Farmington woman combines love of golf, children to become author
Kevin R. Jenkins, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Farmington woman has taken the stories about golf she used to tell her now-adult son when he was a child and has begun a new career as a children’s book author.
According to Bobby Suzanne Fitz, it all began when her son Reed was around 3 years old.
“He loved golf,” she said. Reed would get his dad’s clubs and just hit balls all over the backyard. So, I thought, ‘I need to find him a golf book.’”
The problem is that Fitz couldn’t locate any golfing books available for children like her son who loved the sport.
“I couldn’t find any at all for kids,” she said. “I thought, ‘Well, this is crazy. I’m going to write one.’ So, I wrote one, and did my own illustrations. Then I thought, ‘Well, that was so much fun,’ and he really liked it.”
Her creative writing attempts were made almost three decades ago now. Reed is in his late 20s, but Fitz’s desire to put words to paper for children with a fascination for golf never went away.
“As the years progressed, I just enjoyed it so much that, when my husband John and I would travel and play golf somewhere, I would write a golf book about our travels. It just became this thing that I did, and I really got into it,” she said.
So much so, she found an illustrator, and since then, “it’s just taken off.”
“I’ve had so much fun doing it. I’ve written four now, and I have several more in the works,” she said. “It’s so exciting and so much fun… and it’s so easy! It’s children’s golf, but they’re all about golf.”
Fitz credits the First Tee program for her continued interest in writing books about golf for children.
“It’s a program that helps kids get involved with golf,” she said. “Golf teaches kids a lot of things — golf lingo, golf rules and golf etiquette. There are other good things the First Tee program feels kids can learn about golf — sportsmanship, how to follow rules, how to be a team player.
“It is a really good sport for kids to be involved in at an early age — and now kids can get scholarships for playing golf.”
Fitz learned so much through the First Tee program, which provides a scholarship program and promotes youth golf, that she thought she needed to write golf books for children — and now there are a number to choose from.
“You can find a lot of children’s golf books now,” she said. “But not like mine. I have a character named Reed Kookas, because when Reed was little, that’s how he pronounced his name. So, I just carried that character on through all these books.
“The first one was titled ‘Teed Up.’ That was my learning experience, but I wrote about the First Tee program, and Reed Kookas meeting new friends. In my books, I usually use someone that we know — like I used his brother’s nickname, and I used different nicknames of people that we knew.
Fitz said, over the years, she wrote ‘Golfing in Scotland,’ using the names of her husband’s kids for the different characters in the book.
“Then I wrote ‘Golfing with Whales,’ and I used my niece’s name,” she said. “My last book, ‘Golfing with Astronauts,’ isn’t in publication yet because it’s so new. It’s just finished. In that book, Reed Kookas plays golf on the moon — which actually happened in the Apollo program.”
According to Fitz, in each of her books, her goal is to teach children the practicalities of golf.
“I teach kids golf lingo like ‘you shanked it, putt that, take a stroke’ — different things like that,” she said. “And then, of course, there’s golf etiquette — you shouldn’t talk loud when someone’s hitting, fix your divots after you hit a ball.”
Fitz admits that she’s learned a lot about the writing process over the years since she wrote her first book. She’s always self-published, but now she’s ready to be picked up by a traditional publisher.
“I got everything ready because there’s so many elements to that. Before a traditional publisher will even be interested in you, you must have all of your ducks in a row,” she said. “You need to have an ISBN number, which you can register. It needs to be edited, of course, and illustrated for children’s books. And then, if you’re going to have a publisher pick it up, it can’t already be through any other publisher, any self-publisher, anything. You have to be independent.
“So, I had to take it all off of my other publishers — my self-publishing companies. I had to rebrand. I had to get a new ISBN number and start fresh, basically. This was a learning experience for me, but now that I’m independent of any publisher, I made a book trailer, which is the video about my book. I’ve sold enough copies that I have reviews because there has to be reviews. My biggest step was that I sent a lot of query letters out about my book. I was trying to find a literary agent to pick me up, so they can present it to a traditional publisher. A publisher won’t even look at you if you don’t have a literary agent.”
Fitz proudly announced that she has finally found a literary agent to represent her.
“They’re working with me, and then they’ll present my books to a traditional publisher,” she said. “Hopefully, once that traditional publisher picks me up, my literary agent will get a percentage. I’ll get 100% royalties, but he’ll get a commission, which is great, and then they’ll handle everything for me. That’s what I’m looking for. That way I can just write books and not have to worry about all the marketing and printing and all that. So, it’s been a long process, yeah.”