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Hundreds and Hundreds of Pages

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This is gonna be a big, massive, door-stopper of a book…

A item on Publishers Marketplace last week reported that “Lawrence Ross’s expose that looks at every aspect of the adult film industry from the African-American perspective while analyzing the sociological, psychological, and physical effects that pornography has on its participants and viewers” recently sold to Thunder’s Mouth Press.

Now the book proposal sold, so who am I to question this project? But from an outside observer’s perspective, I’m just curious about that description. One of the things that we, as aspiring authors, hear all the time is to focus, focus, focus. Find a tiny sliver of an idea and really zoom in on it. But here’s a book that’s going to examine “every aspect of the adult film industry” that will take into account the “sociological, psychological, and physical effects” that porn has on both its “participants and viewers.” The emphasis in that sentence is mine, but geez, how long is this book going to be? 

Legs McNeil and Jennifer Osbourne’s fantastic The Other Hollywood: The Uncensored Oral History of the Porn Film Industry focused the history of the adult film business but only included the performer persepective and it still clocked in at over 600 pages. Pornified: How Pornography Is Transforming Our Lives, Our Relationships, and Our Families by Pamela Paul examined the impact porn has on our culture, but primarily focused on the viewer’s experience and it was just a tad over 300 pages in length. Laurence O’Toole’s Pornocopia, Updated Edition: Porn, Sex, Technology and Desire does an admirable job of mixing interviews with industry veterans like Paul Thomas, Chasey Lain, and Juli Ashton with the experiences of average everyday users and it’s more than 400 pages but it doesn’t even begin to cover the physical and pyschological aspects.

In Write the Perfect Book Proposal: 10 That Sold and Why, 2nd Edition Jeff Herman and Deborah Levine Herman write “having a focused idea is imperative. An unfocused idea is one of the main reasons why a book proposal will be rejected.” Now, obviously Mr. Ross’ book did not get rejected. So I’m not complaining about that, kudos to him and congratulations on the deal. I’m just curious to see how this project, casting this massive of a net, turns out.

I would have never dreamed of submitting a proposal this wide but that’s why he has the deal and I’m up at 5am, posting this before trudging off to my dayjob. Or maybe I’ve just never been able to get over that old standardized testing tip that was drilled into my head about immediately discounting any multiple choice answer that starts with “every…”