Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Face-Lift 221


Guess the Plot

The Horizontal Life

1. Jake Stone wakes to find that the life he led for six years was nothing but a coma dream. Instead of the lucky young man who side-stepped a speeding car and went on to football fame and fortune, he is a shriveled scarecrow doomed to years of surgery and physical therapy.

2. Finding and keeping gainful employment when you're a narcolept isn't easy. Myron is barely making it when he auditions for a mattress commercial and suddenly strikes it rich.

3. This book about modern-day hookers is highlighted by my first-hand up-close-and-personal interviews with dozens of prostitutes.

4. After thirty-two years spending most of his waking hours prostrate before the childish emperor, Vlad finally sees his chance to stage the coup he's always dreamed of. Also, a dragon.

5. Born lazy, Joseph has spent his life lying on the couch. But when rampaging elephants threaten his hometown, he must stand up -- or be forever flattened.

6. Living in an iron lung has not stopped Gene from getting a degree in aerospace engineering and turning his "capsule" into the Love Rocket.


Original Version

Dear Ms.Literary Agent:

Every day across America, businessmen sit down to their computers to book a business trip. They choose the airline, the hotel and their transportation all by pointing and clicking. [Actually, they have their secretaries do this. Most businessmen never touch a computer, unless they're looking for free pornography.]

They can also choose what type of woman they will go to bed with as well. [See what I mean? Now this is the part where the secretaries are left out of the loop.] Whatever his pleasure is---a brunette, a blonde, black, Asian [or one of each]--it’s all available online [What did you say that url was? (Just to confirm that you have your facts straight, of course.) ] and as easy as ordering a pizza. [Pizza or prostitute. Hmm, let's see . . .

..................................Pizza.................
Prostitute

"The works".............$14.95........................$200.00
Cholesterol...............22 mg./slice.................0
Protection............Napkin: 2 cents.......Condom: $2
Chance of STD..........2%..............................64%
Chance of getting
murdered by pimp..0%...............................7%
Tastes better with
chocolate sauce?....No...............................Yes
Made by high
school kid 30
minutes before
arriving at your
house?....................Yes..............................Yes]


Prostitution has moved off the streets and into cyberspace.

My book, The Horizontal Life: Selling Sex in Cyberspace is all about the women who go online (and out of the sight of law enforcement) to ply their trade, the men who patronize them [I don't care what any of them said, that wasn't me. Everyone knows prostitutes will say anything for publicity. Especially Mandy.] [It was Mandy, wasn't it?] and the subculture of web sites, blogs and professionally run boards where the escorts and clients go to meet and greet.

There have been other books about Internet Prostitution, but most of them have been memoirs or how-to books. [Can you recommend a good how-to book?] No one has directly explored how popular and widespread the selling of sex online has become from an investigative journalism perspective. [No one else has plunged so deeply into prostitution.]

My hope is this book will not merely titillate, but educate. I’m not a crusader, but I recognize sometimes you have to start an argument before you can win one. [Not clear what you're talking about. Which side of what argument would you take?]

Included are dozens of interviews with prostitutes I have conducted [Actually, I think you mean it was the interviews you conducted, not the prostitutes--unless the prostitutes formed an orchestra.] [Which is possible. I've heard many prostitutes are quite proficient on the organ, and I imagine many of them have a fine pair of maracas.] over the last four years. [Interviews in which the prostitutes didn't even realize I was interviewing them--I managed to convince every one of them that I was just a regular customer.] I have 14 years experience as a reporter, columnist and managing editor for various mainstream, alternative and online publications.

I would be interested in sharing my proposal for The Horizontal Life with you at your request. This is a simultaneous query. Thank you for your time and consideration.


(The title, "The Horizontal Life" comes from an interview I conducted with one prostitute who said she had accompanied men to the White House, had attended parties with powerful politicians, changed cars every two years [After two years, the back seat starts to get pretty scummy.] and had a stock portfolio worth a million dollars. She said her way to the top had come via a view of the ceiling. Thus..."The Horizontal Life.")


