Book Proposal – Part Six “About the Author”

11 Jan
A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

Of all the parts of a book proposal, this is the one that I am least comfortable with. I could never be a salesman, or at best a poor one. This is even true when it comes to selling myself.

Yet I had to write something, and in this I defaulted to my military frame of reference. Officers are expected to be highly dedicated, hard working, always showing initiative in solving problems, etc. The sorts who walk on water, a little bit.

Often when it comes time for a superior to write our annual performance reports, we’re asked to write a “brag sheet” to list our accomplishments for the past 12 months, to ensure that nothing significant is missed. As my father, who was also a RCAF navigator, is fond of saying, writing a brag sheet is not the time to be bashful.

I don’t know if taking this approach would read well to a publisher or if it would be construed as hubris. I’d love to hear peoples’ thoughts on the question. Regardless, for better or for worse, here is what I wrote about myself:

* * * * *

About the Author

The author is a 3rd generation Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Navigator with nearly 27 [now 30] years of service. He specialized in the secretive world of anti-submarine warfare, with operational, instructional, staff, and Test & Evaluation experience. An honours graduate of the prestigious year-long Aerospace Systems Course, he was hand-selected to be part of the team which created the RCAF’s applied think tank, of which he was then a founding member. He has written for professional military periodicals and doctrine publications. He is a Member of the Order of Military Merit.

The author has been noted through his career as an effective thinker and writer. His forte in writing is an innate appreciation of the impact of nuance: he intuitively comprehends the subtle differences in interpretation that result from even the most minor changes, and as such he can reach into a reader’s mind with words to re-align it as necessary to achieve the reader-book communion. He is somewhat of a perfectionist with his writing in this regard. At a more abstract level, the author informally articulates an emotional effect upon the reader that he wishes to achieve and then writes to achieve this effect.

The author is highly motivated to ensure that ONE is a commercial success, and he is confident of his ability to communicate it to the broadest of audiences in a uniquely engaging way. He is excited in having had a profoundly original idea in the sense of the movie “A Beautiful Mind,” and he is determined to ensure that ONE becomes a life-changing work for all readers, from housewife to philosopher, from gardener to king and queen, for generations to come.

Have to love a beautiful mind

Have to love a beautiful mind

The author loves jazz and other genres of music, he prefers turntables to CD players and tubes to solid state, and his watch has hands; he is an analogue man. Unbeknownst to his military peers, he also writes poetry for pleasure. He is the father of three alienated children, two of whom are seriously maimed in self by what is now fourth generation maternal narcissism.

* * * * *

I didn’t have the movie poster image in my original proposal.

How does this read? Do I distinguish myself “from the herd” of aspiring writers, or does it seem a bit too full of myself? Maybe I’ll try my first poll to answer the question.

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42 Responses to “Book Proposal – Part Six “About the Author””

  1. idiotwriter January 11, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    It is hard saying good shit about oneself right – your father had the right idea though there is a time and a place for it – I DO believe when you have to promote in a niche and not just ‘be a nice guy making contacts’ you are entitled to put in ALL your strong points (so long as it is honest – which it \DOES come across as) If YOU can not have something good to say in such direct terms – and if you can not know what you have done and what your strengths are – you the hell will? 😉 I like how it is kinda written in third person like someone else has written it about you – I am sure this is the right way isn’t it? I see folk around doing this – and it seems to give a more pro feel (and probably sound more humble 😉 )

    • navigator1965 January 11, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

      Thanks, Belinda. The 3rd person felt good to me when I wrote it, but Carol has a valid question about it below.

      Yes, I think Dad was right.

      • idiotwriter January 11, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

        I see what Carol is saying – I suppose it could swing both ways? I think it depends a great deal on what the book is about and also who is meant to read it – ie – the particular person it is directed at. I know that all agents AND pub houses are different and deal with different work. Plus they all have individual requirements and some are VERY indifferent and distant – some are more personable and involved. So that all bares a hold on it – so I always think the pro way is the way to go – not saying first person is can not be pro – but your style kinda suits it. HOWEVER if you replaced ‘THE Author with ‘I’ it sounds contrite. If you went first person – I think you would have to do just that – make it personal and less formal. BUT – hey – I have never done it before – I have only done a few CV’s – which are taking this kind of format now (not the old point structure of the past) 😉

  2. Carol Balawyder January 11, 2014 at 11:57 am #

    Why are you writing it in third person? Wouldn’t first person be more personal? I could see third person on a blurb on a cover or in a review but not on a proposal. Anybody else agree?

