Sunday, October 15, 2017

When You Can't Locate an Individual's Phone Number...

With the proliferation of smartphones, most of us carry one of the most powerful communication devices in our pockets—our phone. As an acquisitions editor, I get a lot of email—and I regularly send a lot of email. While I love the convenience of email, I also know email is easy to ignore and not answer. You can put it off for another time and another day.

The phone is a completely different communication device. It is immediate and if we reach the person, we can have a short conversation with them. We can leave messages into their voicemail (something I do a great deal as an editor). Each time I leave a message, I try to think about the person getting that message—so I leave something upbeat and to the point with my phone number and email so they can respond.

The Internet has given us tools where we can guard and protect our actual phone number. For example, I've got a New York phone number through my work at Morgan James. When I call authors or literary agents related to my work, I use this tool and it shows up on their phone as a New York phone number—even though I live in Colorado and work remote. Sometimes authors will answer because it is a New York phone number. 

What if you can't locate the phone number for someone? The other day I wanted to have a short conversation with an author. I looked in my contact information. I had his email and mailing address but not his phone number. I checked the author's website to see if it contained a phone number—and it did not. It had a contact form but no email and no phone number. See how this author is limiting the people who have his number?  How was I supposed to find it?

To find a phone number, one of the tools I often use is Godaddy WhoIS Database.  You can use Google to look up “WhoIs” and see there are a number of these databases. As the first place I turn, I use this one from Godaddy. With the author's website, you put that into the search engine and in a matter of seconds, you get the contact information for that author—including their phone number.  I wrote down the number then called it. Immediately I was speaking with the author I needed to reach—on his cell phone. Also I saved the cell phone number I had located for if I need to use it in the future. This system is not perfect. Sometimes authors have paid for an extra service called Domain Privacy Protection—and their real phone number is not in this WhoIs record—but from my experience, many times you can locate their phone number.

Maybe you have other tools and websites that you use to gather this information. Please let me know in the comments section. I look forward to learning from your experiences. 

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