I wrote my last blog post on A Query Letter and the NY Call I referenced that I would write this blog soon to fill in the “rest of the story”, so here it is!
I first met Paige Wheeler (Folio Literary Management) at the Desert Dreams Conference held here in Phoenix by the local Desert Rose RWA Chapter (of which I’m a member) I had heard great things about Paige and so when offered the chance to sign up for an agent or editor slot at the conference, I chose her.
However, I didn’t have any new work to pitch. I was with the now defunct Triskelion Publishing at the time and was writing a series there – The Maiden Series. But I knew I wanted to break out soon and make a run for a NY publishing contract so I needed to start “shopping” for agents soon. So I did something pretty unorthodox…I DID sign up for an agent appointment with Paige, and I didn’t pitch anything! In fact I told her up front that I didn’t have anything to pitch, but that I wanted to use that appointment as an opportunity to see if we would work well together in the future when I was ready for an agent. Paige smiled and took it in stride, and we had a great chat about writing, books and working in NY.
Fast forward to the next year when Audrey LaFehr from Kensington gave me “The Call” to offer a three book deal (that became my Seduction Series). As I referenced in my other blog, I did tell Audrey that I wanted to use this deal to get an agent, and asked if she had any agents she particularly liked to work with. She countered asking me who my top choices were. Paige was my TOP choice so I mentioned her. Audrey said she LOVED working with Paige, and told me to let her know how if she would be working through Paige or directly with me.
So once I got home and recovered my wits a bit…I’d taken The Call at work in my cubicle…I called Paige and asked if she remembered me. She did, since it’s very rare to have someone take an agent appointment and NOT pitch anything 🙂 I told her there was a three book deal on the table and that I’d love for her to be my agent on the deal. She asked me to send her the manuscript so she could evaluate it to see if she’d be interested in representing me. Okay, fair enough, so I sent it off (pretty much as soon as I hung up the phone!) Well, hubby and I were at Chili’s when Paige called me back so I did have to wait until we finished dinner and I got home…snerk!
A few days later I received a call back from Paige. She offered representation on one condition…that I be willing and open to receiving feedback. My first internal reaction was, “Well, duh!” Who wouldn’t want feedback from their agent??? But from what I know now, there are plenty of authors out there who DON’T want to receive feedback from ANYONE, so it was a fair point. I agreed and we were officially a team – okay, there was some signing of contracts etc involved, but you get the idea!
From there we discussed pen names – she suggested I take one since my Tina Gerow “brand” was all about paranormal romance and this new trilogy would be erotic paranormal romance. Don’t want to give “brand shock” to my readers. It was up to me if I was very open that I was both names or not, but that way the readers would know what they would get when they picked up each pen name. And for those of you who know me, I’m VERY open that I’m both Tina and Cassie, but I do have some friends who have to be “hush hush” about their second pen name for day job reasons etc, so I do understand the reasons behind their secrecy. I just didn’t have to do any of that. So I used every bit of advice I’d received from writers over the years about pen names. I wanted to find something I wouldn’t mind answering to in public, something that was easy to sign a gazillion times, something that didn’t sound like a pole dancing name, something that had a dot com URL available, and something that would fall in a good place on the bookshelves… So Cassie Ryan was born – which falls just after Nora Roberts on most romance bookshelves, by the way! 🙂 So I’m hoping I’ve attracted some impulse buys from her readers browsing the shelves even though we write different things 🙂
Audrey approved the pen name (I think they just want to make sure it’s not something totally stupid or obscene) and we were off and running!
That was several years ago and Paige is still my agent and we get along great. I totally trust her guidance on my writing career! She’s a very savvy lady and if she’s willing to have me, I’d love to keep her as my agent for the long haul! Because I plan on continuing to write until they pry the laptop out of my cold dead hands 🙂 Sorry for the cliché visual…but it seemed to fit 🙂
So that’s my “how I got my agent” story and I’ve never regretted any of it!
So now off to get back to writing!!