• 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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Any Love Is Good Love

Dear Betsy
I have just finished reading your book “The Forest for the Trees” which I picked up in a second hand bookstore and as soon as I started to read it turned into a “must have”. I have to say the book was a very enjoyable read in its on right. I feel that even with all the difficulties described, the literary world is not an exclusive club that one is shut out from. In that sense you have demystified the business of publishing and given it a human attainable quality. For that I thank you. Now for the question(s): Your book is a few years old. Obviously much in it still applies, but are their any sections or chapters you feel would now have to be complety re-wriiten in view of today´s market? Or do you think that inspite of all the tecnological changes basically the book world is for the most part still the same ?
Thank you and kind regards. Name Left Off (Portugal)
Dear Portugal:
I love second hand book stores, but I can’t believe some a-hole sold my book, unless they were aware that a fully revised edition would be released in October, 2010. And there is the answer to your question. A lot has changed. Email was just beginning to take hold when I wrote the book ten years ago. Now all newborns emerge with a blue tooth in their ear and a bar code on their butts. When I started in publishing 25 years ago, we still sent telexes to Europe and Asia, writers banged on typewriters and editors drank at lunch. Now, people are reading on devices, tweeting, and editors carry yoga mats around town. Barf!
I have to proof the pages for the revision over the weekend. I’m curious to see if it’s as seamless and scintillating as I think it is. Ha Ha.
Well, I tried. The old girl is ten and I can’t believe it. You know, I started the blog to convince the publisher to let me revise the book; it was just a tool to convince him that there was still a market. But now, the blog has gone much further than the book for me. And I just want to thank everyone who reads, links, lurks, and especially the bold, the few, who comment. You are an amazing group of readers and writers and, what the fuck, I love you.
Hope you have a great holiday weekend. I’m back on Tuesday. Get some writing done. Betsy

17 Responses

  1. First of all, that picture is captivating.

  2. Excellent! Something to look forward to in October, other than just bemoaning another birthday.

    I’m willing to whip up some ass-kick hors d’oeuvres for your party, to prevent you from chewing off your own limbs.

  3. B–

    I remember reading TFFTT when it first came out. I took it on vacation with me and read it every afternoon while sun tanning on a deck in Gulf Shores, AL.

    While I’m yet to claim the title ‘novelist’, my writing career has evolved (lots of business articles & a regular op-ed columnist gig). Your book was there for me at the start of my writing journey…I look forward to reading it again this October (at what I hope is the middle of my writing journey).

    A million thanks.

  4. Ghar!

    Is there any sort of program in place that allows people to trade in their old edition for the new? The local bookstore was honest enough to tell me that a new edition was going to be released, but I was heading out on a trip and couldn’t wait. Regardless, it was still an informative and entertaining read, well worth withholding my son’s allowance for. Thank God he’s been mowing lawns, he should for sure have enough saved up by October – ripe for the swipin’.

  5. I love that you said barf ! – a word I never hear anymore since moving to the UK.

    I’ve been wanting to get your book, but Amazon UK showed that a revised edition was coming out in October – which I have pre-ordered for less than 1/2 the price of the old one – crazy.

    But , I can’t wait any longer so I’ve ordered the old one from the library to keep me going til October.

  6. I read very few blogs these days, but this one is a favorite. Always look forward to what you have to say. That includes the upcoming book.

  7. I’ve had it on pre-order for a month already. Come onnnnnn October…

  8. I worked in publishing when we sent telexes to Europe, when faxing was a new thing, and when some kind soul taught me how to use computers…I also got to talk to Marlene Dietrich on the phone, so there are some benefits to being not-so-young.

    Thanks for the blog–love it!

  9. Because you mention carting yoga mats around town, I cannot help but share two references I came across just this week:

    1. Peter Kaplan as one of his aliases on Twitter (@CrankyKaplan): “DRYING BALLS WITH YOGA TOWEL, GAYEST 90 MINUTES OF MY FUCKING LIFE.”
    (Yes, CrankyKaplan types in all caps.)

    2. The NYTs interview with John Waters:
    Interviewer: Is there anyone you would actually kill if you knew you could get away with it?
    John Waters: I find it repellent when people do yoga exercises at the gate in airports. I want to kill them.

    It’s rare that I feel such vindication.

  10. Betsy, I’m sure no one sold your book to the used book store. It was left behind in the estate of a writer who died with the book clutched in her hands, murmuring passages of it that she had learned by heart even as she passed into the great beyond.

  11. Or a copy was found at the airport, knocked out of the hands of someone doing a complicated knotted yoga pose of some sort. An eagle-eyed TSA worker (right) scooped it up and sold it as their salaries suck, and they needed the extra cash. I guess.

  12. oops – Found mine at a used bookstore too – a little town in the mountains.

  13. Can’t wait to see the new edition. And I promise not to upset it by doing yoga in its vicinity. Actually yoga makes me violent anyway. My novel currently on submission opens with a scene of yoga rage.

  14. When you say:

    ‘But now, the blog has gone much further than the book for me.’

    It’s time to write that novel.

  15. If I had not bought my copy of Forest For The Trees ten years ago, I would not be, today, a published writer. For me it’s been a straight line from the day I bought the book at Border’s on 57th Street in Manhattan to getting the idea that I could, maybe, write a book after all, to writing a book, to getting an agent, getting a publishing offer, seeing my book in stores, to getting a great offer for my SECOND book. I did not read any other publishing guide: Forest For the Trees was all it took.

    The day after my book was published, Amazon had “used” copies for sale. (How the hell does that happen?) But so far, nobody has found my book in a second-hand shop or had the bad manners to TELL me — although one reader did find a copy in a thrift store (but then she said that she bought new copies as gifts, which made it OK. )

  16. Great! I look forward to getting a copy this fall.

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