11 January 2011

My milllion-dollar book ideas

i struggle along with my fiction writing, with scribbling out poetry when i can and occasionally with writing screenplays. strangely, something i've never "tried" to write, considering the format in which you're reading this, is nonfiction. it's seriously never occurred to me to try to write something that read just like this blog, me being me, giving my thoughts on some subject i like to think i knew about.

what strikes me as particularly strange is that it seems, with a few exceptions, that it's much easier to attain financial success writing nonfiction than writing fiction. seriously, for every j.k. rowling or dan whatshisname who wrote the thing about davinci (i can't remember and i can't be bothered to look it up), there are a dozen people who make a healthy amount of money publishing a how-to book about what you need to have in your pantry because people want to trust the words of experts. even if the claim to expertise is that they did something on their own and figured out how to make it work.

really, it only makes sense that publishing companies would rather pump out nonfiction titles because, and i say this as someone who's worked in marketing for more than a decade, it's way easier to identify and cater to a target market when a book has an identifiable subject. by contrast, have a look at the back cover blurb from "interference", the short story collection by yours truly:

A man wakes up to a nightmarish scene with no idea of how he arrived there. An aging doctor makes a midnight house call in the midst of a potentially career-ending crisis. A lonely woman writes to her fiancé while waiting for him to join her in a new city. A bored student abandons his life for a fateful road trip in the mountains. A paramedic reflects on his eerily linked experiences with death. A government spy fights a dangerous obsession with his prey. A young woman prepares to say goodbye to her alcoholic father. These characters are the human faces of the seven stories that make up Interference. Separated by time, age and space, they are united by their persistent and sometimes desperate movement onward.

who the hell is that supposed to appeal to?

whereas "how to build your own bathroom on a budget" has a more specific appeal.

the catch, of course, is that in order to be able to pitch a successful nonfiction book, you have to be able to posit a theory and at the same time, demonstrate your expertise in the field. the good part is that many of us are experts, or at least experienced, in something that other people would like to know about. so here are my suggestions for nonfiction titles i think i could write with some authority:

the crazy cat lady handbook: how to manage the multiple cat household
macro-movies, micro-budgets: how to make a film with (virtually) no money
girly woman: loving makeup, clothes, shoes and living independently
happy pop musik: an anthology of things you aren't listening to

these are all in tandem with my idea to start selling first paragraphs of stories on ebay to help writers who are having trouble getting started.

yeah, i'm just full of ideas. i think that's what's meant when people tell me i'm full of it, at least.

1 comment:

J-37 said...

I would read Crazy Cat Lady Book. Do you know any others? and could you include pictures of their apartments? Portraits at home with cats as well as write ups. Historical documentation of famous Crazy Cat Ladies from history and some kind of classification system...I'm sure a major publisher would see the value in this title!!

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