Author Bob Wilber is taking his latest book, How Far? on tour – a Virtual Book Tour, that is, with Outskirts Press! Technology has created a wide variety of ways to reach audiences all over the world. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box, and nowadays you can market a self-published book in a variety of affordable and impactful ways. Virtual book tours, for example, are a great way to connect with readers from all corners of the globe, all from the comfort of your own home. Join Bob Wilber and How Far?: A Tale of Determination, DNA, and Drama as they appear in features and interviews (such as the one below) in the weeks and months ahead!
Luckily for us, Bob Wilber was kind enough to answer a few questions as the tour was getting started so that we can give you a sneak peek into the mind of the creator of How Far?.
OP: Tell us a little bit about How Far?. What is it about?
Bob: “How Far?” focuses on two fictional sports characters navigating their way through real life in a factual setting. A “surfer dude” baseball player from Southern California and an overachieving hockey player from Minnesota meet, develop a deep friendship, and learn the lessons of great success and even greater hardship. It is a story of friendship and support, seen through a sports lens.
OP: Why did you decide to write this story?
Bob: After my autobiography “Bats, Balls, & Burnouts” was written and then published by Outskirts Press in 2016, I spent more than a year promoting it around the country to much acclaim and rave reviews. It gave me the confidence to get out of my comfort zone and find the next “thing” for me as an author. It was, in other words, time to find the next writing challenge. I wanted to stretch out into a new genre and put myself into a place of discomfort as I wrote, hoping to feel myself growing as a writer and creator of this sort of stuff. The historical fiction angle seemed to be everything I was looking for. The characters came to me organically, basically out of thin air, as did the story line. Writing it, for basically two years, pretty much consumed me but the two main characters got me through it. I heard their voices in my head, so it almost felt like I was just transcribing versus actually writing fiction. I know these two guys now. They live in my head, rent-free!
OP: What types of readers would be interested in this story?
Bob: I sure hoped it would be for everyone who loves a tale of success, hardship, challenges, emotion, glory, and failure, all wrapped up in two likable but flawed yet understandable characters from vastly different backgrounds. It is a life book, for readers of all types. So far, the reviews and comments bear that out. It’s not just for sports geeks. There are more life lessons, I think, than their are strikeouts or goals.
OP: What is special about your book?
Bob: As a former professional athlete (baseball) and a fan of nearly all sports, including hockey, my world has been full of unique people just like my two main fictional characters. I also come from a sports family. I grew up as the son of a former Major League ballplayer who went on to a scouting, coaching, and managing career for decades. My mom was a radio personality, a baseball executive, and then opened her own PR agency. They say you can’t pick your parents, so it’s pretty obvious I won the lottery in that regard. That was all part of growing up in the Wilber family. It’s in my DNA. I know the ball fields and the hockey rinks very well. I can still smell the dirt and the pine tar from every baseball game I ever played, and I know the sound of skates on the ice and checks into the boards deep within me. I know the joy of success and the heartbreak of defeat. I’ve been there. I’ve experienced it. I’ve been at the top of my game and have sunk to depressing lows when the injuries and unforeseen failures brought me crashing down. These two characters and the world around them are very personal to me. In many ways, they are part of me, and I’m part of them.
OP: Have you published any other books? Do you plan to publish more?
Bob: I published my autobiography “Bats, Balls & Burnouts” in 2016 with Outskirts Press, and that success made me more confident in trying something more difficult. I tell people the first book made me realize I wasn’t just a writer. I could be an author. That was an audacious “step up” for me. The new book proved to me that the author title was earned and legitimate. Will there be a third book? I would surely think so and hope so. I’m not sure what it will be yet, and I need to recharge a bit before I think about it. The grind of writing “How Far?” wasn’t just mental, it was also very physical. I ended up in the hospital for five days, just a week or so after finishing primary writing. I’d literally worn myself out and about starved myself of both sustenance and sleep getting it done. I’ve learned to pace myself and take better care of myself because of that. There will be another one, but we’ll just have to find out when I will tackle it and what it will be about.
OP: What differentiates it from other books in the same category?
Bob: The setting is sports, so the other “real” characters and events are often well known and famous. As you might imagine, the amount of research to make that happen was really enormous and time consuming. For months on end, it felt more like I was just a researcher instead of a writer, but it all paid off. The two main characters weave their way through this real world as if they are truly part of it, while they are clearly part of each other’s lives. Because of the research, what goes on around them and in their lives is very real and very historic.
OP: How can someone learn more about your book or purchase it?
Bob: They can head to bobwilber.net to order both books on Amazon and learn all about the author who created them.
OP: Thanks for your time, Bob! We look forward to learning more about you as you visit other bloggers!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Bob Wilber has been writing creatively since grade school, when he won a St. Louis city-wide essay contest as a sixth-grader. He was first published at the age of 16 in a St. Louis sports magazine. He is the son of a former Major League baseball player and a mother who passed along her communications and public relations skills to her youngest son. After earning a full athletic scholarship to Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, he spent six years in professional baseball as a player, coach, and scout. Bob then moved on to international sports marketing and eventually spent 22 years in the world of NHRA Drag Racing, as a PR representative and team manager for Funny Car drivers Del Worsham and Tim Wilkerson. In 2017, he published his autobiography “Bats, Balls, & Burnouts.” Bob continues to write his longstanding and popular blog. He lives in Minnesota with his wife Barbara and their cats Boofus and Buster.
This author purchased the Media Marketing Blitz marketing option, which allows self-publishing authors to connect with bloggers and harness the power of the blogosphere by taking their book on the “virtual road.” Learn more about this service by visiting your Publishing Center and reviewing the available marketing options.
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