Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We've got your number

Ring! Ring!

~~Wild eyed look from Meredith, talking on one line, texting an author on her cell, AND fending off the Herpet American assistant who is seeking bodily warmth~~

Ring!

Me: Hello, Fine Print ***

Caller: Can I talk to one of your agents?

Me: What about?

Caller:  What do you think?  About who the right agent is for my work.

Me: Oh, I can answer that. We aren't. We don't take queries over the phone.

Caller: You're an idiot.  *SLAM*




Meredith (from her perch above my desk, wrapped in snakeskin) "I love caller ID"



**you'll notice I didn't answer with my name.

50 comments:

Corinne O'Flynn said...

*wipes all the spewed tea off my monitor with sleeve*

Annerb said...

It's shocking how dumb people can be.

Carrie Dair said...

Awesome. I enjoy my caller ID as well. And my answering machine. And email. And a good laugh. Thanks for that last one today. :)

Kathleen Ortiz said...

*snickers*

Delilah S. Dawson said...

That is pure POETRY. I love when idiots manage to self-select right out of the equation. Bravo, madam.

Deirdre Randall said...

ha ha loved it!
i cant beleive some of the horror stories i have seen from agents. im terrified to even send a query letter now that i've found some agents blogs and twitter.

Marsha Sigman said...

Some weeks it's like every day is a Monday.

Kate said...

Was it Keith Olbermann?

Kim Kasch said...

Hard to believe people can call wanting to ask for something-help, guidance, direction...and then be so rude. Just WOW

jjdebenedictis said...

To quote one of the great thinkers of the last century, "I pity the fool."

Peace, Lena and Happiness said...

Very funny. Caller probably crossed out your name and picked up the phone to call the next agent on his list.

Tina said...

I can't imagine why you decided not to listen to her pitch. *eye rolls* Insert mockery here -> _____

Seriously, people are CRAZY!

Anne-Marie said...

I'd be watching the front door next.

abbe said...

I get the feeling your caller actually said "Your an idiot".

hillary said...

(meekly) Is it possible the caller was asking to whom s/he should direct an email or postal query, rather than actually querying over the phone? That may account for their strong reaction to your dismissive response, i.e. you are an idiot for not being a mind reader rather than an idiot for denying them their God-given right to pitch.

Leona said...

Yeah. What Corinne said! LOL

Meg said...

I wonder how many similar phone conversations this guy is going to have before he realizes that this may not be the right way to find an agent...

Janet Reid said...

Hilary, I think it was that first "what do you think" that clued me in to his demeanor.

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! THE NERVE OF SOME PEOPLE!!

Kristin Laughtin said...

Even if he thought you were some "lowly" assistant or something, the way he conducted himself was pretty rude. And most bosses I know don't take kindly to people talking down to their assistants/secretaries/colleagues.

Josin L. McQuein said...

"The right agent you say? I have just the one!"

*beckons Herpet American Assistant, who drags Meredith along for the slither*

*holds phone in what is most likely the vicinity of HPA's ear... hopefully*

"Here he is. You speak parseltongue, right? Hello? Helllllloooooooo?"

TERI REES WANG said...

A classic phone faux pas.

How about a pause button and a running recorder, and the chance to tip toe away ever so quietly...?


Cheers!

Laurel said...

And somewhere out there someone is shaking their head at your lost opportunity to represent the next great American novelist.

Bri Clark said...

I can safely say....It wasn't me.

Corinne O'Flynn said...

LOL ABBE!!!

Shannon said...

I hope it didn't start with 1-900, cuz it'll cost you to call him/her back. Or ... so I've heard.:-)

Adriana Noir said...

Crass. I don't think idiots like that realize word gets out, and their chances of getting a good agent probably just went from slim to nil. No one wants to work with an author with an attitude--unless it is a positive one.

Michael G-G said...

Did you ask He Who Must Not Be Named why he was using the fellytone?

David said...

As your assistants are obviously very valuable and too busy to do things like field ridiculous phone calls, I suggest throwing caution to the wind and indulging in a little light child labor.

Go out and find the most sullen 14 year old you can. Transfer these calls to him/her. Allow said teenager to listen to ipod while talking with nonpotential clients.

The calls will stop.

Christie said...

I do like how *he* slammed the phone on you though. That's just a whole 'nother side dish of crazy.

Kathryn said...

Tell me you looked up his number on 411.com!!!

Pam Torres said...

Ha! That is great! What happened to common courtesy!

Julia B said...

I've always thought the best start to any working relationship is a soupcon of abuse and a modicum of intemperate rage. Best that they get used to it up front, I always say. ^_^

Joel said...

I need my Query Shark fix. Need. Fix.

"Ring. Ring."
"Who's there?"
"I wanna."
"I wanna who?"
"I wanna who agent. Mine isn't returning my calls."

"Ring. Ring."
"Who's there?"
"An author."
"An author who?"
"An author who never finis..."
"Hello? Hello?"

"Ring. Ring."
"Who's there?"
"Mer Bear."
"Mer Bear who?"
"Mer Bear who won't let you talk to Janet. Ahahahahaha."

