So you can read my books

Monday, May 9, 2011


I am preparing to go down lonely, dark rural roads to bring very rare blood to a struggling baby.And a tune is haunting me.

The Icarus Wind.

It's a lovely song by the equally lovely {and evocative} Thea Gilmore.

The Icarus Wind is also the spirit which sweeps us up and hurls us into the misty clouds where our dreams live.

It is a dangerous realm. There is no promise of success. And there is no safety net to catch us should we fall.

The post of yesterday brought back memories of my bookstore and my customers.

Yes, I owned a bookstore for a time. I needed an understanding boss who would allow me to accompany my mother on her distant trips for chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

I figured I could be pretty darn understanding.

So I emptied my savings, and with the added financial help of two good friends, I started my bookstore. I had not thought of sales as a way to make a living. But luckily, the people coming in pretty much knew what they wanted.

After coming in for awhile, they knew I wasn't going to hard-sell them anything. I got to know them and pointed out things I thought they'd like. I was usually right.

And it's come to me that once again, as with my bookstore, I am back in sales ... in a sense. But only in a sense. Like in my bookstore, I have to get to know my customer {potential agent.} I have to learn her likes and dislikes.

But unlike my bookstore, the agent hasn't gotten to know the wonderfulness of myself. No. I'm coming in cold.

In another sense, I'm also coming in hot :

no time to build up trust or to ratchet-up the tension. Like a space shuttle without fuel, I'm flying like a razor through the cyber-void. I have seconds, ten seconds if conventional wisdom is correct, to win the agent's interested attention.

That's not much time to hit a home run.

To follow the trajectory of the baseball analogy, I have to quickly present a winning ...


Line Drive.

Home Run.

Think : Speed. Focus. And ... out of the ball park!

My target agent is eye-weary, computer numb, and conditioned by thousands of terrible queries to expect yet another boring turkey.

I have to flash a surprise crack of the bat and get her attention. I'll use my 90,000 word urban fantasy, FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE, for an example {Yeah, what a surprise, right?} :

A man who no longer believes in God must fight a being who believes himself the Devil.

Doubt. Faith. Death. All three collide in Post-Katrina New Orleans where the dying of the lights bring out the predators from both sides of the darkness.

In post-Katrina New Orleans, an undead Texas Ranger battles inept politicians, Russian mobsters, and DayStar, a being with god-like powers.

Helped by a vampire priest, the Ranger faces mounting opposition from all corners of the supernatural realm, all eager to take advantage of the chaos following the hurricane. And in the wings watching the Ranger get weaker and weaker, DayStar sets his last trap for his hated enemy into motion.
Post Script :

Many times we writers don't even get the opportunity to audition for the agent. We get the intern.

Imagine getting your X-ray read. As you hand it in to the desk, you ask, "The doctor will read this, right?"

"No, the intern will."

"She's trained in reading X-Rays?"

"No education. No salary even. But she's optimistic and hopeful."

"Yeah, well that makes one of us."

"Oh, it's always been this way. That's just the way the system works."

"Yeah, they told Lincoln the same thing about slavery."

"Oh, so the intern's been complaining about having to re-arrange the agent's bookshelf, has she?"

"No, I haven't talked to her. So she has to re-arrange the agent's books, too? Where does she find the time to grovel?"

"Oh, there's always time to grovel."

"Words to live by," I smile and walk out the door.

Post script II :

The really great news?

You know what the success ratio for a super-star agent is? 50%.

Ouch. Or not so ouch.

It takes the pressure off. It is what it is. We try our best and enjoy the journey.
Here's the music video of Thea singing "The Icarus Wind."


  1. I hope your trip was safe and uneventful. Loved the Icarus Wind vid. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on agenting.


  2. Thanks for sharing...haven't reached the agent-searching stage yet, but this is a useful perspective.

  3. Donna :
    Just dragged in -- 18 straight hours! And I'm still on first call. I need a stunt double! Isn't Thea a great singer/songwriter?

    Damyanti :
    I wish you luck when you reach the query to agent stage. Have a great week, Roland

  4. LOL - liked the bit about the intern. Think that's why I didn't bother with agents and went straight to querying publishers.
    May you find success, Roland!

  5. Love the music and your post. I am still revising and I have sent some queries but I think they ended up at that...intern. I will continue...because as you said on your Mother's Day Post, I am not afraid, and I am not running from myself.

  6. Diane :
    I'm glad you found success with the publishers. I am going the Kindle route. Here's hoping lightning strikes for both of us.

    The Desert Rocks :
    We often turn into our worst enemy by yeilding to our fears. Why not embrace our dreams and our courage, becoming our own best friend, right?

    Wasn't that a lovely, evocative song by Thea Gilmore? I'm glad you liked it. Here's wishing us both luck in our queries.

    You might want to try this contest :

  7. Wow. Very interesting and weird coincidence! You'll find that perfect agent one of these days. Fit you and your novels perfectly!

  8. Colene :
    Odd coincidence about out twin posts wasn't it? Here's hoping that lightning strikes for both of us soon, Roland

  9. 18 hours! Are you still your own boss? If so, tell him he needs to give you a break!

  10. Lydia :
    Sadly, no. I am no longer my own boss. Blood couriers get to do one weekend solo once a month.

    Except for me. Now, that I have an untrained partner, I will have two weekends solo for a long while.

    Most people have no idea what blood couriers go through all across the country. I wrote a Kindle single (horror, of course), filling in many of the details. I just have to find out how to put indents before my paragraphs before publishing it.

    I really need to sell the movie rights to one of my novels! LOL.

    Thanks for dropping by and commenting. Roland

  11. As always, Roland, your writing never ceases to amaze me! Best wishes!

    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming soon!

  12. Thank you, Elizabeth :
    I await the release of your novel, DARKSPELL. It has one sure buyer with me. Roland