Book Proposal

PART I:  THE HOOK

Manhattan, 1976

Roadshow for an IPO

Ricki took the CEO’s hand and gave it warm shake.  She found his grip a bit limp for someone about to beg for millions.  She looked down, and that’s when she spotted it—an ancient Timex with a scratched face and a leather band that looked like a dog had lunched on it.

The second the CEO moved on, Ricki turned to the chairman of her firm.  “You’ve got to switch watches with him,” she hissed.

The chairman balked.  “What are you babbling about?”  He plucked possessively at the platinum band circling his wrist.  “This is a Rolex!”

Ricki sighed.  Then she pointed as the CEO shook another round of hands—this time with well-connected bankers—baring the beaten watch.

As if talking to a child, she asked, “You want he should go out there wearing that ratty thing?  I wouldn’t give him a dime.  Why should they?”

The chairman had intercepted the CEO before the word “dime” left Ricki’s lips.

The IPO went splendidly.

PART II:

INTRODUCE THE MAIN CHARACTER

It’s 1975.  The economy is sputtering.  The government is corrupt.  In suburban New Jersey, thirty year-old Ricki Vollman desperately needs to find work.  Her husband is sick, unable to support them.  But Ricki’s never worked a day in her life.

Ricki calls a friend who runs an investment banking firm on Wall St.  This friend agrees to hire Ricki in spite of her lack of experience; he knows her family has money and influence.  Ricki flatly states that she’s on her own—neither cash, nor contacts are forthcoming.  That’s a gamble her friend is willing to take.

Thus begins Ricki’s twenty-five year career on male-dominated Wall St.—a career built on the facts, figures, and anecdotes jotted down in a couple dozen spiral-bound notebooks…

PART III:  ESTABLISH THE TONE AND STRUCTURE

Each chapter of Ricki’s story opens with a notebook entry—not just the words, but the image of a lined page filled with handwriting—in order to clue readers in on the heroine’s personality and shorthand.

These entries foreshadow each chapter’s action and theme:

  • Nuts – $15 mil by Fri
  • promo gag for $ men (cheap)
  • daughter kidney fail, son jail
  • high blood pressure
  • pastry fr Gold’s DOWNTOWN (“The Best”—hasn’t had in years)

The chapter then tells the story attached to the notes:

The high-strung CEO of Chock Full o’ Nuts Coffee gets antsy during negotiations with a particularly stubborn bunch of bankers.  He begins to throw bags of promotional circus peanuts at the bankers, who are more likely to walk than give this bozo the $15 million his company needs by Friday.  Ricki tells him to sit down, stop throwing nuts, switch to Sanka, and have one of the danish she went all the way downtown at 6:00 AM to get.  He settles down.  The meeting accomplishes its goals.  A woman’s touch prevails…

Because she is a woman, Ricki has to angle to get herself heard.  She’s smart, charming, pretty—though NOT, by any means, a size six—so people notice her.  But she wants to be taken seriously.

So while the guys are jockeying to have their names stenciled on an office door, Ricki discovers that her unique female perspective grants her access to dealmakers and their money.  They listen to her because she listens to them.

Hence, her golden notebooks.  She can do a $4 million trade for a player on line one, help him pick out marble for his foyer on line 2, and still remember to ask after his ailing terrier.  That kind of attention to detail—that deft handling of professional and personal info—keeps the heavy hitters coming back to Ricki.

Over the years, Ricki engages in all aspects of the business:  investment banking, deal origination, underwriting, syndication.  She also learns how to conduct herself in a man’s world.  But one thing she never gets used to is the dark side.

Ricki moves from one “shop” to another in an attempt to keep away from incompetent high-fliers and bosses who have accordion files with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Unfortunately, maintaining such integrity becomes increasingly difficult, then impossible.

She borrows money to buy a piece of the brokerage division when it goes public, only to see it merged less than two years later with a company whose principals are in jail to this day.  She bails.

Finally, Ricki joins a very well-respected firm whose chairman hires her for her accomplishments and experience.  The powers that be spend most of their day in her office, taking primarily gaming concerns public.  Ricki is elevated in short order to the executive committee, then to the board of directors.

All is well, until the rumblings of a merger begin again…

PART IV:  THE SALES PITCH

The real Ricki Vollman is Ronnie Wohl, a respected Wall St. veteran whose business dealings have involved some of the most powerful—and notorious—men in America.

A glance at recent headlines shows that financial misappropriation and corporate corruption are hot topics.  The “Women of Enron” have been hawking their tale of malfeasance on every channel from NBC to Home & Garden to Playboy.

What makes Ms. Wohl’s perspective unique is that she wasn’t assistant to anything.  She sat at the table with the Wall St. heavies making sure the deals went down.

Ultimately, this is a story about money and power told from a previously unheard perspective:  that of a woman initiated into the men’s club that is Wall St. on her own terms, through her own strengths and talents.

It’s got good guys, bad guys, and rich guys.  Mergers & acquisitions, dollar signs, and dish.  All with a feminine flair.  A thin veil of fiction ensures that the timeliness of the drama shines through.

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