I love my office with its dark gray walls, stained-glass lamp, and well-worn desk that in another life was a traveling photographer’s field table.
I lean back in my chair and look outside at the spreading magnolia. I watch about a dozen obviously caffeinated birds flitting all over the place while I lazily wonder about that photographer. About the places he walked and the world his camera blinked at.
And then I look at my glassy-blue computer screen and think,”Hmmm. Is the best word “empowered” or should it be “inspired”?
Yes – you can read that as, “Doing very little, and accomplishing less”.
I have spent the better part of a week trying to create a book proposal that is informative, intriguing, well researched and seamlessly complied.
I have paced the halls muttering while waving my hands in the air – unintentionally frightening cats. I have typed then deleted, typed and stretched, finally leaving behind a few phrases that I actually like.
So, what makes the business of telling someone about a book so much more difficult than the writing of the book itself?
With every click of the keyboard, I feel as if I have to behave like a mature, calm, objective adult, even though the passion for the topic and the love of the research and the fun of the sharing bubble out of my fingers and onto the pages like soda over ice cream!
But agents and editors don’t have any interest in bubbles or wild hand waving, or in sticky messes for that matter. They only want to be shown … to be educated.
They need to experience the tucked away places still holding secrets from the past. They want to hear the storytellers who watch their listeners as they craft a tale half lie, half dream.
When reading about an unassuming bakery in a tiny town producing melt-in-your-mouth cake and pastries, those agents and editors ought to reach for a napkin.
Not because every page of the proposal is placed in exactly the proper order. And not because every word is perfect.
But because the writer loves the work and loves the readers, too. An author has a need to share new worlds like a traveling photographer seeks out beauty not only for himself, but for the viewer.
And that fundamental need to share – to educate – is all a proposal really is.