As a lot of you know, I’ve been writing a book on fatherhood for a while. I’m new to the whole book writing thing and it’s been quite an experience so far. In fact, although I’ve been working on it for a while I really feel like the process is just starting.
I was determined that if I couldn’t get a book agent or a publisher I would self publish and either way my book would be out there. But my friends encouraged me to really try the agent route, so I did.
I got some very odd responses and it surprised me a bit. Mainly agents, producers, and every other gatekeeper in the entertainment business just say no. They don’t like your stuff or they don’t know what to do with it. Fine. Art in every medium is subjective.
But the response I was getting from book agents was a no but not because of the content. It was a no because of an outdated incorrect stereotype of men and fathers. “Men don’t read.” “Men don’t care about fatherhood books” “Fatherhood books don’t sell” “No publisher wants a fatherhood book. It just doesn’t work.”
Men don’t READ?! That’s like saying women don’t drive. Now, I did my research. It’s a tough market. Which is a ludicrous statement. EVERY market is a tough market. I have NEVER heard anyone say, “It’s a really easy market. I don’t know why there aren’t more millionaires, since the market is so easy. Really, you don’t have to do much of anything and there’s no competiton.”
There are successful fatherhood books and successful humorous ones. But why is the market tough? Because of the above reasons? Of course not. The reason is that the books on the shelves are themselves outdated and nothing new or interesting is available. Have you ever read a fatherhood book? You may as well read “Crime and Punishment.” See which one you finish first, and which one you get more out of. They are outdated and even the humorous ones are watered down and feel like they are written for women as if that is somehow the same market.
Television is no better when it comes to treating fathers like assholes. Please, no more sitcoms about overweight incompetent Dads married to attractive women who “love them anyway.” I’m not even sure which part is more in the realm of patriarchal fantasy. So every guy is an overweight incompetent buffoon who lets his hot wife raise his kids. Got it. Great. Thanks, Hollywood.
At least in movies we get “Kramer vs. Kramer”. That was an amazing movie. But for every Kramer Vs Kramer there’s a hundred fathers who are “good cops” but never have time to make their marriages work or see their kids…. Blah blah blah….
Market has nothing to do with it. If people are interested in something, they will find it. They may even buy it. In he age of the internet, it really is that simple. Type the most fucked up thing you can think of into YouTube. Not only will it be there, but there will be thousands of views. Not that I’ve tried it… I’ve just heard. One thing some entertainment people never get: You can’t chase a market or a trend because you’re always going to be one step behind.
Oh, and I did get an agent. A guy who didn’t even have kids, but saw the potential of the book. The book proposal is on its way to publishers now. Fingers crossed. But like I said, it’s less critical now. With publishing on demand at Amazon and other online places, my book can be sold right next to “Crime and Punishment.” In fact, I may even demand it.