Thursday, March 10, 2011

THE Call

For the past few years, I've been striving to put my work out there, to get noticed, to find an agent, an editor, a publisher that will help bring my writing to a wider audience. But every so often, a tiny voice in my head says, "What if?" What if I actually got the call? Usually, the what-if game is fun to play. My wish-fulfillment side takes over, and my husband and I daydream about what life might be like. But the other day, I got a call. Not THE call. But A call. A call from someone in another state wanting to know what was involved in getting rights and permission to use one of my audio theater scripts for a project. What was my response? "That's a really good question." Honest, but not particularly savvy.

We managed to negotiate our way through the situation, and it all worked out fine, but it left me staring down that question as if it were a rat in the middle of a sterilized, white room. What if I got THE call? The call from an agent or a publisher saying they wanted to represent me or publish my stuff? I realized I was completely and utterly unprepared.

When I go to writing conferences, it always seems the height of hubris, or the depth of futility, to go to the workshops about the business aspects. I don't have an agent. Maybe I'll never have an agent. Why bother finding out about picking and choosing and examining all the minutia with a fine-tooth comb when I can't even get my foot in the door? But after that innocuous phone call, I realized I need to be prepared. I need to think like someone who WILL get that call one day. I need to know what to say, how to act, what questions to ask. I don't want to be a clueless rube, tail wagging, eager to please, and failing to stop and think and protect myself and my work.

What would you say if you got THE call? Or what DID you say?

Post Script: After a brief wander through cyberspace, I happened upon this highly relevant post from an agent, plus useful and relevant replies. Ask and you shall receive!


  1. I found this very helpful. Writers and other creative types often think a lot about art but know little about commerce and besides needing to be saavy about the business side and protect our work, its also another way of taking our work seriously. A way of preparing if you will for making that call, not a distant hope but a realistic expectation.

  2. I agree. In many of the arts we sit and wait and dream, but never plan for the business side of things. That is a rocky road to navigate on the fly.

  3. As a playwright, I turn to the Dramatists Guild for contract guidance. I don't have an agent, nor would I get one unless I had a play that went to Broadway. I do think we all need to spend time thinking about our marketing strategies, and I'm so glad you brought this up, Cindy! Thank you.


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