Looking for Agent Right

Writing conferences are the perfect backdrop for Agent-Author speed dating. At a semi-private table for two, separated by dark polyester curtains from seven other Agent/Author pairs, the courting begins. You’ve a total of 360 seconds starting now!

Author, you’re in hot pursuit of the elusive Agent, go! No, stop that. No reading your statement. Drop the cue card, Author! Just spit it out. You’ve prepared a clever Star Wars meets Bugs Bunny analogy to describe your story? Good! Or, is it the Simpsons meets Father Knows Best? Fabulous! Hurry, you’ve got five minutes left.

My gift-of-the-gab-Irrrish Fairrry was on vacation during the conference last year. Although my book was written, my speaking apparatus failed to produce a good incantation. For Agent #1, I could not pull the plot rabbit from my top hat within the six minute show.

Later, with Agent #2, I proudly produced my Spanish rabbit with a flourish and she said, “Where’s the rabbit/What is your book about?” My hexed mouth opened and no sound emerged. Didn’t I? Didn’t I present it? I sputtered, prayed for inspiration, then her next date arrived. Curtains! I must conjure certifiably impressive hocus-pocus promptly! It requires another eye of newt.

“Logline” was my magical charm mantra in the 365 sunrises since. I’ve consulted website oracles by word sorcerers with trade secrets, wands and potions. Here’s my new spell:

Supergringa in Spain: A Coming of Age Memoir is flirty, comical look at a provincial Midwestern girl transforming into a confident woman of the world studying a semester in Toledo, Spain. It is like Room with a View meets Kinky Gazpacho, except I’m not British, nor am From Milwaukee, and I didn’t marry the love of my life I met in a Mediterranean country.

I went to a class on how to pitch to agents last Thursday, aka How to Talk so Agents Will Listen, or Agents are From Mars and Authors are From Venus. Friday morning, I met two literary agents. I cast my spiel, “Abracadabra, a la peanut butter sandwiches.” (red above) and they said a whirlwind, “No, thanks.” Intake of breath. Okay, I had three hours to channel Virginia Woolf or Harry Houdini before the afternoon It’s Just Coffee.

At 2:38 pm, Agent #3 and I talked. I chanted my best logline, and she smiled. I smiled back. Third time’s the charm? I answered her questions in clear and dulcet tones. Then Afternoon Agent said, “Do you believe in magic? Is your illustrated manuscript quite full of runes?” I said, “Aye, Milady. Aye”

“Then send your parchment with my courier owl within a fortnight.” That was a yes! In genuine surprise I grinned shyly and spoke my humble thanks. Could this be the one? Surely magic is afoot!

Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco. Olé! –Rebecca

Snowdrops. Photo credit: Rebecca Cuningham
Rebecca Cuningham

10 thoughts on “Looking for Agent Right

  1. Fantastic, Rebecca! This is exciting! Good for you, you deserve it, and I hope for a triumphant result. Also, thanks for sharing the whole story, disappointments and all. I appreciate hearing about how you learned to navigate this process.

    Liked by 2 people

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