Boiling down my book pitch to two paragraphs

Rudy Owens’ memoir on the American adoption experience

This weekend, I finished my draft book proposal for You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are. Like all creative endeavors, there are drafts upon drafts that describe any product of one’s imagination and experience. Here is how I chose to describe my story as a two-paragraph pitch. It starts when I first realized I needed to share my story of living a life as an adoptee and being a product of a system that has impacted millions of Americans:

“You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are begins with a meeting between two family members, separated by the chasm of adoption, yet bound together by blood. One represented the villain in the other’s family lore, because he was denied, illegitimately born, and relinquished for adoption. I am that person, the bastard son of a man I never knew. The other was my younger half-sister, daughter of that successful and respected man, who for decades heard only dark rumors about me—all built on lies. During our brief meeting at her home on September 29, 2014, she shared these fateful words: ‘You don’t know how lucky you are.’

“At that moment, my lifelong adoption journey took on a new, more powerful meaning. At last the time had arrived to share this mythical story. But to tell that tale, I would need to start in another decade, when millions of birth mothers gave up their infants, leaving a legacy that impacts millions of Americans today. That story began in the Motor City, after a single woman found herself pregnant and faced on of the most difficult decisions of her life.”

I shared this my good friend, who is also an adoptee. He wrote this back to me: “I think this is really good.  If this doesn’t grab the attention of publishers then i don’t know what will.”

Soon, I will know if my proposal, the story of what adoption is, including a system the still denies equal rights to millions, may gain momentum and move to a larger audience. I remain convinced this story matters and it will matter to adoptees and non-adoptees alike.


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