Notes

To me the most intriguing part was the part that wasn't in the query, about where you got the title. Perhaps if many of the women you interviewed went from barely scraping by to millionaire, thanks to the Internet, the query would be made more interesting by including sample stories of a couple of these women.

20 comments:

BuffySquirrel said...

Chances of getting an STD from the pizza, 2%? EE, are you ordering them from American Piezza?

Hilarious comments. Just hilarious.

Dave said...

I remember a cartoon book with only the bottoms of various pairs of feet in each frame entitled:

Sam, the ceiling needs painted

Anonymous said...

This is a simultaneous query.

Simultaneous and multiple?

Anonymous said...

Somebody quick, write the novel for fake plot #1. Awesome idea.

Great stuff, EE, I'm still laughing about the prostitute orchestra bit.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I'm having a hard time seeing how the internet angle is sufficient to make this something other than another book about hookers. We all know you can pretty much buy anything on the internet, and it's pretty much porn that made the internet what it is today (OK I'm exaggerating).

Is this not really just another book about how some men use prostitutes (what goes on the road...), there's a lot of money involved and some of the women can maybe get wealthy.

Of course, a lot of them don't, do they?

It's not always a good idea to write about your hobbies; it can come across as a little onanistic.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes. Clinton's biggest contribution to the economy.

And, I often start an argument just to win it.

I most likely would not read this. It just isn't something that interests me. -JTC

Anonymous said...

The book sounds kinda interesting..

And EE sounded just like he always does, snide, sarcastic, and as funny as me in church last Sunday.
Oh and E? Dont ask me to fetch a pizza on my way ever again: I'm not that kind of delivery girl!
See ya soon, love Mandy

writtenwyrdd said...

I must ask: why would someone want to read this? I realise it is nonfiction, but the topic is less interesting than looking up porn sites yourself...so I have to ask who the author believes the audience to be?

Other than that, I do have to say that law enforcement is looking at internet porn. The big focus is stuff involving kids, of course; but it all falls under the same umbrella. US Customs has jurisdiction, I believe. (internet crosses international borders.)

Kate Thornton said...

EE - you made me laugh out loud, get noticed at work and have to go to some boring meeting!
SNORK!

Anonymous said...

Did Al Gore write this? He invented the internet, didn't he?

Anonymous said...

Oh man, oh man, oh man!! Too funny!

Dave said...

I just remembered that a few miles daughters got married in there. I went to Holy Days of Obligation there.

Now not more than 100 feet away was a garage-shaped pizza shack that did banner business all day for take out lunches, fast dinners, etc.

One day, all four newspapers in Western Pennsylvania lit up with the news one day that the pizza place was serving "special" pizza to special cash-paying customers. For two years, the joint had been serving pizza topped with baggies of cocaine and other drugs - requiring a large cash tip on pickup or delivery, of course.

It was a spectacular raid with a dozen police cars, three jurisdictions. This was 100 feet away from the Church, 125 from the Church Hall and had playgrounds on both sides.

I can't tell you how apesh$t wild the politicians in Western PA and Harrisburg went when the pepperoni (poo-poo) hit the fan. It spawned the extra panalty laws in PA for dealing drugs nears schools.

I still get the giggles everytime I pass the building. Pizza with all the toppings took on a new meaning.

pacatrue said...

Dammit! Ten years of research wasted! And I was there right at the beginning, hiring, I mean interviewing, hookers from San Jose to Boston. Just one more, that's what I kept telling myself. And then I will finally be satiated, I mean, knowledgable about this topic. But there's always one more... By the way, if you ever go to Santa Monica, I'll give you Kristy's number. Damn, she's a good interview.

OK, now that I have scared everyone. I bet there really is a market for this sort of book. The author even mentions that he or she is entering a rather crowded area. I like EE's idea of focusing on individual women and men. Like any good book, strong, wonderful characters are what make us care. So if instead of simply tracing facts and doing sociology, we could come to know this woman who has been taken to the White House, as well as another woman who seems to only make $50 for 10 minutes in a car, that could make the book take off. I'd also love to know if our Busty Beltway Bordelloist is telling the truth about her amazing life, because it's one fascinating story to hear of a millionaire hooker. Its another perhaps even better story to hear of a woman who is trying to convince herself she's leading an amazing life when she isn't.

