I got "The Call"
What do you do when an agent who requested your full manuscript calls you a few days before you thought she’d even be finished reading it? Does your mind go blank for a moment as you stare at the name on the caller I.D. and you seriously wonder if you should pick it up or call her back? Do all of the carefully crafted questions you have for an agent (in a word doc) leave your head and you flounder for the span of a heartbeat?
Well, that’s what I did. I let the phone ring in my hand as I pondered what to do for two seconds. I had just joked on my Facebook page, with another writer friend of mine, that we should print our questions up and have them ready in case we get “the call” soon.
Of course, flying blind, I answered the call. And proceeded to babble for a bit like a fool. My sales experience kicked in and I immediately asked about her pets I heard in the background. The enthusiasm I had in talking to a live agent, who obviously liked my work or wouldn’t be calling, spilled over into a lively conversation about her pets, the pets in her neighborhood, her funny/crazy trip with family and my own humorous experiences with somewhat crazy family members.
It was delightful. I couldn’t have asked for it to start better. I could have shut up more and not stumbled on my words, but hey, the adrenaline coursing through me made me pace and babble while I was on the phone. I walked the border of the rug in my library over and over again, like a nervous sheepdog.
I discovered the personality behind the voice on the phone and we made a real connection as people, not as writer and agent. I had enough sense at some point to stop adding to the side topics and let her direct us back on track. I wanted her to do it so I didn’t come off wrong (read here: pushy). She said some fantastic things about my book and showed me that she had really read it by revealing her insights and questions.
Somehow, I remembered my good manners, and thanked her, but I can’t be sure how many times. When she asked me if I had any questions for her, I was like a deer in headlights. Did this mean she’s offering representation? Was this when I was supposed to ask my carefully researched questions? You know, the ones somewhere in my computer?
Of course, I cut right to the chase, because I’m slightly confused and still not sure what is appropriate. “Does this mean you’re offering representation to me?” leaps from my lips. Is it obvious? Am I dumb for asking?
She laughs – not a laugh at me laugh, but a musical “gosh, that was kind of funny” sound, and says something like “Yes, that’s why I’m calling, but you kind of stole my thunder. I was going to ask you.”
I apologize for my gaff, and she verbally waves me off, because it was going to come out anyway and it wasn’t a big deal for her. I explained I had questions, but wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to ask them if she wasn’t offering…blah blah blah. I’ve blocked out a lot of my mini-blunder, I think. But she was gracious and even offered to let me go print up my questions so we could talk them over.
Of course, I had tried to search for the question sheet and only after three tries (while still trying to speak coherently and not give a way that I was unprepared) did I finally find them! Some of the questions we had already covered, but she thoroughly answered all the others I had and followed it up with a sample contract being emailed to me.
I’m not sure which thrills me more – the offer of someone so skilled and knowledgeable within the industry actually calling me to offer representation, or that she read my work and really seems to get it.
She didn’t try to force it into a category and label it a Romance (or tell me why it wasn’t a Romance and how I could change it to make it so). She loved my characters and was genuinely interested when asking me about what I’m working on now (and sounded happy when I explained about the four books I have planned so far and I’m already on book two). She felt the story was complex and well layered and… gosh, I wish I could have recorded her. It all seems to have left my swiss-cheese Lyme’s disease rattled brain right now.
Supriya’s squeals on the phone were as loud as my own – “Oh my god, I want to hear every detail of the entire one hour conversation!” Which of course, made me only realize I couldn’t recall all of it because I was in such shock throughout most of it.
I was able to talk to the agent about self-publishing and the options that have come my way so far – all of which only pleased her more. She’s aware that if the book doesn’t sell in a time frame we discussed that I will still self-publish. So – for all of you wondering – yes – that means I will not be releasing my book this May with my own publishing company.
We talked again later about some items on her contract, and of course Pete had some concerns I’m going to address, but overall it’s a fair and reasonable agreement and I’m looking forward to signing it.
I haven’t done it yet – I still need one last call with the agent and then I will. I’ll reveal her name after I do – so, stay tuned. I have a feeling this could be it for me. I’m so excited and over the moon about all of this, that just the idea of things coming together has made my head hurt and I feel like I’m going to be sick.
Wow – I’m a sad sap, aren’t I? 😉