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.