Pub Rants

Guaranteed To Give You A No

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STATUS: It’s Thursday already?

What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? ARTHUR’S THEME by Christopher Cross

About three weeks ago, the agency started receiving a series of calls from a local gentleman writer. Anita, being the lovely and generous person that she is, answered, gave information and lots of resources to help out the caller.

Evidently that wasn’t enough because this person proceeded to call us several times a week insisting that he had to talk to me. The first couple of calls Anita answered and calmly explained why she doesn’t forward inquiry calls to me and offered help in general terms. When he became belligerent with her, she stopped answering the phone when caller ID clearly showed who it was.

Then we received lots of voicemail messages. It definitely got my attention but not in any way that’s going to help this person’s writing career.

Then he decided to visit the agency in person.

Folks, let me just say that if you come to the office and try and browbeat my assistant, you will be dealing directly with me and you won’t like it. Even though I posit myself as a nice Midwesterner, you will see the Big B—up close and personal. No one treats my assistant that way.

And I’m sure this goes without saying but at that moment, there was no way this person could have pitched his book that would have induced me to look at it.

41 Responses

  1. Celsie said:

    It disturbs me that this is the third story I’ve heard in the past six months about people coming in person and expecting special treatment.

  2. Confessor said:

    Yikes! Hope you shanked him with your triangle! Ha,ha.

    Nice to meet you at Mici’s the other night. I added your blog back into my bookmarks!


  3. buildingalife said:

    Wow. I hope you and your assistant are okay, I’m sure that was really disturbing. Maybe you guys should get an office dog like a pit bull named Slushie or The Rejector.

  4. Noelle Pierce said:

    I am amazed by the people who think it’s okay to go to an agent’s office hoping to see an agent. How do they not see how creepy (and unprofessional) that is?

    And it’s very cool of you to stand up for your assistant. Let’s hope this guy learns his lesson.

  5. Philangelus said:

    I’m not one to raise a panic, but call the police and ask if you can fill out a police report but not press charges. You would want to do that in order to establish a paper trail documenting that this guy has been harassing your agency.

    In the event that this guy is two characters short of a keyboard, you might need that paper trail in order to get a TRO or even to get him arrested. But at the very least, if you need to call the police because he returns to your office, you’ll have a copy of the report (or the report number) on-hand and you can give that to the police when they come.

    On the report, just state “I do not wish for charges to be filed at this time.”

    It stinks to have to do something like that, but the guy sounds not-right in the head. 🙁 Stay safe.

  6. Marie Lu said:

    WTF–that is so creepy! Poor Anita. It never ceases to amaze me how inappropriate some people can be. I agree with the others that maybe there should be a security guard, a nice jumbo pack of mace in everybody’s pocket, or Chutney should have a new doggie friend who is a Rottweiler. Or German Shepherd, or wolf hybrid. 🙂 You tell ’em like it is, Kristin–that’s so awesome that you unleashed the fury of a thousand worlds!

    Hope you guys are ok–I’m so creeped out by that and I’m not even there. 🙁

  7. Leona said:

    I think people forget that the book business isn’t quite like the rest of the business world. For the rest of the business world, it is not unprofessional to hand in your resume (really, what is your query) and I’ve heard some teach that you want to impress the boss by making sure they meet you and that persisitence matters, yada-yada.

    What I think the man didn’t do was 1) research the book business. Things aren’t done the way they used to be and 2) take into account his own personality

    Persistence and harassment walk fine lines together. Generally, people who don’t take the hint after all the helpful information the assistant gives, have other serious problems.

    Take the advice of the person encouraging you to make a report. You may not want to, but this man went beyond even general harassment.
    That is “beginner” stalker behavior. Maybe he only needs a wake up call. Maybe he’s harassing someone else and your report will give them that needed help to be taken seriously. Makes me feel good that you are so protective of your assistant. So many bosses don’t have your understanding.

