The Big Redhead Book

St. Martin’s Press / 240 pages / $14.99 / ISBN-13: 978-1250110527

Available at Amazon

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The Big Redhead Book: Inside the Secret Society of Red Hair is an inside look into one of the most elite societies in the world — the real two percent. Well, you know, the two percent of the world’s population that are natural redheads, at least. This book has equal parts pop culture, ginger facts, and humorous stories about what it’s like to actually have red hair. It’s loaded with everything you’d ever want to know about us reds; how we’re scientifically different from the norms (non-redheads), how we’ve been stereotyped in pop culture, and the do’s and don’ts of having a red in your life, among other things!

Whether you are a redhead, know a redhead, or are just an enthusiast, this book explores the realities, the myths, and where red hair actually originates (it’s not Ireland). Author Erin La Rosa not only delivers the facts, statistics, and undeniable realities of being a ginger, but she also weaves in her own personal and hilarious stories about being red. Being a redhead is not just a hair color, it’s a lifestyle―and this book is your own exclusive peek into that fabulous world.

Some surprising facts about redheads that you will discover include:
– The association between redheads and humor came from redheaded slaves in ancient Greece
– There are over 30 leading or recurring redhead characters in Disney and Pixar films… that’s a lot when you remember we’re only two percent of the world’s population!
– Redhead women allegedly have more sex, more threesomes, and more orgasms than other women… or do they? Let’s find out!
– Some Egyptian rulers dyed their hair red to assert their power (looking at you, Cleopatra)
– And redheads need more anesthesia at the dentist, because they’re not going down without a fight

9 Steps To Landing A Book Agent

So, recently this amazing thing happened where I sold a book:MyEditor

I wept, openly and freely, because as any writer knows the dream is to sell a book. The crazy thing is that THE BIG REDHEAD BOOK, which is the book I just sold, is now officially going to be my second book. I’m currently finishing up the draft for my first book, Womanskills. 2015 was quite a year.

But onto the important stuff: How does one get an agent so that you can then sell a book? I didn’t have an agent for Womanskills (pre-order the book here), as that was a writer-for-hire situation. So I’ll focus on how I got my agent, the incredible Kristyn Keene at ICM, in the hopes that you can get one too (if you’re so inclined).

And because I’m a big fan of steps, lists, and everything easy to read, I’ll try to make this a step-by-step guide.

Step 1:

Get an idea for a book you want to write. OK, that one’s pretty obvious, but it’s literally the first thing you need to do to even consider an agent. You need a great idea, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, and you need to make sure it’s great.

Step 2:

Get to writing. Most nonfiction doesn’t require you write an entire book before you sell it, and this is also the case for some fiction as well (particularly YA fiction). But you will need a really great query letter, which will be the thing you send to an agent before they even consider reading your work. And at minimum a proposal that you can send to an agent when they ask for more materials. Your proposal should include a fully written sample chapter, information about your “platform,” about you as a writer, and a whole host of other things that I’ll cover in another post.

  •  But query letters are a little simpler, so what’s in a query letter? A query letter is what hooks an agent in. It’s what will get you a foot in the door, and it’s extremely important.
  • Since I had never written a query letter, (or a proposal), I did a ton of research online. I saw a lot of “How to write a query letter” articles, and samples you can look through. In the end, I wound up investing in editing services and used a writer who’s been published and clearly knows a thing or two about selling a book. This was a really important book idea to me, so I wanted to make sure I did everything correctly.
  • What I learned from the query process is this: It should be a page in length max, and it needs to have all of the juiciest information you got (your social media stats, why this book is important, and how the hell you’re going to make it a bestseller).
Step 3:

Research agents and agencies. I spent a lot of time doing this. Crazy amounts. And it was hard. The two biggest tips I can give are 1) Look at books that are similar to yours, 2) Google search who repped those books (something like, “Agent for Zombie Survival Guide” is all you need) and 3) Get a subscription to Publisher’s Marketplace so you can look up those agents.

So, for example, when I looked up Kristyn Keene on Publisher’s Marketplace, I saw that she was a noted agent for a lot of the categories my Big Redhead Book fell into. (OK, I don’t know if I’ll be including any diet tips for redheads, but for sure it’ll be chock-full of humor and all the pop culture you can stand.)


Step 4:

Email out your query letter and wait. Wait a long time.

Step 5:

Just know you will get rejections. So prepare yourself emotionally for that, and maybe come up with a little ritual to go with each rejection. (My ritual was any time I got a rejection, I went to get an ice cream. I ate loads of ice cream.)

Step 6:

If the universe is good, you’ll get positive responses from an agent and they’ll usually ask to see your material. Send it over! Then you wait. My big advice here is not to pester or poke that agent unless you absolutely need to (aka another agent is interested). If they asked to see your stuff, they’ll read it, and it will all be fine.

