Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Call While on a Call

I remember that evening quite well. At the time, I worked as a help desk representative and was at work. It’s not uncommon for us to browse the web or check our emails in between calls. Matter of fact, that’s where I’d get most of my reading done. But I learned one really important thing that day. So here it is, the day I got the call.

I wasn’t quite sure how receptive people would be of my book. After all, it’s rather off the wall with some slapstick moments. What do you expect from someone who grew up watching Mel Brooks films? So, I would send a query here and there. Most of the editors and agents I’d queried had sent polite rejections. But a friend of mine suggested I send my manuscript to Deb Werksman and that Sourcebooks liked funny and quirky books. Finally in December, I sent Deb Werksman my manuscript and query.

In the meantime, I also sent out a query to one of my dream agencies. A couple weeks later, I was delighted to receive a request from one of their agents for the first three chapters of of what is now known as Demons Prefer Blondes. That request came on January 27th. As usual, I’m a procrastinator, so I decided to sit on it for a couple days until the weekend, when I had more free time.

Then January 28th rolled around. It was a Thursday night. I worked Monday through Thursday with a long weekend. Gosh, I loved having Fridays off. I was nearing the end of my shift and had just taken a call from a customer who needed some assistance using a website. While she was busy typing some things into her computer, I decided to check my email. Then I saw it. A reply from Deb about my submission. Great, I thought. She’s going to reject me. What the heck? I clicked open the email and read. Oops! It wasn’t a rejection. It was an offer. And I still had a customer on the phone. Double oops.

I don’t remember much of that particular call. I was too giddy over the other call. I stumbled my way through assisting the customer and apologized for my bumbling behavior. I’m pretty sure I gave the customer a lame excuse but she was friendly anyway. After I hung up with the customer I think I jumped out of my chair and did a dance around my cubicle. I'm sure my co-workers thought I was a fry short of a combo meal. Then another customer called right before the 8PM cutoff. Because my car was in the shop, my mother was picking me up. Oh brother. My cell phone rang. It was my mom wondering where I was. I quickly explained everything. I think my words were, "Someone wants to buy my book and I have a customer on the phone." Finally, after a half an hour, I was able to help the man solve his problem. Karma, I guess. My mom decided to take me out to dinner and bought me a drink to celebrate. Gotta love my mom!

Then the agent search began. I new I needed to keep my options open, so I queried the agent who requiested the chapters along with a bunch of other agents. One agent didn’t love the story. Another agent said she already had a succubus series but thought the book was great. The original agent I queried replied and laid all my options on the table. I was rather impressed with her response. Also, a friend of mine spoke highly of her. So, I made my decision and signed with my agent.

So I learned several things from this experience. No matter how many rejections, it only takes one person—or two—who likes your writing for a sale. Oh, and the other thing? Don’t open emails from editors while on the phone with a customer. It was the most awkward call ever.

21 comments:

  1. I want your job, Sydney! No looking at emails or anything until lunch break for me, or I have the time after work or before work. But too funny. And don't you think your call suited the quirky personality of your books?? I LOVE your cover!

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  2. A cute story, Sydney. And you do have a great Mom and obviously a great boss who doesn't look over your shoulder to see what you're reading!
    Amelia

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  3. Too funny! I bet you did some fast talking to get those customers through their problems.

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  4. What I love about your post is the sense of life intruding on what we script in our imaginations as a moment of pure joy. It's NEVER so pure, but the joy comes through in your post any way. It comes through in your lovely books too!

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  5. Great fun, Sydney! Glad you managed to walk your customer through the issue. I bet that was the longest 5 minutes of your life!

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  6. Funny story Sydney. At least you didn't scream in the customer's ear.

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  7. Awesome story Sydney!! I have no idea how you even completed that call! I would have been freaking out :) I am so excited for you. You TOTALLY deserve it!!!!! Great seeing you in NYC :)

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  8. Too funny, Sydney! Those things never happen when you're expecting them or ready for them, but that's part of the magic!

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  9. Great story! Love reading about The Call and hoping one day I will post on my blog about my turn to get The Call :)
    Thanks for sharing-I'm so happy you got The Call!

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  10. I love call stories--they always bring back a little of that initial excitement.

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  11. I loved your story, Sidney! Isn't it amazing how sometimes the stars and the planets line up perfectly and you get the call?

    Yeah mom for taking you out to dinner and celebrating with drinks!

    Congrats!!! I can't wait to get to my TBR pile and read it!

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  12. Sydney, I don't know how you kept it together enough to help the customer! I would have screeched in her ear, or maybe hung up on her by accident. Great story!

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  13. What a great story! I hope good fortune continues to find you.

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  14. That call couldn't have come to a more deserving writer.

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  15. LOL! I can imagine it was an awkward call. I'm sure you could not concentrate.

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  16. bellissima storia! chissà poi cosa ha pensato colui che stava al telefono....avrà almeno comprato il libro??

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  17. Thanks everyone. I was surprised I was able to even finish that call. I usually have a good memory about the calls I've taken on the job, and I don't have a flippin clue what she was calling about. I guess I should have taken notes so I could have a more robust story to tell. LOL.

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  18. Heart warming story - congrats and best wishes on lots and lots of sales. Isn't it great your Mom takes such joy in your accomplishments. Congrats!

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  19. Great story about your first acceptance. That is awesome that your mom was there to celebrate with you after you got off work.

    Janice~

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  20. I'd say you need some more practice mult-tasking!

    How funny! Here's to moms.

    Great story.

    Margo

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  21. Very funny! I don't know how you contained yourself keeping that customer on the line. You ought to use that in a story.

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