Tuesday, May 10, 2005

How to get an agent 1-2-3

Alrighty, so, have I mentioned that I have an agent? Her name is Jessica. She's the ultimate in agents. She was like rookie of the year and stuff.

BIG TIME, baby :)

Well, I had no clue who she was. For that matter, I had no clue whom half the literary world was. I'm genuinely a turnip in these here parts. I was happy writing e-books--had no intention of submitting to Idaho let alone NY...I knew nothing about the the five double-you's of submission and I cared little. You can do alright on an e-book salary. It's all in the backlist, baby :)

BUT and that's a big but... I was becoming desperate during my divorce. This was a time when I was poor and getting poor-er by the nanosecond. I was living at my mother's because the first stupidhead in my life had left me with not much but my sense of humor. I was sleeping sitting upright so my boys could have a bed in my mothers tiny apartment. I couldn't find work and my career had only just begun in writing.

Pathetic, yes?

So, I got a cool group of friends, made up of some of NY's finest in the erotic world. Okay, I'll name drop. LMAO. Angela Knight and Diane Whiteside are among them. Kate Douglas, Marilyn Lee and a few others. Anyway, these chicks were really cool to me. I joined this small group of writers (yes, I was invited) and knowing what I was going through, they took care of me, they became a huge cyber support to me.

For quite sometime they'd been harrassing me to try NY and I was too afraid. Each time they said, "Dakota, do this. You are so funny," I'd cringe and say thanks, yeah, yeah, yeah and promptly DELETE.

Well, desperate times and all that jazz, ya know?

So I'm deep in pre-divorce doo-doo and I e-mail my pals because they are, after all, BIG NY authors. I ask them how to write a query for an agent because I really think some NY cash might help me out. I never truly believed I'd get an agent--it genuinely was just a freaked out moment of utter, "OMG-ness". I thought, sure I can write books for NY and even if I'm only moderately successful, at least it's something I can sorta do with a modicum of ease and I really do love it. It was a moment of sheer panic that blossomed into stupidity.

Ask and you shall receive...

I e-mail them and tentitively ask about the art of querying this creature called agent. BAM--I have like 20 e-mails that share all of their fancy author secrets. Did I say I love these women?

I read these very serious queries and think, Um, NO FREAKIN' WAY. My fear subsides I go back to being wee Dakota Cassidy and I decide it's all going to be good. I CAN be the Walmart greeter...In the meantime, I have a stroke of genius and I make a joke of the old query thing...so as I'm want to do, no matter how dire my circumstance, I send my buds the JOKE query.

It was just a joke, I swear...

Below is the actual query I sent to my circle of big-name author friends. I sometimes wonder what gets into me. I'm hard pressed for any other answer but therapy. I think in crisis, I react by making jokes to buffer the utter friggin' terror I'm truly feeling on the inside.

So read on...

Dear-fill in the blank,

Okay, so like, I'm Blank Blank and I write as Dakota Cassidy (see why I have a pen name?). No, no, really, don't applaud, it hurts my ears. I have NO awards, I don't do contests and I was pretty much happy writing e-books. I got a few with some nice reviews. I even got an "O"!! Please see Dakota's list of books available at several publishers, cuz I am a SLUT. But I digress...

Anyway, this nutty bunch of broads (who have MANY awards between them) said, "Hey, DC, send to a NY pub. They'll LOVE you. Go on, make a complete ASS of yourself. We'll HELP!" (LMAO). No, they didn't really say that, they were very supportive. Did I mention Angela Knight is my best friend? And, Diane Whiteside thinks my punctuation is BOSS? I don't want to name-drop...just on the off chance you needed references and all.

Sooo, got this book, but the one I'm sending you-- you totally CANNOT have. It's just my voice, a sample of my rather BIZARRE sense of Ha-Ha. It's going to Changeling Press, so just forget trying to buy me with BIG advances, fancy cars and hot MEN. Well, wait, if you have a 401-K hanging around, I might be persuaded...

The Ex-Files, is about a chick, Maddie who's recently divorced and she's pretty damn depressed, 'til she meets this guy Cole at a plushie event. Don't ask, it's all in the book. Anyway, then she hooks up with a bunch of other divorced chicks and they all become friends. Well, cuz they're all divorced and they have something in common, ya know? So, she boffs Cole's brains out and kinda DIGS IT, but, she doesn't want a relationship, cuz she's all scarred and crap. You know, the typical, post-divorce-issue laden-chick lit stuff with giggles just for levity? VERY BIG in NY, I hear.

But, Cole has other ideas, so he talks her into hanging out with him and boffing some more. And, well, Maddie really starts to LIKE IT and so they do it some more.

And, that's pretty much IT. No bells, no whistles, just some nasty sex for a broad with a big "D" on her chest.

So, if you're interested, I figured I'd give ya a holler. If not, it's cool. I can take rejection, I think. Did I mention I'm getting divorced and running pretty LOW on cash? Never mind, really that's too much info, isn't it?

