Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Robinson, Babbage hit it big as authors

"If you like politics, you'll like my books." 
"But if you don't like politics, I kill politicians."
--Rick Robinson

I was glad to see that Don McNay did what I should have done. Here's a little more shameless promotion, this time on behalf of a friend (and third semi-cousin twice removed) and a former collegue.

This from Don McNay in the Winchester Sun:

My longtime friend, Rick Robinson, just received a “six-figure” option for the movie rights to his novel “Manifest Destiny.” Rick writes political thrillers. His third book is the one that hit the jackpot.

Another longtime friend, Dr. Keen Babbage, just released his 13th book, “The Dream And The Reality of Teaching.” That’s a pretty good feat, since Keen has been battling cancer and spent a lot of the past year in chemotherapy. He is now cancer-free and back to teaching. It has been a struggle.

Rick, one of the funniest people I have ever met, draws on his decades as a political insider in Washington and Kentucky, and writes gripping novels that entertain. Keen writes books that draw on his expertise in education and life.
Rick is a successful author in the conventional sense. A lot of people talk about writing a novel, but few ever do it. With his first book, “The Maximum Contribution,” Rick achieved the rarified title of “author.” It was a good book. “Sniper Bid,” his second, was even better.

When “Manifest Destiny” came out, my review in the Huffington Post said that “‘Manifest Destiny’ is where ‘The West Wing’ meets ‘The Bourne Identity.’”

It looks like Hollywood shares my opinion. Businesses don’t hand out six-figure checks unless they plan on making far more in return.

What separates Rick from other authors is his enthusiasm and work ethic. He will go anywhere, anytime, to do a book signing. He has built up a strong and growing audience.

Rick does this while maintaining a full-time law practice and remaining a political insider who has his finger on the pulse of politics in both Kentucky and nationally.

Some writers give Rick a backhanded compliment in praising his marketing skills and not properly noting his writing ability.

As the people who promoted New Coke, the Edsel, or can tell you, a great marketing campaign is useless unless you have a great product.

Rick can really write. He’s winning awards right and left. Although critical success does not always lead to commercial success, (e.g., KISS has never won a Grammy but has sold more records than many who have), Rick has both going for him.

Unless something dramatic changes in Hollywood, I doubt that they will be making “The Dream and The Reality of Teaching,” or any of Keen’s other books, into a movie. I don’t think Keen cares.

Keen is totally devoted to the teaching profession. He uses his books to instruct and inspire others.

His attitude reminds me of the wisdom of Thomas More in the movie, “A Man For All Seasons.”

More encouraged one of his political assistants to become a teacher. The assistant said, “Who would know me if I were a teacher?” More replied, “You would know, your students would know, and God would know. Not a bad audience.”

Many of Keen’s students have told me that he is an outstanding and inspiring teacher. One of the things that kept him motivated during his battle with cancer was the goal of getting back to the classroom and making an impact.

Through his writing, Keen allows the world outside his classroom to hear his insights about education and his teaching skills.

That is not a bad audience either.

I’ve been friends with Rick and Keen for more than 30 years. I knew them before they ever thought about writing a book. I’ve read most, if not all, of their books along the way.

In the way that Rick is capturing commercial and critical success and Keen is impacting the education profession, both have one thing in common:

They have “hit it big” as authors.

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