Untitled Haikyo Book

Mike GristHaikyo 5 Comments

Another book I’ve put together and recently sent out to select agents is my haikyo book. I have sent it out before, but then only to a limited spread of Japan-based publishers. This time I went more international. Already I got a few replies, some of them advising me on which agents I should approach. The comments I’ve got have been positive, with one main proviso- that it’s quite esoteric. It’s true, haikyo is a specific niche, but I think ruins in general appeal broadly. Hook that market, plus the Japan-loving nerd market, that’s not a bad niche.

Here are the pages I put together as a proof of concept-

They’re a pretty basic idea of how it could look. If I end up going to self-publication, it would probably look similar to this.

Comments 5

  1. I love the idea of an English speaking haikyo book – but is that a map under the name of the place? What happened to “not revealing locations”?
    BTW: The pages you designed look like they are from a magazine. I generally would go for less text and more pictures, considering the subject of the book.
    (I know, “Nippon No Haikyo” has lots of text (and maps), but look at the damage it has done. Half the places in the book I’ve been to were demolished after it was published – coincidence?)

    1. I’m against the elitism of people who suggest keeping map coordinates for themselves. Not everyone resides in Japan, and being able to explore the area in Google Earth and Streetview greatly adds to Michael’s already excellent articles.

  2. Can you make the proof of concept link to a PDF of those pages so we can see them up close?

    I guess the decision is whether to make it a coffee table type book, i.e. lots of large photos, a photography based book, or make it a work of non-fiction on the existence of all these abandoned places in Japan and coming up with a narrative that would be interesting enough to sustain the length of an entire book.

    Or make it a flat out guidebook. If that is a Google Map embeded in the image, I am sure you will need Google’s permission to publish it.

    Did you tell the publishers which market you are aiming at? Photography liking crowd, or otaku into just the idea of abandoned buildings crowd? Does an English speaking market exist for a book so text heavy? I would guess, probably not, but for a photo heavy book, perhaps yes as I was able to have a photography exhibition in the U.S. with just my haikyo images and have it be that particular gallery’s best selling exhibition.

  3. Post

    Florian- You`re not far off saying the design looks like a magazine- I used a Word template for brochures to put this together. Interesting you should say less text, I`ll have to think on that. As for maps, I made the template about a year ago first, and when I updated it recently neglected to take the maps off. I doubt an international audience (which the book would need to get off the ground) would care about maps anyway, so if it gets to that stage, I`m sure they`ll come out.

    Dom- 🙁 … But thanks for your input 😉

    Jason- I could make it bigger but purposefully didn`t, just wanted to give an idea of layout. You may be right about the text-heavy-ness of it. My feeling is to go similarly with the way I`ve presented haikyo on this site. If there was much to say about a place, either history or `adventure`, then that would follow through into the chapter. For many places though there`s little to say, so they`d be mostly photos.

    As for market, sure, I mentioned that people like ruins, that people like Japan. It was only a query letter though so wasn`t my full book proposal (which goes into more detail).

    Google maps, easy enough to cut those out.

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