So, please, by all means make me wait a good six months or so before you send me my rejection slip. I like my pain in LONG, drawn out doses.

Blank Blank

Okay, so they all read it and send me LOL's and Dakota you're so funny stuff, right? Well, no. That's wrong. Some took it more seriously than others.


My fabulous friend Kate Douglas e-mails me late that night. I'm up writing and I get an e-mail that says, "Don't kill me, but I sent your e-mail to my agent. If you want to kill me, please do it privately."

Now, I'm thinkin', huh? What note--I ask that very question and she says--the one you sent to our group. I'm like--the one where I was crackin' WISE? She says, um,yep...I then e-mail her and tell her that the looney bin will arrive shortly to whisk her away and help her don her new "I love me" jacket for the gala basket weaving ball.

She e-mails back and says I knew you'd never do it, so I did it for you because that query is so YOU.

I LOL send her a thank you for loving me enough to allow your agent a private peek at the nut you fill your days with and sign off. I think nothing more of it until the next morning...

An e-mail from my friend via her agent Jessica says, tell her to send me three chapters of what she's got.

Well, okay--if you think you really want to cause youself some agony--here, TAKE THAT. I spend all day with my mothers antiquated printer and send her three chapters of my book The-Ex Files.

And then, I forget about it...cuz there's just NO WAY this woman is going to want my stuff and it's all copasetic by me. So there...

A week passes, my mom says, "Hey, honey, heard from the agent?" I laugh and say, it'll be months.

Later that day...

I get an e-mail. Could you please send me the rest of your manuscript. I'm really enjoying it.

I cock my head to the left and think, God this broad is really NUTS. But, I hit the old printer--expend an entire tree and send to her.

Again, I do the unforgivable and forget about it.

Divorce day-- I come home tired, but glad it's over. 19 years is a long time to say goodbye to, but it's the right thing. My mom tells me a Jessica called and I'm like, who? I have no friends named Jessica...LOLLOL. She gives me the note and I read the full name.

Ahhh, that Jessica--the one who's calling to let me down easy because she's made a huge mistake in indulging my good friend Kate and her plight to save the divorcing Dakota. I'm okay with it because, well, just because...I call and leave her a message--fully expecting to never hear from her again.

Next morning. I've gotten some sleep and I'm just waking up, when the phone rings and someone for Dakota is calling--her name is Jessica--again, I have a "who the F%$k is Jessica" moment and she reminds me--Jessica, Jessica.

Ahhhh...the agent Jessica and she's such a good friend to Kate she's going to call me an tell me to piss in someone else's wind. Because, honestly, she's only trying to let me down easy. So I ask her to let me sit before she rejects me. I get some coffee and tell her--have at it. I live for rejection...

She laughs and says--No, no. I want to REPRESENT you.

Wow--there were many r words I'd considered she might use--like rejection-retard--rots of ruck finding an agent, but REPRESENT was not in my vocab.

Anyway--we talked for a couple of hours and she said she thought I was hysterical. She thinks I can be like sorta mainstream big. I, OTOH, am snorting at the very idea. I can't seem to get past the "is she sure she knows who she's talking to" part.

However, now, here I am with an agent and she's da bomb. I mean really. She totally gets me--she's the editor from a place far more horrible than hell, but I love her. She's nice to me. She gets that I don't get it and I have no clue who anyone of importance is. She communicates with me always. She's patient. I'd never written as long as she wanted for NY--she helped me do that in spades.

I'm sure she'll dump me next week, but even if this is the end of my ride--it's been the best damn one I've ever been on.

Karma is a funny thing, eh?

Dakota :)


  • At 5:11 AM, Blogger Samantha Reynolds said…

    Dakota...That is a story that would only happen to you ne? I mean really babe, you always tell the best stories. Don't you like now owe Kate for the rest of your life? And yeah, I'm thinking your agent is right....BIG sweetie, you're going to be very BIG...and no, I ain't talking about your hips!
    Hugs (don't care what Jaynie peeves about...I love giving hugs)

  • At 6:18 AM, Blogger BadBarbs' Blog said…

    Dakota I totally agree with your agent and think you are going to be HUGE. So big your tiara won't fit your head. :)

  • At 5:01 PM, Blogger Jaynie R said…

    I want to know how to get my picture up like Sammie and Angie do.

    Dakota - that was so cool. So does she have something that she is shopping around for you? Keep us updated, that is way cool.

  • At 8:08 PM, Blogger Angela James said…

    I love you Dakota. There is no one else like you which is too bad because you bring smiles to my face ;)

    That was a great story and Sammie was right- one that could only happen to you.

  • At 6:54 PM, Blogger Angela James said…

    Hey Dakota, I notice you haven't blogged lately so you've been tagged ;)


  • At 2:19 PM, Anonymous Sasha said…

    I love it! Thanks for sharing.
    I agree to..you are going to be HUGE!


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