The overview is, apparently, where you either grab the publisher’s attention or lose it, all in the space of the first few sentences. When I wrote this proposal, I was a bit of a newbie. Not only had I never written a proposal before, I had never written a book before, nor had I published commercially. I had some relevant internet articles to help guide me, but no direct experience with commercial publishing.
I was trying for a very positive, fascinating, and even spiritual approach to the book. As discussed in my last post, this perspective was reflected in the title One. It was also an approach that I couldn’t make work, and I ultimately moved on to a more intellectually honest, less idealistic, and less naive approach.
Thus, the proposal I wrote should reflect this inexperience, naiveté, and idealism to some extent. Still, one has to start somewhere, and there is no better way to learn than by doing. Here’s the overview:
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What if a single book successfully combined attributes from three bestsellers? MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS resonated with readers as it revealed inherent truths about the genders; THE TIPPING POINT fascinated readers with a truly original insight into ourselves; and THE CELESTINE PROPHESY seduced readers with the promise of a spiritual awakening. What if a single book resonated with, fascinated, and seduced its readers?
ONE is the true story of the author’s spiritual journey of discovery and understanding. When the author’s wife abuses their three children, the combined efforts of child protection workers, lawyers, judges, and senior elected officials to assist her provides a shocking catalyst for him to understand why. Against all odds, he does.
ONE will be written in three parts:
– Part One will chronicle the author’s life of living in a narcissistic relationship.
– Part Two will describe how the author’s complaint to a child protection agency against his wife resulted in an obsessed and criminal systemic response to excommunicate him from his children’s lives.
– Part Three will detail what the author discovered in terms of why individuals and entities that are entrusted to protect children became party to something terrible, and how this journey of discovery led him through his angst to a peace based on understanding and acceptance.
The book will be approximately 60,000 words. The manuscript will be completed twelve months after receipt of the advance. It will be written under the pseudonym of Matthew M. McConaughey.
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I should point out that the 60,000 word figure was arbitrary. I’d read on the internet that publishers prefer shorter books from first time authors, and tend to set a limit of 60,000 as a preferred cutoff.
As I was to discover, One transformed into The Mirror, which has Book One and the planned Book Two. The manuscript below for Book One weighs in at 94,000 words. Perhaps I should have written under the pseudonym of Bob Loblaw (blah blah blah).
You’ll note that I emphasized the business aspect of this. I was trying to emulate the success of three major best sellers. Talk about big game hunting! It wasn’t the $$$ that I was interested in so much as the number of sales. I wanted to have a significant and positive social impact, and I still do. Also note how I kept it concise. It is, after all, an overview, and an overview is a place where less is more. (Or so I think.)
In retrospect, I am glad that this proposal was summarily dismissed on the one occasion that it was looked at (or perhaps wasn’t looked at). It led to me ultimately writing my own book instead of trying to emulate the works of others. I don’t believe that there’s ever been anything quite like The Mirror before. As to whether or not my having selected three big game targets in terms of sales was prophetic or not, time will tell.