“Hey Bill, what’s the deal with the so-called re-release of your 2008 debut novel, Out of the Pocket?” I’ve been getting emails asking me this question, so consider this a primer on the subject.
Q: What is OUT OF THE POCKET?
A: For those of you who are new to Bill Konigsberg, OUT OF THE POCKET was my debut novel, released in 2008 by Dutton Books for Children. It’s the story of Bobby Framingham, a talented high school quarterback from Southern California and one of the top players in the country. Bobby happens to be gay. He hasn’t told a soul, he hasn’t acted on it, but his secret is beginning to get the better of him. He confides in a friend, and suddenly he no longer controls the story. What happens when the story comes out? How does the sports media handle the story of one of the nation’s top recruits being gay? How do his teammates react? And what about the girl who thinks they’ve been dating all this time? The novel was critically praised, won the Lambda Literary Award, and developed something of a cult following.
Q: What makes OUT OF THE POCKET different than other gay sports novels?
A: When I wrote the novel, I was working as a sports writer and editor in New York for The Associated Press. For those of you new to my books, you may not know that prior to writing fiction I was a sports writer. In fact, I came out while working at ESPN.com in an essay that appeared on the front page of that website, becoming the first openly gay male at ESPN. This background made me uniquely qualified to write a book that gets the football right, as well as the authentic emotions of a closeted athlete.
Q: How has this book not been made a movie?
A: I wonder the same thing. Readers of OUT OF THE POCKET remark all the time that it reads like a movie, and it was written that way. I’m open to all offers!
Q: It says this is the second edition of OUT OF THE POCKET. What does that mean?
A: It means that new material has been added to the book for the new edition.
- Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, an outspoken straight ally, has written a foreword for the novel.
- Outsports co-founder Jim Buzinski, one of the absolute heroes of the gay sports movement, has written an afterword.
- There are two new chapters detailing what happens to Bobby after the end of the novel, for those who are curious about where he goes to school and what happens to his friendships and relationship with Bryan.
Q: Why is OUT OF THE POCKET being re-released now?
A: When Michael Sam came out, I felt like the book became very topical and had something to say, as Bobby Framingham is, in some ways, Michael Sam. So I decided to release the book the week of the NFL draft, to coincide (hopefully) with the drafting of Sam by an NFL team.
Q: When will OUT OF THE POCKET become available?
A: The official release date is Tuesday, May 4th. When it does, you can be sure I’ll post a link to the page here. UPDATE: Here it is! It’s available!
Q: How can I purchase OUT OF THE POCKET?
A: You can purchase copies on Amazon or here. Bookstores and libraries will be able to purchase copies through expanded distribution soon, but it can sometimes take up to 6-8 weeks for the title to become available that way. If you are a bookstore or a library and want copies before that, feel free to contact me. If there is a way I can be of help, I will certainly do so!
Q: Is the new edition available as an e-book?
A: Not at this time. There is an e-book of the first edition, available on Amazon, published by Dutton. But if you’re looking for the book with the foreword, afterword and two new chapters, not to mention the new cover, it is currently ONLY available in paperback.
Q: Who is the cute guy on the cover?
A: The very cute guy is a student at Emerson College. The cover photo was taken by Evan Walsh, who also did the cover for David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing.
Q: Are you available for interviews about the re-release, or about Michael Sam?
A: Yes. Please contact my publicist, Kameron Martinez, at firstname.lastname@example.org to check on availability and to set up a time to speak. Kameron also has my head shots as well as a high-quality jpeg of the new cover.