Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Time I Received "The Call"

Here's a wacky story I haven't thought about in years, but when literary agent Janet Reid brought up "The Call" on her blog on Tuesday, it reminded me of it.  Apparently my story was so cringeworthy it made it into Janet's weekly round-up.

"The Call," you see, is an agent's call to offer representation.  Agents are very, very insistent about aspiring authors not calling them because, of course, they're business people and who wants to do nothing but deal with a bunch of nutters on the phone all day?  So all traffic between an agent and an author is normally done by e-mail.  But then when the time comes to consider offering representation, theoretically that happens in a single phone call, aka "The Call."

If you read Janet's Tuesday post she more or less debunks that myth.  And, honestly, the people I know who've gotten agents didn't have it all happen in one miraculous phone call.  Still, though, an agent calling you is a BFD no matter what.  Which is all prologue for this story I'm about to tell.  I can't recall if I've told it before on the blog, but I couldn't find it after a cursory review of my history, so I think not.  Anyway, enjoy.

I once got a call from an agent. It was 7:00 pm on a Tuesday. My wife was working late so I was alone. It was a little late to get calls, and I don't get many calls in general anyway. I squinted at the phone, not recognizing the number, but, okay, I generally answer even if it's a telemarketer, just to make sure it's not something important.

"Hello, is this Steve?"

I was a little bit groggy. It had been a long day.


"Hi, this is Agent X."

I sat bolt upright on the couch.

"Yes, hello!"

"Agent X with Agency Y."

"Yes, yes, I know who you are."

"Well, you sent me a query a little while ago."

"Yes, I remember!"

"Well, I just wanted to call to let you know that you forgot to put your email address on the submission form. So I couldn't e-mail you back. But we're passing."

"Oh...okay...thanks for calling."

"Okay, take care, Steve."


  1. Oh...oh...the pain. Ouch and ouch. I would have immediately gone out and bought all the junk food I could consume. And then more.


Enter your e-mail address in the box below and click "Subscribe" to join Stephen Kozeniewski's Mailing List for Fun and Sexy People. (Why the hell would anyone ever want to join a mailing list?)