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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Proposal for NF again

    Hi my much imposed upon friends. I realize NF is not what most of you do, so I included a few of the questions they want answered after the initial paragraph. The whole proposal is supposed to be 20-40 pages, so I have a lot to go.

    At this point I was just wondering if what I came up with as a "hook", (and it said to exaggerate and brag shamelessly - something I am not good at. But I swear that is what it said!). So if anyone has the time, and the inclination on a Saturday to read it, thanks!

    This one is according to an 8-page instructional on how to do proposals. This is only the "hook" and planning the framework, nothing more.

    Such proposals seem to be short stories in themselves.

    This is the opening, the Hook, hopefully.:

    " Do we really need one more book about relationships? Are we tired of yet another professional lecturing us on their scientific formula on how to find love? Then how about exploring the path to that relationship, the one which is uniquely perfect for just you - and doing so with a real, live psychologist? One who is living with a condition that makes forming intimate relationships very difficult to begin with?

    Based on the concept of: "Now watch how you should not do it!" , this book will leave even the most discouraged reader rolling with laughter as they watch the author, the one who is supposed to have all the answers in such areas, make one wrong move after another in her quest to find 'her' perfect relationship. Gradually she learns (the hard way), along with the reader, how "not to do it", and in the end both her and the reader will have made many interesting discoveries about themselves, and about the kind of partner they will likely have the best connection with."


    This book is about one relationship-challenged psychologist's quest to find her perfect relationship.


    It is written as non-fiction, from the viewpoint of a psychologist, and it shows not only common relationship mistakes and the characterological reasons certain people make certain mistakes over and over again, but it also offers strategies and insights to turn this around. It is bravely self-revealing; the “reality-literature” to today's “reality-television”.

    I am a professional in this area, both academically, and experientially {or would 'historically' be better?}. I am willing and able to self-disclose, and I am going to do so with humor and insight. I also have access to a large number of collateral stories through a website I ran for several years in preparation of my dissertation. (Of course the names/locations would be changed to protect the identities of the individuals)

    Additionally I have the stories of some interesting clients of mine that (of course with names and identifying characteristics changed) will illustrate relationship difficulties that are immensely important in explore, yet ( thankfully ) they have not all been personally experienced by me.


    Pretty much any adult who is still looking for love and/or a satisfying relationship. They will care because they have probably read a number of other books about relationships and yet they are still looking to find a formula that will help them identify the type of partner and relationship that will fit with their personality and their life-style needs and ultimately make them happy.

    After this will come a synopsis, Table of contents with a sample chapter on each heading, a bio on the author, the platform, at least two sample paragraphs...... you get the picture. I'll be busy for a long time. B). But it's all good. When the proposal is done I should have an excellent framework to start the book in a very organized fashion.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Re: Proposal for NF again


    I would seriously doubt a source that instructed me to brag shamelessly and exaggerate in a nonfiction proposal. Exaggerating, in the nonfiction world, is called lying. Anyone that adds "shamelessly" to "brag" is telegraphing the shame they feel in bragging, i.e., that their actual expertise is wanting. Braggarts often have to try to do so without shame...because...well, bragging is rather shameful. If you've got a good book and good credentials, you most certainly DO NOT want to come across as bragging or shameless or exaggerating.

    Do you want to read a nonfiction book from an author who needs to brag, be shameless, and exaggerate?

    Find a better source.

    You may have to spring for actual books, written by actual experts, published by actual publishers rather than an eight-page -- what? a free download from an author you've never heard of? -- bit of bad advice.

    As for your actual proposal, I can't imagine why you'd want to start with reminding an agent of the glut of dismal books on relationships already on the market. Go read Delany's last Q attempt. What if she/he started with, "Do we really need another story about the moral choice a character faces between fulfilling his own desires and being a moral guy? Aren't we tired of writers lecturing us through thinly disguised plots about why moral choices are so damn important? Then how 'bout exploring moral choices from an author who has really had some?"

    Why would Delany do that? Why would you do that?

    This is not thinking strategically. It's certainly not thinking from the market/reader/agent perspective Neither is it thinking from the best of what you have. I don't know what sort of thinking this is. Only that it feels like the set up to a joke. (The punch line -- the agent is so overcome with the waste her efforts have been she resigns herself to never taking another self-help relationship book ever.)

    I do sort of like the "reality literature" bit. We don't watch T.V. at home but when I'm alone in a hotel room, I'm glued to those rank reality shows. I feel all oh-my-gosh-I-so-have-my-sh-t-together, which is a feeling I rarely get outside of hotel MTV viewing. Seems like something you could play with, but maybe that's just me. And that's way too narrow to focus when you're currently thinking that telling agent how half the books she's repped are just professional lecturing.

    You do realize that the agents you'll want to target are the very same agents who rep and sell the books you're dissing? What if a client came into your office, saying she'd heard from all your other clients that you were a waste of time, that your work hadn't counted for much? How would you feel? That's how any agent who's sold self-help relationship stuff will feel toward you Q -- if she feels at all, doubtful.

    You aren't thinking as your reader. Crap, I've said that several times, haven't I? I'll stop.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Re: Proposal for NF again

    Thank you. No, that makes sense.

    Also - I HATE reality television. But I know it is very popular.

    So, I will regroup. That is why I finally decided to put this out there. I was afraid that maybe it is a terrible idea, yet I did not want to launch it without running it by some people who have experience.

    So - thanks again. I will regroup and come up with something different.

    Is there anything in my approach that you think I should keep? If not, that's okay.

    And I know this is a whole lot to ask: but what is it that an agent or publisher has in mind when they are reading through a proposal? I do think I have a good idea, and one that really will be marketable. But how can I get that across to the person who has maybe 2 minutes of time to decide whether to even consider my proposal, or to throw it on the pile of 100s of other that will be discarded?

    Thank you for even taking the time to look at it and respond.

    As a member of this forum for about the last month, I have noticed how difficult ( I am shying away of using the word "tiresome") it is to read plot after plot of people who want to get feedback on their entries.

    And I just got here!! So I can only imagine how it feels for those of you who have been here for a long time and are really committed to helping writers. I am exhausted just thinking of all the brain work you are putting into helping us, all for free.

    Thank you!

    Have to go to bed now. Midnight is just a few hours away.

    Good Night, and thank you all for your input and your help.


  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Re: Proposal for NF again


    I feel that watching crass reality shows, on the rare occasions I travel without husband and son, are little pills of darkness that makes my usual dimness seem like sunshine. I skip down to the pool or off for a lecture feeling so together and arrived. Try it. Try yelling at the characters on screen while eating another $5.00 Snickers and drinking the last of those ridiculous $8.00 mini bottles of merot from the mini bar. It'll cost you, but still probably cheaper than mood drugs and the stories are better.

    On to substantiative stuff.

    Is there anything to keep? Maybe. But if you think about little snips of whatever that work you'll be less likely to have the sea-changing sort of breakthrough you need. You know how you helped me switch my thinking about a minor character I was struggling with in our PMs? Right? You said acknowledgement and it completely reoriented my thinking. You need to reorient your thinking. I say this all the time, and it largely goes on deaf ears. I suspect that's like the hardest thing to do. But the most important thing.

    Think like your reader (here an agent, but that agent has to feel the voice that can communicate to masses). You just haven't flipped the switch, moved into another's mind. It will all look different if/when you do.

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