[No, E.T. not Crowe—better luck next time.]
So my husband would tell you I always insist I’m right, and it’s true. At home, pretty much, I AM always right. And why on earth would I say I was wrong when I’m not, just to convince someone who insists I always need to be right that I don’t always need to say that? If I’m right, I stick to my guns.
But sometimes, if you make a mistake, it is best to just fess up.
A Painful Lesson
The guy above me and I were each promoted a slot (me, with some hesitation—I was very green), I became an Assistant Account Executive, BUT, I got dished the budget management for some unfathomable reason (except that I think it was easier to mostly train ME for HER job (with a few schmoozing exceptions), rather than have BOTH of us training for new jobs—plus, I was the excel pro, which when handling a three million dollar, line-item budget is helpful.
I was 23. I was asked by the co-op treasurer what was up and I didn’t know. I said I’d find out, and I asked a question or two, but my boss was out of town and I didn’t get to the answer before the next meeting. I figured ‘I would get to it’ was good enough. At the meeting, he called out the agency because of this one piece of paper with a question mark hanging over it. I was SURE I was going to be fired, but we managed to get the original copy of the form overnighted from LA and show the treasurer to his satisfaction, but my boss was PISSED. She’d been humiliated at a meeting and it was my fault.
I learned my lesson. Just because something is uncomfortable and you are embarrassed, or you don’t know the answer or how to find it, avoiding it can only make it worse. Face it. Own it. Deal with it. It may be fixed, it may not. But I guarantee it will be better than if somebody finds out about it when you DIDN’T own it and try to fix it.
I live by that.
This isn’t nearly so dramatic, so you can all sit back down and relax, but it IS a little applied lesson…
I got my request, as mentioned… 75 pages, synopsis, author bio…
And then it occurred to me… I can pretend I never learned, and look like it was an innocent mistake of a rookie (all true) or I can explain and send the right thing, showing growth.
So this morning I drafted an email, with a one paragraph ‘author bio’ that looks more like a book jacket blurb (Joris, I haven’t forgotten I owe you an amusing one—just sort of nuts at the mo, and that is hell on creativity). I think my email both explained, and was a little funny—I referred to my error as nincompoopery, which will either frighten or win over said agent. I also referred to the author bio I sent with the packet as the ‘decoy’.
I figure I’m a playful person, and an agent probably just ought to know that ahead of time because someone who can’t cope with that, isn’t a good fit, but I think the admission of error and immediate correcting speak well for working with me… or that is what I am hoping. Because mistakes happen. Better to fess up, fix it, and move on.
That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
[by the way, I had a second request yesterday afternoon--only a chapter, but better than a poke in the eye--so 2 requests for more and no refusals--that is the best rate I've had on a query round! Send two more queries to celebrate)