Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Call

The other evening I was on the phone for an hour. The conversation started like this:

Hello, this is ***** with the ******* ******* Literary Agency. How are you this evening?

I'm fine, just fine. How are you?

Can't complain. Do you mind if we talk about your book?

Not at all.

I am looking for a few special manuscripts to represent, in both middle grade and Children's. I have strong contacts in the publishing industry, and have a good sense of what the Children's book market is looking for. That's why your book caught my eye. Can you tell me a bit about what inspired you to write it? I'd also like to know who your favorite character is and why.


Before you start sending me congratulatory messages, you need to know:
This was a test. This writer was conducting a test of the Emergency Agency System. This was only a test.
Tis true. It was a practice of "The Call" and I had a lot of fun "playing" the agent. A dear friend of mine was expecting The Real Call the following day, and needless to say, she was a bit jittery. (Okay - panicked!) She had never talked to an agent before. And while she found it strange that my sister Wiggy (also a writer) and I often surprised each other with out-of-the-blue-pretend-agent-calls-just-in-case-a-real-agent-ever-calls-one-of-us, my friend agreed to a practice run.

The next day she aced The Call, talking coherently and even intelligently with a dream agent.

Is it a good idea to call a friend up and pretend to be an agent? Yes! If they know in advance you are going to do so. (It's always a good idea to use your real name when calling.) Just as with a pitch you plan on sharing with an agent at a conference, practice is a good thing!

I'm lucky enough to have fielded a call or two myself, and am always surprised by how down to earth agents are - I think sometimes we tend to forget that agents are people too!

Have a fantastic June.

Suzy

31 comments:

Yamile said...

This is a fantastic post. I would have never thought of agent phone call drills. It makes perfect sense!

Katie said...

What an excellent idea! How fun!

beth said...

OMG--when I first started reading this I almost FELL OUT!

Eric said...

This is a great post, and an awesome idea. Thanks for sharing.

ElanaJ said...

"Emergency Agency System" That is hilarious! Great post!

Sara Tribble said...

LOL! You had me fooled! I was like omg this is soo great! Haha! Very neat idea and helpful too!

Ana V. said...

Loved the post! Thank you for sharing.

Stephanie said...

Wow...they actually call you on the phone??? I do so much better with email when I can fully think out my response and not sound like a babbling idiot!!! If an agent called me, and offered representation, i don;t know if I could contain myself??? Would I scream out and jump up and down like I did when I won a radio contest????? I just might! (In my defense, the prize was a trip to Hollywood...so not just a cd or something!)

Shorty said...

Great idea! I never would have thought of something like this. Thanks!

Jessica said...

LOL What a fun idea!

J.N. Future Author said...

That sounds way cool! ^.^

maybe I should call you sometime!

honestly, I was about to totally freak! I thought that maybe you got Three Secrets out there! ^.^

dellgirl said...

What a wonderful idea, thanks for sharing it. Now to practice, practice, practice.

Have a nice weekend.

Leni Qinan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leni Qinan said...

It's a good idea to try, just in case the occasion would arise. Me too, I think I would sound like a babbling idiot -won't believe it if this ever happens- but as an author, it will be one of the best moments of my life as a writer.

So I think it's a good idea to play agent-writer and get ready for the moment. ;) I'm gonna practice too! Thanks for the idea!

Kelly H-Y said...

Oh my gosh ... what a great post! I thought it was really happening at first! What a good idea to have practice calls ... have never considered that before! :-)

Kelly H-Y said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sherry Dale Rogers said...

I was panicked even before I knew it was not real and not for me. Go figure. Waiting for an agent to call is true basis for a panick disorder. Yikes.

salamanderstales said...

This is a wonderful idea! So many of us practice our "elevator pitches," and then get completely tongue-tied when anyone asks any additional questions! Thanks for the tip.

Stacy Nyikos said...

Wow. That is a great idea. I never thought of doing it. Now I'm going to have to try :-)

Luanne said...

Well, I'll never need to practice for a literary agent, but have practiced for a phone interview I had once. ( got the job)
Suzette - I just wanted to stop by and thank you for your lovely comments on my blog. I've been tempted lately to do something more with it - but lack of time, lack of oomph to actually tackle it have stopped me from getting to far. So for now - it stays as it is!

The Muse said...

Just as one practices for interview...they should practice for an agent call..
Nicely done.

autumn's darkroom said...

I like this idea. It could also work with callbacks and interview follow-ups. Thanks!

Robyn said...

I have A LOT of questions. When can we shoot them your way. As I was reading I thought, oh my gosh, she has an agent. At least you're prepared. :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I was pratically jumping up and down with joy for you, Suzette. Sure ruin my buzz. ;)

Suzette Saxton said...

Thanks so much, everyone. It was a fun call! I'd love to hear about your experience with practice calls.

Robyn, you can email me any time. suzettesaxton@querytracker.net I would love to get your questions!

Suzette Saxton said...

Oh, and incidentally, I'm not querying at the mo. I've taken a year off from it, but hope to start up again before too long.

B.J. Anderson said...

What a great idea!!

Cynde L. Hammond said...

Hi, Suzette!

Having a trial run like that is such a great idea!
I really enjoyed your post, as always.

~Cynde
Cynde's Got The Write Stuff

Casey McGill said...

Haha that is AWESOME! What a great idea! It's way easy to forget that there's an actual face at the other end of that To: text box. Though I think if I ever did this to my best friend (also a writer...why do we run in packs like hyena on the Sarangeti?) she'd probably have an asthma attack...

Tara Maya said...

That's a really cool idea. Do agents really ask what inspired you to write it and who your favorite character is? I'm not sure I have answers...

Suzette Saxton said...

Thanks, everyone, I'm glad you like the idea. Tara, I have had an agent ask me what inspired to write a certain book. And a friend of mine asked a potential agent who her favorite character was - just to get a feel for the agent. :)