Andres Iniesta: Quality or Quantity?
Andres Iniesta (2014)
Andres Iniesta’s 12.4 million Twitter followers is chump change in comparison to the number of followers the other international soccer star I wrote a book about has. But it still is ten times as many as any Seattle Seahawk has and twice as many as the woman who likely will be the next president of the United States, whom I also have written a book on. Iniesta definitely was a book-worthy subject from a marketing perspective. How about from the more important storyline perspective? I believe it was.
Born in the small village of Fuentealbilla, Spain, Iniesta began playing soccer at a young age, influenced by his dad who had played for various regional clubs. Iniesta quickly moved through the top-level youth squads, including ones at FC Barcelona’s youth academy, and eventually led his Spanish national team to its first-ever World Cup victory in 2010:
Iniesta gathered the ball with his feet as he pressed toward Netherlands goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg. Then he hammered a right-footed shot past the goalie and into the back of the net. Arms flapping wildly in celebration, Iniesta immediately removed his dark blue number 6 jersey and ran toward the corner of the field. Underneath the jersey, Spain’s new hero wore a sleeveless white T-shirt with five words handwritten on the front in Spanish: DANI JARQUE SIEMPRE CON NOSOTROS. The message—which translated to “Dani Jarque always with us”—was Iniesta’s tribute to his former teammate, Dani Jarque. Jarque had died a year earlier of a heart attack at age twenty-six.
“I wanted to carry Dani with me and with my other teammates,” Iniesta said after the game. “We wanted to feel his strength. We wanted to pay tribute to him—and this was the best opportunity to do so. This is for Dani, for my family, for all of the people. It is the result of hard work over a long time and some difficult moments.”
Reviews for this book were stronger than they were for the book I wrote on Kaka. I wrote Iniesta first so maybe there is something to that. Here’s a review (on my two soccer books and a couple others) from the important Horn Book Guide:
“… the well-written narratives effectively weave subjects’ personal stories and athletic achievements into bios that will inform and inspire young soccer fans.”
Andres Iniesta currently is No. 46 on Amazon’s best-sellers list for kids’ soccer books. Even though he has twice as many Twitter followers as does Iniesta, Kaka is several hundred rankings below that, proving successful sales are not necessarily only about maximizing your potential audience. Maybe quality does matter in some instances. I would like to hope it does.
Coming tomorrow: Jennifer Lawrence