The Second “Call”: The Sound of Silence
The first call between an agent and an author is full of noise. Of nerves and gushing and questions that border on excited panic. Without fail, it consists of two people talking over each other, frantic to ensure that they talk about everything important in 30-60 minutes.
It’s pretty much a nerve-wracking first date with a proposal (sometimes) at the end of it.
After an author signs on with me, they go out on submission. And when that submission process goes well, an editor contacts me with an offer.
And once that offer comes through, I get to have a completely different type of call with my author. This one is short—usually 5 minutes or so. It’s almost completely one-sided.
It first begins when they hear that it’s me on the phone, and there’s sharp, quiet intake of breath. Then I jump right into it: there’s an offer on the table from X editor at Z house.
Then a pause.
And that silence stretches until I break it, because I have effectively rendered my wonderful, wordy author speechless.
That silence is my favorite part of the job.
It’s a silence full of hope. Of flattered excitement. Of gratitude. Of dreams coming true.
And even though nothing is official yet, and the book isn’t close to being done, that moment of silence is when we know that together.