Friday, June 02, 2006

Calling You-hoo-hoo-hoo...

The inquiry. The notice. The acceptance.
The Love Call.
Referred to on some boards and web sites in hushed and reverent tones as - The Call.
I must have a street urchin gene.
I think at once of a yodel echoing across Alpine valleys from mountain top to mountain top.
Little Sir Echo, how do you do...
Nevertheless, the first time I received an acceptance and a cheque - via regular mail ( those were antique days) - I felt like running up and down our street like a demented dervish, yelling at the top of my voice.
The urge to yodel and gloat, to accost unwitting and innocent strangers, was almost insupportable.
I confined my jubilation to the interior of the house - though the cat avoided me for three days after.
And that was just for a magazine article. All paper. No personal contact. My beautific idiocy invisible to the remote source of it.
Today these seminal moments are conducted via telephone and/or e-mail.
How did you react? Or how do you expect to respond?
Mental and verbal gibbering? Calm, cool and collected? Lightning strike fusion? Screen-blank mind? Professional suavity? Snuffing and sobbing?
With caution/suspicion/elan? A list of questions? Geranium IQ?Resucitation team on stand-by?
Have you practised, prepared for and visualized the Call?


James Goodman said...

Elation, pure and simple. Oh, sure I had questions and there have been a few setbacks since that first call, but yeah, there is no feeling quite like the elusive, "Wow, we love it and want to publish it". I had the same feeling with the second and third acceptances as well.

S. W. Vaughn said...

There are worlds between the way I wanted to react and the way I did. I'd always envisioned myself reacting with restrained delight (and then whooping it up and dancing around like a moron after I hung up the phone). Then I got The Call from the publisher about my book -- and I had no idea who she was...

I work for a magazine that promotes authors to radio and television talk show producer. Books are a large part of my job. The publisher called me in the middle of a work day and I'd just started on a new issue, so hadn't talked to all of my clients yet. When she said, "I'm calling about the book," I said, "Er, stammer, which one?" The rest of the conversation is still fuzzy, because she tried to tell me which one and my mind was still stuck in client-mode. For the life of me I couldn't figure out which client this was or what the hell she wanted with me.

I finally realized she was calling about MY book -- and promptly lost the ability to speak English. Fortunately, she didn't hang up on me and decide I was too insane to be published. :-)

Ric said...

While I'm still waiting for "The Call", I have had a number of agents call (couple of publishers too).
Oddly, I turn to total mush, becoming incapable of holding an intelligent conversation, unable to give them any reason to call back...

I don't understand it either.

Sela Carsen said...

I remember The E-mail. I skimmed over the first few lines, got light-headed, thought, "Oh sh**," and closed the window.

I continued surfing for a few minutes, went back, read it again and thought, "Oh sh**."

Dh was out of town, the kids were in bed (it was about 10:30 pm), so I couldn't call anyone. Just me and the computer and I kept staring at it, thinking, "Oh sh**."

I'm not sure if I was horrified, gratified or what, but I popped back into RD, discovered a couple of people in the chat room, went in, totally interrupted their conversation and said, "I think I just sold. Oh sh**."

Yeah, I'm a real wordsmith. ;)

Dennie McDonald said...

oh geez - when i sold my first (2) book - I cried and danced in the kitchen - the kids kept asking if I was okay and I told them they were good tears...

I have become a little calmer w/ subsequent acceptances... but not by much =)

Anonymous said...

The funniest version of the "the call" I've ever heard about is by Tawni O'Dell, author of Back Roads (which is a very good book, by the way). It was back in the prime of the Oprah Book Club.

Without any warning, Oprah called Tawni in the middle of an ordinary day to inform her that she was selecting her book to be featured on the Book Club. As most of us would've responded, she first thought someone was playing a practical joke on her. When Oprah convinced her that the call was legit, Tawni was so flustered that she completely forgot what the book was about. After she flubbed a bunch of Oprah's questions, Oprah joked, "Girl, you've got to go back and read that book!"

Bernita said...

That's rather sweet, Jason, and one can certainly relate to (a) practical joke idea (b) instant brain death.

Good tears, Dennie.Bet your brain was still working fine though.

Wordsmith? I think you are, Sela. That was a beautiful description!

Oh, Ric!I so sympathize.Amazing how one can handle all sorts of crises with aplomb and dispatch and then ....

YES, SW! But you did have an excuse! And one fears that one's responses with make them change their minds and think "I've got an idiot here," but they MUST be used to having people react "Duh? W-W-Whaat d-d-d-did you say?"

You're cool, James. Envy you.Very nice you retained the sense of elation and didn't get all blase.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I've not had the elation of "The Call"...hmmm, it must be that I've not been submitting...LOL!

But I can identify, because I acted the same way when I got the first "Please send full manuscript"

Pee-pee dance...that's what the teens at my church call it!

Bernita said...

The pee-pee dance, Bonnie?
That's a new one!
Er...the visuals!
My mind went like a gerbil on a fly-wheel, or a frog in a blender.

Candice Gilmer said...

Myself, it's never been the "call" but "The Email." Selling my first book was, shall we say, bizarre.

I had pitched it to the publisher, she was happy, enthusiastic. I sent it to her.

And I waited with horridly chewed down fingernails for that email that would come back saying "oh, sorry, we don't want it."

The email appeared in my inbox, and my heart started hammering in my chest, making me wonder if I would actually have a heart attack when I read it.

When I clicked open the email that said "My God, this book ROCKS," I just stared at the screen. Blinked. Stared again. Blinked. Looked at my husband. "They want Jasmine, babe... they want her!"

My husband just rolled his eyes. "Of course they do. I told you..."

ali said...

I started shaking. Luckily you can't see that over the phone :). But she kept repeating things to make sure I was writing it all down, so I think she had some idea of how I felt!

And that wasn't even a novel, just a short story.

Bernita said...

Yes, Ali! I'm sure she did understand. I think many of them DO understand our wits can go wanting at first contact.

We can all empathize with that nail-biting waiting period, Candice. Regarding family, one never knows whether to love 'em or hate 'em for that insouciant confidence...

Ballpoint Wren said...

When my check arrived my first thoughts were: OMG, they fell for my malarkey. Any minute now, they'll realize their mistake and want their money back.

Throughout the entire six-month contract I felt like such an imposter. They didn't get a good value, either because I overworked everything.

Bernita said...

That's exactly it, Bonnie.
One fears they will come to their senses.

Bhaswati said...

I wish I could answer that question. I really can't, because I am still waiting for that coveted call.

Do reactions over rejections or fall (just to rhyme with call), count? I am sure we would get some pretty histrionic versions for those as well :P.

Enjoyed the post as always, Bernita.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Bhaswati.
Since you have a book coming out, you must have received a facimile of the "call."

For The Trees said...

Ah, Bernita: The Power of Positive Thinking.

"Have you practised, prepared for and visualized the Call?"

I had completely forgotten this vital step in my visualization about my novel. I, like so many others, was girding for the stream of rejections. So now I'm prepping for The Call. After all, I don't NEED any rejections.


Bernita said...

It makes for a change, Forrest.

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