It’s called a masterly crafted book proposal. It’s not rocket science, but it is a skill you’ll need to learn to go to the next level in your publishing career. Where can you get such skill? Glad you asked! I’ve created a well-researched, practical tool—a book proposal tutorial—that will teach you, step-by-step, how to develop that skill.
Using my own proposal-writing method, I have sold more than a dozen books to major publishing houses. And through this tutorial I have helped many new authors get published. Today I’m so busy writing and speaking that I’ve stepped down from mentoring writer. Offering this tool is my way to help you get published.
I’m thrilled to present this nonfiction proposal tutorial! Why? Because it will empower you to write the kind of proposal that grabs an agent or editor by the throat and won’t let go.
For $25.00, here’s what you get in the tutorial:
“Mary knows how to write a proposal that gets an editor’s attention: well-organized, persuasive, and with the information I need to make a decision.” Terry Glaspey Director of Acquisitions and Development Harvest House Publishers
“As a literary agent, I saw a lot of proposals. Mary’s are top-notch—comprehensive, thoughtful, well written, and professional. I’m proud to send them to the best publishers in the business.” Beth Jusino, former Literary Agent
“Mary’s proposals include the straightforward facts that publishers need with a personable style that publishers want. Great research, great voice, great proposal. Mary does an excellent job selling herself without seeming to sell herself.” Andy
“Mary’s book proposals reflect her intelligence, wit, and charm, as well as her high level of craftsmanship as a writer. And just as important, her concepts are fresh. She has no interest in covering the same ground that has been plowed already by other authors. That’s important to a book editor who is glassy-eyed from reading stacks of proposals.” Ron Lee, senior editor, WaterBrook Multnomah
Mary’s focused, easy to follow proposal tutorial took my project from idea to paperback almost overnight. After reviewing my first try at the proposal my agent said it was one of the best proposals she’d seen. Two months later I had a contract for my first book. I am so thankful for Mary’s proposal tutorial. It is straightforward, professional, and Mary knows exactly how to help an author bring her/his voice to this document. Thanks Mary for making my first book, Green Mama, a reality! Tracey Bianchi — author, Green Mama: The Guilt Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet (Zondervan).
“After publishing 10 books I found myself in a rut. All of my new book proposals seemed stale and canned. Mary DeMuth’s How to Write a Non-Fiction Book Proposal That Will Grab An Editor By The Throat (In a Good Way) is just what I needed. She provided clear and simple instruction that allowed me to add the right amount of pizzazz to my proposals. Now I’m able to make editors say, ‘Wow!’ too.” Shannon Primicerio, author of The Divine Dance, God Called a Girl and the True Life Bible Study series for teen girls
“As a new and inexperienced writer, Mary DeMuth’s non-fiction proposal tutorial gave me vital insider information into the proposal writing process. Now, over two years later, I still refer to it as I craft new proposals and refine old ones. An invaluable tool!” Michele Cushatt
“I successfully landed a literary agent! This non-fiction tutorial was instrumental in the process thus far. It is comprehensive and allows the author to creatively showcase their book concept. The book proposal that I ended up with after following Mary’s guidance will surely stand out in a slush pile. Worth every single penny!” Sarah Francis Martin
So, if you’re a self-starter who wants to tackle this book publishing thing with a terrific tool in your back pocket, simply purchase the nonfiction proposal tutorial (for nonfiction … I suppose that’s obvious) or the fiction proposal tutorial (if you’ve written a novel.)
Ready? All you need is a credit card. As soon as you order, you’ll receive a secret link to download the tutorial and a free Word download template. Happy proposal writing! And be sure to email me when you land an agent or a contract!
0 Comments 19 June 2013
When others used to criticize me, I would shut down completely. Be thrown into a spiral. I’d brood for days to the point I became deeply introspective.
I just lied.
Criticism didn’t just USED to shut me down. It STILL does. It’s hard, folks. And I let the words of others sink into me, far more than they should.
But I read a great book recently, recommended by my friend Susie Larson entitled The Stronghold of God by Francis Frangipane. And it helped me tremendously. (More on that in a bit, but first a little walk down Dysfunctional Lane).