Step 7:

They want to talk to you. OMFG, first of all do a happy dance, because THAT’S EXCITING. It’s been my experience, from talking to others and from my own stuff, that if an agent wants to talk to you, they’d like to rep you. So unless you totally blow the whole thing, you’ve got an agent. All it takes is one agent to try and sell your book, so one agent is an amazing thing!

  • Hop on the phone with them and ask a lot of questions! Things like, “Where do you see this book landing?” “What would be your selling strategy?” “What changes would you make to the proposal?”
  • Treat this chat exactly as you would a job interview. You’re interviewing them to be your potential rep, and they’re likewise interviewing you to see if they’d like to work with you.
  • Feel free to ask if you can speak to some of their other clients to get a sense of how they are as an agent. I did this with Kristyn, and it was super helpful to hear her clients gush about her.
  • If you’re talking to multiple agents, it’s customary to not have an answer for them right away. You can say, “I’m talking to multiple agents, and I’ll get back to you within a week with my decision.”
Step 8:

Make your decision. Smaller agencies might ask you to sign an agency agreement, and those agreements can be LONG. So if you get one, look it over carefully and make sure you aren’t signing your entire creative life away. ICM had me sign an agreement for this book which was all of a paragraph.

Step 9:

TREAT YOURSELF to something very nice — a personal large pizza and wine, for example — because while this whole process can be incredibly stressful, getting an agent means you’re on your way to book town.

Also, it’s important to note that while getting an agent is one of the best ways to sell a book, it’s not the only way. If you spoke with one agent, and you didn’t get a great vibe from them, then don’t agree to let them manage your book. This is your baby, and you can peddle your book idea to smaller publishers to get the result you actually want.

The Problem With Being A Redhead… And A Woman

If you’re a woman reading this, then you know what sexism is, because you’ve experienced it on more occasions than you can count. That’s unfortunately part of being a woman: someone will underestimate you, or think it’s OK to call you a name, or decide you’re incapable of doing something, and all because you’re a lady. It’s our job to prove those idiots wrong, obviously.

The story I’m about to tell you is no different from any other sexist story, except for the fact that I have red hair. Here’s what happened:

I was home the other weekend, and waiting for the cable guy to come and setup our internet and TV.  The apartment was a total disaster, seeing as we’d just moved in that day; boxes stacked in pyramids, a half empty pizza box on the table, paperwork strewn across the floor while I tried to find the lease we’d just signed for our new place.

As soon as the cable guy walked in, I could feel him sizing me up. I was home alone, while E was off running errands, and I didn’t feel comfortable.

“Your last name is La Rosa?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Oh man, I thought you’d be some hot Brazilian girl with a name like that,” he laughed. This wasn’t anything new. People tend to assume I’m Latina by my last name, even though it’s Italian. But the way he said it was new.

“Sorry to disappoint?” I said.

He was a young guy. Maybe mid-20s. He shrugged his shoulders and got to work while I retreated behind the table to pretend to do something.

“You remind me of someone,” he said.

“I just have one of those faces,” I replied. I didn’t want to know who he thought I looked like. I already knew I wasn’t a hot Latina. Now what?

“Oh, yeah, you remind me of that chick from Wedding Crashers, the one who’s crazy in bed,” he laughed again. I was beginning to get tired of that chuckle.

Isla Fisher in Wedding Crashers

I nodded, because people have told me that I look like Isla Fisher before. Not because we actually look alike, but because she’s a redhead and so am I, and people tend to lump us together. (I’ve been told I look like Julianne Moore, Jessica Chastain, and LiLo as well… all different people.)

“Is it true what they say about redheads?” he asked.

I didn’t know what he meant exactly, but I’m not completely naive. And I do know the things they say about redheads, none of them good. He wanted me to laugh, or take the bait. But when you’re home alone and some dude just told you that you remind him of a chick in a movie who is “crazy in bed,” it’s hard to have a strong sense of humor.

“What do they say about redheads?” I asked. I was angry, actually, and I wanted to make him say whatever the hell he was thinking so I could call Time Warner’s HR department. He didn’t fall for it though.

“Oh, man, it’s so crazy that I can’t even say it.” He chuckled again. “I can’t even say it.”

I brought up E, and how he’d be coming home soon. And much to my shock, the cable guy mentioned his pregnant wife, and how excited he was to have a son. I don’t know if he did that so that I’d be less likely to say something, but it worked. I didn’t report him, or his INSANE comments while he was hooking up my cable and Internet.

But the problem with being a woman AND a redhead, is that sometimes you get comments like these. The ones that reduce you to a stereotype, or try to overly fetishize you.

I’m just wondering if anyone else has experienced comments like these based on something about themselves. I imagine blondes get this a lot too, but I can’t be sure.

Has anyone experienced sexism tainted with a hint of something else? Please share!