    • navigator1965 January 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

      I honestly can’t remember why I wrote in the 3rd person. Perhaps I found an example that I based this off of – I’ll have to check.

      Would the dispassionate nature of 3rd person seem more businesslike?

      • Carol Balawyder January 11, 2014 at 4:38 pm #

        I don’t think so. At least it’s my opinion. Why don’t you post a short question on this?

    • navigator1965 January 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      Forgetting my manners! Thanks for the question, Carol.

  3. KG January 11, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    I think, as of now, I am the only person to vote ‘All’s fair in love, war, and “About the Author”! ‘ 🙂 and you have so much accomplishments which sort of validates your concept and the contents to lesser known people.

    • navigator1965 January 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      Thanks, KG. Since I don’t have formal post graduate academic accreditation, nor am I a clinician, I think I have to sell myself a bit given that I am writing about narcissism, especially advancing a new and unorthodox interpretation of it.

  4. Lilith Colbert January 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    Mmmmm am I being crass in pointing out that you share a name with one of my most favorite actors EVER?

    Magic Mike *snerk* Sorry, I DO know him for better fare, but lolol!!

    Quite a pedigree you have there, sir, and I say if you got it, FLAUNT IT BABY!!

    • navigator1965 January 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

      Thanks, Lilith. It’s been an interesting and at times challenging 30 years in uniform.

      My nom de plume is Michael McConaughey. Isn’t the actor Matthew McConaughey? I wonder if this similarity will generate any sales?

      • Lilith Colbert January 12, 2014 at 11:52 am #

        Hmmm it SAYS Matthew on the picture of the cover 😉

        • navigator1965 January 12, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

          I checked, Lilith. The manuscript that I snapped a photo of had “by Michael M. McConaughey” on it. Interestingly, when I saw the first draft of the actual cover design from the publisher, it had been changed from Michael to Matthew by the graphic artist.

          It appears as if my pseudonym does trigger an association with the actor.

  5. I don’t have the experience to critique your About the Author post. As a avid reader, I can say that I’d read your book based on your write up. I think you sell yourself well. Good luck with everything. I believe the hard work will pay off.

    As a side note (all in good fun) it’s almost too bad you aren’t trying to get a date. You’d have dates for a lifetime lined up around the corner, I’d say.

    Blessings,
    Audrey

  6. Inion N. Mathair January 12, 2014 at 3:51 am #

    Yeah, selling yourself feels a bit like looking in a mirror for an awkward amount of time & convincing yourself your perfect! Problem is, a mirror begins to show flaws. You did brilliantly though. Yours sounded professional as if there’s nothing vain about it just the professional truths. To me, that’s the hardest part. Making something completely personal sound professional. It’s also hard to keep doing this over & over & over…. It’s not bad enough to have to do this once a day. But thirty to forty times on twelve different websites, as you pass people on the street. Your doctors office, your accountant. I would imagine it can get old after while.

    Around seven years ago, Inion & I traveled to Naples for a seminar/workshop discussing marketing & platform. We heard a traditionally published author speak on the subject & her experience. She said, that she was told by her team of people, that during interviews she was to bring up her book title no matter what the interviewer asked. “Always revert back to the book!” Sounds easy enough but when played out, is really ridiculous.

