How did I write “IT'S GAME TIME FOLKS!: Quest for 30 in 21 steps

What's up guys! It's Madison Square Darden with a new blog post. This week's blog post is about HOW I wrote IT'S GAME TIME FOLKS!: Quest for 30. I have already wrote a post about the expenses for the book and you can check it out at the link below:

The reason I wanted to write this blog was to help a future author in their dreams of writing a book. I can give someone my experince in writing this non-fiction book and show step by step the process in completing it. I also noticed that there's not too many articles on how an author went about creating their work.

Step 1: Idea for the book

The idea for IT'S GAME TIME FOLKS!: Quest for 30 came in July 2017. At this point of the year, I had already visited 18 ballparks and I started reflecting on some of the crazy travel stories that had happened. I talked to one of my friends about the idea for the book and the seed was planted. I was going to write a book about my Quest for 30 baseball journey. Now I just had to finish the journey. I had 12 more ballparks to go.

Step 2: Research whether to self-publish or go through a traditional publisher

In August, I started doing research on whether I should self-published or go through a traditional publisher. I decided to go the self-publishing route for a few reasons. First, the book is non-fiction and I would be writing about my experiences. Secondly, it was my own money financing the travel and I didn't want to give a publisher money for stuff that they didn't experience themselves. I invested a lot time in this journey and I should reap the benefits of all of that hard work. Finally, it's a challenge to do something on your own. I like challenges as they force you to adapt and grow.

Step 3: Find an editor

In late August 2017, I started looking for an editor. I went on Thumbtack and looked for editors in Columbus and one reached out to me and I told him about the idea for the book. I told him that it would be about a month before I could write a first draft as I still had to finish the journey. October was shaping to be a busy month.

Step 4: Calculate expenses for Quest for 30

After the last ballpark was checked off the list, I started calculating the costs of Quest for 30. I calculated the cost of the tickets first, followed by lodging and transportation expenses. I initially did this so I could have a cool Instagram post, however, this step would prove to be extremely beneficial down the road.

Step 5: Write an outline for the book

Now came the time to start writing. For the outline, I decided to make each chapter the day and place I visited a ballpark.

  • Washington, D.C // April 6, 2017

  • Baltimore, Maryland // April 7, 2017

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania // April 8, 2017

  • ETC……

Step 6: Write the first chapter and get editing advice

After writing the outline, I wrote the first chapter of the book. Using memory and Google Maps, I spent two days writing the chapter about the game in Washington, D.C. I had to go the library to write the first chapter because I didn't have the full version Microsoft Word on my laptop. I sent the chapter to my editor for review waited for his suggestions. Unbeknownst to me, I was going to get a rude awakening when it came to writing this book.

Step 7: Review editing notes from first chapter and write the book.

After receiving the edits, I realized that I would have to expand the details of the games that I attended. Initially, I just wrote a summary recap of the game and gave a few details about what I did. To improve each subsequent chapter, I decided to write each chapter into two parts: The time at the ballpark and everything else throughout the day.

When I wrote about each game, I went to and looked at the box scores to see what occurred during the games. I was able to see what the players did and see the exact inning a team scored. I also have vlogs from each game that I used for reference.

As for the events that occurred before and after the game, I relied on memory as well as Google Maps to see where and when I was at certain locations.

This step took about a year to complete because there were times I was lazy and did write for weeks at a times. There was also a moment where I thought about abandoning the entire project because of how long the process was taking. I told myself that payoff would be worth it in the end and to stick to the course.

Step 8: Write Quest for 30 expenses chapter

I finished the main 30+ chapters of the book in October 2018 and huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders………..well almost. I started thinking about other topics that readers might be interested in knowing about the journey. As mentioned earlier, I calculated the expenses for Quest for 30 after the journey was completed. The numbers were in an old notebook and I simply had to copy the numbers into charts.

Step 9: Write ballpark rankings chapter

The next chapter I wrote was the ballpark rankings chapter. I ranked all 30 MLB ballparks based on my experiences at each game. I also tried to be objective when ranking the ballparks to include factors such as location, parking, and atmosphere. It took a few days to rank the ballparks and I wrote them in a notebook from 1-30 (1 being the best, 30 being the worst).

