One of the most common questions I’ve been asked since I got “the call,” apart from “where do you get your ideas” (C’mon, seriously? I thought authors were joking when they warned me about that.) is “tell us about your call.”
In romance writing circles, “the call” is talked about in awed, hushed tones usually reserved for religious conversion. And perhaps the two things do have something in common. It’s true that as a writer, “the call” will change your life forever.
So, my call story? I’m glad you asked...! But let me take this opportunity to also provide a few handy hints for those of you still waiting for the call—now that you know how important this story will become for you in your writing life.
My first handy hint is as simple as this:
ANSWER YOUR PHONE.
Whatever time of day (or night).
Whatever you are doing at the time (with certain, obvious, exceptions).
Whatever the caller ID says.
Because I so nearly didn’t.
It was early. Well, 7.30am is early for me. And the phone said “Blocked number”. For me that’s usually a no-brainer—let it go through to the keeper.
But some kind fairy somewhere was looking out for me, because some unknown instinct made me pick up the phone and take the call. And there was a little crackle of static on the line. Just enough to make me realise it was a international call. A part of me—the more pragmatic part—said, “Great another telemarketer, just what you need before you’ve even had a cuppa.” Another part of me—the more sublimely hopeful part—said, “You never know, this might just be it!” And then giggled, because that’s what sublimely hopeful parts of you do.
The silently giggling part of me choked when my caller introduced herself and said she was calling from Harlequin.
The rest of me made a gurgling noise that eventually resolved itself into some kind of greeting and confirmation that I was, in fact, me.
My second handy hint: have a pen and paper nearby and take notes. Because there is not a chance in hell that you’ll remember any of the important information from that call. And there is quite a bit of important stuff that will get talked about. Things like revisions, deadlines, contracts and the like. You need a pen and paper handy and you need to write it all down—trust me.
My third and final handy hint: work out how you're going to celebrate, taking into account various times of day that YOUR call might arrive. Had it been 7.30pm there's no doubt champagne corks would have popped at my house. But at 7.30am? With a day's work ahead? That made celebrating a little more difficult. I wished I'd thought that through in advance and bought some celebratory chocolate chip muesli and hidden it in the cupboard.
It’s funny, when I used to imagine being a published author, I didn’t imagine book covers, or seeing my name on Amazon, or a cheque arriving in the mail. I imagined that phone call. I imagined hearing the words “we want to buy your book”—that was the little visualisation that helped encourage me.
Now that it’s happened, I have no idea if they were the words that were used. It was something to that effect, anyway. And it was just as awesome as I’d always imagined. There’s a reason “the call” is so revered in writing circles—because it’s totally as splendid, awe-inspiring, breath-taking and amazing as you think it will be.
My first book, a SuperRomance titled Cassie's Grand Plan will be out in March. Are you waiting for “the call”? What celebrations do you have planned? Or if you've already had the call, how did you celebrate?