Friday, October 07, 2016

Face-Lift 1330

Guess the Plot

Developing the Work Force of You

1. You can't do anything about the deadbeats and assholes you work with and under, but this book will show you how to make your own workday more efficient, productive, and fun. Plus it'll inspire you to reflect on how you ended up stuck in the rut you're in and might even help you get a date with Janice in accounting.

2. Theo is an under-performer in the machine empire. When he's assigned a personal life coach, he suddenly has incentive to learn all he can about repairing machines . . . and destroying them. 

3. Mark Candoleso buys an audio self-help book, Developing the Work Force of You to play while he's stuck in LA traffic. At first it's just a standard, self-motivational type of book, no different from some others he's heard. But when it starts to suggest ways of 'eliminating your supervisor without retribution', 'how to change management without involving others', and '10 chemicals that eat flesh', he begins to wonder if maybe he should try some of these plans on that goddamned bastard McReedy.

4. Two words: clone army. If Anya Belifonte can clone herself, her fashion line will never lack a dedicated workforce. Too bad human cloning is illegal, and the only shady scientist for hire would rather have her as his date than as his employer. 

5.  Joe's self help guide ends up a bestseller. Only it turns out he accidentally brainwashed anyone who read it to become an evil henchman. Can Joe undo the damage with a sequel before he takes over the world? 

6. Nobody else in her company knows what they're doing. Evelyn's solution: fire everyone under her and kill everyone over her. The place'll run way more efficiently. Hell, she'll probably get a promotion for coming up with this.

Original Version

I am writing to you today because you represented [inserted similar work that the agent represented} and I feel my book is similar. [Put this at the end of the query.]

DEVELOPING THE WORKFORCE OF YOU is a business book designed to help individuals obtain the most of [from] the working experience by providing guidelines that help an individual identify and correct counterproductive behavior that would preclude them from receiving the maximum benefit from their working experience.  [That sentence is so wordy and vague, the drudgery of my miserable job sounds rather enticing compared to slogging through this book. So in a way, you've already accomplished your purpose by showing me things could be worse.] [You've used the words "individual" and "working experience" twice each in one sentence. More efficient would be to say the book will help workers maximize X, (where X is . . . what? Efficiency? Pleasure? Size of their paycheck?)] The book is structured with guidelines to help aid in this process of understanding and analyzing ones on [one's own] behavior in the workplace.  [That's the second time you've mentioned behavior. Is your target audience people who behave badly at work?] [Also, are there really that many people interested in analyzing their behavior in the workplace?]  At the end of most of the guidelines, [Is each guideline a chapter? If so, use "chapter."] there is a reflection section.   This is where I ask the reader a question 
that they must ask themselves.  [For example, if I ask the reader, "Are you happy with your crappy job?" the reader must ask himself, "Am I happy with my crappy job?"] This enables the reader to be introspective [Maybe you should call it the introspection section instead of the reflection section. Actually, I wouldn't call it any kind of "section" if it's just a question. And if you do call it something, try to make it something that doesn't rhyme.] and will prompt the reader to consider his/her own actions.  [Sample reflection questions:

1. How many hours did I have to work to pay for this book?
2. Where does my boss get off ordering me around? 
3. Is it time for my coffee break yet?
4. Was I wrong to punch Cheever for laughing at my tie?
5. Why didn't I go to film school? I coulda been another Frankenheimer.
6. Uh oh, did I hit "reply all" when I sent Janice in accounting that DicPic?
7. Who you lookin at?
8.  Is daydreaming about Janice in accounting really that unproductive?
9. Who would win a fight between a kangaroo and a goat?
10. Hey, what's Cheever talking to Janice about? I'll kill the bastard.

[Start a new paragraph here.] This book is geared towards young professionals between the ages of 21 to 37 years of age, [First of all, 37 is a strange number to choose as the upper limit to your range. Second, when you say "between the ages of," you don't have to also say "years of age."] whom [who] have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree and are either starting out in the workforce or looking to obtain more value from their work experience.  My book is comparable to various titles such as The Outward Mindset: Seeing beyond ourselves: The Arbinger InstituteMaking Work Work: The Positivity Solution for any work environment and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. [You've already mentioned one title of a book yours is similar to; that's plenty.] 

Thank you for taking the time to consider my work and I look forward to hearing from you.


This is horrible. Assuming you've already completed the book, say so and tell us how many words are in the book.

Also, tell us what qualifies you to write it. Are you an expert in some business field or a psychologist? What business experience do you have?

What does your book have that the other books you've mentioned don't have? Provide a sample chapter or two so we can see one or two of your guidelines and what accompanies those guidelines in the book.

If you haven't completed the book, you still need to include samples, and perhaps an outline of the rest, or at least a proposed table of contents. 

This query letter hasn't done the job of showing specifically what's in your book or demonstrating that you can organize a lot of information into a cohesive work. 

Start over and be specific.


Anonymous said...

After reading the query, I still am not sure what the book is about. What kind of 'maximum benefit from their working experience' are you trying to sell? How to be productive? How to enjoy work? How to earn more money? How to get along with coworkers? All of this? None of this?

Proofread your query more carefully.

For nonfiction, you need an outline and sample chapters to be included with the query.

For nonfiction, you also need a platform, which means credentials that state why someone would buy this book if you wrote it. Do you have a popular blog giving this type of advice? Academic degrees? Three decades experience running a company with happy employees? Anything?

Do you have a marketing plan? Most people I've known of the age you're targeting don't consider themselves to have counterproductive behavior even after they've been fired five or six times. This sounds more like its geared towards being something HR departments can buy and foist off on employees when the real problem is bad management.

Mister Furkles said...

what qualifies you to write it,

As Anon says, what is your platform?

Are you on the lecture circuit? Are you a management consultant to major corporations? How do you expect to reach people who would buy your book? Do you have a TV or radio program on which you advise people how to get ahead in business?

Publisher will want to know how you will promote your book sales. They will expect you to have a following of people who will want to buy your book.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, what the other commentators said.
For non-fiction you really need a platform and credentials.
If you're purporting to be an expert, you're selling yourself as much as the book.

Anonymous said...

EE, is Cheever still alive?

Evil Editor said...

He's dead, and the police are baffled.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

I'll pile on. The topic is problematic, too.

Here are books about working that people like to read:

-books about how to get promoted
-books about how to get a raise
-books about how to get along with a difficult boss
-books about how to get along with a difficult coworker

Why do people like to read those books? Well, I assume because there is a clear benefit to be gotten from each one. If the books really provide the help that they say they do, the reader will get promoted, get paid more, and get along well with his/her boss and coworkers.

Whereas from this book, I'm not quite clear what the reader will get.

What will readers gain from reading your book, and is it something that the average person really wants?

khazar-khum said...

I don't know, AR. Sounds like this book will get you "Janice" in Accounting, if you know what I mean.