Deb Rachel’s Call Involved Katrina & The Waves. Or Did It?

2012 Debutante Rachel BertscheYou know how when you reflect on certain memories, it feels more like you’re watching a movie of your life than truly remembering what happened?

Like, I’m sure that “Walking On Sunshine” wasn’t actually playing over the office loudspeakers (did we even have loudspeakers?) when I got the email from my agent offering to represent me. Or again when I opened the email with an offer from a real live editor. There probably weren’t animated birds flying around my cubicle.

But there they are, chillin’ in my memory as if my “call” moment was the equivalent of that musical number in 500 Days of Summer.

The actual calls (and by calls I mean emails) were much quieter and more businesslike. When the offer came on my book, my agent sent an email detailing the fine print. Which is her job, I know. But I think I actually said to her, eventually, “but aren’t you so excited????” Because I couldn’t sit still. I called everyone I know and literally skipped all over the office. There were hugs. And, later, margaritas. My agent was cool, calm and collected. She’d been through this before, and likes to maintain a sense of professionalism. I like to maintain a sense of bestfriendism, even with colleagues or agents who probably would have been perfectly happy to never hear me squeal. It’s not pretty.

Here’s what’s so great about getting the call via email: You can reread it. And reread it and reread it again until you have it memorized. When my agent offered to represent my book, she wrote one of those emails every aspiring author dreams of getting. She just got it. And so, when editors absolutely did not get it and sent big fat rejections, I reread her note, assuring myself that if she understood what I was trying to do some editor out there would too. (This was, of course, when I wasn’t wallowing in melodramatic misery that almost sent my husband of five months running in the other direction.)

So, in sum: Offer letters are great. But the memories of opening said letters? When the sky gets brighter and the adorable deer peek their heads out of the bushes of the cartoon forest that has suddenly emerged in your flourescently lit office? Those are greater.

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12 thoughts on “Deb Rachel’s Call Involved Katrina & The Waves. Or Did It?

  1. I used to get excited even for publication in small literary journals that didn’t involve money.
    I suppose it’s worth so much just to be validated.

    Love the video and am posting it so my friends can wake up to a good feeling.

  2. You know, while getting paid to write is nice–I won’t deny that–the excitement of that very first offer call isn’t about money, I don’t think. As you say, it’s about the validation that someone thinks your writing and your ideas are worth sharing with the world.

    Enjoy the video! It’s such a fun pick-me-up.

  3. I love your perspective on getting the call on e-mail. And surely I never would have typed back that I was going to poop my pants, so that would have been an advantage.

    Love your story, Rachel and my first call certainly wasn’t about money, either. Validation is so much more valuable (excepte when buying groceries).

  4. Great video! You know, I haven’t seen that movie yet. Looks like something I better add to my movie queue right away.

    I love your memories of opening your offer email. We can all use more cartoon forests full of adorable deer in our lives. 🙂

    • My cartoon, soundtrack moments don’t happen often. But when they do, it’s memorable.

      And yes, 500 Days of Summer is great. Thought that scene is hardly representative of the rest of the film…

  5. Rachel, it is SO true about the email versus the call (but I love Deb Kim’s taking a photo of her cell phone! That works too!) It’s EXACTLY like those love/like letters you’d get from old crushes…you could pore over every word and infuse every “and” and “if” and “this” with SO MUCH MEANING!!! And yes, those same letters/emails are the perfect remedy to those days that aren’t as uplifting. (Of course, margaritas help on those days too…)

    • 100 percent. Last night, after writing this post, I went back to my computer and read the offer letter again. (And the rejection letters too. I am a masochist apparently.) It’s fun to relive that time when ALL I COULD EVER ASK FOR was for my book to be put on a shelf.

  6. Wow! you summed it up perfectly. And I love the video touch! I remember the scene from that movie. You just feel what he is feeling. I’m ready to start querying!

    • I was thinking the same exact thing last night while watching the video. The filmmakers do such a great job of conveying his feeling without saying a thing. That’s what I want to do with books!

      Query away!!! GOOD LUCK!!!

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