Daniel Kline and Jason Tomaszewski, authors of 50 Things Every Guy Should Know How to Do
By Sarah W. Caron
For Daniel Kline and Jason Tomaszewski, things just seemed to fall into place for their recently released book, 50 Things Every Guy Should Know How to Do, but only after years of failed projects.
Kline, who had worked with his agents Frank Scatoni and Greg Dinkin at Venture Literary (www.ventureliterary.com) since 1999, was meeting with his agent on an unrelated matter in 2004 when he gave an off the cuff pitch for an advice book for guys.
He admits that at the time, he hadn't even thought it through much. Tomaszewski wasn't in the picture as a collaborator yet either. But when Kline got a call the next week looking for a written proposal for a Plume editor who wanted an exclusive on it, Kline scrambled to get going and that's when he asked Tomaszewski to help.
"We wrote a proposal in two weeks," Kline said.
That Plume editor "sat on it for two to three weeks," Kline said. Then they got the call saying he wanted to buy it. Both men were on a business trip. Although their agents suggested they hold out, Kline and Tomaszewski decided against it because it was their first book.
Kline said that the deal was signed in August 2004, and at the time they estimated it would take three to six months to complete. However, the time frame was extended when they discovered that the actual writing and editing part of the book took longer. Kline said that the publishing company "never put any pressure" on the pair.
"Writing a book in general was not what you thought it would be," Kline said.
He explained that they would get some pages returned "with thousands of changes" and others would have none.
"It's going to be over two years from the point we signed this deal to the point it comes out," Kline said.
Tomaszewski and Kline said that the idea evolved a bit over time.
"The original idea of the book wasn't to be celebrity-based," Kline said. "The idea of celebrities doing it was really just a marketing tool."
Kline said that the important thing to them was to have real advice from real experts on things a guy should know how to do, but might not. The advice ranges from the everyday (how to cook a steak, how to choose a wine, how to make someone laugh, how to pick a movie) to the unusual (how to win an eating contest, how to beat an all-you-can-eat buffet, how to get a massage, how to pimp your ride) to the downright odd (how to have a threesome, how to cheat on your wife, how to know if your wife is cheating on you). In between are a lot of useful topics such as teaching men how to change oil, start businesses, and care for children.
Although every chapter is based on the advice of an expert, only 20 percent of them were actually written by that expert. The rest were written by Kline, Tomaszewski, and a few freelancers based on their interviews with the expert on that topic.
Now how did Kline and Tomaszewski, who work in the ladder and scaffolding business, find all these experts to contribute?
"To be fair, most of them we have a direct or indirect relationship with," Tomaszewski said.
For instance, Tomaszewski played college ball with Philadelphia Eagles starting center Hank Fraley, who wrote the chapter on buffets, and Bill Dwyer, former sports editor of the LA Times, was a professional acquaintance of his uncle.
"A few of the more famous (contributors) came through freelancers," Kline said.
Other contributors were contacted through their publicists or even by just looking them up.
"The book is a mix of celebrities and experts," Kline said. Tomaszewski and Kline said that they created the chapter list first and then matched experts to it.
The pair is now hard at work on a few projects. One is Thingseveryguy.com, a companion site for the new book, where they post news links with witty comments.
"We try to get something new everyday," Tomaszewski said. Kline said that it reaches out to a vastly underserved market of men looking for lifestyle-type advice.
"I think men are vastly underserved on the Internet," Kline said.
Another is a pop culture book on the 100 worst movies made since 1980.
"That's a niche book," Kline said, identifying it as a vanity project. "We have started the website lousymovies.com."
They are in early discussions for another book, for women, about keeping husbands happy. Like 50 Things, it would be expert based.
Both Kline and Tomaszewski have their roots in journalism.
Tomaszewski was a radio broadcaster and sports commentator before joining the staff of a small paper in northwestern Connecticut. He worked his way up through the ranks from cub reporter to managing editor.
Kline met Tomaszewski when he signed on as editor of that paper. He came in at a time when the paper had just gone through about five editors in as many months.
"Everyone was really skeptical," Kline said, but Tomaszewski was the first on the staff to welcome him and accept him.
Several years later when Kline decided to leave the paper to join his family business, he asked Tomaszewski to come along.
This was Tomaszewski's first book. For Kline, technically it's his second. He authored a Frommer's Unofficial Guide Book on camping, which is no longer in print. That was a work for hire job, he said.
"We often joke that we are the most successful writers in the ladder and scaffolding industry," Kline said.
Sarah W. Caron is a freelance writer, based in Connecticut. She writes Cucina Bella (www.cucinabella.blogspot.com), a food blog that takes everyday ingredients and created extraordinary dishes.
How to find a book publisher
Text on this site Copyright © 1998-2007
Absolute Write, all rights reserved.