I’ve struggled with worth since toddlerhood, hauling around this great big feeling of inferiority. So if/when someone would criticize me, it threw me into a sad cesspool of feeling worthless. Since I wrongly equated my worth with either what I do or what people think of me, criticism became a double edged sword of crabbiness.
I sense I’m on the cusp of something brand spanking new, a revival of sorts, a newness of what I’ll be writing and sharing. But deeper than that, I’m feeling a strengthening of my innards, a holy confidence that I’ve longed for but seldom reached (ah those pesky insecurities and battles with worth run deep, deep, deep). And yet, if I am to step out, to grow into my own skin, to be wildly and wholly loved by Jesus and walk that boldly out, the enemy of my soul (and yours) will flat out NOT like that. He’ll throw things my (your) way.
Maybe you understand what I’m talking about? What has been your reaction when others criticize?
Francis Frangipane seems to get it. He wrote this. “If you are going to be successful in the Lord’s work, you must find God’s hiding place from one of the most painful weapons in Satan’s arsenal: the critical tongue.“
Can I hear an AMEN?
Psalm 31:20 says this amazing stuff: “You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues.”
God is the One who shelters us, folks. When those accusing tongues flap our way, we must take that opportunity to flee to His presence, asking Him to sift us, to sort it out, and to heal our word wounds.
Simply being aware of Satan’s schemes has helped me tremendously–particularly when I’m on the cusp of renewal and an internal revival like I sense right now. Francis clarifies, “It is while the new work of God is trembling forward that Satan seeks to bring his greatest assault. The form he takes in his war against our new beginnings in Christ is accusation.”
So if you’re experiencing an unusual amount of criticism, take heart. (Click to tweet this). Perhaps you’re on the brink of spiritual breakthrough. That’s encouraging!
Francis shared about a time in his ministry where criticism felt unrelenting. God didn’t remove the folks criticizing. Instead He used that very criticism to change Francis. Criticism can be like Paul’s thorn in the flesh, given to us by God to keep us from exalting ourselves, and forcing us to truly, deeply rely on Jesus for true worth and shelter.
Francis writes this: “To inoculate me from the praise of man, He baptized me in the criticism of man until I died to the control of man.” Yes. This. Yes.
I’m feeling the weight and beauty of that in my life right now. A letting go of the words spoken against. A pressing into to the God who is more after my holiness than my happiness. A carving away of my insatiable need for (longing of? idolization of?) approval. A more settled place, comfortable in my skin, finally. (Insert cheer here!)
It’s tyranny, folks, when we live for the applause or approval of everyone. (Click to tweet.) And when we dare to step out, walk in newness and freedom, be assured criticism will come. It has to. Satan hates free Christians. HATES them. He wants us enslaved to the approval of others, immobilized after criticism, introspective to a fault. So he often has folks hurl hurt our way.
And here’s the kicker: those folks are often Christians. Which makes the whole mess a hairdo of fear and crazy and confusion. (My next book, The Wall Around Your Heart, deals with this issue. Watch for it in October).
We don’t have to live in fear. We don’t have to let those who criticize upset us for weeks and months. (Click to tweet.) The simple solution is to use the criticism as a catapult toward Jesus.
Because Jesus gets it. He was misunderstood. Maligned. Called a demon (can you imagine?). He comes to us in our mess and the fear and loathing that comes in the aftermath of criticism.
Francis continues, “As much as I hated it when people slandered me, this was the very thing God used to compel me nearer to His heart.” Yep, another AMEN.
So instead of being freaked about criticism, be fruitful. (Click to tweet). Instead of mulling over, give it to Jesus to sort through. Instead of letting it stop you in your tracks, dare to take another step toward your dream. Don’t let the criticism deter you. Give it to Jesus, find joy, and move on.
(Important note: I’m not advocating we never listen to criticism or heed it. Wise folks listen to it and take it to heart. But it doesn’t need to settle into your soil like poison. Instead, give it to Jesus, let HIM tell you what to take from it, then move on.)14 Comments 17 June 2013
I wrote this little piece right after band trip in the Spring. I thought it might resonate with you as you consider how you live RIGHT NOW. Yep, even at the grocery store we can be the hands and feet and mouth of Jesus.
