Sunday, April 25, 2010

Developing the Sleevehead book idea

I attended the 2010 American Association of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) conference in New York City this past weekend and learned quite a bit about the highly competitive publishing market, working with agents, developing proposals, expanding one's platform, etc. My purpose was to push forward on my book idea on men's style.

Apart from learning the business of writing and publishing books, I had some great conversations. On Saturday, I had a chat with Laura Read, a freelance writer and photographer from California. One thing men can learn from women is the ability to improvise after the fact. Laura had carefully planned and packed several sets of clothes for the ASJA event but realized they were not quite right and ended up wearing a mix and match of separates. In my view, it is this combination of both planning and improvisation that sets apart the confident dresser.

Another highlight occurred during the proposal panel when I walked up to the podium and asked a question. Chris Parris-Lamb of The Gernert Company said "I like your blazer" (actually I was wearing my Teba jacket but it's the thought that counts as they say). Great panel and I went away with some constructive feedback. Note to self: My elevator pitch of the book as the "first real intellectual history of men's style" probably needs to be refined.

I met a number of other helpful, interesting writers and journalists but special thanks to Sondra Forsyth for her feedback during my mentoring session. The lunchtime keynote by Peter Shankman on social media (four principles of, the future of) was also superb - probably the best I've heard on the topic.


ADG said...

"first real intellectual history of men's style"....yep. I'd say you need something a little more robust-given that Flusser's last book and his collective works are far from being the work of a dilettante. Good luck!

Laura Read said...

Hi Sleevehead. Love this blog. Glad you liked my "confident" outfit at ASJA. I did notice your Teba jacket, as well. I'd get one for my husband but he won't wear anything that's not at least a decade old. Laura Read,

sleevehead said...

Hi Laura - Great to see you at ASJA. I think your husband and I are roughly the same height so let's talk again in 7 years about my Teba jacket! I got it 3 years ago.

ADG - Yes, I'm surprised by the difficulty in accurately describing my book concept or idea in 30 seconds or less.

My initial pitch of the idea as the "first real intellectual history of men's style" was not intended to take on Flusser et al. He and a host of other distinguished writers have written canonical, historical treatments of men's clothing, style and style icons. And there is absolutely a place for books of this mold - whether historical, coffee table retrospectives or photographic essays of men's style icons.

In my opinion, what's missing in the literature is a completely different take on a very familiar subject. The treatment might be different but it would be informative in unexpected ways. In other words, what would happen if someone like Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book on men's style? Intriguing, no? Being unpublished, I'm in no position to compare myself to MG but that's the direction I'd like to take with my book.

Gentleman's Gazette said...

I look forward to seeing your book!

ADG said...

"...what would happen if someone like Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book on men's style?...."

I hear you. I think there will always be an audience for any level of erudtion on subjects sartorial.