Sometimes the best ideas – or most original ideas – come to you when you least expect it…
For quite some time now, I’ve been experiencing RAGE at the number of calls I’ve been receiving from financial companies marketing their products. Usually, they’re trying to get me to reclaim payment protection insurance. Short of installing a nuisance calls blocker (I don’t even know how to do this) or reporting nuisance calls to the police, I don’t know what to do about them.
These calls usually begin with the telephonist asking to speak to Mrs Milligan. My first thought is, they have the wrong number. Then I remember that’s my married name. Yes. Six years later, I still forget my own name. Then they try to sell me something. Depending on my mood, I will either listen politely before advising them I’m not interested or (more likely) I’ll tell them to shove their products and/or never phone me again.
I know. These people are just doing their job. It’s not their fault. But when you get these calls five or six times a day, every day for the last year and they wake your baby son from his only nap when he’s already exhausted and took hours to get to sleep in the first place, well it’s impossible to remember that they are actually human and have feelings.
A few weeks ago I was on my personal Twitter account when someone told me I should make Lacey slightly schizo, and when on my professional Twitter or my blog, I should tell it like “Lacey” would, from her mansion. Nice idea!
So while I was cleaning the toilet today, the phone rang. I was elbow deep in bleach and pissed off at myself for leaving so long since cleaning it the last time. I needed to believe I was someone else. Someone glamorous. I needed to be Lacey Dearie. In preparation for becoming Lacey – the weirdo in the mansion – I answered the phone to a spam caller and put on my best Lacey voice.
Silence. For a good five seconds. Followed by, “Can I speak to Mrs Milligan please?” in a shaky voice.
He gave his name and the name of his company. Still shaky.
“She doesn’t live he-ah anymore. She’s muvved.” At this point I was starting to sound slightly Transylvanian. I’m not sure how posh Lacey should sound. I’ll work out the details later.
My husband was changing a nappy and laughing his head off at “Lacey,” by then.
“Sorry to trouble you then.” Spam caller was beginning to sound really jittery now.
“Hah-v a luvvvvlee dah-y!” Now I was sounding like a German-Geordie-cross.
Then it hit me. I had turned the tables on the guy who phoned. He called to sell me something, but in the end it was me selling this new personality of mine to him. And he hadn’t been expecting the voice he heard. He wanted a wee Scottish woman with debts and a short temper. Hell knows what he actually got. I can’t do accents.
But what if I were to do that and carry on by asking him if he’d consider buying my novel? Ok, he’d probably hang up and think I was bonkers, but he might end up Googling Lacey Dearie and finding my novel. Maybe even download it out of curiosity.
Or maybe he’d laugh his head off, tell his colleagues about Lacey, go home and have a laugh with his girlfriend about the weirdo he had to phone earlier that day….and someone somewhere along the line would remember Lacey, Google her and end up buying The Tangled Web. How’s that for an original way to promote an e-book?
And if this happened five or six times a day, every time I got a spam call…..I may be on to something here!
Stay tuned. I’ll blog my progress.