• 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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Address It To My Wife

As you could have probably guessed, my “Ask Betsy” feature of the blog is getting a lot of traffic. However, most of the emails are not questions. Most readers are using it to pitch their projects. So, it’s sort of a slush pile/question box. At first, I was really pissed about it. It’s not at all difficult to find my agency email for chrissakes. Then I thought maybe I was being too uptight. I mean for fuck’s sake, who cares where a great project comes from, my agency email, my blog email, my ass. So I dutifully read through the queries hoping to discover the next Ordinary People (according to publishing lore, it was found in the slush).

So far, no luck. Needle, meet haystack. What does bother me is that I actually do answer all of these queries and then the person writes again and asks me to look at a nonfiction project once I explain that I’m not taking on fiction. Or, they ask me to review an alternative pitch, or recommend other agents, or give them a detailed critique of their writing. I could do all of these things, but I have to charge. A LOT.

I really love the questions and if you have one I’d love to hear from you. If you want to pitch your project, then please send it to Mail@dclagency.com and address it to my attention. But please understand that I will not respond as your lovable self-loathing blogger but rather as the hard-hearted bitch agent that I am.

17 Responses

  1. My first project came out of my ass. My second project came out of my vagina. My third project came out of my ears. My fourth project came out of my eyes – I was really crying that time. My fifth project came out of my mouth when I screamed to the gods and condemned all to the fates they imposed on Odysseus and his crew. And then I realized something and my next project came out of all of the orifices (? orafeces?)of my body and that, that what my instance of magical realism.

    Now a question: no fiction, eh Betsy. How about a novel based on a true crime?

  2. Wow. That sucks. But you read them all? I’m impressed.

  3. Dear Bets:

    Enclosed please find my proposal for MORE THAN A HUNCH: UNLEASHING THE POWER OF THE BRADY WITHIN.

    What if “The Brady Bunch” wasn’t simply the best of 1970s television, but a mystical cypher that encoded all the self-actualization mysteries of the ages? What if Marcia, for example, wasn’t just a groovy chick in a mini-skirt, but an archtypal figure, a tool we can use to empower our lives?

    Here’s a hint: if “The Brady Bunch” was nothing special, I wouldn’t be writing this query letter.

    In fact, each of the eight Bradys (plus Alice, of course) represents a different archetype, and by discovering our dominant Brady Type, as well as our secondary, ‘sibling’ type, we can understand our past and seize control of our future.

    MORE THAN A HUNCH is more than just a fantastic idea whose time has come; it’s a gimmick for personal–I mean a *tool*. A tool for personal transformation. It will help readers:

    1) Determine their Brady Type (and secondary, ‘sibling’ type).
    2) Align their everyday behavior with Optimal Bradification.
    3) Identify and overcome their Evil Twin Brady.
    4) Learn to manipulate others through a knowledge of their Brady Type.
    5) Understand the Mystery of Sam the Butcher.
    8) Wear sunglasses at night. No, wait–wrong era.

    In short, MORE THAN A HUNCH is a simple method, using the most advanced human actualization technology available–1970s television–of unleashing the awsome power of the Brady within.

    (Suck on *that*, Jonathan Safran Foer.)

  4. Healthy boundaries, nothing like them. (Or so I’ve heard as I still struggle to set the darn wiggly things!)

  5. Betsy, I’m showing your blog to a non-writer friend here as after-dinner entertainment. You really are a hoot and a holler. He can’t believe your use of the word “fuck.” I can. My friend just called you, “very spirited.” I told him you’re not really a bitch.

  6. For these and all other transgressions I ask forgiveness — really.

  7. Dear Betsy, I live in England – I’m at least 5 hours ahead of you. But every weekday morning when I check your blog, there’s another ballsy post that makes me laugh.

    I know, I know, you probably have a system that publishes posts at a scheduled time but don’t spoil my image of you as the loveable self-loathing blogger that never sleeps.

  8. What I like about your blog is that it is a safe place for writers to hang and just think/bitch about writing. Thanks for keeping it “pitch free.”

  9. Only post here because it is pitch free
    this stray doesn’t pitch where she posts

  10. That was awesome.

  11. OT: Love Sissy, but Mary soooooo should have won that year.

  12. I knew hard-hearted bitches. Betsy, you’re no hard-hearted bitch.

  13. What is wrong with people and their lack of manners?
    Sending you a “pitch” to your personal email would be like me stopping my (yes, adorable) dermatologist at Whole Foods and asking him to look at a mole on my back.
    Or stopping my fine estates lawyer while he is squeezing the melons and asking him how much of my estate I should leave to the Great Dane Rescue League.
    Bless you for being so gracious to these unmannerly types — I hope one day you do discover a manuscript that brings in a million dollar advance.
    Then you can sweetly inform the author that your commission on pitches sent in via your personal email address is 35%.

  14. Betsy,
    Discovered your blog and was thrilled to find an agent that is approachable and curses. Cursing is a prerequisite for me. Hard-Hearted can be good too! I’m confessing that my hat has been thrown in the ring a few times, attempting to pitch a memoir. The response so far has been upsetting. ‘Memoirs are hard to sell, unless you are famous for deviant behavior or have kissed your way to the top—no thanks.’ Snap judgments without requesting a sample chapter.
    I’ve stopped sending out queries and joined a critique group, part of a local writer’s guild.Receiving positive reinforcement from the moment I started reading them my five pages, triggered my New York paranoia and insecurity. I questioned, are these people hacks? Thinking my book audience would be primarily women I was enchanted to find that all the men were praising my “voice” and invested in the story. The group is helping me consolidate and fine tune. Question, does a critique group and their feedback make any difference to an agent or is it worthless hearsay?
    Thanks

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