  8. Giles Hash said:

    If this guy had done his research, he would have known that this has NEVER worked for an author. If, for some reason, an agent did agree to accept a pitch over the phone or on a walk-in (and all of the agents I know of explicitly refuse to) they would still only look at a pitch if that person was polite. Why do people think that by being abrasive they’ll get positive results.

  9. Jessie Mac said:

    Even in business after sending a resume and calling in, you still don’t turn up at the office and expect to be seen.

    Usually you get a letter inviting you in at a specific time and day if the employer is interested. No matter how keen, to turn up at an office without an appointment is not done.

    The same with dating. If you keep calling (and you’ve never met the person, you only have their number) and the person doesn’t want to know – arriving at their front door borders on stalking.

    It would spook me out. Hope you and Anita are okay. Thanks for the post, even though we know, it’s still good to be reminded.

  10. Saranna DeWylde said:

    Okay, so you reported him, right? As a former corrections officer, I’ve dealt with lots of unsavory sorts and have had an opportunity to observe lots of pattern behavior.(As well as have it inflicted on me, lol.) He sounds like he’s got some sort of fixation. In this day and age, you can’t be too careful. Just to be safe,maybe change up your routine a bit?

  11. Aoife.Troxel said:

    But, but, his novel was so good, and you should have at least talked to him! Can you blame him, can you really? If he had to take it that far, it must have been your fault of course.

    I too am astonished to hear another story of an author coming in person…It makes the rest of us look bad. Hopefully you’re not too traumatised? Have fun training the guard dog!

  12. Lori said:

    Taser gun, for sure. And a hammer just in case the taser doesn’t take him down.

    It’s that feeling of entitlement that would bother me. Here’s someone who thinks you OWE it to him to talk to him! Imagine how he’d be if you read his manuscript and had to tell him it sucked….

    You’d need a sledgehammer.

  13. Anonymous said:

    It’s one thing to meet an agent at a conference and hope she’s impressed with your concept, or to sling out an elevator pitch hoping to strike an agent’s interest, but calling and demanding attention is extreme, and showing up is downright scary.

    This is a frustrating business. Sometimes you do feel strung along. The rejection writers face even with a sellable project can be overwhelming. I think a person like this, that can’t take it in stride, and feels they need special attention to the point of seeking a face to face meeting, is dangerous.

    I’d fill out a police report just to be on the safe side.

  14. catie james said:

    Just when I think people can’t take audacity any further, someone else takes humongous leap across that line. I agree with Kelly, this man’s actions are downright scary and having a record of his abuse on file probably wouldn’t hurt.

  15. Nicole said:

    Yikes. Scary. I’m with the first commenter about the mace and tazer. Do you think you *maybe* got through to them once you were done? Like maybe a tiny little Christmas bulb went off in their head: “Hmm, perhaps this was not the best approach…”

  16. Abby Minard said:

    Wow. Thats one of the first things I learned when doing research on agents- they don’t like you to call them or for you to show up in person. But, thats good for me- one more person off the list ;p

  17. Anonymous said:

    Adding my vote to the “file a report” lobby.

    The words “series of calls” “insistent” “belligerent” and “browbeat” all add up to a potentially dangerous scenario in the future.

    Take care, all of you.

  18. Backfence said:

    Yipes! His thinking this was appropriate behavior or would further his cause (i.e., of getting his book published) shows how unstable a person he is. Can somebody say TRO?

  19. ElTodd said:

    The reason people think that being an abrasive moron will get positive results is because it often does.

    Toddler throws a tantrum, parent gives in to their demand.

    Customer makes a scene in a restaurant, server/manager comps their dinner/dessert to get them to quiet down.

    Customer calls customer service and pushes their way up the chain of command to get their 19th late fee removed, someone finally gives in.

    Society enables this type of behavior, and people posting on this comment thread are saying “Tsk, tsk.” But how many of you on this thread have positively reinforced this type behavior or been guilty of it yourselves, hmmm?