But that's what happened.
I'd just returned from dinner with my parents. My boyfriend was taking a nap and I grabbed the pages of the manuscript I'd been revising, settling down on the couch next to my laptop. I'd been revising for a half an hour or so when I realized I hadn't checked my e-mail since earlier that afternoon.
I saw the contract first.
It confused me. Why was I receiving a contract for representation when I hadn't yet spoken to the agent? I knew this one agent had been looking at the complete of my favorite of all of the novels I've ever written. My fellow writers know what I'm talking about. When an agent who is on our "A list" asks for a complete, we are aware every second of every day she has it. Every time we check our e-mail or get a phone call from a number we don't recognize, we think of her first.
This contract was from that agency. I exited out of the e-mail and there it was, in my inbox. "Response on Ghost Patrol."
Yes, I'd gotten "the call." I'd heard about it for years. That big moment in every unpublished writer's life. There's another call...that one comes from your agent telling you someone wants to buy your book. But that first call is a big one. That first call tells you someone believes in you.
How often these days is "the call" an e-mail?
I always imagined how I'd react when I got the call. Would I cry? Would I scream? In reality, I did neither of those things. I stared. I sat on my sofa, reading and re-reading the e-mail, looking for the loophole. I knew of the agency but I went online and researched and found only rave reviews of them. This is one very respected agency. I looked over the contract and everything was there, as it should be.
Then I got up, went to the front bedroom where my dog was looking out the window, and told her the good news.
She didn't know why we were excited but she partied with me. Once I calmed her down again I debated waking my boyfriend up but I decided that could wait. I went to Facebook and told everyone. Then I called my mom. Finally, I woke the boyfriend.
He was almost as excited as I was. "We need champagne," he said, putting his shoes on. "I'm going to get champagne." When he came back, he told me the man at the liquor store said congratulations.
"Did you tell EVERYONE?" I asked, laughing.
"Just him. Oh, and I text-messaged our neighbor. I tried to call Chris [his friend] but he didn't answer."
Champagne cork popped, we toasted my good news, then he took a picture of me with champagne in hand, e-mail open on my screen.
(Forgive the total lack of makeup. It was ten o'clock at night!)
I kept waking up, throughout the night, remembering my dreams had come true, then going back to sleep. When finally it was time to get up, I realized it was reality time.
Now I had to begin to take all the steps that came next...
Fifteen years have prepared me for this. Trust me...when your time comes, it will happen fast. So learn all you can now and listen to what people say when they advise you what to do when you get "the call." Without learning what I'd learned over the years from various writer's groups, I would have been lost.
Plus, without all those years of hard work, I wouldn't have even come close to appreciating this moment as I do now!