Usually at the grocery store I pay little attention to the person checking my groceries, but today God’s desire for me to choose people prompted me to talk. This is how our conversation went:
“How are you today, ma’am?”
“I’m very tired. Just got back from traveling 20 hours on a bus for a band trip.”
“I used to love band trips,” she said. “The best trip was to Corpus Christi.”
“Sounds like fun.”
“Yeah, we had a lot of down time, so I could really relax on the beach.”
“What instrument did you play in band?”
“I was on the drum line, but I injured my back.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. That must’ve been hard. Did you have surgery?”
“No, just some shots and lots of physical therapy.”
“That must’ve been hard.”
“Yeah, it was.”
“Are you better now?”
She smiled. “Yes, much. But sometimes I have to sleep on the floor if it flares up.” She handed me my receipt. “Thank you Mrs. DeMuth. You’ve received a 20% off gas discount today.”
“Thank you,” I said. “I’m glad you’re feeling better.”
I can’t tell you how joyfully fulfilling it was to walk away from that interaction. How much have I missed in this world by being too preoccupied with my time, my needs, my groceries, my agenda? This girl, hopefully, felt listened to and validated. She had the opportunity to share her story, to have someone enter into that story, however brief, and empathize alongside. As I left, I saw a manager type, but obviously my observation skills needed help. He turned out to be a deli worker. “But I can help you?” he said.
I pointed to the checker. “Would you be willing to tell your manager that the checker over there did an amazing job just now?”
“Absolutely,” he said. I walked out of the store, humming, then smiling. It feels good, so good, to choose people.11 Comments 17 June 2013
My earthly father walked this earth ten of my years, and having just lost Mark, I feel the sting of fatherlessness even more.]
This film is beautiful. It’s a gift to you this Father’s Day. Thanks to these folks who graciously sent me a link.1 Comment 16 June 2013
I’m grateful today to feature an essay by Jenny Price. Find her on Twitter here, Facebook here. Her business blog is Everyday Lifeline, and her personal blog is I woke up Yesterday. Hers is a message we all need to read. Enjoy!
Remember the one who shattered your heart, ruptured your purity, and severed your hope?
He’s lying on the ground, dead – breathless – heavy – and the chains of grief are tied around your ankles – and his hands.
Only you hold the key.
He is chained to you because you want him there – now you are in control. You won’t unlock the pain – you feel less injured keeping the thief this close to you.
You own the shadows of your past – like a tree owns its leaves – unable to release – unless the roots say so.
Letting go would make the past okay. Rooting in the rancor, you remain vindicated – sheltered – less broken.
If you let him go, that means you might be free. And what is freedom anyways?
Unfamiliar – even more dangerous than learned confinement.
Dragging a dead body around is strenuous, but you prevail as commander of your sorrow.
Holding resentments tucked in your back pocket, listing them daily on your to-do lists, and cradling them so comfortable in your arms – as if you had birthed them – this keeps you trapped.
And the one who did this to you barely even knows you’re there. The chains you hold so dear have no hold on him.
I forgave my abuser. I stopped holding him hostage – and in so doing, I let God open the prison doors for me. I let Him hold my heart and my pain, and gave him the key – finally.
Burying and blame look a lot like this: I put myself in the car with him that day, and I let him drive me to the park, and I let him touch me, and I touched him.
But I was not too blame. He’d chosen me. Won my trust. Manipulated my heart so he could perpetrate my body. Covering me with accolades of adoration just to slay my sexuality.
Victim I was.
But I traded His power for my prisons.
Victor I am today.
Past hurts resurface. They rise up and cry out – hold me again. Pick me up and nourish the pain.
Forgiveness if final. It is finished and He is enough. I receive it over this violation.
And yet I waiver in the everyday acts of absolution.
When my “sister” in Christ says one more cutting word about me.
When my adopted son pushes me away – assuring me we won’t be close today.
When the stranger cuts me off – in traffic, in my train of thought, in my joy.
It’s in the daily – I find my prisons reborn.
It’s in the moments – I choose again to re-chain the sorrow.
It’s in the breathing – I give up my freedom all over.
If it’s possible to forgive every time because of the accessible power of Christ – why do I resist?