"Ring. Ring."
"Who's there?"
"Queen Anne."
"Queen Anne who?"
"Bungalow."
"Bungalow who?"
"Georgian."
"Georgian who?"
"Oh. Random House. Please hold for Janet."

Joel said...

abbe: you are awesome.

Vanessa K. Eccles said...

Wow. Thanks for the laugh. :)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Really? Fine Print doesn't take queries over the phone? All the super-great, super-serious agencies do. You guys really need to get w/the program. *hee*

Ebony McKenna. said...

Literary Darwinism in action?

Sadly, that writer may be going down a long list of agents calls and having the same experience each time.
The result will not be the writer thinking, 'I'm going about this all wrong', but will more likely be, 'all agents are rude.'

Roddy Mac said...

Whoever it was may have been taking their very first steps, was probably nervous, tense and anxious. For you to abruptly shut the door with a, "We aren't" rather than a, "We don't take phone queries. You can write to us. Have you got our address?" would have been very upsetting.
In my humblest of opinions, you didn't handle that well.

Janet Reid said...

Roddy, you might be surprised to learn that this kind of call gets handled much more gently when the caller doesn't start with "what do you think?"

We can tell the difference between the caller you describe, and the caller who simply thinks picking up the phone and talking to an agent is Step 1 on the path to Authorial Glory.

christine tripp said...

Any naive, nervous, anxious writer that makes the industry mistake of calling and Agent, Editor, wouldn't yell, "your an idiot" and slam down the phone. If they were told the Agency doesn't take phone queries, the sane person would then inquire about how they could/should submit.
There is just no question that this was an ego of great proportions on the other end of the line. I'm just surprised this character didn't start his conversation with "I wanna HIRE one of you agents!" (they usually think that's how it works:)

RC Jack said...

What if it was one of those Jersey Shore guys. Snooki's a bestseller, after all. You might have missed out on something there.

Or maybe it was one of those mobsters rounded up last week. Imagine a memoir written by "Tony Bagels" or "Junior Lollipops."

Actually, you did good.

Munk said...

Awesome! Janet Reid is now writing about me on her blog! Does anyone have the number for Ari Gold?

alwayscoffee said...

Holy hell. Brava, Ms. Reid.

Calling is bad. But calling and then being rude? Much worse.

Caller ID is awesome. ~Ali

Lyra said...

Mink, this is an agent's way of playing hard to get. Call back, meow into the phone and tell her to stop being coy.
Oh, and when you get transferred to her voicemail don't be fooled by the dialtone. That's just a ruse to weed out the idiots. You go ahead and leave a message.

Kevin said...

Man, that is lame. I'm sorry y'all have to deal with crazies like that. You should get a guard dog for your agency headquarters. :)

AKDD said...

Hmmm, yes. Let me call up an expert - an expert whose help I want, mind you - and first be rude, and then tell them them that they're an idiot. What an EXCELLENT strategy.

Oh, wait a minute....

Sigh. If it's any consolation, you're not alone: people do this in my profession, too. Never mind that I have a doctorate and 16years' experience; I didn't say what they wanted to hear, so clearly I AM AN IDIOT. I guess they told ME.

(On the plus side, they do sometimes provide weeks of amusement for me and my staff, and occasionally - carefully disguised - end up as blog posts, thus providing amusement for many others, as well.)

Oh, well; good for some laughs, anyway.

lora96 said...

That is some impressive hubris from the caller. I can only hope she is as brilliantly talented as she is rude...I presume she carted her thumb drive over to the Random House lobby and asked to see the editor in chief when she failed with FPL.

@Abbe: PERFECT!

stephen matlock said...

I cannot imagine cold-calling an agent. I have trouble just calling my doctor (whom I've had for 20+ years!) for an appointment -- I always feel as if I am intruding on his very busy day.

The thing that has been drilled into me in the past 5 years of researching marketing my writing is follow the instructions of the agent/editor/publisher!. If an agent says "e-mail queries only," then I think the only acceptable method for a query is - well, an e-mail.

I can see the case where I might simply be confused or mistaken. I know that sometimes I think I have something confidently understood and then I discover I was completely mistaken. But I can't accept that a mistake compounded by rudeness is going to get me access to an agent. (Agent: I am desperate for queries; just can't get enough! Clueless writer: HELLO AND GOOD EVENING I HOPE I DIDN'T DISTURB YOUR SLEEP... Agent: Maybe I was mistaken...)

Inupiurallasinilupiagatugniaqtunga said...

My father reminds me I do not follow instructions and, after reading this blog, I am in a familiar position. "Don't rush when you take out the honeybucket," "make sure that its dead," "careful not to pop the walrus ingaluaqs," and "you should really bring a stick" are instructions I now understand, and can even relay to others from a position of wisdom. In retrospect I should not have attached my work. Rather I should have wrote the two pages, as instructed, (instead of now flailing for some clever anecdotes to grab attention) and I would not be wondering if I should resubmit in weary fashion. After a long and precise introduction perhaps the first two pages were, in my mind, slow. As the third page is the hook, it was difficult to suppress the urge to attach the entire piece... suggestions?