Step 10: Write introduction and closing chapters

The introductory chapter explain who I am and my background as well as the inspiration behind Quest for 30. The closing chapter is self explanatory and I thank readers for reading the book.

Step 11: Send rough draft to copy editor and make corrections

Once I had all of the chapters completed, I sent the manuscript to my editor. He made a lot changes and initially I was upset. I saw a lot of red marks and I thought that all of the hard work I did was done in vain. As I started going over the changes, I realized that all of the changes were needed. I can get wordy when I write and the editor made sure that my writing was clear and concise. The original manuscript went from 63,000+ to 59,000 after all of the corrections and changes were made.

Step 12: Learn how to format and determine book size

Once all of the edits were completed, I had to determine the book size and format the book. After doing research through, I determined 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches would be a good size for the book. Once the size was determined, I had to learn how to format the book. I watched a few YouTube videos and read some articles on formatting using Microsoft Word. With all due honesty, I winged it the first time I formatted the book and it turned out to be 228 pages. I was satisfied with the result and envisioned the book to have a decent among of thickness once it was printed.

Step 13: Find an artist to design book cover

For the book cover, I wanted it to look like a sports ticket. The front and back covers would be based off some pictures I took earlier in the year and I wanted them to be look like an illustration. After doing a Google search, I found an illustrator by my apartment. After having a meeting with him, I realized that he was out of my price range. I went to the Blockfort Art Studio by my gym and I talked to one of the artists. After have a quick conversation, he recommended a local comic book illustrator. After email the comic book illustrator, I sent him some quick sketches and details on how I wanted the cover to look.

Step 14: Find a book printer

After searching on Google, I found two book printing companies in Columbus. I decided to go with Zip Print in Grandview because they put my mind at ease about the book printing process. We went over the type of paper that would be used for the manuscript, cover, and photo insert pages as well as the cost per book. I sent Zip Print the files for the cover, manuscript, and photo insert pages and waited a few days for them to have a proof ready to read.

Step 15: Receive and Review first proof of “IT'S GAME TIME FOLKS!: Quest for 30

I went over to Zip Print and picked up the first proof of the book and I smiled from ear to ear. I felt like Carlton Banks when he got Will's Chicktionary. I remember walking over to Chick-fil-A and I started reading the book. I must admit, it was weird reading the book. I had to detach myself from story and read it from a third person perspective. I also read the book to catch any errors that I made such as missing words or missing punctuation.

Step 16: Acquire ISBN Number

After receiving the first proof, I realized that I needed an ISBN number and barcode. The number and barcode would cause a slight change to the back cover of the book. I went to the Bowker website to obtain the number and barcode and registered my book with their online database.

Step 17: Write copyright page

I found an image on Google that had 10-step process on making a table of contents. I clicked on the image and it explained each part in great detail. I followed this template to create the table of contents in the book.

Step 18: Acquire Library of Congress control number

While creating the table of contents, one of the 10 steps was to include a Library of Congress control number. This number is used to register your book with the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. I did some research and learn that the number was free to obtain and it is used by libraries. One of my goals is to get the book in libraries across the nation, so getting the LCCN was a no brainer.

Step 19: Make formatting adjusts and review second proof

I received the second proof in mid December 2018 and I was happier with this version of the book. I made some formatting adjustments such as adding a header, centered and bolded the font on the chapter headings, and adjusted the margins. The cover was slightly changed as well as the sky went from night to daylight. This increased the page count to 250. I also changed the photo insert pages to glossy paper.

Step 20: Make final formatting adjustments and receive final proof

I made some final adjustments and received the final proof in late December. With the final adjustments, I added a blank page where I could sign autographs and changed the margins so the text would look centered throughout the book.

Step 21: Place an order 40 books

I was satisfied with the final proof and I ordered 40 copies of the book. I was happy when I saw the box full of books. However, the excitement turned into strain as the box was heavy and I had to ship most of the books. It was adventurous 400+ days from start to finish and I am truly satisfied with the final result.

Thanks for reading and lookout for a new post next week as I recap my experience at the Indy 500. Take it easy and always live for the experience.