If it’s true He finished on the cross what I could never begin to forgive even about my broken heart – my dirty choices – why fight?
If it’s the chains that keep us broken, locked up, alone – why return to them – over and over?
Remembering today how breaking free is not only optional – but optimal – I will choose His Very Best.
I will rest at the feet of The One Safe Place.
Remember the one who shattered your heart, ruptured your purity, and severed your hope?
He’s no longer safe. He’s no longer in control.
If you’ve been rescued by The King – live where Forgiveness is Final – where you no longer cradle your pain, but rather –
You are cradled by The One who holds you through your past, present – and future.
30 Comments 15 June 2013
Dear, dear Julia,
On Sunday you turn 15 years old. You’ve weathered a difficult year, missing half your first semester with an unknown and scary illness, but you persevered and got to see God heal those crazy headaches.
You have given your heart to Jesus in new ways. I’m so proud of you, Julia. You love your friends well and you enjoy hanging out with the family. You are grounded, smart, and empathetic. I love the way God put you together.
Fifteen years ago, you didn’t want to come screaming into the world. You preferred the warm cocoon of me to the harsh realities beyond. In one week you flew on your first airplane to Texas, moving your citizenship from the great Pacific Northwest to big ol’ hot Texas. You still like spicy food more than any of us.
You were the bravest girl in French schools, not speaking a lick of French, learning to make friends, and enduring teachers who called you stupid. They were liars. They didn’t tell the truth. But for a season, you believed those lies. Seeing how beautifully you raised your grades this year from the abyss of absences and hospital stays PROVES your intelligence.
You are beautiful, funny, and helpful. You respect others. You stick your neck out for your friends. You are loyal. You love animals well. Whether you admit it or not, you’re a natural born storyteller.
I’m so grateful for you, for your perseverance during this difficult year, for your smile, for learning to admit when you’re wrong, for praying for me, for knowing when I’m sad and offering comfort. I see big things in your life, big changes in the kingdom of God because of you.
7 Comments 14 June 2013
Be the first folks in the whole wide world to read The Wall Around Your Heart. (It doesn’t come out until October 15th).
I’m looking for a few good Bible study groups. Do you lead a study? Are you looking for something fresh and different? Have you felt like your walk with God is blocked? Do you struggle with a pesky wall around your heart because other folks have pooped on you? (By the way, that was my first title for this book: How to Thrive after People Have Pooped on You….but I digress).
I’m giving away three sets of ten of The Wall Around Your Heart before it’s even released. I have this holy hunch that the book will be a great tool to use in groups, and that many, many will be set free from their walls as a result. Here’s a bit about the book:
Family members hurt us. Friends betray us. Fellow Christians deceive us. But Jesus provides a path through the pain—the Lord’s Prayer.
In The Wall Around Your Heart, I show you that you can reach wholeness and healing in the aftermath of painful relationships by following the road map of the Lord’s Prayer. You’ll walk through story after story of hurt people who are led through biblical truth into amazing, life-sustaining, joyful growth.
Life is hard. People can be mean and petty and awful. But they can also be amazing and beautiful and sacrificial. God is good. He is faithful. You can trust him with your relationships. “He’ll send people to call out what is hard in your heart,” I write. “And that’s a gift to you.”
Allow God to access the wall around your heart. Dare to say, “Tear down the bricks, Lord, whatever it takes.” Pray first. Ask for bravery—for yourself and for others. Risk engaging despite your hurt. Seek the shelter of Jesus.
You don’t have to resign yourself to your wounds! You can rise above the pain. You’ll usher in a new life—an openhearted way of relating to others that expands the kingdom of God. In the process, you’ll draw closer to Jesus, be healed, and become an agent of healing to others.
Here’s how the giveaway will work. First, once you receive the books, you’ll need to meet several weeks (It’s 11 chapters; you can divide them up however you want) prior to October 1st so that you finish the study by then. You need to be willing to be interviewed for a blog post–you and your group. I promise it will be fun. And you need to have some ideas about how to promote this book to small groups.
How to win: In the comments section, give me three things:
I will give away three sets of ten books. If there are more than three entries, my daughter (and assistant) Sophie will choose the three best responses. You have until Midnight on June 16th to apply. Comment away, folks! I hope you win.
