Critics Young & Old

There are two major constituencies that a writer must appeal to in order to be successful. One consists of critics and reviewers. Good reviews can separate your book from all the rest, create buzz, and boost its sales, prestige and prominence. In the first section of this page, I’ve included reviews of a few of my books by those all-important critics.

THE CRITICS

The Golden Game

“I’ve read some terrific sports books in recent years—David Maraniss’ When Pride Still Mattered and Richard Ben Cramer’s Joe DiMaggio come to mind—but I found none more interesting than Kevin Nelson’s current page-turner, The Golden Game. If you’re a baseball aficionado or even if you aren’t, this is a wonderfully researched narrative about the genesis of the sport in this state.”

—Doug Krikorian, Long Beach Press-Telegram

“…The rare baseball book that transcends its regional emphasis to earn a place on the shelf of anyone who loves the game. It reads like a core sample of a polar ice cap, with layer upon informative layer the deeper you go.”

—David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle

“Nelson’s wholly charming and endearing book allows us to see baseball as a kind of benchmark for the birth and growth of California over the last century and a half…Indeed, the author shows us that baseball was always much more than a form of recreation or entertainment—it was a means of self-definition.”

—Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Nelson has a knack for research and an ear for good anecdotes as he reviews the impact California baseball has had not only on the game in this country but as an “export” to Japan and Mexico as well.”

Publishers Weekly

“[An] excellent history…You don’t have to be a Californian to enjoy these important chapters in the game’s history. In fact, you can even be among the miserably deprived who have never visited the state and still get a kick out of the book.”

—Ron Fimrite, Sports Illustrated

“A superb blending of United States and California history, plus baseball. Well-illustrated and written in a compelling manner that few books can rightly claim, this is a rare literary sports treasure that can be recommended with great enthusiasm.”

Oakland Tribune

Lunches With Mr. Q

“Lunches With Mr. Q by author Kevin Nelson is the delightful and entertaining account of a series of lunches and meetings with Kjell Qvale, a self-made millionaire auto industry titan…Nelson has managed to capture the charm, wit and humor of Qvale in this entertaining narrative. A fully compelling story.”

—Arv Voss, Iveho.com

“This is nice work. For the reader, the ability to learn about the emergence of the ‘sporty car’ market, before there was such a thing, while learning from one of its essential West Coast motivators is worth the read alone…All in all, a lovely and artful experience. Very classy indeed.”

—Rick Carlton, Auto Channel

Operation Bullpen

“A terrific account of how a pot-smoking master forger and his friends made $100 million selling fake autographs.”

        —New York Daily News

“Reading like a John Grisham legal thriller with the good guys and bad guys playing a cat and mouse game of unprecedented scope in the world of big money autographs, Operation Bullpen holds you from those first paragraphs all the way to the end.”

—David Meerman Scott, Pen & Quill

“Operation Bullpen is flat-out fabulous.”

        —Oakland Tribune

Wheels of Change    

“Nelson develops fabulous and at times humorous stories and adventures, as these characters come alive on the page…A great read that makes the history of the automobile come alive with human interest and a rare energy.”

—John A. Heitmann, The Journal of San Diego History

AND NOW, YOUNG READERS

Readers are the second and most important group that every writer must reach. It is what we all live for as writers, to connect with people. I have been fortunate in that certain of my books have connected with both adults and young people. Early in my career I wrote a series of youth-oriented sports humor books that kids really loved. This section includes a few comments from them.

“Dear Mr. Nelson,

Thank you very much for coming and talking to us about being an author. Your talk was very interesting, and maybe I’ll decide to pursue a writing career. Just how you talked, and the words you used to talk, I could tell you were a writer. Being an author doesn’t seem like very hard work, but instead it seems fun.”

Sincerely, Julia Hall

“Dear Mr. Nelson:

“I am an eighth grader at McKinley Middle School in Racine, Wisconsin. I saw your book, Baseball’s Greatest Quotes, and it looked interesting so I decided to read it. I just finished and I thought it was great…I would like to know when you started writing. Also, how old were you when you wrote this book and have you written any other books? I would really appreciate if you could answer my questions.”

Sincerely yours, Mark Mueller [Author’s note: I did reply to his letter and answered his questions.]

“Dear Mr. Nelson,

“Each of our students made a Christmas card for their favorite author. Enclosed are some cards made especially for you. Merry Christmas! Thanks for writing so many wonderful books.”

Sincerely, Susan Elliott, Media Specialist, Valley Mills Elementary School, Indianapolis, Indiana

Of the Christmas cards she sent, here is my favorite—

To make sure I did not misunderstand his “Merry Christmas, Punk!” holiday message, this fifth grader enclosed the following note inside his card:

“Dear Mr. Nelson,

I’ve read your book Talkin’ Trash, and it’s my favorite book. It’s very funny. On the front, when I put punk, I meant that as sarcasm. Punk was referring to your book. It’s a good book. Your friend, Joey B.”

And finally, one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received: