As part of my Book Promotion class, I had to prepare a number of different components used for advertising and promotion in the publishing industry. Here are a few samples I created for a book I pitched. I also include my pitch letter and other materials I used for this fake title. The book is completely made up and was a completely original idea as Whitney Cummings had not come out with her first book at the time. Here’s the book proposal I wrote to start off with, including market analysis and an editorial report.
|Pride Press Inc|
To: Editorial Board
From: Jai Ghuman
CC: Barbara Heinssen
Re: I’m a F*cking Princess (working title)
New Book Idea
Dating is hard. And if you’re a woman, there’s a whole list of added problems to worry about. It doesn’t matter if you’re 35 or 65, it’s awkward, it’s emotionally distressing and at times seems completely pointless. Yet we suffer through the whole process anyway in the hopes of eventually finding a companion to share our lives with. Whitney Cummings, lets women know that they’re not alone in feeling that way. She manages to engage audiences by sharing her own amusing dating experiences.
I’m a F*cking Princess is a book that will enchant readers with Whitney’s sassy sense of humor and raw, naked honesty. As yet there are no books about, or by Whitney, so this would hold a distinct advantage in being a first. The book will be a memoir, primarily a collection of Whitney’s funniest dating stories, but also including a few serious ones from her life growing up as a child of divorced parents, and the daughter of a prominent public relations manager, and then later being broke and trying to break into the film industry in Los Angeles. Ideally, the book would be about 352 pages as a 6×9 book, including pictures, bibliography, and an index. The book will take 6–8 months to complete from the date of the advance payment. The book would be of interest not just to those in the industry, but to most single women in as well.
The book is targeted at readers that are primarily female, between the ages of 18–40 and most likely feminists. Similar books in the past by standup comedians include:
- The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (Gallery Books)
- Yes Please by Amy Poehler (Harper Collins/ Dey St.)
- Bossypants by Tina Fey (Regan Arthur Books)
- Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (Three Rivers Press)
- Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (Penguin Press)
However, all of these books with the exception of Amy Schumer’s have been out for a while now and the market is ripe for a new take from a leading female standup comedian.
Whitney has captivated millions of hearts as she has toured across the nation for I’m Your Girlfriend, her latest standup that premiered on HBO in January, and has done so in the past with her work on TV shows like 2 Broke Girls and Whitney. Her first feature film The Female Brain is all set to release in 2017, so interest in Whitney is at a peak right now, there is no doubt that sales will be high. The material she works with is provocative, true to life, and presented in a raw manner which makes it an excellent acquisition. Most books on the market currently in the genre take on a more serious tone and prove to be “heavy reading” like Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, which tackles issues of race and identity through the lens of history in a series of letters. Others still like Elizabeth Vargas’ Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction talk about serious psychological issues. A book like I’m a Frigging Princess would be ideal reading for readers looking for something light they can read on the train to work or waiting at a doctor’s office.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Competition
A major strength that the competition has is that their authors are more established and have had longer running and more successful careers so far. Some of the books have even won awards, but that only proves that the market is truly interested in similar books. I have no doubt that I’m a F*cking Princess will sell as many, if not more copies and receive acclaim. Whitney is still a lot younger and is as yet still relatively at the start of her career. She has a lot of potential that can be capitalized on if the book release is timed right. However, we have an edge over the completion by being current. Most of the competing titles were released over a year ago or more, which means that interest in the books have died now and the market is now primed for a fresh outlook.
The book will be an excellent acquisition for Pride Press Inc., as it is a fresh and interesting read. We will have the advantage of getting there first as this will be the author’s first book. Cummings has proved her mettle as a writer with Comedy Central Roasts and 2 Broke Girls. It is only a matter of time before other publishers approach the client and it would be beneficial to beat competing houses to the punch.
Key Features and Benefits
Whitney is a true raconteur. She has a strong voice that will come across no matter what the medium. Her live performances are witty and engaging and will certainly be evident in her writing as well. The raw and openly honest cadence with which Whitney tells her story is appealing, and her strong message of women empowerment and feminism will make the book a compelling read for everyone. Whitney is known to have the ability to make light of her failures and simultaneously reveal a darker side to herself. Added to that is the advantage that her story is as such, “untold” so the book will present insight into Whitney’s life as never seen before. Fans will be itching to get their hands on a copy. Other books on the market do not have this advantage as their authors have been constantly in the limelight, so there is very little about their professional and personal life that is unknown to the masses.
The book will be about Whitney’s personal experiences and her humorous take on dating and relationships. As a standup comedian and screenwriter, Whitney writes her own jokes and often draws from her own personal experiences. The book will also include chapters on her own life growing up as a child of divorced parents and her struggle to break into a predominantly male industry.
Here are some quotes from interviews with Whitney, and from her various stand-up specials, which will help present a better picture of Whitney’s essence. A combination of quotes showing her darker side and some showing her lighter, more humorous side, would be ideal for the back cover or book jacket (along with quotes from reviewers of course).
- “Stand-up is a lot like sex. There’s a lot of crying involved and I get paid to do it.” (I think this one would be great for the front cover)
- “I don’t get what is so cool about dating DJ’s. That’s like dating a valet because he drives a nice car.”
- “After school, I’d wait for someone to pick me up and no one would, so I’d be like, ‘I guess I’ll walk home.’ I had to be a hustler because nobody did anything for me.”
- “The only two places you’ll ever hear ‘Would you like whipped cream on that?’ are a whorehouse and Starbucks.”
- “If Wednesday is Hump Day, Thursday should be Panic, Regret, I Can’t Find My Left Shoe and Why Does It Burn When I Pee? Day.”
- “Found a fragrance called Vixen. Guess they can’t name them after the people who actually wear them. Nobody’s going to buy Secretary.”
Some possible design specifications are as follows;
Trim Size – 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Approximate Pages – 352
Text Typeface – Serif Text (size 11, leading 15)
Display Typeface – Slab Serif
Hardcover – 3 piece and audiobook, successive prints can be in paperback and eventually e-book made available
Full Color Jacket
Matte Film Lamination
Design, illustrations, electronic media
Print books can include stills from Whitney’s live performances, pictures from her childhood (as required) and the e-book and audiobook could include short video/audio clips from her performances featuring some of her punchlines.
Author Profile: Whitney Cummings is an actress, writer, and standup comedian best known for her role on NBC’s Whitney and her comedy specials on Comedy Central – Money Shot and I Love You, and more recently, I’m Your Girlfriend on HBO, which she is currently on tour for. She has also made appearances as a Roaster on the famous show Comedy Central Roast (Joan Rivers, David Hasselhoff, Donald Trump). As a director, her first feature film The Female Brain is set to release in 2017. Although not an author, she has written before and even crafted works such as Whitney and 2 Broke Girls. This is to be her debut book. Forbes listed Whitney as one of the highest paid actresses in television in 2013 with an income of $5 million for the year. Her shows had an average of 11 million viewers during Primetime.
Title, Table of Contents, and Cover Concept
I’m a Frigging Princess is a working title; a line taken from her stand up Money Shot. The table of contents, for now, has three parts;
Part 1: Roots – which will contain stories from her childhood and growing up,
Part 2: Girl No More – which will include the more recent tales of her constant tribulations with love and dating, and
Part 3: It’s a Woman’s World – will be more about her struggle to break into a predominantly male industry and a reflection of the more feministic ideals that Whitney holds.
1. Book Cover
2. Consumer Ad
3. Trade Ad
4. Tip Sheet
5. Catalog Copy
6. Sample Pitch Letter