I feel I have been neglecting my blog duties recently but I assure formalwear aficionados it’s for a good reason: I have finally got around to writing a book proposal for a print version of The Black Tie Guide.
Back in 2006 when I first conceived of the Guide I was torn between pitching it as a book and posting it as a web site. When I realized how much work would have to go into a professional book proposal my impatient tendencies won out and I opted for the immediate gratification of an online version. That choice was the best of both worlds because it allowed me to take as much time as needed write the book while sharing the results of my research as I progressed. Thanks to the immediate and global reach of the internet I’ve been able to help a countless number of men during the process . . . even if some of the early advice was less than expert.
The only concern I had was that the book would lose its potential value to publishers if its content was freely available to anyone with an internet connection. However, as the Guide grew to a 90,000-word opus it became clear that the web works best as a quick reference tool. When it comes to comprehensive reading, sitting back with a traditional printed book will always trump hunching over an eye-straining computer screen.
Furthermore, the Guide’s topic is perfect for a glossy coffee-table book treatment. What better way to capture the timeless elegance of black-tie charity galas, formal evening weddings and red-carpet glamour? This is evident in the above mock-ups I created to determine how the web site could best be adapted into an oversized hardcover format. (It was an interesting process as the unlimited-length, single-page structure of a web site is quite different from the fixed-length 2-page spread that defines a printed book.)
So, six years after my original dilemma I finally have a proposal ready to be pitched to potential publishers. I’m glad I waited because I’m in a much better position now thanks to the subsequent success of the Guide which is getting over 55,000 visitors a month, has been cited by other authors and will soon be included in a syllabus for a University course on costume design. Best of all, a leading menswear authority has endorsed the book. Hopefully this minimize the number of rejection letters that will invariably follow.
Although I have assembled a list of applicable publishers, if you know a non-fiction publisher who would like to issue a bestseller just in time for the Christmas gift-giving season and the global surge of tuxedo interest that will inevitably accompany the release of the next James Bond film in November, please ask them to contact me at peter_at_blacktieguide_dot_com. The same goes for literary agents or cross-promotional retailers that would like to get in on the action.
Just as importantly, if you are personally interested in buying such a book please indicate so in the comments below. That’s exactly the kind of sales potential a publisher will be looking for!
An update on this venture can be found in a separate post here.