I've just finished spending another hour working on a book proposal. This has been going on now for several weeks and the process is an interesting one, not what I would have expected at all.
In my mind, I guess, I'd pictured a book proposal being a simple matter of a cover letter, a first chapter, and an outline for the rest of the book.
But the literary agency to which an author-friend of mine gave my name wants a lot more than that. The agency, which specializes in representing Christian writers, asks its prospective authors to tell them about their ministries, their life histories, and their goals as part of their book proposals.
I think this is good for several reasons. One is that considering all these things sharpens the prospective author's focus.
But second and more important for me, in any case, is that it reminds me that any book I write should serve a greater purpose than making money--highly unlikely for any book, from what I read and hear--or to afford me the opportunity to express myself. Bach used to write, "To God alone be the glory" on every piece of music he composed. Believe it or not, one of the things I pray each night before I close my eyes is that the things I write, including the things I write for this blog, will glorify God. I pray that any book I write will do the same thing. If that isn't my intention, I'd better just bag the whole idea.
But one set of questions that the literary agency wants me to answer in my book proposal made me laugh. "How have your previous books sold? Through what distribution channels? How many?" I want to answer simply, "There's a first time for everything." Maybe they'll agree.