Black Tie Book: Update

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I’ve recently received a lot of enquiries about the status of my quest for a publisher for a printed version of The Black Tie Guide.  I didn’t realize that a year and a half has already passed since I first announced this venture so an update is definitely overdue.

In the spring of 2012 I sent my proposal to three literary agents who declined the offer either directly or by not responding.  The proposal was also rejected by four publishers and was not responded to by one other publisher. One of the publishers actually considered it very seriously but decided in the end that they didn’t know how to make it profitable in light of the information being available on the Web site.  This despite the fact that my proposal pointed out that the site’s extensive content is much more easily digested on the printed page than on a computer monitor and  that it was the site’s readers themselves who were pleading for a book version.

By the summer of 2012 I had pretty much lost interest in the project.  This was partly because I was once again working full-time but also because the appeal of distributing my work in print  was fading as the site’s traffic kept growing; no book version would be able to reach a fraction of the 75,000 people checking out my site each month.  Short of coming across an inside connection, I wasn’t interested in spending any more time knocking on doors.

As for self-publishing, that has always been non-starter.  The whole point of publishing was the prestige of a professionally designed and edited work of art.  A traditional publisher would  offer these services as well as sourcing (and paying) the rights for the vintage illustrations that are essential to bringing the history section to life.  While I could source all of these services myself, paying for them would be prohibitively expensive.

So that’s where things stood.  At least until I started to receive the recent requests for updates on the book’s status.  That prompted me to revisit  the proposal’s glossy mock-ups and its endorsements from two highly respected menswear authors and realize this would still be a very sexy and special addition to any gentleman’s library.  Then my partner hit on a brilliant new approach: crowdfunded self publishing.  Not only would this route determine unequivocally whether there was a market for such a book but, if so, it would also allow me to shoulder the upfront investment with supporters of the book.

So yesterday I requested quotes from four self-publishing companies that can potentially provide all the professional services I would expect of a traditional publisher.  If that cost is reasonable I will invest in a short video to include with a full crowdfunding proposal.  At that point the book’s ultimate fate will be firmly in hands of my dedicated readers. Ideally I would like to post the proposal early in the new year so I could have a final answer by summer and, if successful, have the book published in time for the 2014 holiday gift-giving season.  If that proves to be too ambitious then I would  publish sometime before fall 2015 when the next Bond film is released, invariably triggering the usual surge in tuxedo interest that accompanies those films.   I will provide another update in January (and expect faithful followers to hound me if I don’t!)

I have to say my interest has been reignited not just by the idea of getting the book published but by the exclusive perks I could offer initial investors.  For now I will leave you with this tantalizing teaser: Midnight Blue Limited Edition.

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Final Update

See my December 31st post for the results of my investigation into self publishing.

5 Comments

  1. John R.

    Excellent. And one good thing about self-publishing is that the author’s percentage of the sales price is better by almost an order of magnitude — which is fair enough, since most publishers have stopped editing their books in any serious way and many have stopped marketing them, too. But don’t get me started. . . .
    By the way, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many of your illustrations are out of copyright or were never copyrighted in the first place. I just did a book (with a university press — see above) with nearly 200 illustrations, most from the 1920s, and only had to pay permissions fees for a half-dozen. I can refer you to some good on-line sources about copyright law, if you’d like.
    Good luck with this.

    1. Peter Marshall

      Thanks very much for the insight. I will contact you directly to follow up.

  2. Cajetan

    Go on! I am looking forward to this book.

  3. Martin

    I really cannot believe the lack of interest, from the side of publishing houses, in a book version of The Black Tie Guide. It would make both an excellent guide and coffee table book — nicely typeset and with a set of nice photographs and illustrations. This guide really deserves to be a first-class book. I basically come back to the guide from time to time, just as I would grab a coffee table book, just to look through and enjoy it (as well as getting some inspiration).

    Well, apart from this meritorious aspect, the advantage of a regular publisher would be broader distribution I presume.

    Anyway, I will be happy to see The Black Tie Guide in print and to hold it in my hands eventually. Please just make sure the design is up to par with the quality contents!

    Good luck!

    M.

  4. Gecq

    Crowdfunding is a good idea in this case. As much as I personally love the subject I understand the publishers’ hesitance. I wouldn’t expect too many buyers. With a crowd that is investing in the book beforehand you will have a committed fan base to start from. If 1,000-2,000 of your 75,000 monthly visitors invest 20$ you should be good to to – depending on the targeted quality, number of pages and size of the print run.

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