Remember April Fool's Day, when you were a kid? Oh, man. I had the time of my life pulling pranks on my family - especially on my little sister. Unfortunately, this is a habit I did not lose with age. Most people call me immature or childish for my love of practical jokes, but then again, most people suck. Of course, you, my faithful readers and bestest BFFs, don't suck. I bet you pull the occasional prank of your own.
So let's see them! Tell me what the best practical joke you've ever played was. Or, if you haven't played it yet but have a good idea for one, let me know and perhaps my little sister will feel the biting sting of your sense of humor! In fact, let's designate December as prank month. Prank as many people as you can all month, and email me your updates. (Only put your best prank ever in the comments here; I don't want pages and pages to scroll through, please.) It'll be sort of like NaNoWriMo, only instead of a daily word goal, you'll have a daily prank goal.
Let NaSwe PrankMo begin! (National Sweet Prank Month) (I know, crappy acronym. I'll try for a better one later. Ideas?)
And so you know I'm participating too, I'll post this little gem I did for my own amusement a few days ago.
Being an author, I have a few "industry" friends. And one of those friends just happens to be a very cool agent by the name of Joanna Stampfel-Volpe. (No, she's not my agent.) If you're looking for someone to represent your work, I definitely recommend her if she does your genre. Almost as much as I would recommend my agent (the amazing Adam "Snapper" Chromy, heretofor known on this blog as "Tha Agent" - with an 'a' instead of an 'e' to denote how gangsta he is, and how he busts figurative caps in the competition). Anyhow, if you're unfamiliar with publishing, or just how the agenting bit of it works, I'll explain it quickly for you:
Agents are the author's voice with publishing companies. They do pretty much everything business-oriented for their authors, freeing up his time to do his job, which is writing. If you're writing and want to get your book sold to a large publisher, these guys are the only way to do it. (Unless, of course, your dad is the CEO of Scholastic or Harper Collins or something - in which case, do you want to hang out?) Authors get ahold of these guys by sending what's called a query letter. These are brief letters describing the author and the project they have done (fiction) or are planning to do (non-fiction). The agent decides, based on this letter, whether they want to read the author's stuff.
Now, agents like their query letters done in very specific ways. Basically, what they want is to know who you are, why you're the best person to write the book, and most importantly, what the book is about. They don't like people who brag too much or who don't have enough confidence in themselves, and a thousand other things. It'd take far too long to list all agent pet peeves, so I suggest you look on my reading list for The Rejectionist. That's a good blog from an agent's assistant.
Getting on to the prank:
I set up a fake email account and wrote an entirely fake query letter to this agent friend of mine, then at the end, typed "You've been had!" which is an inside joke she would know nothing about, so I don't really know why I typed it, and then told her it was me all along. She loved it, cracked up, and told me she's saving it forever. (This is an example of one of my nicer pranks, as it made everyone involved laugh.) Here's a copy of the email I sent her:
Dear lucky agent,
I picked you, yes YOU, out of the thousands and thousands of I found on some website to represent this once in a life-time amazing idea. I'm a middle-aged guy and I've never really had any interest in books or writing before at all, and to tell you the truth I was in remedial reading classes in high school (I didn't bother going to college - it's for suckers), but once I had this idea I read a book on how to write and BAM! Now you see this amazing author that stands before you today. (Well, sort of stands. More like emails. But still.)
Anyways, you're probably wondering what this idea is. Well, let me tell you. Are you ready? Sitting down? If not, please do so. I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself when you read this earth shatteringly awesome idea. Ready for it? Here it comes.
Right? Right?! I know! Genius! But the awesome train doesn't stop there. Oh no, ma'am. It keeps going right into Grandiose Central Station. Because not only do we have the cutest cuddly kitties around posing in different sexually suggestive positions and dressed like priests, nuns, and astronauts, but the whole thing is written in ancient runes!
It blows your mind, doesn't it? I knew you would like it.
I haven't made the calendar yet, but I drew a picture of a kitty with crayons earlier. I can scan it and send it to you as an example if you want. Also, this is the first in a series. The sequel is dogs and sanskrit. That's right, the gravy train keeps chugging. And I want you as the conductor!
As far as business is concerned, I'm willing to offer you a 3% commission on the sale, as long as you promise not to steal my idea and do it yourself, since it's so awesome. Get back to me by the end of the business day today, or I'm taking it elsewhere.
Faker Von Prank
1110 Richie st
Got you, Good 11020
There you go! You have your mission. Now go, prank!