of the pedestal and put it in the pocket of my dress shirt; there would be plenty of time to read the poem later. With no one in front of me, I stood alongside the doorway as if waiting for permission to enter, but none was needed. As I stood in the doorway about to enter the quiet room, I thought about the summer of 1977 and my Senior Babe Ruth baseball team’s trip to Maine the last weekend of July.

About the Author

Since 1976, Steve Reilly, a practicing attorney, has coached high school baseball in Connecticut’s Lower Naugatuck Valley. He has spent the last thirty years assisting other high school coaches and is currently in his seventeenth season at Seymour High. Reilly and his wife, Suzanne, live in Seymour, Connecticut.

His latest book is the sports memoir, The Lord of the Infield Flies.     

Website & Social Links:


Before you started writing your book, what kind of research did you do to prepare yourself?

I researched old newspaper articles both of my hometown newspaper and newspapers in Maine where the games described in the book were played. I recalled that I actually wrote the article for the baseball games played on the weekend in question so it helped quite a bit to recall what happened in the games. 

Did you pursue publishers or did you opt to self-pub?

I opted to go with a small publisher named Strong Books where a colleague of mine at the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association(CAPA) was involved with.  

If self-published, did you hire someone to format the ebook version for you or did you do it yourself?  Can you tell us what that was like?

I did engage someone to assist with the formatting of the book after I tried to do it myself. My attempt to do it myself was a very frustrating task. I should’ve just engaged someone from the get go. After the book was formatted and published it is just as frustrating getting the e-book formatted. But I am happy to say it will be up on Kindle soon.   

If self-published, how did you determine the price?

Since this was my second memoir, I looked at the prior memoir which did well at the price placed on it by my first publisher, so I decided that since this book was somewhat shorter to reduce the price accordingly. I also looked at other books with similar page volumes in the genre of my book and took those into consideration. 

If published by a publisher, what was your deciding factor in going with them?

My personal relationship with the person in charge of the company, Brian Jud, who I met at the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association(CAPA). Brian is also a nationally known book marketer. 

If published by a publisher, are you happy with the price they chose?

Sure, as they allowed me to collaborate with them as to the price.

Did you purposefully choose a distinct month to release your book?  Why?

I tried to get the book out before the end of the World Series because it was a baseball book but the number of things that had to be done before it could be ready for printing made that just about impossible.  

How did you choose your cover?

I engaged the services of a book cover designing firm named out of Australia. I answered their questions about the book. They created some concepts for the cover, then took my input and gave me two proposed covers. I liked them both so much that I bought both cover versions. I chose one for the actual printing and leave another for any future edition. I thought about using the second cover for the e-book but I was talked out of that one by the publisher. 

Did you write your book, then revise or revise as you went?

I started by cerebrating over the story for a long time and thinking about how I was going to tell it and ways I could tell it. I told the story to some of my friends, sometimes telling it a different way to get their reaction. Then I drew up an outline. Then I wrote and revised as I went along.  

Did you come up with special swag for your book and how are you using it to help get the word out about your book?

I have an oversized baseball glove made by a company named Akadema who makes such things as well as retro gloves which I used as a prop for my first book, also a baseball memoir. It went over well at sales events for the book as it always attracts attention. I am using again to market my present book. I also have created a large poster of the book’s cover at Fedex/Kinko’s.    

Did you consider making or hiring someone to make a book trailer for your book?  If so, what’s the link?

I have researched companies and am considering having a video book trailer done. Haven’t decided on which to use yet. But I would have it done more in line with companies that use stock video footage rather than just pictures in a slide show format.

What’s your opinion on giving your book away to sell other copies of your book?

If I wasn’t giving all the proceeds of the book to a local community foundation scholarship fund set up in memory of a former player of mine and character in the book I would probably be more inclined to try giving away e-book copies. I may do so at some point if it appears like I should.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do before their book is released?

1.Get the book edited. There is no substitute for it, even if you think you wrote well and got good grades in college in English. (But don’t forget story trumps all. Concentrate more on making the story a good one. When writing each and every first line of every paragraph and page, ask yourself “Why should anybody care?”)

2. Engage a professional book cover designer to make your book something people would want to pick up and look at further, and

3.) Get a copy of “1001 Ways to Market Your Book” by John Kremer and “How to Make Real Money Selling Books” by Brian Jud. That will get you thinking about how many ways you want might to market your book.

Obviously, if you can get a celebrity to endorse or write the forward to your book, your book, the above three suggestions might change.

What are three of the most important things you believe an author should do after their book is released?

First, get in touch with local newspapers to try and get them to interview you. If you have a local independent bookstore nearby, contact them to see if they can set up a talk for you.  Get the word out on Facebook, and any other social media you are involved in such as such twitter or Instagram. Contact the local libraries to set up talks, most will be glad to have you. Then contact all the nearby Rotary and Lions Clubs, they always want someone to speak and somebody there usually buys your books. If no one does, at least you get a free meal!       

Brainstorm the many ways to market your books outside of bookstores. The two books above will help and are not exclusive. For my first sports memoir, I visited a local sports store, a local cigar store, a local card shop, the local train station coffee shop, and the local hospital gift shop. All agreed to sell my books. Some purchased them outright, and others agreed on a consignment deal. (However, I did anticipate marketing to a few of these places beforehand and fit their names into the story. It helped a lot and caused two to sell the books and give me all the proceeds.)

What kind of pre-promotion did you do before the book came out? 

I started to renew interest in my prior book again which was well received by going on a local online newspaper’s podcast, to speak about the ten year anniversary of the book, and then talked about my new book which is a prequel to the prior one. (Like the reruns of old movies that come out on tv just before the new sequel comes out). When my new book came out I was asked to return to give another interview with the online newspaper. I am also in the process of creating a local public access television show to spotlight  local authors which may have the secondary effect of spotlighting my own status as an author.  

Do you have a long term plan with your book?

I planned on first selling the hard copies during this winter and when Spring comes to run an Amazon Kindle promotion and temporarily lower the cost of the e-book.

What would you like to say to your readers and fans about your book?

If you are a coach of high school age kids or thinking about coaching high school age kids, you’ll want to read this story. Or if you are the parent, or relative of a teenage boy involved in sports who may be(or was) difficult to handle, you’ll want to read this story. Or if you are someone who thinks perhaps you should be doing something else with your life, or just likes a good baseball story, then certainly want to read this story.


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