    Author: Mary Contrary
    Her Book: Book X
    Interviewer: Jane Doe
    Jane: “So, you we’re born in Tampa, Florida?”
    Mary C: Yes Jane & that’s where I came up with the story for “Book X”.
    Jane: So your a graduate of The University of Florida?
    Mary C: Yes, and shortly after I graduated I began the blueprinting for Book X.
    Jane: Is it true that you have Hemorrhoids?
    Mary C: As a matter of fact, Jane…I do but they’re my muse for Book X!!
    Jane: So Mary your mother died last night of a rare disease?
    Mary C: “Yes Jane and on her death bed her last words we’re….. Book X.”
    LMAO Really? This is what they want us to do? 😀

    I think you’ve managed to pull off a nice balance here. Your positive & flattering enough to do your book a world of good, but you haven’t gone so far to the left that you sound arrogant or ridiculous so, beautiful job!! 🙂

    Now lastly we have only one thing left to say, M……. I……….. K………E……. AHA!! We finally have a name!! NO longer shall we call you Navigator! You’ve been discovered & we shall always refer to you from this point on as………MIKE!!!!!!! 😀 lol
    We voted to leave “as is” as we feel it needs no improvement & is perfect. Hope this helps.

    • navigator1965 January 12, 2014 at 8:50 am #

      Ah, what great fortune was it that brought such a delightful pair of Irish beauties to this humble blog?

      As I mention in my book “The Mirror,” there is a legal requirement that I write it under a pseudonym so as to not be publicly identified with my true story. I am to forever remain a mystery to the world. And so it is “Mike” and not Mike, both in my book “The Mirror” and on my blog of the same name, that name being “The Mirror.”

      When it is time for me to leave this Earth, bury me in an unmarked grave with a bottle of Lagavulin. Assuming there’s one left after the wake, of course.

      Your feedback on the “About the Author” part of my original proposal is most helpful, bearing in mind that this is the author of “The Mirror.” What you describe is exactly what I was aiming for, and I think helps answer Carol’s question as to why I wrote it in the 3rd person (beyond probably having had an example that did this): I am far more comfortable promoting myself with the dispassion of writing from a non-personal perspective.

      Mary Q. Contrary’s interview certainly brought a smile to my face, a youthful face that, though gently creased with the etched lines that betrayed the storms both small and great that had been weathered on the turbulent seas of life, was still a kind and caring face, and one that had looked on in open admiration and adoration while “The Mirror” was being written.

      Have I mentioned my book? }:-)>

  7. LindaGHill January 13, 2014 at 10:57 pm #

    After having read the manuscript I have to say that you didn’t go overboard one iota. It is every bit as engaging and personable as you say it is, and you are every bit as good as you say you are, and I say that not because I want a vintage bottle of wine, but because that is my honest opinion.

    I do find the Beautiful Mind reference a bit confusing though. Are you comparing yourself to the movie or the character? If it’s the character, I don’t think it bodes very well.

    • navigator1965 January 13, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

      Thank you, Linda. Compliment is gratefully accepted.

      The reference was to the “original idea” that Nash sought and ultimately discovered, which led to his becoming a Nobel Laureate. Not that I am thinking of prizes, but of a discovery which no one has thought of before. A new way of seeing human existence.

      • LindaGHill January 14, 2014 at 6:51 am #

        Having not read everything there is to read, I can’t say for sure. But what you’ve come up with is certainly new to me. Thanks for clarifying your meaning. 🙂

  8. simplyilka January 14, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    Your ‘About the author’ is as unique as you are’ 🙂

    • navigator1965 January 14, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

      Thank you, Ilka. I have to remind myself that what appears normal to me (my background) may be unusual to a non-military person.

    • navigator1965 January 19, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

      Hey! Your avatar looks a little bit different. };-)>

      • simplyilka January 20, 2014 at 3:49 am #

        New year, new avatar!

        Honestly, I do miss my smiley. I am setting up a freelance writer’s page at the moment. It was recommended to me – professionally – that for using my blog-posts for my portfolio it would be best to have the same avatar at writers page, linkedIn, twitter and blog. So, here I am 🙂

        • navigator1965 January 20, 2014 at 5:40 am #

          The coherent social media platform. Makes sense. Plus it’s a nice photo for the avatar.

        • simplyilka January 20, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

          Aw! Thank you 🙂

        • navigator1965 January 20, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

          I was just being scientific. };-)>

        • simplyilka January 21, 2014 at 7:35 am #

          I was replying strictly politely scientific

        • navigator1965 January 21, 2014 at 7:52 am #

          But of course. We were testing the hypothesis that your new avatar was wonderful. It is.

