A few years back, a reporter from the Chronicle contacted me about a story. Which story? you ask. Good question. I was away at the time, so I didn't get the message until a few days later. I left a couple of return messages, but the reporter never called back. I figured that whatever the story was, the reporter had gotten the information needed and didn't think I'd need to be called back. I'm still a little curious, though.
Recently, the phone rang in my office. "Hello, I'm So and so from A Press. Do you have a few minutes to talk?"
Me: "Sorry, I'm on my way to class right now. Can you call back at X?"
Stupidly, I didn't write down the person's name or phone number, and I didn't get a call back. Here, for your viewing pleasure and in descending order of fabulousness/increasing likelihood of reason for the call, are my speculations about the call:
a. "We've heard that you're working on a manuscript in X area and wonder if you'd be interested in sending it to us."
b. "We'd like you to review a manuscript in X area" or "Here is a fabulous book [that scoops the project you're working on]; would you care to write a few words about it?"
c. "We have a book proposal we'd like to get a preliminary opinion on. Can we send it to you?"
d. "You did a textbook review of X book. Can we quote you in the materials?"
e. "Your former student, Y, has applied to be a book rep with us and has given your name as a reference. Can we ask you a few questions about him?"
f. "The credit card number you use to subscribe to our journal has expired. Can we get a new number from you?"
I'm guessing F.
[P. S. If it's F, of course I won't give out the number immediately but will call the press directly instead.]