I used to hate writing. Numbers and equations were more my forte, please.
Both in high school and college, I dreaded any assignment that included writing a paper, even one as short as one page or a 200-word theme. My high school senior English term paper was 24 pages long, and I wanted to shoot myself by the time it was completed. I wrote on the symbolism of the rainbow in D. H. Lawrence's books. Oh yeah, I got an A grade. It's just that I didn't love that kind of writing at all.
I was a mathematician; I loved everything in every high school math class I took. Then I trained in college to be a math teacher.
After raising my kids, I returned to the working world and taught college mathematics for ten years. I loved the odd mix of students at the technical college where I taught, and I thrived in my work. Some say when you love your job, you never work a day in your life. It was just that way for me until I retired from teaching.
But now I write. An odd and unexpected mix of circumstances led me to start writing, and I write about what interests me. I create books that help others. My former hatred of writing has turned to love, and that's a beautiful thing. I can only attribute this new phase in my life to the lovely creativity of my wonderful God. I'm so grateful that He has opened up this new world to me - an exciting and challenging career that can continue into my old age, no matter how physically infirm I may ever become. As long as my mind is clear, I will write. I will write and point to Him in all my writing.
Many of you, my readers, have been cheering me on in my latest writing project, and I appreciate your interest and support. My fifth book is nearly finished, Risking It All: One Woman's Adventure Giving Away Her Income. You've been asking me how soon this book will be "out" and available to purchase. Here's the update: Just a few days ago, I finally submitted the book proposal for this book to my agent. Woohoo!
There was a lot of writing.
Files were organized and combined into one final document.
Then there was a lot of editing on the proposal, both by myself and by a professional editor.
Next there were some sequestered days when I carefully made all the suggested corrections and changes.
I made sure all files were named as the agency required.
One last page through, and then the cover letter and proposal were sent via a carefully labeled email. Most agencies do all by electronic methods these days.
27,000 words and 87 pages. And that's just the proposal! Now I wait until I hear back from the agent as to what happens next. He will pitch it to publishers and hopefully rustle up a contract. I have done my best, I have prayed, and now it is all in God's hands.
Many of my faithful encouragers have asked me why this proposal has taken me three full months to write. I thought I'd answer by explaining here what is involved in writing a non-fiction book proposal.
Every literary agency requires different elements to a proposal, and I'm only going to list the elements that my agency requires. It falls onto the shoulders of each author to research what an agency requires and then to follow those directions explicitly.
My proposal to the Hartline Agency (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) includes these elements:
1. A proposal cover letter. This letter is the body of the email to the agent. The proposal is attached as a link to this cover letter.
2. A proposal cover sheet
3. A proposal table of contents
4. A one-page sell sheet (the agent will use this with various publishers)
5. A biographical sketch
6. A description of the book
7. A chapter outline, including a table of contents of my book and a 4-5 sentence description of each chapter.
8. A market analysis
9. A competitive analysis (of other books similar to mine)
10. A marketing plan
11. History of the manuscript
12. Three sample chapters
Last Friday, I pushed "SEND," and then I cleaned up my desk.
How did I celebrate after clicking "SEND?"
With a decadent lunch assortment of some of my favorites - pickles, several slices of cheese, potato chips, and a thumbprint peanut butter cookie. Of course.
Phew! Now to return to writing the remainder of the other chapters.
The end is in sight.