Author Adam Gordon Sachs will be signing his book “Three Yards & a Plate of Mullet” at Bethany Beach Books on Sunday, Aug. 6, and will also discuss his experiences working as a sports writer and discuss themes of journalism, personal discovery, friendship, high school sports and the 1980s.
Between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m., residents and visitors of all ages are being invited to stop by the bookstore at 99 Garfield Parkway to meet Sachs. After chatting about the book, event attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a copy of “Three Yards & a Plate of Mullet,” which Sachs will sign.
As a self-published author, Sachs will give Bethany Beach Books multiple copies of the novel to sell during and after his visit. The book store will pay Sachs based on how many books are sold.
“We run this program primarily to accommodate self-published authors who aren’t with major publishing houses, so they are self-promoting their books,” explained Bethany Beach Books Event Coordinator Nancy Fanning.
The book signing event is free, and no registration is required. Fanning said the decision to not require event registration makes it compatible with vacationers’ relaxed summer schedules.
“The summer customers really aren’t interested in committing to a particular time,” Fanning said. “They like the idea of being able to drop by, meet the author and chat with him.”
While at the signing, attendees will learn about Sachs’ inspiration for the book and its plot, set in a coastal Florida town in the 1980s. In the book, protagonist Jake Yankelovich decides to follow his passion as a sports writer, covering high school football — a defining aspect of the town’s identity.
“The sports writer becomes surprised and shocked at how intense high school football is there,” Sachs said. “He then gets immersed in covering high school football.”
As the story unfolds, Yankelovich discovers a recruiting scandal that involves the coach’s conspiracy to channel the best athletes to his high school, in order to restore the football team’s reputation and dominance.
Described as cross between “Friday Night Lights” and “The Hangover,” Sachs’ novel is based on his past job as a sports writer in Florida after college. Although the story is fictionalized, Yankelovich’s process of getting out of the press box, visiting locker rooms, tracking down players for interviews, working a story from an investigative angle and writing on deadline is a true experience.
“A lot of the book is about journalism and the media and what really goes on covering stories on a deadline,” Sachs said.
As a part of the author visit, Sachs said he hopes to inform the public about the newspaper business — especially during a time in which newspapers were exclusively printed on paper.
Even though Sachs created the main character as an extension of himself, he said he believes everyone will identify with the protagonist. Because Yankelovich embarks on a journey of discovering his purpose in life, Sachs said, he expects his readers to look back on their own years after college with nostalgia.
“I think everyone remembers that time in their life — just starting out on their own, being independent and trying to figure out what they’re going to do with their life,” Sachs said.
During Sachs’ own years of self-discovery after college, he decided to continue writing and worked as a journalist for 12 years. But since he preferred writing longer and more detailed pieces, he said, he wanted to exchange his daily deadline writing for novel writing at his own leisure and on his chosen subject matter.
After pondering the question of whether he possessed the commitment level and time needed to finish a novel, Sachs chose to accept the challenge in December of 2011.
“Throughout my time of being a journalist, I always thought about writing a book as an ultimate test to being a writer,” Sachs said.
During the project, Sachs tried to incorporate writing into his daily schedule, since finding free time to write was a challenge for him. During the writing process, Sachs wrote chapters out of order and later connected the pieces to create a coherent story.
“A lot of times, I wasn’t sure what was going to come next,” Sachs said. “I made it up a lot as I went. I didn’t plan it out.”
After three years of developing the story’s plot and characters, Sachs self-published his book in 2015 with CreateSpace, an Amazon.com company that helps people independently publish and distribute books.
“I just decided right up front that I wanted to publish my book,” Sachs said. “I didn’t want it to take another few years. I didn’t want to struggle trying to find hundreds of agents.”
Because self-publishing authors do not work with larger corporations, Sachs said he understood the difficulty of promoting his book. To help “Three Yards & a Plate of Mullet” gain publicity, literary publicist and general manager of authors large and small Cristina Deptula reached out to Sachs in 2015.
To solicit book reviews and interviews on Sachs’ behalf, Deptula contacted bloggers who posted about the novel’s topics, podcasters and local radio hosts who were accepting guests, his Colgate University alumni group, social media groups and anyone who would be willing to review the novel. Based on these groups’ preferred style of communication, Deputla contacted them on Twitter, Facebook, email or phone.
“It was just a lot of figuring out who were the influencers and what were the connections he should make and how to reach those people,” Deptula said.
Deptula continued working with Sachs until he gained five book reviews and participated in several interviews. Although she said helping self-published authors’ books gain recognition is challenging, she acknowledged Sachs’ contribution to making the process run more smoothly.
“He knows what goes into the process of publicizing a book, which is really great when you get a client like that,” Deptula said.
In addition to “Three Yards & a Plate of Mullet,” Sachs has also written “Don’t Knock, He’s Dead: A Longshot Candidate Gets Schooled in the Unseemly Underbelly of American Campaign Politics” in 2016. He also did an author signing for that book at Bethany Beach Books that year.
Sachs grew up in Bethesda, Md., and attended Churchill High School and Colgate University. After working as a sportswriter for two years in Florida after college, he went to graduate school at Boston University for journalism and then worked at the Baltimore Sun as a news reporter for seven years.
Sachs recently decided to transition from journalism to counseling, so he got his master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling at Loyola University in Maryland.
While spending his summers in Ocean View, Sachs has also worked as a tennis instructor at Bethany Beach’s Sea Colony Tennis for the summers of 2016 and 2017. In the off-season, Sachs lives in Columbia, Md., with his two children, ages 19 and 21.
Looking forward, Sachs said he hopes to publish a third book based on a blog he writes, about issues with careers, families, marriage, parenting, addiction and finding purpose in life. That novel will align with his career path for counseling and will help him further his passion for writing, he said.
As for “Three Yards & a Plate of Mullet,” Sachs said he hopes the author signing event will help the novel gain recognition while also entertaining and educating the public.
“I hope that the people there are engaged and interested — that they’re getting into the story and that they’re asking questions and resonating with parts of their own experience,” Deptula said.