Thursday, December 11, 2008

GETTING "THE CALL"

For most writers, getting THE CALL may be the single most monumental moment of their lives.

Yeah, yeah...meeting the man of your dreams, getting married, having babies....all happy happy happy. Blah blah blah. (Sorry, honey!)

But THE CALL….

That’s something else altogether. That's the stuff dreams are made of. That’s what you’ve been working toward...the moment you know you’ve actually made it.

A lot of people talk about the moment they got “THE CALL.”

Me, I didn’t get the call. I got “the message.” And actually, I didn’t get the message, my husband did.

My agent had warned me something was up after I'd run into her at a conference in LA (which coincidentally is also the first time she actually remembers meeting me!). She told me that she got a voicemail, and that she might have “some news” for me. Of course, she quickly followed that up with, we might not know for sure what that news is until next week because she's at this conference, and the editor who contacted her is out of the office until Monday.

Nice.

Plus, here's the thing: "Some news" could be just about anything, right?

So, here's how it went down in my head: They read it, loved it, and want to make a HUGE pre-empt offer on it. I mean, that happens, right?

But an entire weekend needs to pass before things come together and I have to hope to God no one’s dog dies over that weekend, because a crappy mood could be the kiss of death.

(Seriously, you guys, am I the only tortured writer out there?)

So as we cut to the next week, I head off on a planned camping trip with the family. And by “camping” I'm not talking about the roughing-it kind of camping. I mean we have a fully equipped trailer, complete with shower, microwave, air-conditioning, and flat screen kind of camping. I am so not the “roughing-it” kind of girl.

At this point, my nails are chewed to nubs that I desperately hope will grow back one day, and I’m permattached to my cell phone. I’ve taken to checking it every five minutes to make sure it’s on, and every ten for new voicemails.

Fun times!

That Tuesday, we decide to take the kids to a water park and spend the day in the near-hundred degree sun, and somehow, for the briefest of time, I manage to forget I'm supposed to be on pins-and-needles. When we get back, my husband calls our home phone to check messages. And then he gets this look on his face (with really wide, crazy eyes), and he yells, “You got it! You got an offer!”

I was laying down on the bed, and I swear it took me far too long to process any of what he'd said or why he was jumping up and down (in a really manly way, of course). He hands me the phone and lets me listen to the message, which I have to say, I’m not sure I even heard beyond: “We got an offer…”

I tried to call my agent back but it went straight to her voicemail. At this point, I didn’t even know what the offer was, but, hell, who cared?

I HAD AN OFFER!!!!


I think I might have cried, I’m not sure. I know that I screamed. And I definitely know I jumped up and down with my husband and my kids. And then, out of nowhere, there was a sign that the kids made for me ahead of time, and a card, and some really warm champagne that my husband had packed (just in case)!

We drank the toasty bubbly out of plastic cups and we talked about the what-ifs, and I think I said “I can’t believe it” about a thousand times.

And quite possibly the best part of the entire night was that we were all together. All five of us in our ridiculously busy family just happened to be in the same place, at the same time, when I got THE CALL.

Definitely the stuff dreams are made of!

13 comments:

Amra Pajalic said...

Congratulations Kimberley. I got the email message so at least you qualified with The Call.

Kimberly Derting said...

Hey Amra!

Congrats to you too! I think getting the email is probably as good as "the message" (published is published, right??).

Leigh said...

That's a terrific story, Kimberly! Such an exciting time and how sweet for your whole family to be involved like that...

Kimberly Derting said...

Thanks, Leigh! I joke that getting published is the be-all end-all, but it really was great having the kids all together at that moment. I'm happy when my oldest comes by to do her laundry...it feels like "family-time".

Heidi said...

Karma flew out this weekend to visit us and talked so much about you and your journey to publication that I couldn't wait to read your blog! I was stunned when I came to it to realize I'd actually read it before. I'm not sure when I stumbled on it but now I've got it bookmarked!

I think your book sounds fantastic and I will definitely buy it when it comes out. I'm not surprised at all it got picked up; as soon as I read the blurb I thought "I bet publishers were fighting over that one!" And I don't think that very often!

I am so excited when I find great writers who finally make it. I love this post, and look forward to writing one like it someday! Would you mind if I link to this blog on my own? I'll send my crit group here too. Two of them are in the midst of selling their first books, too!

It's nice to meet you! Karma says great things about you!

(I'm not sure why I got so enthused with my exclamation points here...I'm usually pretty sparse with them! Ooops, there I go again)

Kimberly Derting said...

Hey Heidi!

Don't worry about the exclamation marks...I'm the frickin' queen!

I'm glad Karma sent you over (funny that you'd already been here, though). I'm just starting to go through your blog, you know, to find out more about who you are, what you write...stalking, basically.

Thanks for the kind words, though, I never get tired of hearing that someone thinks my book sounds good...that's what I'm hoping for!!!

Heidi said...

The fact that I've been here - and to your website - baffles me too. Maybe you commented on an agent blog or Editorial Ass and I clicked through that way? Were you linked somewhere? I remember reading a few of your posts and thinking your book sounded awesome.

BTW - I sent most of my crit partners here and they are all putting your book on their lists to buy too! One writes crime books, and four write MG/YA, and they all think the premise sounds amazing!

As one of my partners said when she first found me on the blogosphere: We writers gotta stick together!

Brit said...

I'm one of Heidi's writing partners who came on over when she sent me the link.

I'm now a follower of yours. Wow, that sounds like we're some cult. A really cool writer's cult, maybe.

1st - WOO-HOO! I'm so excited for your offer and your success going on right now. I wish you the best. As Heidi said, we writer's must stick together.

2nd - I went to your website. Awesome site, btw. I read the blurb on your book, and I do believe in September, 2009 - I'll be making a trip to my bookstore. The premise sounds amazing and I cannot wait to read it.

3rd - You have so much information here I'll be going over. I did read about your husband doing the laundry. Too cute and funny.

It is nice to "meet" you - and it is fabulous about your success.

Thanks to Heidi - she's introduced me to all sorts of awesome people - and you're now one of them.

Kimberly Derting said...

Heidi - Editorial Ass is entirely a possibility or Nathan Bransford's site (since I love both of their blogs!). Thanks for passing me around, so to speak!!!

And, Hi Brit!! I'm so glad you came over to "check me out" (jeez, why does it sound like I'm running some sort of sleezy dating service?). Cult is probably better. We'll be an obscenely awesome cult, right? We definitely have to stick together!
In between laundry (yes, I'm doing it myself these days) and wrapping Christmas presents, I've been skulking around on your blog too...I'm sure you'll see some posts soon!

Tam said...

What a great post, Kim! Love this story. Nice job sending Karma out to DC to plug your book, too. :-)

Kimberly Derting said...

Thanks, Tam. And, I know, it's like she's my own personal publicist! I should probably pay her or something. I wonder if she works on barter...hmmm.

KK said...

Here's I work, Kim: Send me some place warm next time and keep me in good supply of Veuve...I'm actually that cheap!!

Kimberly Derting said...

Hey KK, I knew you'd work for booze...a girl after my own heart!!!