To Call or Not to Call…
…that is today’s question.
A lot of people wonder when it’s okay to call an agent or editor on the phone. The simple answer is: When they’re YOUR agent or editor.
Let me start off by saying, if you’re my client, I LOVE talking to you. Don’t be afraid to call. Don’t get into the old “I don’t want to bother you” or “I don’t want to be a high maintenance client.” If you need to call, call. If I can’t answer, I won’t. Leave a message, I’ll call you back.
For anyone who’s not represented by an agent and not contracted with a publishing house, then it’s almost never okay to call an agent or editor on the phone. I say “almost” but honestly, I can’t think of an exception. This is why God created email, right? Don’t call to ask questions about submissions, definitely don’t call to follow up on a submission, don’t call to chat or pitch your project.
I spend a LOT of time on the phone. I’m talking with clients and editors everyday, and often these phone calls are long and they’re one right after the other. Like today I was probably on the phone four hours. When my phone rings and it’s someone I don’t know, someone looking for an agent, someone wanting to ask about submissions… something inside me just wants to explode. I know I’m not the only agent who feels this way. It just feels like a presumptuous and colossal mis-use of my time. It gets me off my train of thought, and it makes me beholden to your schedule, whereas with email, I can answer according to my own availability.
Just so you know, my schedule is different from most traditional agents. I did a mini-survey recently and I couldn’t find another female agent with young children at home. Honestly! I’m the only one I know. (If you know of any, tell me who they are!) My point is, I work odd hours, otherwise known as all hours. I have about six hours a day uninterrupted when the kids are at school. Then I make up the rest in the evenings, late nights, early mornings and weekends. That means if I have to answer unexpected phone calls during the prime work hours in the middle of the day, I’m using my most valuable kid-free time and I might not be super happy about it.
When is it okay to call? (Besides if you are my client, that is.) If you and I are personally acquainted, and I don’t mean through my blog, then it’s fine to call. OR if you are a multi-published author looking for new representation. By multi-published I mean two or more books with commercial, mainstream, royalty-paying, non-vanity, non-subsidy, non-POD, actual-paper-and-ink publishers.
Okay, so, to call or not to call? YOU answer the question.