September 12th, 2006

books

getting back to The Call

There are a number of interesting topics generated in the comments to my post asking about how authors think The Call should go. That would be The Call for representation; not The Call for a sale, which is another thing entirely. I was really interested to hear all the opinions as I certainly have a great deal more insight to the agent side of that call but far less into what goes on across the phone line. And as I mentioned in my Friday post about finishing the darn book, I will likely respond in several blog entries.

The first thing that struck me, of couse, was the number of people who suggested they would faint, scream, dance, babble, or some combination thereof. To those of you who were concerned this might not be a professional enough response, I say, don't worry about it. There's plenty of time for being professional throughout your long and successful writing career. In my opinion, this doesn't need to be one of those times. Besides, most people, even agents, like an enthusiastic response. Who wants to be on the sidelines and not see the team rejoice when it makes a goal? How compelling would that be? So, go ahead and be excited. We can both settle down and talk about serious topics afterwards.

Oh, wait. You thought the agent wasn't going to be all atwitter? Not so. Sure, the agent should be prepared for the call. I usually have notes and marketing plans and so forth all waiting within reach. But first I want to celebrate. And I want them to want me. How do you think it feels as an agent? You've spent weeks, or maybe even months, looking and looking, reading and reading... until your eyes bleed... just trying to find projects that sing to you. I mean, here it is September, and I think I've only signed two new clients this year. In each case, I was absolutely thrilled. And it's even worse if you're in competition with another agent to secure that position. Should I not be admitting that out loud? Well, it's true. If you want the project, you *WANT* it. None of this, "oh, sure.... I guess I'll represent you... it's not like I have anything better to do...."

Those first few minutes don't deny yourself the response you and the agent both deserve. You've secured representation -- an extremely helpful tool in getting published (and/or staying published) and a partner who will be enthusiastic and supportive. And the agent? The agent just got another great book to gush about. That's what we're all about! In my opinion, that's the first thing an author should hear - how excited the agent is about the book. So, of course, the agent should hear how excited the author is to be going forward.

So, dance a little. Toast your success at finding each other. Then you can talk about all the rest.
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