What to Look for in an Agent by Deborah Dupre

What to Look for in an Agent

“Surely if all that was happening to people along the Gulf coast over two years in the United States, then CNN, ABC and other major news stations would report it,” the agent told me about my Vampire of Macondo book summary.

I’d contacted her about what she described as a Hollywood-style video book trailer.

“Well, mainstream news has reported a bit of it,” I replied. “Merle Savage, one of the sole surviving workers at the Exxon Valdez disaster, was on CNN talking about it. Ms. Savage, very ill, hung on, advocating for Gulf survivors. She died last year.”

My heart raced. I wanted to show to Ms. Hollywood Trailer the interview of children like Jessica Hagan, 13, explaining that even children in her community were bleeding and women were having serious reproductive health problems. I wanted her to hear Jessica say that the elderly were “dropping like flies.”

I wanted to show to her Panama City oil clean up worker Jennifer Rexford saying on camera through tears that she was afraid to hold her babies anymore, fearing they’d catch the antibiotic-resistant disease she contracted soon after participating in a beach cleanup, as thousands of other workers had become deathly ill.

I wanted her to hear and see Ms. Rexford assert, “This is genocide. This is chemical genocide.”

I wanted her to hear south Louisiana’s Kindra Arnesen tell my son, director of The Big Fix, “I honestly think we’ve all been poisoned,” after showing her antibiotic resistant, giant, deep oozing boil, a condition all too familiar to Gulf coast residents since the BP “spill” in the Gulf.

This is the United States,” I heard the agent on the other end of phone exclaim. “I could understand that happening in another country, but not here. You’re talking about something from the 1970s or 80s. This is 2012, Ms. Dupré.

She then said, “My company would have to see evidence of what you’re saying.”

“Oh,” I replied, “Well of course. I have over a thousand references documenting all this in the book. I can send all of those to you.”

After the agent’s next comment of disbelief, followed by another question, I politely thanked her, figuring it best to take my business elsewhere.

“Whoa! What a book!” publicist Dorothy Thompson promptly replied after reading my application for her company to represent me. “I knew there was more to that Gulf disaster than we’ve been told!”

Thompson, director of Pump Up Your Book, showed the innovative and compassionate response I needed to coordinate my virtual book tour.

Soon after sending to Thompson one of my interviews and a video demonstrating censored voices from the shattered Gulf, she exclaimed, “Those poor people.”

I knew I’d found the agent with the interest in human rights needed to publicize my book and coordinate my virtual tour.


New Orleans native Deborah Dupré reports censored human rights news stories. With Science and Ed. Specialist Grad Degrees from U.S. and Australian universities, Dupré’s been a human and Earth rights advocate over 30 years in those countries and Vanuatu. Her unique humanitarian-based research and development work, including in some of the world’s least developed and most remote areas, led her to write articles appearing in dozens of popular print and Internet media internationally.

Her latest book is the nonfiction, Vampire of Macondo.

Visit her column at Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/user-gdeborahdupre

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