I am overjoyed to introduce all of you to Chris Tompkins, the newest nonfiction writer on my list! As you’ll see below, Chris is going to tell you about his experience with “the call”, but I want to tell you about it from my perspective. After reading Chris’s proposal, I needed to talk to someone about it because it really made me think about my parenting and the messages I may have given my child. So, first, I spoke to my husband about it while he was getting ready for work. Then, at work, I had a long conversation with Jessica Faust about it, and that inspired her to do some tweeting on the subject. Because of some scheduling issues, it took a week or two before I actually spoke to Chris about it, and, by that time, I was a bundle of nerves! I’m always a little nervous before a call, but I was especially nervous this time. Next time, I’ll know to eat a green apple first, but I think I talked a mile a minute and threw tons of info at Chris. Still, it was a great call, and I’m so happy to have him on my list! So, read on to learn a bit more about Chris and check out his website and TEDx talk here: https://www.aroadtriptolove.com/messages-from-the-playground
Describe your experience with “The Call.” What do you write? When did the agent catch you? What was it like to get the call of your agent offering on your book/work? How long had you been querying/submitting, etc? Share as much as you’d like!
My name is Chris Tompkins and I am thrilled to even be in the position to write about “the call.” To be honest, I actually didn’t know what “the call” meant or that it was a thing. I write nonfiction and this has been my first time querying agents.
In all of my research about the querying process, query letters, and book proposals, I never read anything about “the call.” I literally Googled, “What does it mean when an agent wants to chat,” when Jessica Alvarez, the agent whom I had queried at BookEnds, emailed me a few months after my submission to ask me some questions and see if I was available to chat. I discovered a variety of articles and funny enough, one of the most helpful articles I read from my Google search was written by Tracy Marchini, another agent with BookEnds. I took it as a good sign, but I didn’t want to go into the call with any expectations.
The day before speaking with Jessica, a friend of mine whom I had told about “the call” suggested I eat a green apple before I got on the phone. He said he always eats a green apple before any significant event in his life, so on my way home later that night I stopped by the grocery store and purchased the biggest and greenest Granny Smith apple to eat before my call.
Speaking with Jessica on the phone was a wonderful experience. I think what helped the most was not having any expectations and listening to my heart. I’m pretty certain it didn’t have anything to do with the green apple, but I felt really comfortable with Jessica. She gave me some feedback on my project, which was very helpful to hear, and about halfway through our conversation, she said she’d love to work together. I hadn’t fully processed what I heard and remember asking at the end of our call, “So, just to make sure, you’d like to work together?”
After I got off the phone, I immediately started to jump up and down and run around my apartment screaming into a pillow (I didn’t want to worry my neighbors). I had been querying agents since March, so it had been a long and grueling five months. I had received a range of responses from agents and still had my proposal out to a few. I knew, though, I wanted to work with Jessica. I loved that she understood my project and cared about its message. A few days after our call, I replied back to Jessica letting her know I, too, would love to work together.
My cousin recently captioned a photo of her son walking to his first day of Kindergarten with, “The days are long, but the years are short.” It made me think about this experience and how although the days, weeks, and months leading up to this point felt extremely long, the entire process suddenly became short after “the call.”