Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I "Have" an Agent!

I'm thrilled to announce that I just got an offer for representation from an agent, and I have accepted. (Provisionally, I guess, since we still have yet to meet and I haven't signed anything.)

And I just started sending things out yesterday. That was fast, wasn't it? Just shows you that a little research pays off. Looks like I had a careful proposal and I targeted the right guy.

That's the good news. The bad news--for fans of my This American Life work, anyway--is that the book I sold was NOT How to Love God Without Being a Jerk. Instead, it's the much more media-friendly memoir of my years of business incompetence at Hallmark, titled Greeting Card Whore.

How to Love God is apparently a tough sell precisely because it's a moderate book. I suspect that I'll have to recast it as a kind of memoir--a la Anne Lamott--and then it'll find its proper space on the bookshelf. But that's for another day. (And I'm starting to think I might have to simply self-publish it and let it find its way in the marketplace through osmosis.) For now, I'm just really, really happy. And since I'm unemployed, it couldn't have come at a better time.

(Yes, I realize an agent isn't the same as a book deal. And I realize that if and when the book deal DOES happen, I STILL don't get any money up front probably; and I know it's about a year between getting the deal and having the book actually hit stores. But there's a lot to be said for hope! Now I can turn forty fearlessly.)



Blogger Norman said...

Great news!

As far as HTLGWBAJ, keep the feelers out there. Don't self-publish. The right agent will know how to sell it.

3/22/2008 2:23 AM  
Blogger Cowboy Dave Dickerson said...

As I've tossed it around, I think making it into a spiritual memoir--How to Love God Without Being a Jerk (And Other Things I've Learned)--would make it a lot easier to sell in the Anne Lamott section of the bookstore, and would play to my strengths as a writer. But you're right--I've got a little time to decide.

3/22/2008 9:17 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Excellent news! Getting an agent is at least partial proof that your work is considered publishable, right?

I'd hold off on self-publishing How to Love God - or even changing it into a memoir - for a little while. With the popularity of atheist books and apologetics responses, there may yet be interest in it as you've crafted it.

Congratulations. :-)

3/22/2008 1:53 PM  
Blogger HawaiianBrian said...

Way to go, Dave! That was ridiculously fast! One can hope...


3/22/2008 6:35 PM  
Blogger Rhu/nmHz said...

Actually, I think the memoir format might help. No one likes to be told what to think --- well, no one likes to think that they like to be told what to think --- but if you do HTLG as a memoir then the evangelical part of your target audience may read it expecting a cautionary tale of someone who "went off the derech" (or whatever the evangelical equivalent is) and discover their inner Thomas. (Did I get that right?)

3/22/2008 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Lisa E. said...

Wow, that's amazing! I hope for success this fast when I begin my agent search soon.

I'm surprised to hear there's not more of a market for How to Love God -- it sounds like a unique and fascinating angle to me, but I'm not exactly an expert in the field of religion-related publishing.

Did you get representation for the other book by querying with both books at once? I've heard you're not supposed to do that, so interesting if it worked.

3/23/2008 8:56 PM  
Blogger Chad E Burns said...

woop woop.

The greeting card whore sounds funny as well.

all good things,


3/24/2008 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Signing with an agent is like being niminated for an Oscar! I signed with an agent last year (her client list would knock your socks off) but so far, nothing has sold. But I'm still thrilled that I have an agent, and you should be too.

3/25/2008 2:02 PM  

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