Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Tony Dungy having success both on and off the field

Life is good for Tony Dungy. Let’s take a look at his list of accomplishments over the past year. Made the playoffs? Check. Advance to the Super Bowl? Check. Become the first African American coach to win said Super Bowl? Check. NY Times Best Seller? Really?

Though few were surprised that the heavily favored Colts won the Super Bowl, Dungy's first book, Quiet Strength, has beat incredibly long odds to hit #1 on the NY Times Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller List . His latest literary accomplishment is generating a great deal of amazement across both the sporting world and the book industry, as the book has been among the country’s top selling books for seven weeks.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King wrote about how significant the success of Quiet Strength has been over the past few months in his column Monday:

“Tony Dungy's book, Quiet Strength, is turning into a surprising story in the book world. It enters its eighth printing this week, which means that 480,000 books will have been printed. It's the most popular sports book since Seabiscuit in 2001.

Here's the stat I like most about this book. It has confirmed sales of just under 250,000 today. That's 86,000 more books sold than the recent coaching biographies of Lou Holtz, Charlie Weis, Jon Gruden and Marv Levy.

Quiet Strength has now sold twice as many books as David Halberstam's 2005 book on Bill Belichick.

It's really rather amazing.”
It sure is.

A great deal of the credit for the book's success should be given to Tyndale House, whose marketing team pulled off an extremely successful book tour amidst a very busy summer for Dungy (a time when most head coaches are focused on football training camp). The tour kicked off at ICRS in Atlanta with Dungy attracting the biggest line of any author autographing books. From there he visited cities around the country, combining significant general market opportunities (including "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "The Late Show with David Letterman") with sports media outlets (including "The Jim Rome Show") that don’t often get to cover books.

It should be noted that the book’s buzz is unlikely to slow down as we enter the football season. My guess is that sales will pick up steam this fall as TV and radio announcers plug the book during Colts games. In fact, if you watch the game between the Colts and Saints tomorrow night you're sure to hear more about the Dungy's publishing success.

As a side note...I recently mentioned the growing trend of CBA publishers releasing books that are making a significant impact within the general market; Dungy’s book is a prime example of that trend. Other CBA titles that can be found on NY Times Best Seller Lists right now include 90 Minutes in Heaven (Revell), Your Best Life Now (Faithwords), The Purpose-Driven Life (Zondervan), Heaven is Real (Berkley Praise) and The Language of God (Free Press).

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