37 Comments 14 June 2013
When I went to Haiti, I didn’t know my world would crumble when I came back. When I ventured to South Africa, I didn’t know I’d come home to death. Both stories, of Julia’s hospitalization and Mark’s passing juxtaposed with the needs of the rest of the world shows just how important humans are. And that’s what this year’s Idea Camp is about.
It’s about helping (well) and loving people, no matter where they live. It’s not about giving you a guilt trip for not gallivanting around the world. Guilt never saved the world. Jesus did. And Jesus found ways to love the folks in front of Him. He dignified the lonely, listened to the restless, hugged the outcast. And so can we.
How best can we figure out how to care for folks? That’s the subject of Idea Camp. I wish I could go this year, but my son’s senior year dictates that I stay near home and engage well with him and his amazing life.
But I want to invite you to Idea Camp because some of my most favorite people ever are there. You will discuss. You will mingle. You will come up with real life solutions. You will fall in love again with the local church. And you will make lasting, permanent, cool friendships.
A few months from now (September 20-21), these awesome folks (along with YOU) will be congregating in Austin to talk about caring for the needs of the world and how the church can do it best. It is a two day gathering with some of the most interesting and amazing practitioners in all of the various aspects of God-centered human care in the country.
Idea Camp is more of a conversation than it is a conference. How can the church better care for the world and what does that look like? Join us in September in Austin.
To find out more, click here.0 Comments 12 June 2013
It’s never, ever easy to forgive. We’ve all been hurt, betrayed, bothered, purposefully maligned. And when those things happen, life careens and our hearts ache like no tomorrow.
Today I want to offer you a helpful tool in your journey of forgiveness. This comes from the excellent book: As We Forgive by Catherine Claire Larson. The acronym REACH is pioneered by Everett Worthington Junior and helps us all deal with issues of forgiveness in a clear, simple way.
To forgive, we must REACH.
Recall the hurt (don’t deny or minimize it). Forgiveness is NOT forgetting. It’s remembering the pain, then making a choice to forgive anyway. That’s what makes forgiveness powerful and difficult. We can’t forgive what we’ve stuffed. We must open the wound, own it, and admit that it hurt like crazy.
Empathize with the person who hurt you (try to see it from their perspective). This is not easy. I learned to do this with the boys who molested me, remembering that they who victimized most likely were victims themselves. Hurt people hurt people, the cliche goes, but it’s true. Finding a way to jump into the shoes of the offender is important. It helps you see them not as monsters but as human beings.
Altruistic gift of forgiveness (Remember when someone forgave you). What helps us forgive is remembering a tangible experience where someone offered us forgiveness. Remembering this altruistic gift helps us to know how to offer it. If you can’t recall a time when someone outrageously forgave you, consider Jesus’ amazing forgiveness of you.
Commit publicly to forgive. It’s one thing to say it in your journal. It’s another to share your desire to forgive with a close friend. Determine to forgive, but tell someone else about it. That kind of accountability helps you when you don’t feel like forgiveness. Once your desire is “out there,” you’re committed.
Hold on to forgiveness. This is the hardest for me. I choose to forgive, but then I do takebacks. Or the emotion of the situation attacks me again. Or another infraction blares into my life. It takes tenacity and grit to continue to choose to forgive. It’s not an emotion; it’s a choice.
What about you? When has it been easy to forgive? When has it been excruciating? What has helped you the most on the journey of forgiveness?12 Comments 10 June 2013
I’m thankful to have Lauren Huss sharing with us today. She is a purposeful woman who sees her life as a vessel for serving others. She is a rebel when it comes to cultural trends and believes that pleasing an audience of One is all that matters. Her passion for her Heavenly Father and His redeeming work in her life has been the fire that has motivated her to help others see how God can take any life, regardless of circumstances or past failures, and turn it into a life worth writing about. Her desire is to mentor women in their journey of character building, marriage, motherhood, spiritual growth and coping with chronic pain. You can find her nested in the heart of the beautiful Napa Valley with her wonderful, growing family. She is currently working on her first book and also writing on this blog.
The words of Taylor Swift keep floating through my mind.
“When you’re fifteen and somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them.”
