‘Tis the season to be unconscious

Ok, that’s not necessarily true. Sadly, there is no season for acting like you lost your brain on the 405 freeway. If there was, agents and editors would close for business during that time.

Alas, we become a moving target 365 days a year, and today was no different. Even though I’m still recuperating from hip surgery, I’m still answering the phones because we’re in the middle of a big publicity campaign and I have a lot of radio stations calling me right now. So this morning, I became that target, which is easier since I’m more stationary than I am moving.

The setting:

In the family room, lazing around on the couch with business phone and laptop on the coffee table. The cooking channel is on, and let me just get it out there…am I the only one who thinks Ann Burrell is Guy Fieri’s less attractive twin sister? That hair!

Ring, ring!

Pricey leans over and nabs the business phone where the usual blippity blah blah intro ensues.

“Hi, I met you at ABC Writer’s Conference…”

Ooo…stop right there. I meet hundreds of people at conferences, and I’m always surprised that I’m expected to remember which author is on the other line. Even giving your name will often draw a blank in my quasi-working brain.

“I’ve been querying for over a year now and have gotten nothing but rejections. Could you tell me why you rejected me?”

Blink blink.

“Um. I’m really sorry, but I don’t remember you or your story, let alone the reasons behind your rejection.”

“What? You rejected me last Monday. Are you people that callous that you can reject and just forget all about us?”

I know it sounds really mean, but yes, we can. And do. The problem is that the author is caught in the vortex of her own tornado, and she’s oblivious to the other tornadoes that circle about our office. She is so concerned about her own “ish” that she’s not thinking clearly. And she doesn’t know anything about the industry and thinks we accept calls as freely as Harry and David.

Thing is, taking calls are how Harry and David make money. Not so for editors. We make money by selling books, and this precludes me from taking time out of my day to explain to an author why a story didn’t interest me. I do have sympathy for authors looking for feedback, but calling me isn’t the way to go about it.

The long and short of this is that you should never, never, ever call an editor about your rejection. Join writer groups, enlist a group of beta readers, use whatever you need to feel confident about your book.

And really…addressing me as “Dear Sir…” well, that’s just plain bad karma.

13 Responses to ‘Tis the season to be unconscious

  1. NinjaFingers says:

    Is it better or worse than ‘Ms. Price’? *hides behind the beagle*

  2. “Ms. Behler” really gets her goat. “Mr. Behler” would probably make her head spin like that scene in The Exorcist.

    The problem is, Lynn, that at these conferences, you are so darn friendly and personable, everyone comes away feeling like they’ve made a CONNECTION. Hell, even I think you remember ME.

  3. Heck, Gayle, I DO remember you. And sure, I’m friendly because I’m hanging with my favorite people – authors. And most everyone understands being polite and being smart. It’s the people who call or pitch to me while I’m eating breakfast (totally happened, pinky swear) and who didn’t understand when I said, “I have a no-pitch policy when I have syrup dripping down my chin,” and kept pitching!

    Shoot me now.

  4. Pelotard says:

    Does this apply even if a rejection note adressed to me starts “Dear Mrs. Jones”?

  5. Oh gosh! This brings back one of my biggest horrors. I actually did this and felt about two inches tall. The author wrote me such a nastygram that my ears were ringing for days. I did reject the angry author as well, but it was a huge brain fart on my part, and I felt really awful.

  6. NinjaFingers says:

    One of the more entertaining things that happened to me was a magazine editor did, indeed, address a rejection to ‘Mr. Povey’.

    The FUNNY part was that I didn’t even notice. It was a form rejection, and I updated my submission tracker.

    I wouldn’t have realized at all if it hadn’t been for the abject apology that was the next thing to arrive in my inbox from that editor… ;).

  7. Lynn, you just remember me because I didn’t pitch you!

  8. So glad I didn’t call…

  9. Dan Holloway says:

    Talking seasonalities, does dealing mainly with non-fiction protect you from a deluge of Nano-subs in early December, ordo you just get even more books that are nothing to do with your list?

  10. levraphael says:

    Lynn, watch out, people reading this might send you a singing telegram next!

  11. Lauren says:

    I doubt Lynn would mind one of those male strippers to show up as a singing telegram. But where would he put the required Twinkies?

  12. spbowers says:

    I wonder if it was the same person Janet Reid just blogged about.

  13. Oh wow…how’s that for strange? I just read Janet’s post and got goosebumples. Makes me wonder.

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