View Full Version : Now what? Need good advice on this one...

06-10-2008, 02:28 AM
Read the four email exchange before you answer. I've never made it this far before in being considered for a big project and fear blowing it by making a rookie mistake. I'm asking all of you out there in AW who may have taken on a project of this kind --set piece, set fee, what would the editor be looking for if they greenlight this in terms of a proposal? Thanks as always. --Sherry

Sent: Friday, June 06, 2008 10:42 PM
To: {email address removed}
Subject: Looking for an author for Kid's Basketball Book

Literary Agency
Somewhere USA Zip

AUTHOR needed for Kids’ Basketball Book. Looking for an experienced
kids’ basketball coach who can write for children. Compensation: A
one-time flat fee of $5,000.00. 100% due date: 9/1/08.

Dear Mr.

My name is Sherry and I am a freelance writer with multiple
publishing credits in newspapers and online websites, a blog and
mother of eight children. I was intrigued by your description of this
offer placed in the Absolutewrite Paying Market's Forum and had a few
questions about the project itself.

Word Count/page number

Age of audience for which it is intended. 6-8,8-12,13-15

Level of Skill presumed in reader --intro? midling? competitive?
Are you going to have illustrations to compliment the language and
illustrate the points?

Having close relationships with five coaches of middle school/high
school basketball, both boy and girl, non competitive and Mid-Atlantic
Division Champions in CYO as a result of my children playing in the sport,
I propose to write your book this summer if the parameters specified
can be met by interviewing these five experienced outstanding successful
coaches. Drills, practice techniques, picks and plays, tips and
trouble shooting would all be addressed.

Here is my proposed outline for the book. It is based on the idea of a
middle school student picking up this book to get a better grasp on
what he/she needs to do to be a contributing member of the team at his/her
school, or to make the selective team when his/her experience to date
has been minimal.

Basics: Outlining the rules.

Beginner exercises to create and build skill: Dribbling drills and
tips, shooting pointers and exercises, passing techniques, (The age of
the reader at this point would be critical to providing adequate
suggested practice time and appropriate assistive tips).

Playing the Game: Roles

Picks and Plays
Three seconds
Hot Hand
Fast Break
Foul Shots and Three Pointers

Defensive Game
Man to Man
Jump Balls

Tricks of the Trade
Selective Strategic Fouling
Selective Guarding

Rules for Advanced Play

Sportsmanship and Work Ethic
How to practice like a pro
How to play like a team
How to act like a champion

My contact information is as follows: Sherry Thank you for considering me for the project and I look forward
to hearing from you.

Sherry Bob Diforio {email address removed} wrote:

HI Sherry:

I’ve sent your email to the editor. This will be a 35,000 word book
and I think
your age group is correct.


-----Original Message-----
From: Sherry
Date: Mon, 09 Jun 2008 13:08:03
To:Bob <{email address removed}>
Subject: RE: Looking for an author for Kid's Basketball Book

Dear Mr.

Thanks for your quick response to my proposal. Do you have an
estimate on the turn around from the editors as to whether or not they will
accept this proposal. I ask, because to do the job properly and meet
the deadline, I would need to secure interviews with the five coaches
before summer starts in earnest, as several of them are hosting basketball
clinics, some out of state.

I should know this wk if she will want a proposal from you

BobSent via BlackBerry by AT&T

06-10-2008, 03:40 AM
First, Sherry...congrats! Obviously, you're doing just fine. DiForeo wouldn't have forrwarded it to the editor otherwise.

Both the deadline and the set fee arrangement signals that the editors have a very specific project in mind. I'd be surprised if they wanted a proposal. More likely, they'd be giving you specs.

Of course, they'll want to see if you can write. So use your waiting time to gather the clips and examples that best show the side of your writing they'll want to see: clear, accessible and kid-friendly, thorough, accurate; fact-based pieces, not opinion/essay. Might want to write up a one paragraph bio on each of the coaches, too.

You've already answered several of the editors likely questions: can this person work on tight deadline? (Yes! look how fast you responded and NOT with a template resume.) Does she have a grasp of the sort of thing we're looking for? (Yes) Can she write to kids? (8 kids says yes.) Can she take instruction or is she going to be a diva? (Your proposal and questions strike a very efficient, cooperative tone. ) They're looking for someone easy to work with. You showed you were organized and motivated...good pre-empt of concerns about your ability to juggle the writing gig with the responsibilities of such a big family.

Sit tight. This will probably move fast. DiForeo will let you know what they need. Don't worry about rookie mistakes. They're not looking to trip you up. Good luck!


Soccer Mom
06-10-2008, 03:45 AM
Good luck, Sherry!

06-10-2008, 04:21 AM
Go gettum, Sherry!

06-10-2008, 04:27 AM
Very best of luck, Sherry! I do have one suggestion, and hope you'll hear it in the spirit in which it's offered -- namely, from the vantage point of bitter experience (mine!).

It's great that you got this far, but I'd hate to tell you the number of projects I've lost because I didn't spend as much time proofing and editing my correspondence with the guy offering the gig as I should have! You might want to cast a critical eye over yours and see if it's all it could have been too.

Luckily, one of those "advance men" told me straight out that two typos and some awkward language in my emails during the "prelims" (same stage as the preliminary correspondence you've shared with us) put me right out of the box. Once my proposal started working its way up the food chain, an editor, who was looking to not have to work any harder than necessary on getting the project up to performance level, vetoed my candidacy. I had competition whose preliminary correspondence was flawless; they stayed, and I was tossed. I can't blame said editor -- it was a blackball I could have prevented.

Mea culpa, and I work pretty hard now to be at least as impressive in those early "getting to know you" exchanges as I want them to believe I'll be if I get the project. When they have a lot to choose from, any basis for thinning out the crowd of candidates is seized upon (I believe), and I've resolved to do my best not to hand them a reason to make me a "thin-ee"!

With every hope that you stay in the running and get the award...

Cory Emberson
08-07-2008, 08:46 AM
Bumping for follow-up - Sherry, what happened?