Apr 28 2012
Don’t Forget the Death-Ray!: How to Write Compelling Superhero Stories will help prospective authors write superhero stories that are as effective and unforgettable as the titular doomsday implement. It will cover storytelling elements such as characterization, plotting, dialogue, and how to craft villainous schemes that will make would-be Supermen wish they were back in Smallville.
In particular, this book will appeal to:
- The 450,000 people that have read my superhero-themed writing articles at Superhero Nation.
- Prospective authors that have been inspired to write a novel or comic book but want help developing and distinguishing their ideas beyond the 25 blockbuster movies that have come out since 2000.
- The 180,000 people who search Google for superhero writing advice each year.
- Adults who want to encourage younger superhero fans (relatives and perhaps students) to practice and sharpen their writing. Several English and creative writing teachers have asked me for class handouts and posters based on my articles and I’m certified to teach ESL.
- Anybody that loves death-rays, which have been a mainstay of doomsday shenanigans since Archimedes’ senior prom.
The main competition would be books about how to write comics and/or graphic novels. Don’t Forget the Death-Ray! has several competitive edges:
- My book is entirely about writing. In contrast, most comics guidebooks spend many chapters on art and lettering (e.g. 9 out of 20 chapters for The Everything Guide to Writing Graphic Novels). My bet is that comic book writers would rather share space with novelists than with artists, because material for novelists is more likely to help comic book writers develop their skills than material for artists would. My goal for the table of contents is that comic book writers and superhero novelists would both feel that almost all of the content will be helpful to them.
- My book is superhero-specific. Superheroes dominate the comic book industry (landing around 280-290 of the top 300 bestsellers in any given month), but surprisingly few comic guidebooks focus explicitly on superheroes. My book will cover material especially helpful for superhero authors—for example, in addition to general material on how to write interesting villains, I’ll have specific material on how to write supervillains, mad scientists, terrorists, and government/police antagonists, which are mainstays of superhero stories but would probably not get much attention in a more general work.
- My book would be the only one on the market that covers superhero novelists. This is useful for several reasons. The market of prospective superhero novelists could be rather large. Each year, Google users do about 87,000 ambiguous searches which might be for a superhero novel or a comic book (e.g. “how to make a superhero” or “superhero story ideas”). When I asked my audience whether they were more interested in writing comic books or novels, my 164 respondents split 25% for comic books, 43% for novels and 32% for both/undecided. If my survey respondents are representative of prospective superhero writers as a whole, those 87,000 ambiguous searches per year could represent thousands of sales for a guidebook which covers both novels and comic books.
- Educational appeal. Parents and teachers usually find novels more mentally challenging and meaningful than comic books, so they might be more receptive to buying a guidebook which covers novels and comic books rather than just comic books. Additionally, I’m certified to teach ESL and have two years of experience tutoring in high school English.
Would you want to read this book and/or keep reading this proposal? If not, please let me know how I could make my pitch more effective. If you might be interested, please sign up for the email list so that I can let you know when it comes out. Thanks! (If I can show publishers that many people are interested, it’ll be easier for me to get published).