Fifteen wasn’t magical for me…neither was fourteen, or even thirteen…back when I made my first mistake.
Fifteen was when I reaped what I had sown…or so I believed at the time.
Looking back, almost thirty years now, it hardly even seems like a memory. More like a story about a total stranger that I heard along the way; the details are faded, somewhat blended together like the words on those concert t-shirts I wore to shreds.
I like to think of that time that way…distant, detached…unconnected to my heart, to who I am now. That little girl has gone forever…or so I thought…until I had my own little girl.
How could I protect her from making the same mistakes I made, from feeling the same pain I felt without confessing my shame? I knew that she would never think of me the same, that her innocent image of me would be eroded, but I also knew that she must know that good girls can get sucked into doing bad things, and that could lead to very dangerous and painful circumstances.
“When all you wanted was to be wanted… Wish you could go back and tell yourself what you know now.”
All of the old feelings of anxiety rushed back as I thought of how I should tell her what I know now. And the old familiar voice of guilt taunted me…”You asked for it…you don’t have anyone to blame but yourself…you deserved it…what does it matter?
I was a good girl! I went to church on Sunday. I volunteered. I got good grades in school. I obeyed my mom and tried not to cause her any grief like my father and sister continually seemed to.
But I wanted to be wanted…and I didn’t know then, what I know now.
When I was thirteen, I believed the lie. “If you love me, you will…” So I did.
I knew it was wrong. But I believed him. He said we would be together forever. We weren’t. I didn’t know then how that one mistake would just be the beginning in a long string.
When that relationship ended, there was another. He was fun…at first…took the sting out of my broken heart. I didn’t expect to give in to him, but I did. I had already done the unthinkable. I was already tainted. It was too late, and I couldn’t get back my virginity.
After awhile, I began to feel this sick feeling every time I was with him. I knew I needed out. “Couldn’t we just go on one last date?” He coaxed, “I already bought the tickets to that concert you have been wanting to go to.”
I agreed…and the next Saturday we went.
The concert was great from what I remember. He went out and got me a few sodas…or what I thought was soda.
Suddenly so sleepy, I vaguely remember walking out of the theatre. Then nothing…
Until I woke up in a hotel room to find him…
I screamed, tried to get away, but he was strong and finished what he started. Still spinning from my “soda” and horrified from what happened, I cried. He smugly said he thought I wanted it.
I woke up the next morning shaking. I felt sick to my stomach and guilty, wondering to myself, if I brought that on?
My rational brain would tell me, “No, that was wrong…that was rape.” But I still couldn’t shake the dirty guilt.
A year had passed when the phone rang after midnight. The sound of his deep velvety voice slithered into my ear, my heart plummeted to my toes…I started shaking uncontrollably but strangely, I couldn’t hang up the phone.
“How have you been?” He asked.
“Why are you calling?” I managed to breathe out.
“I wanted to apologize.”
“You see, I didn’t want to lose you…” He began. “…I put something in your soda…I was hoping to get you pregnant so you would have to marry me.” I was shocked! Speechless!
“You didn’t, did you? Get pregnant, I mean?”
“No. Thank God.” I heard myself whisper.
“I’m very sorry for what I did.” He said matter of factly.
“Do you think you could ever forgive me?” He continued. Mad… Scared… Relieved. He admitted it! It wasn’t my fault after all!
I managed to push out a weak “OK.” Then I hung up the phone.
“I wanted to get you pregnant so you would have to marry me…” kept floating through my mind.
“Oh, Dear God! Thank You for rescuing me from that!” I prayed out loud that night and thousands of times since…for that and several other messes I found myself in later.
Unfortunately, I still continued to make poor boy decisions…year after year…until at nineteen, God introduced me to my wonderful husband.
God has always been faithful…even when I wasn’t faithful to Him. The Perfect Father to replace the one that wasn’t. A Love so unconditional; He met me where I was, and loved me enough not to leave me there. Over and over again, all through my life, He has rescued me.
“When all you wanted was to be wanted… Wish you could go back and tell yourself what you know now.”
I would tell myself:
That God always wanted me…no matter what! Always!
That’s what I told my daughter, too.
24 Comments 08 June 2013
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