Author Bob Thomas develops new business model to distribute his golf books
But is he giving up? No. Thomas grew up in an abusive household, and this made him a survivor.
“Last year, I decided to start a little company called Bob Thomas Books,” explained Thomas in a recent e-mail. “Mostly, I was selling collector editions of my books through this company until the tournament program picked up. When that happened, I did some quick figuring and realized that the profit margins for tournament editions of my books would make a very fine, very profitable venture and there’s no competition.”
Essentially, Thomas publishes attractive hard-cover copies of his books, including the recent The Old Man and His Game and the just-released Why Bobby Jones Quit, and promotes them to clubs for their pro shops and as gifts at outings and tourneys. He autographs each copy, and for a small extra fee, he can even personalize the dustcover with the golf club’s name.
With seed money from investors and his own savings [NOTE: I am NOT an investor], Thomas is hoping to wrest control of golf literature out of the hands of publishers who see golf books as a tiny niche, who do not play golf themselves, and who would rather crowd the market with dozens of instructional books than with inspirational tales of people who love the game for more than a low score or $5 Nassau.
Thomas’s books are not without literary weaknesses, but they succeed in capturing the spirit of the game. And as far as his business model goes, it is unique in both golf and publishing.
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A few years ago I received two pieces of advice from a respected literary agent. Firstly, don't write a golf novel - you won't get a publisher of any merit taking interest. Second piece of advice - if you've written your first, don't compound your difficulties by writing a second.
Although the advice was astute, I ignored both and went ahead because I had tales to tell. The Morris Men remains without publisher to this day.