THE CALL--Uncross your fingers and answer the phone

Okay, this may seem like a goofy blog from someone who has not yet gotten THE CALL. I did get a sort of mini-call from an agent wanting to represent me. But the actual Call-Call. Not so much. Not yet anyway.

THE CALL is when your caller ID registers a New York phone number and you cross your fingers that its not your Uncle Joey and Aunt Sophia(that you owe money to) who live on the upper east side. There’s a good chance that the Queen Mother of Dreams Come True is on the other end of the line. Yes I know there are other cities that publish books but in order to keep this blog under control we’ll just stick with The Big Apple. Hopefully, your phone conversation will go something like this.

Savvy Writer(that you are): Hello.
Dream Editor: Hello. This is your Dream Editor with Perfect Publishing and we loved your manuscript so much that we are willing to offer you a contract.
SW: OMG! (you’ll want to hang on tightly to the phone from this point on so you don’t drop it and miss a single thing he/she says—passing out is not an option!)
DE: We’ll need some revisions, of course.
SW: Good (shoot for one word replies because let’s face it, you really, really want to scream at the top of your lungs)
DE: We’ll need them back to us by XX date (usually 4-6 weeks)
SW: Okay (you agree and do the happy dance while white-knuckling the phone)
DE: We’ll send you a detailed letter along with a contract in the next few days. If you have any questions call me and we’ll discuss them. Your advance will be $$ and your royalties are XX %.
SW: Wonderful (tears of joy are welling by this point)
DE: Do you have any questions for me now?
SW: No. Thank you DE very much. (telling them you love them at this stage of your relationship would be a bit premature—so force yourself to refrain)
DE: Then welcome to the Perfect Publishing family. We look forward to working with you. Good-bye.

Once THE CALL ends you are free to scream and dance to your hearts content, or the neighbors call the police, whichever comes first. Then write down everything about the conversation you remember. After that, rejoice, sing and dance some more. Call your mother, your spouse, your children, your critique partners and anyone else who has supported you in your long and often harrowing journey to publishing. With any luck, we’ll all experience THE CALL someday soon. Just remember to uncross your fingers and answer the phone because with a lot of hard work and even more persistence, dreams really can come true.



Jessica Mobley said...

Fantastic, as usual momma. Just make sure when you get your call, the first call YOU make is to your favorite daughter! Love ya!

Rox Delaney said...

Then write down everything about the conversation you remember.REMEMBER? Oh, you do write the best comedy, Reese!

Reese Mobley said...

Since you really are my favorite daughter, and you've supported me from the beginning, I WILL call you first.

Reese Mobley said...

Rox, are you speaking from memory? LOL. Are you telling me that when I finally get THE CALL I'll be so excited I won't remember anything the editor says? That would be my luck for sure. Anyone have any funny stories they'd like to share about when they got THE CALL?

Rox Delaney said...

Yes, what little memory I have left. ::grin::

I wasn't home when THE CALL came. How's that for good timing?

While I was at a friend's, my then-hubby called and said my agent had called. I went home, basically expecting a rejection. Went to the bathroom immediately (hey I was 15 miles from home when he called!), and the then-hubby kept telling me I needed to call my agent back RIGHT NOW. Like, OKAY. I called her, and yes, I'd sold, and no, I don't remember THE CALL much at all. By the time I got off the phone, I was shaking so bad my teeth were chattering. I called Kathie DeNosky to share the news, and she said I sounded like I was sitting on a block of ice. I was literally in a state of shock.

And then I cried. :)

Pat Davids said...

I remember The Call vividly. It was June 14, 2004. It came from my agent. The conversation went pretty much like this.

"Hi, this is Pam and I have good news. Steeple Hill wants to buy your book."
Pat: "Ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmygosh."
Scream at husband who is watching TV. "Dave! They want to buy my book."
Dave: "That's nice."
Pat: "Ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmygosh."
Pam: "We have a few things we need to discuss."
Pat: "Ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmygosh."
Pam: "They want some revisions."
Pat: "Ohmygosh, ohmygosh, ohmygosh."

You get the picture. I wasn't exactly the cool professional author I wanted to be.

On the advice of Roxann, I made a scrapbook of all things related to that wonderful day. I have all the e-mail congrats from you WARA gals, the cards and the note from the flowers my agent sent. I have my First Sale ribbon from Nationals and a print out the first time I saw my cover on Amazon. I even have the first five fan letters I received. When it gets hard to keep writing or I get a nasty reader letter, I pull out my scrapbook and go back to the thrill of that first sale.

It was a great day. I hope all of you get to experience it.

Rox Delaney said...

Here's a hint on THE CALL:

It happens when you least expect it. I think editors are psychic and wait until that perfect moment for the big surprise.

Pat, the "ohymygosh" sounds very familiar. ::grin:: Add a couple of "uh-huh"s and "okay"s, and that pretty much nails it.

If you take notes during THE CALL, count on not being able to read them. Ever.

Rox Delaney said...

Reece, isn't Jess your ONLY daughter? Therefore your favorite, right? LOL

(Just kidding, Jess. I know you're a sweetheart.)

Penny Rader said...

My call was an email. On April 1, 2008, smack dab in tax season. I took a quick break from assembling tax returns and saw an email with the title of my book in the subject line. With shaking fingers and a pounding heart, I read the email. The Wild Rose Press wanted to contract my book!

I did quite a bit of ohmygoshing and running around the office to tell my daughter, Kathy, and Starla (and anyone who would listen!) and then I had a horrible thought. What if it was an April Fool's joke?

Feeling a bit foolish but needing to be sure, I emailed the editor who wanted to contract Sapphire and Gold and asked if it was an April Fool's joke. Nope. Not a joke. She hadn't even realized it was April Fool's Day.

Whew! More phone calls and emails to my other daughters and my son and my dh and my mom and dad and my sisters and my brother and the rest of my critiqe group. Well, you get the idea. Sure hope I didn't goof up any tax returns the rest of the day. :D

Reese Mobley said...

Rox, Pat and Penny, thanks for sharing your stories. I loved hearing about them. I hope mine will be just as exciting. Anyone else out there practiced what you'll say to the editor or hope to hear from them? I know I have.

Starla Kaye said...

A nice post, but I'd have to add that in the writing world today The Call doesn't necessarily come from New York. Many of us get just as excited when we get an interested response from online publishers or some of the publishers in other parts of the country or world.

Still, the point is that this, however you receive the news, is a writer's first Oh My! moment. The thrill is different for each of us.

Joan Vincent said...

My "call" came in the summer of 1979. I was in the basement canning--what I don't recall. Rox is right--I never dreamed when I answered the phone that day that it would be an editor from New York--Vivian Stephens from Dell. I had sent off the manuscript two weeks earlier--remember the only writing advice I had was Writer's Guide and I don't recall why I wouldn't have queried first. Anyway I had looked at the first chapter a week after I mailed it and was wishing with all my might that I could have that "piece of trash back." Shows what I knew--know. I don't remember everything that was said. But I know there can be no higher "high." I scandalized some people when I told them it was better than seeing my kids for the first time. The kids were only 11, 9, & 7 and couldn't see why there was anything to be excited about--I couldn't get Vince at work but then I finally got a hold of the friend who encouraged me to seek publication. That sale and sharing the news was something I'll never forget. I hope all of you get to experience it some day--in fact I'm sure many of you will.