Deb Joanne talks about getting THE CALL

As many of you know, I’ve been at this writing thing for some time, so I’ve gotten a few exciting calls (and some weird ones that I’m not going to talk about, to protect the innocent), but by far, the most exciting one was the one I got from my agent when she had an offer to buy SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE.

Of course, it has become one of those iconic memories that will ever be etched in my brain.  You know, kind of like the memory of your first kiss (behind one of the cabins at summer camp and yes, I still remember the guy’s name and no, I haven’t found him on Facebook) or other firsts that we’re not going to talk about here.

So here’s my THE CALL story: I had just returned from an out of town business meeting where, thankfully, my coworkers still were.  I’d skipped lunch on the drive back in an effort to get back to my desk fairly quickly, as work has a tendency to pile up when I’m not around.  So I had just prepared my meal of steamed edamame and tuna salad with crackers and sat down at my desk to eat it when a 212 number popped up on my phone.  No, I thought, it can’t be my agent, she ALWAYS e-mails, even if it’s to arrange a time to talk on the phone. And there was nothing in my inbox.  So I ignored the call, figuring it was a wrong number or phone spam.  So I get about three pods into my lunch, when the message light on my phone goes on.  Huh. A message. From a 212 number. Okay, so I’d gotten calls from my agent before about editors expressing interest in my books, and that was all very exciting, and sure I was excited now, but I

Don't be fooled - I didn't look anywhere near this calm.

was also really nervous and scared of another really close-but-no-cigar situation.  But yeah, I was pretty excited and started to get a bit dizzy (I’m prone to hyperventilating a little when I’m super excited).

So then, when I was able to breathe normally again, I picked up the voicemail, and sure enough, it was from my agent. Call me, we have an offer, or something like that – I think I may have blacked out a little.  But she definitely used the words AN OFFER.

So then, when I was able to breathe normally again, I called.  She repeated it: we had an offer.  From a submission we’d first made in April (it was now December). Sure, I’d done some edits on the project, working with this particular editor, but it had been four months since we’d resubmitted it, so I’d lost hope and thought this project would die a slow, lonely death like all the others to date.

But no. there was an offer. To buy my little book, the one that had been written and rewritten so many times (and was now a completely different book in a different age genre**)  that I could barely stand it anymore. Someone I don’t even know and who isn’t my mom, wanted to pay me money for my book.  Yes, yes, I realize that was always the plan, but when you’ve been at it so long with failure after failure piling up and getting very little positive feedback, it still comes as a big surprise when it actually does happen.

So what did I say to my agent when she told me? You’re going to love this. “Oh my BLEEPING God, are you BLEEPING serious? I’m going to go out into the hall and poop my pants.”  Yes. That’s what I said. True story.  I’m not sure why I needed to go out into the hall to poop my pants when my office would have been just fine, but whatever, that’s what I said. I blame the oxygen deprivation due to the excitement-induced hyperventilating.  Sorry, Mom and Dad, I know you raised me better than to say stupid stuff like that, but that’s what fell out of my mouth.

Needless to say, I never did eat my lunch, nor did I get any work done that afternoon.  Apologies to my employer, but that was VERY big news. And really, it was already afternoon by that time, so it’s not like I was useless for the whole day.

So that’s the story of THE CALL that changed everything for me.  You’ll be happy to know that I now keep a paper bag at my desk at all times, you know, just in case this kind of thing ever happens again, because I do hope to sell another book someday and I really don’t want to talk about pooping my pants if/when it does happen.

So now you – do YOU have a good THE CALL story? I’d love to hear it, whether it’s about writing, or anything else.

**if you want the abridged story of how all that came to be, check out this post on STET)

25 Replies to “Deb Joanne talks about getting THE CALL”

  1. You said that? ROF,L!! I love it. It’s the perfect response. *grin*

    I’d tell you my story, but you’ll be getting it on Friday. 😉

  2. I totally thought the paper bag on your desk was to catch the poop!

    I got THE CALL while on my way to a fancy schmancy dinner with my Dad and his clan, who happened to be in town, so we turned the meal into a celebration… though I nearly crashed the car on the 1 mile drive b/c I was completely blinded by giddy dizziness!

    1. Oh goodness…well, moving right along…

      I love that you were able to celebrate right away with your family, Elise! Isn’t that the best? And I’m so glad you didn’t crash!

  3. I think you were very smart to go into the hall to poop your pants. Never poop in your own office is a good motto. Much easier for them to assign blame that way.

    I was home waiting to hear back from the car mechanic. When I realized it was my agent with an offer I think I had an out of body experience. On the phone I was very calm. “Yes, well, That’s nice to hear.” She was jumping up and down on my behalf. I remember her asking “Aren’t you excited?” and I was all “Of course” in this dead pan voice. I sat there for almost an hour just breathing in and out waiting for it to hit me that it had ACTUALLY happened.

    1. I guess my subconscious knew what it was doing. 😉

      I love your deadpan story, Eileen. Isn’t it funny how that sort of excitement creates a big neuron-freeze?

    1. Well it must have been something in the affirmative, since this month marks our 13th anniversary. I was caught completely off guard by his proposal and honestly don’t remember exactly what I said, but probably something really classy like “SURE, YOU BETCHA!”

    1. I bet, Kim! And so great that you had your family with you! On the night I got THE CALL, I was too wound up to go to a restaurant, so husband and I got our favorite take-out. What a great excuse to indulge!

  4. Oy I can not believe what you wrote today, ‘POOP YOUR PANTS’ you never liked doing that, but yes I can imagine it coming out of your mouth.
    When you told me, guess what I said between tears, well I can’t say it here but you know your Mother so you can imagine!!!!!!!! Then when I told your Dad (oh and could not get all the words out for the crying) he just looked at me and said what did you say, say it again and guess who else had tears coming out of there eyes you guessed.
    The only time that I was ever speechless was the day I looked at you, that is history as you know your Mother is never speechless. Your the best.

    1. I can’t believe you just said publicly that I never liked to poop my pants (although I guess the alternative would have been worse). Oy, Mother. But thank you all the same. And may you never be speechless… 😉

  5. Oh you make me feel nervous just from reading this. Thanks for sharing such an intimate moment.

    It reminded me of when I learned that my first grant had been funded. I said, “oh s%$^t I have to actually do this study now!”

    1. Oh dear, Missy. But don’t feel nervous – in the end the result didn’t change due to my moronic outburst – I’d still sold a book.

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