• 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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The Trick You Said Was Never Play the Game Too Long

Choose me!

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a writer letting me know that another agent had offered him representation. The agent wanted an answer by the end of day Friday. I was way behind the eight ball having not yet received the proposal. Plus, the other agent had put a clock on the process.

Anyhoo, I spent a few hours reading and rereading the proposal because I really liked the writing, thought the idea was saleable, terrific title, but I also felt it needed some work. It needed to be more intense, to build more, in order to pay off. I called the writer, we spoke for close to an hour about my editorial concerns. Then about marketing, platform, etc. He seemed to click with my ideas. I hung up thinking we had a great conversation; I hoped to get the client.

Next day, email arrives. Turns out he had a half dozen offers of representation. It boiled down to me and someone else (you say that to all the girls). He explains that he went with the other person for reasons largely intangible. In other words, I was a great lay but smell you later. I want to reply with two words: big mistake.

Instead I say, write the best book you can. I say, you’ve got a lot of talent. I wish him well and I actually mean it. That said,  I ask if I may know the identity of the victorious agent so that I may take out my voodoo doll. Writer gamely tells me. Readers, I was so hoping for it to be an agent I loathe, which is sort of like looking for a haystack in a haystack. But alas, it was one of the smartest and loveliest agents in the biz.

I put my pins away.

15 Responses

  1. This shows how classy you are.

  2. She prolly has smelly feet. O_O

  3. Or wears salmon-colored huaraches.

  4. Hm, makes me wonder if agent #1 with the deadline even existed at all. What a great scam, huh? “I need your response by Friday because I’ve already been offered representation by another agent, but I really love YOU. Oh, what? You never got my proposal? Oh, here it is!” Repeat ten times.

    Way to get out of the slushpile, dude!

    *takes off cynical suit*

  5. This may be one of the reasons, though a minor one, why writers are scared shitless of agents. On the one hand, we certainly would not try to game the system(&^#**^!), but if this really happens, and we get an offer from an agent, but still want to make the best choice among others reading our work, the scenario is that we are gaming the system and surely two or more great agents could not possibly want our work.

    It’s kind of like those murder mysteries where the writer gets murdered by someone who had read his manuscript, thought it was the greatest work since Moby-Dick, and murders the writer obliterating all traces of it’s existence. He then pawns the magnum opus off as his own work. Next scence: cocktail party in a swanky restaurant a la Carrie Bradshaw’s book party, and the murderer is hailed as the new Jonathan Franzen. But, there is another writer at the party, a lover of literature who actually knows who Sancho Panzo is, and who, after speaking with the now famous author, knows this is all a sham, a hoax. Hell, when she asked the guy what his favorite book was he said The New Testament. Not even the Old, she asked. The old? He replied. Okay, she tried again. Who or what was your inspiration to write this book? The author licked his lips, uncrimped his neck muscles and said: It came to me in a dream. A dream of what? asked the woman. Excuse me, said the author, my publicist is signaling me.

    Now, really, what criminal would be stupid enough to steal a novel…and then suffer the slings and arrows of the gatekeepers.

    Oh, no, Mary, you didn’t?

  6. At least you lost the project to an agent you respect. I hope that takes some of the sting out of losing it.

  7. It really goes back to being comfortable with a plan. It’s out there and highlighted with a yellow marker…THIS FUCKERS NOT FOR YOU. Later you look back and realize why. Perhaps there is a better lay out there.

  8. Smart and lovely -and- he stuck around for breakfast? Don’t put the pins away, pull out the butcher knives.

    Losing to the idiotic and loathsome = anger.
    Losing to the lovely and deserving = despair.

    Who is this paragon? I hate her already. Or is it man? I bet it’s a man, or you’d be more pissed than gracious.

  9. Put the pins away. Offer up thanks to the deep unity of all things human and put the fu#ker out of your head.

  10. I hate all lovely people. (That is, until they’re nice to me).

  11. It’s so much easier when you lose to an idiot/asshole/undeserving wretch. Then you can redirect all sorts of self loathing into a rant about them. Losing to the smart and lovely is lame and overrated.

  12. Sounds like a pretty nice deal all around to me. The promising author with the promising manuscript got a deal. Betsy at least had a chance at it, knows it’s good material, can be glad it’s going to have its day. And the other agent got a good project.

    Doesn’t always happen like that (I can tell from reading this blog), but we can be glad it sometimes does.

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