• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Find Out What It Means to Me

If you have a chance, check out this interview in Poets & Writers with Jon Karp, publisher of Twelve, an imprint at Hachette. It is a measure of how much I respect him and admire him that I recommend the interview because, well, look at how he answers the question regarding which agents he admires:

There are a lot of agents that I admire—too many to name. It’s funny. I really enjoy working with literary agents, but I’m not socially friendly with any of them. I kind of feel like it’s a business relationship. But I enjoy their companionship at lunch and I love talking to them about their projects. Even when I pass on their projects, I genuinely enjoy talking to them, the give and take. There are literary agents who I’ve known for fifteen years who I’m just finally doing books with. Molly Friedrich was one who I’d wanted to work with forever and finally found a novel we both loved. I’ve known Stuart Krichevsky since I was in my late twenties, and he’s trusted me with Sebastian Junger, for which I am eternally grateful. Rob Weisbach is incredibly creative and he’s going to do great things. I could talk to Tina Bennett and Heather Schroder forever. There really are a lot.

Jon, it’s okay. I’m not, like, needy. I know I’m special. That we have a connection. It’s real. I feel it. You don’t have to advertise when something is real. Congrats on the great interview. It should be required reading for every writer who wants a  window into the mind of a publisher who has had tremendous success and a very smart take on the industry. Does he even remember the time we had bagels at his apartment when we had a lunch date and he had to wait for Comcast? Does he?

6 Responses

  1. Just read the whole Jonathan Karp interview. It took me an hour. There’s a lot of stuff in there that I’m going to steal for my next proposal, and yeah: Why DIDN’T he mention Betsy Lerner?? He publishes TWELVE boooks a year, you’d think he’d remember the agent/editor who brought him the fabulous “Columbine ” (destined to be much more culturally relevant than that crappy Ed Kennedy book. I’m so over the Kennedys. And I speak for millions.).

    Two notes: How could he talk about Rupert Holmes and not mention “Him”? If you were in your early 20s when that single came out in the late ’70s, and heard it on a rainy night in Rochester when you were trying to decide whether to stick with your job in the dress shop selling $19.99 frocks to the ladies who came shopping on “Check Day” (the day the welfare money came in the mail) or join the Peace Corps, you would always love that song and revere its writer. His book’s not bad, either.

    And when publishing people say (as they always do) that there are too many books being published, I’ve always wondered exactly which books they were talking about. Now I know: Mr. Karp’s analysis on why it is useless to publish a book about how the culture of virginity is corrupting American womanhood is a revelation. And, if you’d written that book about how the culture of virginity is corrupting American womanhood and you read about it in this interview, would you want to kill yourself? Or would you have only written it for a lark anyway?

  2. You are special, Betsy. Maybe it’s because I have two copies of WHAT’S YOUR POO TELLING YOU, or that I’m in a really good mood because I just learned that my agent sold my book rights to Macedonia, or that you answered my personal inquiry and made me realize why I want to keep writing. I’m not sure. In any event, you’re special.

    PS: I really do have two copies of the poo book. I give them away to my autism friends who are having a tough time and need a laugh. In the autism community, it’s not unusual to have entire conversations that revolve around the size, color, and type of your child’s poo. And I think that by sharing this really important information, I should win a signed copy of the 10th anniversary FFTT!

  3. […] Betsy Lerner scopro il sito della rivista Poets and Writers e un interessante intervista a Jonathan Karp, […]

  4. Betsy, you’ve gone INTERNATIONAL.

  5. Smart guy. Good interview. But once again, why are fiction writers so ghettoized?

  6. Hahaha. Now I’m not embarrassed that I was blown away by the interview, but that didn’t stop me from paging ahead and doing Finds on my last name to see if I appeared. Nope. I also looked for your name, Betsy, but only after I’d searched on mine. hahaha.

    What an interview, though. It was like an MFA course all in one.

    What got to me when I finished was that it’s like he has worked with the entire world of publishing the last century, yet he’s younger than me. Gawd. It made me feel, again, like a slow starter. But not everyone can be Jon Karp.

    The virgin example was also brilliant, I thought, and so Jon. He sees right through to things that seem obvious only in retrospect. And that understanding who the audience would be is key, of course. It reminded me of Mary Cheney’s book, which I correctly foresaw tanking. It was about an out and proud lesbian Republican who championed gay rights and the Darth Vader agenda. The gays saw her as a traitor, and the conservatives saw her a sodomite (or whatever the lesbian equivalent derogatory term is). No one else was even aware she existed. So who the hell was going to care about this book?

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