          Or were we supposed to disprove the null hypothesis?

  9. KraftedKhaos March 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    ***Disclaimer: I’m going on the assumption that you want totally honest answers, not watered-down, bubble-wrapped ones that people give just to make someone feel good, so the following answer is given in the spirit of the ‘Reader’ who doesn’t know an Author, and states their opinion without worrying about hurting feelings. If you need/want me to be gentler, I can and will do so upon request. 🙂

    I know I’m late to this party, and I didn’t bother reading past the first three replies, to be honest, but as an avid reader who actually likes to read the ‘About the Author’ section… I loved the first and last paragraph, but the middle two read more like a book review, and because it’s written by the same person who wrote the book, as a reader, I felt a like I was being told how to feel about the book… which isn’t a good thing, at least for me.

    In short, I already know that you, as the author, think the book is great and profound. That’s a given, otherwise you wouldn’t have written it, right? The ‘About Me’ section is just that, a place to let the reader get to know WHO you are… which may or may not give insight into WHY you think the way you do, but not an ideal place to discuss what you think about the book… because you have an entire book to tell us WHAT you think, lol.

    And I don’t mind the 3rd person, if it’s written in the style of someone telling us about a close friend of theirs… ie, ‘The Author’ seems a little cold and impersonal, Much better is, ‘As a 3rd generation RCAF Navigator, Joe Smith specialized in……. ‘ and all future references be simply ‘he’ or first name.

    But that’s just my opinion, and we all know what they say about opinions… ^_^

    • navigator1965 March 12, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

      K.K., All thoughtful and civil opinions, including criticism, are most welcome here. You’re probably right about my having been a bit clinical. It was the first time I really wrote about myself in the 3rd person, so I probably went a bit too hard over on the being detached bit.

      Appreciate the feedback, as I should probably write a new proposal for my current book. Even though is is being self-published, it may attract the attention of a traditional publisher at some point.

      Thank you.

      • KraftedKhaos March 12, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

        I just get an ‘icky’ feeling at the thought of hurting the feelings of anyone else. I only said what I said because I figured you could already tell from my previous comments that I think you’re a stellar writer. I was aiming for blunt, but most definitely civil. If I fell short of the mark, that’s on me, but not intentional. 🙂

        • navigator1965 March 12, 2014 at 6:32 pm #

          I hate to disappoint you, but you can’t be much of a narcissist if the thought of hurting someone’s feelings has such an effect upon you.

          You’re comments in no way offended me. I actually appreciated your thoughtful criticisms, and they will be helpful to me.

          Candid and civil works just fine for me. }:-)>

        • KraftedKhaos March 12, 2014 at 6:51 pm #

          Which brings us back to my other comment (at least, I think I posted it… I sometimes delete thoughts and later think I actually shared them!) that I believe all humans suffer from narcissism to varying degrees, depending on how immersed in their own ‘bubble’ they are at any given point in time. There are things that can occur that will shoot me instantly into a vicious, hateful person, because they provoke a fear in me so great, I literally go into a fight or flight response, and am completely unable to take the other person’s feelings into account… not unlike a wounded animal with it’s leg caught in a trap that bites anything that moves, including itself. I’m in such a panic, everything is a threat and I cannot feel empathy, sympathy or compassion toward you until it subsides… after which I am often devastated by the things I have said. But that’s a whole other couch session, LOL… to a lesser degree, I can be selfish out of simple oblivion, being lost in my own little world. But when I am ‘present’ and conscious, I will usually go out of my way to put the feelings of others before my own. I’m sure I’m the equivalent of a grab bag of party favors for a therapist, LOL.

        • navigator1965 March 12, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

          Well, yes, this does sound like a response to a narcissistic injury. If this is the case, the fact that you have insight into this is a positive sign.

          Let’s wait until you read the book, and see if it shapes your thoughts or resonates with you in any way.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Book Proposal – Part Nine “Sample Chapter” | The Mirror - January 19, 2014

    […] Part Six – About the Author […]

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