Letters to and from a Prospective Agent.

Dealing with rejection has never been a skill I have acquired. Perhaps the issue has two sides to it. Now that I have been more exposed to my fellow writers, screaming louder and louder to be recognised for their unique contribution to literature I have received some insights.

For example, what has been terribly important to me, matters not at all to someone else. Perhaps this should come as no surprise as I daily witness how we happily step over the bleeding body of a fellow human being if he is lying across our way in the queue at McDonald’s.

Likewise there are thousands of us writers who believe that once they complete the first couple of drafts there are hungry Agents and Publishers simply waiting to receive our half baked work and turn us into the Next JK Rowling.

Of course, this only applies to others and not to me. My manuscript is perfect. ( Witness the sweat of my virtual brow upon it.) Of course, I know that Agents and publishers are idiots, after all how many of them turned down JK Rowling and George Lucas. In fact Mark Twain and thousands of literary Icons had to self publish in order to prove these cretins wrong. So it must be a plot to keep us in our place. Therefore I sought to outwit the idiots manning the barricades between me and Immortality. I found a list of agents, studied their profiles and their reading lists and planned and plotted the perfect submission letter. In fact this endeavour took longer to write than my entire manuscript.

For those of you who want to join me storming the Bastille here is the paper trail.

First of all my carefully crafted cockroach letter.

***************************************************

From: Don Darkes

Sent: Monday, July 02, 2012 1:16 PM

To: xxxxia@fxxxolit.com

Subject: Query: Non-Fiction, Family Travel Narrative

Monday July 2nd 2012

Don Darkes

Yacht Sea Shoes

Richards Bay

South Africa

Ms Xxxdia Xxxss

Re: Pisces and the Sailfish

Dear XXudia

I read on your website that you work as a team, so I based my approach to you on a purely scientific basis. Namely that your picture reminds me of my Anchor and the most important person in my life. My amazing wife. It has nothing to do with the fact that the experience described in my book helped me to regain my lost faith in our creator or that you might be less sceptical than most to hear that.

Seriously though, I have been waiting impatiently for over 20 years for someone to die so that I could purge the hate from my system and write joyfully about a Journey that changed my life and that of my (then) young family forever.

This Family Travel Adventure Narrative follows the first part, (it continues) of my young family’s adventures after we turned our backs on our prosperous, secure, comfortable yet meaningless existence in suburbia to follow our dream. This account tells how we unwittingly bought a cursed yacht, watched it smash itself to pieces and then with no prior experience, skills or training rebuilt it, sailed it away, found paradise, dealt harshly with betrayal, discovered ancient treasure, sank in quicksand and in so doing bonded our family closer together. The book also reveals for the first time how the disaster took place and how and why I tried to commit murder.

Please believe me when I tell you that I have lived, for the last six weeks, together with my now grown up family, two stories off the ground, high up in a Casuarina tree that is rapidly becoming our new boat, as I purged myself of this book. I am still managing some of the issues that have resulted from revealing some things that I kept secret for 20 years -even from my Anchor.

The manuscript is complete and as well edited and proofed as my limited University education allows. I would dearly love to send it to you for perusal.

Kind Regards

Don Darkes

*******************************************************************

I waited eagerly at my email box, checking it every twenty minutes or so. Waiting for the letter that would bring me to the first rung of fame, fortune and celebrity. I checked out the new BMW’s at the motor showrooms and made a list of the goodies I would buy once the shekels came pouring in.

Xxxxia must have been on leave with her partner in the business because it took them some time, in fact almost a month, to reply to me.This is what they said.

On Tue, 2012-07-31 at 16:21 -0400, Xxxdia Xxxoss wrote:

Hi Don,

Many thanks for contacting me about your work.

I have now had the chance to consider your writing, and regrettably, I do not have sufficient enthusiasm for the project you’ve described to pursue representation.

As you know, any reader’s response to a particular book is highly subjective and it is entirely possible that another literary agent might find that your work more closely aligns with their interests.

Please accept my best wishes as you continue your search for representation.

Sincerely,

Xxxxdia Xxxss

******************************

Undoubtedly she and her partner were idiots. This was probably a front for a gang of Albanian cat smugglers. Nevertheless I felt I should reply as cordially as possible and not let on that that was on to them.

Here is a copy of my carefully worded email.

*****************************************************************

On Tue, 2012-07-31 at 22:47 +0200, Don Darkes wrote:

Hi yourself Xxxxia.

So you didn’t swallow my bullsh*t story eh?

Blast! Back to the drawing board!

I sometimes wonder if I can get enthusiastic about the project myself. ~{;-)

Thank you for at least replying. Judging by the ego’s and angst that I see in my fellow writers I would hate to be in your line of business and that’s no joke.

Seriously though, I shall treasure your reply – it rates so much higher than the deafening silence I have been met with from the other 4759 Agents I approached with this self same cockroach letter.

Kind Regards

Don Darkes Author at Sea

***************************

I did not expect to receive a reply, but lo and behold, after exactly the same period as before, I received a letter in my email box. Surely this could only mean that they had come to their senses and reconsidered. The BMW’s revved their engines and I brightened as I opened their email with trembling hands and set my lucky letter opener down before reading it out aloud to my excited family. This is what it said.

On Tue, 2012-08-29 at 16:21 -0400, Xxxdia Xxxoss wrote:

Hi Don,

Many thanks for contacting me about your work.

I have now had the chance to consider your writing, and regrettably, I do not have sufficient enthusiasm for the project you’ve described to pursue representation.

As you know, any reader’s response to a particular book is highly subjective and it is entirely possible that another literary agent might find that your work more closely aligns with their interests.

Please accept my best wishes as you continue your search for representation.

Sincerely,

Xxxxdia Xxxss

******************************

Whatever can this mean?  Is there a giant computer merely sending out cockroach letters every thirty or so days and carefully inserting personal details into each reply? Or, are they indeed cat kidnappers as I first suspected?

Dear reader, I would love to know what you think.

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About seashoes

I am Lawrence Huntingdon-Rusch, writing as Don Darkes. This choice of pseudonym is due to the fact that I am also writing a Biographical memoir provisionally titled, Darkest Africa My Life of Crime, the life story of an incredible man, Don Darkes, who was given this identity, at birth, in order to keep a secret and the fact that like him, my given name is also an accident of birth concealing my true heritage. I am fifty-something and have been ecstatically married for over three decades to my incredible wife Anne who bore me three miracle children. After repudiating my Psychology degree in the mid-seventies I served my mandatory National Military Service in a clandestine, top-secret unit stationed in (then) Rhodesia -for which I received a medal. (The subject of a novel in progress) During the eighties, at the height of apartheid, together with (then illegal) “black” partners I built a successful manufacturing company which I sold to buy the yacht upon which I was shipwrecked together with my wife Dianne, our five year old son Bill and four year old daughter Morgan. After returning destitute to South Africa I rode a ripple in the dot.com wave and cashed in my Internet start-up in order to distribute rare organic chocolate and to research a challenging historical novel, The Madagascar Plan, which explores an intriguing link between the Jewish Holocaust and Madagascar. Currently, together with my wife, son and two daughters we reside high off the ground amongst the branches of a Casuarina tree as the family works together to build another yacht whilst I also work on several books that have as a common denominator, my love of history and my belief that fact is stranger and far more interesting than fiction.
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2 Responses to Letters to and from a Prospective Agent.

  1. carl says:

    I’m gona have to go with the Albanian angle on this one… The rejection email is the only one they have in English, so they just keep re-using it.

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