• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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If You Liked It Then You Shoulda Put a Ring On It

Dear Betsy,

I was fortunate to have a friend recommend me to her agent. Said agent is on my A-list. A-list agent and I exchanged pleasantries via email, and she invited me to send my manuscript, which had won two substantial novel-in-progress awards in 2009. In October 2009, I mailed the ms. Soon after that, I received an extremely generous critique from another agent who loved the work but felt she couldn’t take it on “at this time.” With that agent’s suggestions in mind, I did a substantial revision and feel that the novel is much improved. Of course, I will ask agent #2 if I can resubmit to her. Meanwhile, I haven’t heard back from A-list agent. It’s been four months. I would love to send her my revision, but I don’t want to annoy her. It is possible that she hasn’t seen my original version. What is the protocol? Ask if she’ll accept a revision? Wait for her to respond to the ms I already sent?

Thank you for any suggestions. I love your blog.

“Wife Number Three”

Dear Three:

This is classic. Classic! Though a little confusing. Usually when an agent says she can’t take on something “at this time” it means NEVER. It means not now, not ever, which spells never. “At this time” is like a guy who doesn’t call back after you fuck him. If he doesn’t call the next day or the day after, will he ever call back? Highly fucking unlikely. Maybe a few months later in the middle of the night when he’s drunk. Maybe. That said, this little minx gave you substantial notes. You don’t give substantial notes unless you would like another role in the hay. So, sure, send it again.

A-list agent has not read your book. No agent reads a manuscript, wants to take it on, and sits on it. A-list agent may have started it, didn’t get into it, put it aside, knew she should give it more time because of the friend connection, but as time passed it became increasingly difficult to revisit . Why? Think of all the books you’ve started, left on your side table, mean to get back to…same thing. Send her the revision. If she hasn’t read, good. If scenario two is to blame, then this gives her a fresh start.

It’s so hard to apply common sense where your writing is concerned. Every action or inaction feels loaded. You can scrutinize this shit to death. It just took me a month to send my screenplay out to someone who INVITED me to send it. I’m no different when it comes to sending out work. I’d rather chew off my arm.

Any missing limbs out there?

8 Responses

  1. I developed an A list and then didn’t send it to any of them. Recommendations came in and offers. I accepted one. That was that. No lost arms. Tons of regret. Should I have sent to all? I’ll never know.

  2. This is a great, no bullshit post. It applies to a lot of situations in life, not just writing. This may be worth the tree. I might have to print it out.

  3. “role in the hay”
    homophone or clever pun?

  4. I love that you point out that inaction is also a loaded thing. It’s crazy-making. How I wish the etiquette for contacting people who hold the power of these decisions were more straightforward in my mind.

  5. thanks for this post, B – helpful to get your perspective on “the game.” good reader question, too.

  6. Agree 100%…..while I contact newspaper editors like clockwork – when it comes to pitching my book – I keep reading agent blogs until my eyes bleed, frozen shitless that my timing will suck (which it usually does anyway). So many thanks for this kick off the fence…..query goes out tomorrow.

  7. This is a great post… I sent my project out once, got some good insight, and now have this idea stuck in my head that I can somehow “perfect it” (whatever THAT means) before sending it out again. It’s insanity.

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