They Told Me I Couldn’t Talk, So I’m Telling Everything
This book fits in with Vintage’s list of edgy titles, like Getting Away with It: the Inside Story of Loaded and Fifty Shades of Grey. In fact, just like that book came from the online world of fan-fiction, so too has this book come from the online world. Or in the same way that Tucker Max posted his stories online, this author has collected over 15,000 followers on his blog page, where he posts stories about Hollywood insiders, never naming names but always saying just enough so that you’re pretty sure who he’s talking about. And this is stuff only an insider would have access to: things like who passed out where, who went home with whom — the things the paparazzi don’t have access to — the what goes on the other side of the gates type of action: shouting matches, orgies, ennui, suicides, anecdotes, uplifting momentsit’s as though he’s a fly on the wall in the world of celebrity — except he’s generally pissed off about everything he sees and wants everyone to know how shallow and empty it all is.
Blurb on back:
This book is in the tradition of the nittiest, grittiest tell-alls of all-time. It is I Hope They Serve Beer in .A. Noir meets Bret Easton Ellis meets Wiseguy meets Fifty Shades of Grey. Is it true? Is it not true? It says it’s true — but there’s no way to verify it, because people aren’t talking. This could be the book that shines a light on a dark spot in Hollywood — that line at the door where cameras and phones are turned off, non-disclosures are signed and nothing gets out. Everybody who’s not there wants to know what goes on. So who knows? Apparently this “guy” in L.A. who’s seen it all. It reads like a pulp fiction — but it insists it’s true, and that is what is so intriguing. Reading it, you have the feeling that this all must be true, and you spend the rest of the night trying to guess who is being ratted out.
Link to Vintage Non-fiction current catalogue:
This book could very easily fit in with Vintage’s current catalogue. The author already comes with a built-in following (web-based, blogosphere) and has the “insider” credentials to garner attraction from major reviewers. The anonymity of his authorship allows us to “pitch” the book in much the same way that Primary Colors was sold to audiences. Books by “Anonymous” have a quality that leaps at readers and says, “Here is information that is almost too dangerous for me to tell!” The book is centered on Hollywood’s elite but also touches on visiting elite (leaders of countries, out of town movers and shakers).
Competition in this non-fiction genre is not great. There are a lot of “insider” tell-all books. David Stein (aka David Cole) just came “out of hiding” and released his biography Republican Party Animal, which tells of what he has been up to as a Hollywood conservative, rubbing elbows with Jon Voigt and Gary Senise — but the book’s audience is mostly made up of Cole’s followers, who admired him for his revisionist views.
Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars by Scotty Bowers (published by Grove Press) is a book that has a lot of information regarding the sex lives of major Hollywood stars and starlets of the Golden Days, but it is incredibly repetitive and almost fetishistic. There is no substance to these people or to the stories.
LA Noir by John Buntin (published by Three Rivers Press) is a great example of an excellent historical book. It offers a glimpse into the old L.A. The book I’m proposing offers a glimpse into the new L.A. — but does so in a much different manner. The author is like the guy at the bar who teases you with information
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell by Tucker Max (Citadel Press) describes the strange, party lifestyle of the author in humorous anecdotes, but the perspective is self-indulgent and purposefully bawdy.
Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern (IT Books) is another example of the tell-all except in this book, Halpern secretly admires his dad and in the book I’m suggesting the author cannot stand these people and it shows.
Each of these is sort of close, but not quite. This book flirts with revelation but never quite discloses anything the way that Scotty Bowers or Buntin or Max do. Each of them has names, dates, places. This author divulges nothing, only descriptions and leaves up to the read to do his own investigation. He is like an informant who won’t give all the details but does at least put the investigator on the right trail. It hints at identities but doesn’t lay it all out there in the way that a Postcards from the Edge sort of biography does. This guy wants to blab, but he also wants to keep his dayjob. The field day that reviewers could have with this might be an event in and of itself.
Date of Publication: Fall 2015, Holiday travel book, Holiday movie season in full swing, people are talking about movies, about celebs, seeing families
Price: $15 — affordable, neither too steep nor too cheap. This price puts it in the same ball park as Tucker Max’s or Scotty Bower’s book or Justin Halpern’s book. Max’s has gone on to sell over a million copies worldwide. Upon initial publication,
Format: Print and eBook
Production Values: Standard, ink, no photos or illustrations, no gloss; for eBook, the standard metadata
Author: Anonymous, marketed to 18-35, readership male/female
Target audience: men, women, 18-35, single/married
This book has the potential to score with readers of eBooks. eBooks allow readers to read without anyone else knowing what they are looking at. Just as a solid portion of Fifty Shades sales were to eBook readers, who could read without fear of being “outed,” so the same may go with this book, if popularity and sales make it widely known.
