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    Book Proposal - Play

    Barry is seeking a literary agent for a major book about culture, music-theatre and new music. A form letter query letter and a complete book proposal with a table of contents and sample chapters is available, as is 95% of the manuscript. For now, the title is being withheld from the general public.

    That's how this webpage read, originally. It concluded as follows:

    You can view this draft excerpt from the forthcoming book: "Follow the Money: An Update to Virgil Thomson's 'The State of Music'."

    Since that time I've gotten some positive feedback from respected critics on that draft excerpt (which they were kind enough to click through to), revised the query letter, purchased a copy of the Writer's Digest "2005 Guide to Literary Agents," and received my share of form letter rejection letters (the one thing I'll give literary agents - unlike the music and theatre industries, you get a rejection letter within two to four weeks).

    I can think of no reason to post the book proposal on-line, but I think it's time I stopped being coy and revealed at least a little more about the book to the general public, to my fans, friends and colleagues who are curious enough to click through to this page. So here are six nuggets:

  • The title of the book is Play.
  • The Epigraph of the book is After Silence, Comes Play.
  • The entire book can be summarized down into one sentence (which is to be published on the cover): We create aesthetic experiences because we like to play.
  • There have been three very different versions of the query letter to literary agents - if you care, here are one, two, and three.
  • Here is the Table of Contents, the outline, as it were.
  • And what follows is my favorite paragraph from the book:
  • The reason that one note of a given duration is chosen over another, one word is chosen over another, one movement is chosen over another, one brush stroke of a particular pigmentation in a particular location is chosen over another, one shape is chosen over another, has nothing to do with the intent of the work, the socio-economic and religious factors that determine why the work is created, for whom it is created, its potential qualities including marketability, accessibility, originality or durability. Works may have these reasons and qualities, may carry theological or political implications, may recall the reality of nature or human experience, may be created as a gift, as an obligation, for self-glorification, for utility, as propaganda or out of obsession, but the elemental choices are aesthetic and are made for reasons internal to the form itself. The “art for art’s sake” element is embedded and inseparable from the cultural impetus – the act of creation contains within it both the sociological why and the aesthetic what.

    After a year of working on the query letter, the book proposal, and tracking down potential literary agents (I think that can officially be called "procrastination"), on December 8, 2005 I turned that 95% figure into 100%! Now I'm reviewing the manuscript, showing some portions to others, working on a second draft.

    I still think it's a killer book proposal and a killer manuscript. I got one really nice rejection letter, I'm pretty sure it wasn't a form letter; I sent a dollar to the guy who wrote it. Then there's my literary agent Hall of Shame (names withheld to protect the guilty - write to me and I'll tell you who to avoid):

    Response options: (unless you give permission, all responses will be confidential)

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  • Send snail mail to Barry Drogin, 720 Greenwich Street #5T, NY, NY 10014 USA
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    Last Updated: November 23, 2008