Thursday, April 22, 2010

Writing is NOT for Wimps...or the Great Agent Search Begins

Okay. This is probably risky. Maybe career-killing. But what the heck. As Helen Keller said, 'Life is either a daring adventure or...nothing.' Let's hope my coin toss comes up 'daring adventure' rather than the sobering alternative.

I'm finally ready to officially begin my agent search. I tweaked the heck out of the three finished projects I've been working on. I've updated my Young Adult Middle Reader series. I've cut down my rom suspense series to fit category guidelines. And I've added over 15,000 words to my women's crime fiction series. So I'm good to go. And I may regret this, but in the next several weeks I'm going to be blogging about my search. The good, the not-so-good, and the downright ugly. Which brings me to my first foray into the hunt for new representation. The 'ugly' was all me--and it wasn't a pretty sight.

Now normally I don't get rattled or nervous when I talk to an industry professional. I was a state trooper. I read people their Miranda Rights, cuffed them and stuffed them into the back of my patrol car.

Chatting with a prospective agent?

Piece of cake.

Unfortunately, in the case of my initial agent contact, I might have been better off if I'd stuck said cake in my mouth so as to avoid the attack of diarrhea mouth I experienced during our phone conversation.

Permit me to set the stage. I'd done my homework. I'd researched agents, obtained recommendations, etc. So late last week I made contact with an agent high on my list of agents 'to-die-for'. I knew it was a long-shot. The agent typically doesn't represent Young Adult work, especially Middle Level projects. But, optimist that I am, I figured you can't hit the stars if you don't shoot for the moon. (I know. Lame.) So, I typed out a 'cheat sheet' with a short intro, proposal overviews, and questions and made contact with this Super Agent.

I'm sitting at my computer desk gnawing on a white chocolate bunny left over from Easter when my home phone rang. I stared at the caller ID, saw it was the Super Agent, and completely panicked.

I wasn't ready! I was in my grubby sweatpants. My breakfast consisted of Mr. Leftover Easter Bunny. And I'd misplaced my 'cheat sheet' notes.

Breathless--and nervous as he!!--I picked up the phone, struck almost immediately with the worst case of 'Diarrhea Mouth' ever documented.

I babbled. I repeated myself. I think my voice even cracked a time or two.

In short, I was a blithering idiot.

Here's a short sample of my 'performance':

Super Agent: What genre does your big book fit in?

Me: Well, you see, that's kind of hard to say because it's s really a melding of several genres. You know. A hybrid--

Super Agent: But where would it be shelved? In stores? What genre?

Me: That's hard to say. It's like, you know, um, crime fiction but with a strong women's fiction component.

Super Agent: I don't think I'm interested.

I must tell you Super Agent was a class act, the epitome of patience and understanding, thanking me for thinking of her before declining representation. (Imagine that!)

I thanked Super Agent for her time and ended the call---and proceeded to bite the damned head off that ridiculous white chocolate bunny.

Okay. So even ex Super Crimefighters can be intimidated by Super Agents sometimes.

Never one to give up in the face of adversity, it's time to pull myself up by my bootstraps and continue the search for the perfect agent.

Still, a little 'tea and sympathy' couldn't hurt. Sniff. Sniffle. Sniff.

Until next week, this is 'Diarrhea Mouth' signing off.

~Bullet Hole~


Helena Carlo said...

You are incredibly brave. And funny. I'm so sorry your phone call with Super Agent didn't go as well as you'd hoped, but I like to believe (as Mama always said) that just means there is someone even better waiting for you. Thanks for the chuckle anyhow. And best of luck to you!

Paty Jager said...

I'll keep coming back to see how this goes since I'm in the "agent hunt", too.

Not good for you, but good for me to see I'm not the only one who blithers or gets tongue tied when talking to agents.


TerriOsburn said...

I'm with Paty, this does make me feel better about the foot-in-mouth moments that are bound to be in my future. My agent hunt won't start until the end of the year, so I can follow along here and have lots of pointers and notes.

And my kiddo is reading the middle YA stuff so hurry up and get that out there!

Gillian Layne said...

We'll be here cheering you on!

Suzan Harden said...

Hang in there, Kathy!

Besides there are worse things you could have done besides biting the heads off of innocent chocolate rabbits. LOL

Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks for the 'ah, atta girl', Helena. I have to say this phone conversation was not one of my better moments. And from your lips (and your Mama's!) to God's ears on the someone better waiting to snatch me up. Hehe!


Kathy Bacus said...

I really don't know what came over me, Paty. It was the worst case of motor mouth I've ever experienced. So totally embarrassing. I guess the upside is I can't do worse the next time.



Kathy Bacus said...

Speaking of the Middle Level stuff, Terri, I think what I may find particularly difficult (other than remembering to take a breath now and then to break up the bursts of babbling)is finding an agent who represents Middle Level AND gritty, adult crime type fiction AND category rom-suspense.

Leave it to me to set myself up with an uber challenge.

It'll be nice to have you along for the ride. Hopefully, everyone can learn from my mistakes--or at least get a good laugh at my bonehead moments along the way.



Kathy Bacus said...

Thanks,Gillian! I can use all the positive vibes I can get. And the next time, the heck with the cheapo white chocolate. I'm going Godiva all the way. (A decision for which white chocolate Easter bunnies are eternally grateful, I'm sure.)


Kathy Bacus said...

Besides there are worse things you could have done besides biting the heads off of innocent chocolate rabbits.

Hmmm. When you put it that way, Suzan...



nerdfreakgeek said...

I can only imagine how humiliating it really must have been! I've had my own 'special' share of experiences like this, and I can honestly say that almost nothing compares to this level of embarrassment other than if there was a group of people watching you commit verbal suicide.

Kathy Bacus said...

All I can say, nerdfreakgeek, is I was so grateful I was alone in the house once I hung up that phone. I wasn't fit to be around human beings for quite some time. (Exhibit A: one headless white chocolate rabbit.)

If someone had witnessed my embarrassment, I can't imagine the carnage.