I think the Johns could be fascinating as well, but maybe harder to track down. Who is just a sex addicted man who can't stop? Who is a lonely married man who's too weak to search for something better in his daily life with his wife? Who's a man who actually grew and became a better person through his contacts with prostitutes? I bet they all exist.

And while I'd be interested in such a book, to be honest, I'd be too embarassed to buy it in a book store.

shelby said...

Titillating? Is this book supposed to educate us about the seedy underbelly of internet prostitution in addition to turning us on? Because while I might be interested in reading about real stories of high-priced prostitutes, I really don't want to be personally aroused by it.

Also I agree with EE--what kind of argument are you starting? Are you arguing that there's nothing wrong with internet-based prostitution and that the women do it willingly and make a lot of money doing so? I think that would be an interesting (and controversial) angle.

Otherwise it just seems like this is one more women are exploited, men are filthy pigs, wives don't know what really goes on during a "business trip" and blah blah blah stories, with the only new insight being that men meet prostitutes on the internet instead of cruising the streets and picking them up.

And I can't believe someone submitted an iron lung plot ending before I did!

pjd said...

[Actually, I think you mean it was the interviews you conducted, not the prostitutes--unless the prostitutes formed an orchestra.] [Which is possible. I've heard many prostitutes are quite proficient on the organ, and I imagine many of them have a fine pair of maracas.]

EE illustrates yet again why the misplaced modifier is perhaps the single most amusing aspect of the English language.

As to the query itself: I have little to add except that the biggest part I never got a handle on was which side of the argument you're taking. The query reads more as a straightforward telling of "this is how it is in a subculture with which Gentle Reader is most likely unfamiliar." Yet nowhere in the query do you tip your hand as to whether you're for this or against it. Are you trying to create an uproar to encourage government involvement (I mean regulation, not patronization)? Are you trying to drum up business for the industry? Are you trying to get prostitution legalized?

As the query's written, this book appears to exist merely to titillate despite your stated hopes to the contrary. It may also educate, but in the end it appears the reader is allowed to walk away and forget all about it.

GutterBall said...

I'm not sure anyone should use "titillate" in a query about prostitutes. Just seems...I dunno. It caught my attention in a bad way. Heh.

Anonymous said...

EE, one of your better posts. LOL.

GTP 1-had my vote. This is the one I want to read, even though it sounds depressing as hell.

GTP 3--the one I hoped it wouldn't be and feared it was. Alas.

Author, not my thing.

BTW, be sure to include a chapter on prosecutions. The feds are after this type of stuff, at least where I live (or maybe that's mostly for pedophilia).

Malia said...

OMG, too funny!!

I, too, found the only interesting part of this query to be the part about how the title came about. There's a story there worth telling.

sylvia said...

You never show why your book, looking at procuring over the Internet, is different from every other book on prostitution.

You cite the Internet as a differentiator and then fail to follow through as to why/how this is important. There are no real people in your query: it offers us a haze of women and men, with no information about them at all other than they are engaged in the sex trade and use the Internet. The fact that you spoke to them personally isn't titillating.

I already can't help but suspect from this that the book will be full of platitudes and vague "they say" without real people in it and I suspect that's doing your book a great disservice. At the moment, I can't help but think a memoir (a real person, who was really there, rather than your once-removed stance) is going to be more interesting and you never actually tell me why yours is better (or even why it's different, other than you are taking it from an investigating journalism point of view (so?).

It's intriguing, because I understand better my faults in the Fear of Landing query as a result of reading yours. Populating your query with real people with real stories (there's a reason why that PS grabbed EE) is much more compelling than explaining why you are the right person to write this book, which really is different, honest.

sylvia said...

And EE, you owe me a mouthful of coffee and a new keyboard.

Someone should write a how-to book. That would be great!