When I Got “The Call”

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This is not actually my phone, but if it would fit in my pocket and play Scramble With Friends, I would buy it. Photo credit: eofdreams.com

Getting “the call” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but for authors it only means one of two things — when you get an offer of representation or when you get a book deal offer. Both are equally exciting, though one comes with a monetary value attached to it that, if you’re lucky (or your name is James Patterson), can gobsmack you.

It was a Wednesday morning May 2013 when I got “the call” from my agent with a book deal offer. I had just sat down to start working on a magazine assignment, and my cell buzzed. We had been in touch about a few things since she had become my agent less than two weeks earlier, so I didn’t think much of it when I saw her number. And then she said the words that would change my life: “We’ve got an offer.”

I stood up in excitement.

Then she said a number that caused me to squeak like a mouse, cover my mouth, and sit back down in my chair.

That moment was everything I had ever dreamed of, and I couldn’t believe it was actually happening to me.

She continued talking about how she was going to negotiate for more (more!) and she’d be in touch. When we hung up I was shaking and crying and I called my husband who was in a meeting (Really? REALLY?) and then I called my mom, my grandmother, my sister, my friends. Basically, I would have called my second grade teacher who I haven’t seen since the second grade if I had had her number.

Every time I said it out loud it felt more real. More true. This was happening. It was really happening!

And though the money part is exciting and wonderful and means that you get to actually make a career out of doing what you love — the most exciting part had nothing to do with dollar signs. It was that somebody — a big somebody in publishing — had thought my book was good enough to publish. That I was going to be holding my words, bound by a cover with MY name on it, in the near future (OK, the distant future — I had no idea how long a publishing timeline actually was; turns out, it’s ETERNITY).

And now, I’m three months out from that reality and I couldn’t be more excited.

Have you gotten The Call? Are you waiting on The Call right now? (If so, my condolences. The waiting is the WORST). I want to hear about it!

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Colleen Oakley is the author of BEFORE I GO (Simon & Schuster/Gallery, Jan. 2015), a love story. A former editor for Marie Claire and Women's Health & Fitness, she's now an Atlanta-based freelance writer. Find out more at colleenoakley.com.

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