Chapter 1: A Day in the Life of a Beverly Hills Mansion
Chapter 2: A Day in the Life of a Hollywood Slum
Chapter 3: They All Sleep Their Way to the Top
Chapter 4: What to Do with the Body
Chapter 5: A Famous Blonde, A Famous Brunette, A Famous Leading Man, A Famous Bar, and a Not-So-Famous Incident
Chapter 6: Deny Everything
Chapter 7: What to Do When They Have You on Camera
Chapter 8: Blackmail
Chapter 9: Naked Time
Chapter 10: Nobody Told Me Nothin’
Chapter 11: Deathlist?
Chapter 12: Celebrity Bowl: A Boxer, A Quarterback, 10 Rappers, and an All-Night, Drug-Induced, Alcohol-Fueled Jam Session
Chapter 13: Cops
Chapter 14: Street Racing
Chapter 15: More Cops
Chapter 16: Neighbors and Papz, Papz and Neighbors
Chapter 17: More Bodies
Chapter 18: Everyone Hates You
Chapter 19: Moms Calling
Chapter 20: Island Getaway
Excerpt: From the Beginning
The noir world never really died in L.A. Sure it got glitzed over and glammed up and a TMZ came to town and every pretty young thing (boy or girl, straight or bi) that walked down the road was in some piece of crap and had some papz following with a camera — but that’s daytime. That’s soap stuff. True noir is what happens at night. I can tell you about that. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not blabbing because I want attention. I’m blabbing because they told me not to. And nobody tells me what to do.
My name is Monsieur T. Actually that’s not my real name, but you don’t need to know it. Just for the record, you won’t find anyone’s real name in here. But if you’re sharp and do some digging, you’ll figure it out. Like I said, I’m not out to screw anybody over. I’m just tired of all the “Hey, you, keep quiet or else!” kinda stuff they’re always saying around here. I want to know what “or else” is. I hope they show me — and fast — ’cause I’m bored as hell.
Me — I’ve known everybody. Anyone who’s stepped foot in this town, they’ve all come to me in the end. Not that I’m a bigshot or anything — I’m just that guy. You know, there’s always that guy who does that thing that nobody else seems to be able to do or want to do orwellmaybe I should have gone to law school like my mother said.
It is a work of non-fiction that reads like fiction, because you’re never really sure who the narrator (who remains anonymous) is talking about. But the action is not limited to actors and actresses: politicians, the underworld, the business world, FBI, drug dealers, drug makers, foreign diplomats. The action is bigger than L.A.L.A. is like the stomping grounds for the world’s elite. The fact that the author wishes to remain anonymous makes the book even more enticing. Who wants to write a book but not bask in the glory of its publication? Someone who has a story to tell and doesn’t want to have to face the consequences, if there are any. To me, that says “Buy!”
Schedule of Key milestones:
Signature of contract: Jan 2015
Editing/Proofreading: Finished by Spring 2015
Design of text, illustrations, cover, formatting: Summer 2015
Printing: Summer 2015
Publication: Fall 2015
New Title Costing, showing profitability:
Costs can be kept reasonably low with this publication, as no sums will be paid to external readers or contributors. There will need to be some legal fees (to see if the book needs to be read for libel), but no permission fees, payments to freelance copy-editors, illustrators, or designers, as that is all done in-house; payments to suppliers for typesetting, file conversion, origination of illustrations, proofing, corrections — the standard rates.
The following percentiles should round out the costing:
Net sales rev: $10
Unit cost: $4
Royalty to the author: $1
Gross Profit: $5
Gross Margin: 50%
Editorial and marketing overheads (15%): $1.50
Sales, platform and distribution overheads (15%): $1.50
Net profit (Gross profit less overheads): $2.00
Net profit margin: 20%
Direct Costs: $7,500 for the first printing of 2,000 paperback copies with a unit cost of 3.75.
Digital printing allows small numbers to be reprinted much more easily.
Design: Simple, straight-forward — but bold
At 275 pages, this book covers a lot of ground quickly. While there is continuity to the book, it is not exactly plot-centered but rather episodic in nature. Certain characters do return and verge on becoming “main characters” but the true main character is the anonymous narrator who describes not only what he sees but his own personal thoughts and feelings along the way.
Alternative income streams could be garnered by way of digital rights / movie production deals. If the author’s following buy the book, it could easily translate into Bestseller status, thus bringing more attention and a viable avenue to digital rights sales.
Design for Cover:
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Greenfield, J 2014 U.S. Ebook Sales at $3 Billion, Digital Book World. Available from:
Halpern, J 2010 Shit My Dad Says. Harper Collins, NY.
James, EL 2011 Fifty Shades of Grey. Random House, NY.
Max, T 2009 I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. Citadel, NY.
McKinney, K 2014 Book revenues are up — but without ebooks they’d be plummeting,
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