In a book proposal, it’s always challenging to strike the perfect balance between being excited and positive about your work and going over the top. Here’s a case of where someone might have gone too far.
GalleyCat discussed a book proposal making the rounds that raises eyebrows with it’s outlandish claims. The unnamed literary agent claims his client’s work “will, we believe, one day garner him the highest literary honors. His works will sell millions of copies, and will be translated into hundreds of languages. His name will register in the lexicon of American literature and cultural studies. And his work, by its revolutionary character, will permanently alter the landscape of publishing and the consciousness of the Western reader.”
The pitch continues on to promise the highest levels of excellence in typing. “These stories, constructed completely in dialogue, develop out of tape-recorded interviews or conversations, meticulously transcribed and then minimally edited for flow and accuracy. In the absence of a third-person, stylized voice, these stories of unseen, silenced, overlooked, and unknown American men and women emerge, unencumbered by interpretive baggage… In the works of [redacted], we offer something entirely revolutionary in book form, something we believe will revivify not only publishing, but also America’s understanding of itself.”
Now I love me some oral histories. I’m well aware of the validity and challenge of that work. But will someone who transcribes a tape revolutionize publishing? And aren’t all tapes supposed to be meticulously transcribed? I certainly slave over mine. So I should be getting brownie points and offering my work at auction because I’m a good typist?
The author and agent are not identified in the post but it will be interesting to see who it turns out to be. But right now, I’m voting for this being an example of being too optimistic, too positive, and a little too hyperbolic in a sales pitch.