Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It's been hotter than blue blazes here in beautiful Pennsylvania. Humid too. This extreme weather causes people to act strangely sometimes, even if they don't live here. Last week, as I was trying to finish up the revised manuscript of a new client, the phone rang.

"Kae Tienstra."

"Is this Kate Ienster?"

"Yes, this is Kae."

"OK, what do you do?"

"I'm an agent and a book publicist (now I'm getting antsy). How can I help you?"

"Do you publish books?"

(Really getting steamed--looking longingly at my most excellent manuscript.) "We don't publish books. We are agents. We are publicists."

"Do you take women's fiction?"


"Like I have this book I'm working on, but I don't know where I should send it."

(Inner monster has arisen--fangs are now unsheathed.) "You need to go to the library and read The Writers Market 2010. You need to go online and learn about the industry."

"Learn about what?"

(Monster salivating now, making low moans, putting claw over phone and making obscene gestures to Jon. Now, taking deep yoga cleansing breath...) "You need to educate yourself about the industry. Do you ever go online."

"Online? What do you mean?"

(Now monster is being tempered by good fairy on right shoulder. Be kind!)

"Do you have a computer?"


(Monster is now weeping slightly and glaring at good fairy.)

"You need to learn about computers. You need to learn about publishing. Most publishers today want electronic copies of everything."

"What is an electronic copy?"

(Monster in a pool of tears.)

"Go to the library. Learn about publishing. Learn about computers. Write your book. Then send me a query."

(Monster goes up in puff of smoke.)

"What's a query?"

(Good fairy explains query and quietly finishes conversation.)

Sigh. Happy summer all you informed writers!


Beth said...

Wow. Makes me wonder how she even found your number in the first place.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I feel so sorry for this person! I had to look at the calendar to see if it was April 1st today! Sorry you had to deal with this!!


Jan Rider Newman said...

Not to be online in this day & age -- okay. Not to know what being online is -- wow. And, from someone who's made her share of very dumb mistakes, kudos for your patience.

Redleg said...

You may well have just passed on the next Henry Darger.

randine said...

Kinda makes me want to read the manuscript, though- the same morbid curiosity that makes people want to look at a train wreck.

Jennifer Hillier said...

My head would have exploded all over the phone after a phone call like that. You are wonderfully patient.