Tuesday, April 15, 2008

call & answer

One of my regular freelance projects involves interviewing a homebuilder each month for a magazine. The interviews themselves are easy, since the magazine supplies the questions. All I have to do is write down what the builders say — or, better yet, e-mail them the questions and edit the responses they send back.

The hard part of this job is finding builders to interview. For instance, between yesterday and today, I made 29 phone calls. Nearly all of these were follow-up calls to people I’d contacted twice before and hadn’t heard back from — discourteous of them, but entirely usual.

My efforts resulted in conversations with numerous answering machines and about five actual people, one of them a teenager so snide and sullen that if her Dad does call me back, I’ll say something about her ‘tude, and I don’t care if it costs me an interview.

Only one of those five people was an actual builder rather than an assistant. That builder agreed to do the Q&A and asked me to e-mail him the questions. Sadly, I have no faith he’ll actually fill out the form and send it back, as I’ve been burned on this arrangement several times. (I am, in fact, currently trying to get back in touch with a guy who eagerly agreed to do this six weeks ago and hasn’t replied since.)

One of the assistants said her boss might have time to talk to me later today while he’s on the road, and if so, he’ll call me back.

So out of 29 phone calls, I got one yes and one maybe, with no guarantee of follow-through. OY! But I am grateful for the glimmers of hope these possibilities provide.

In other news, my birthday is next month. If you feel like giving me a gift, what I want is an interesting and/or beautiful mug, with or without saucer, for my morning tea.



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