Playing Like a Girl

Observations of a Master Marketeer

Sandow Blog Post.jpg

I've made lots of guides for Don Tate and always enjoy doing so. But the one I made for Strong as Sandow: How Eugen Sandow Became the Strongest Man on Earth was my best experience with a Tate project ever. Not only is this picture book one of the most fascinating non-fiction stories of all time (Which makes my job tons of fun!), I got to watch a master marketer in action. Being that I’ve got a non-fiction picture book to promote soon enough, you can bet I'm watching this master in action – close! Here are few things I've learned, thus far:

Tate, Don. STRONG AS SANDOW Fitness Plan.jpg
  • Be generous with information: Don has created a website dedicated to this story. Check out You’ll find lots and lots of information about his creative process, historical facts, great images, and links to fascinating videos! I’m planning on doing something very similar with Play Like a Girl, which reminds me, I’d better grab a domain for the PLAG website, a.s.a.p.
  • Connect with readers in a personal way: I love how Don's friendly voice rings true in his posts. Consider the post titled "What’s Up With The Medallion Hanging from Sandow’s Neck?" In it, Don explains the how some facts, and the omission of others, served to guide his decisions regarding what to include in the story.  Being that Sandow's religious affiliation is unclear, yet the star medallion suggests otherwise, Don chose to leave the medallion off of the "dude" in his illustrations. Best not mislead his readers with ambiguity.  
  • Be an expert in your topic: Don is a fitness fanatic, pure and simple. He’s a swimmer, a yogi, a “gym rat”, and was once a body-builder himself. We capitalized on his expertise in the Educator’s Guide by adding a weekly Fitness Plan using his illustrations as graphics. Hopefully kids will become inspired to become as strong as Sandown...and Don, too.

I want to wish Don all the very best with his book launch being held at Book People in Austin on Saturday, September 9. He’s been planning the launch for a year now (Take note, Deb.). It’s sure to be a colossal event, particularly because he is featuring modern-day strongman Andrew Perlot as a main attraction. He and Don are sure to wow the crowd. I wish I could be there with him.

Don, my friend, I’m with you in spirit! Have a grand time!

A de Coubertin Conundrum

Say what? Pierre, you can't be serious.

I have news for you, my friend. Things have changed since 1894, during the time you established the modern Olympic Games. Big time, brother. While you may not have fully intended for females to take part in the Olympic games, this summer in Rio, females are doing so and are coming on strong!

The Father of the Modern Olympic Games

The Father of the Modern Olympic Games

We appreciate that you darn-near single-handedly pulled together the first Olympic Games in Athens. Despite all kinds of odds, you and a few others invited athletes from nine different countries to attend and compete in a sports conference modeled by the Grecian games of yon. Bravo! You might be happy to know that your five-ring Olympic symbol is alive and well, too.

You once said, “The important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part. Just as in life, the aim is not to conquer but to struggle well.” I wish were here to witness the tenacity and prowess of the 2016 Olympic female athletes. Pierre, your legacy lives in these women as they compete in the games they love. You’d be astounded by their strength of mind and character, typifying the motto you established way back when – Faster. Higher. Stronger. They’re simply incredible.

All in all though, Pierre, we have to thank you for your Olympic vision. You accomplished a great deal for athletes – worldwide! For that, we’re extremely grateful.

But the notion of counting girls out?

The girls in Rio 2016 are proving you wrong on that one.