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    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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There’s a sad sort of clanging from the clock in the hall

This just in: Nathan Bransford is quitting agenting. He’s the biggest agent blogger  I know of and he’s trading in his agenting badge for honest work. According to Galley Cat, he plans to continue his blog and forums, etc, but naturally there will changes up ahead. I recommend his blog to many people who ask me for useful advice because it is down to earth, smart, concise, and basically right on target with all the advice. That said, if you are one of his million followers and are in the mood for something a little different, please give my blatantly narcissistic, positively negative, wholly abject, downcast, and embittered blog a try. Ditto for all the people who have been handing out the blogging awards to Bransford.  We have a hugely self-destructive and vaguely suicidal project underway over here and we’d be glad to share some of that glory now that the king is stepping down.

I’m hoping to monetize the misery mid-2011 if at all possible. Can I get blood from this cold stone? Someone suggested I write a book based on the blog. Ha ha, I did it other way round. What a maroon. Anyway, Mr. Bransford, agent and gentleman, we will bid you adieu from the dark side of living off the backs of writers, au revoir to 15% percent commish and enjoy a real salary.  Most of all, thank you for helping me when I was getting started with my project. Your generosity is as infectious as is your love for books and the writing process. I wish you well in your new endeavor. I’m sure your clients will miss you enormously.

Here’s tonight’s question: how hard would you cry if I left? Only kidding. (As if anyone would employ me.)  Here’s tonight’s question: an agent, an editor and a writer walk into a bar. Which one buys the drinks?

42 Responses

  1. Vaguely suicidal wouldn’t begin to cover it if you left us, Betsy.

  2. I was told the writer never pays.

  3. The editor. Definitely.

  4. I skipped over the other post to which I owe a comment to tell you that had I been holding a ceramic coffee mug it would have been full and I would have been standing instead of sitting and also I would have dropped said mug and it would have fallen in slow motion to shatter in romantic shards around my feet before we cut to the next scene to avoid cleaning up the mess or dealing with how I escaped without being burned or cut. And that is all because of that completely unnecessary insinuation that you could possibly stop blogging.

  5. I believe the agent and the editor would expect the writer to pay…especially if the writer had a book that was on the best seller’s list. 🙂

  6. An editor once told me how to tell if an agent’s any good: if she stays in business, she’s good. For -somebody-, at least.

    Answer: None of them. The agent knows what she wants but can’t describe it, the editor demands a completely unique drink that’s exactly like what all the other editors are drinking, and the writer’s in back washing dishes and jerking off into the aioli.

    • that’s like one of those lightbulb jokes. My version:

      None of them. The bartender pays, he’s screwing the agent.

      • I like that, Kyler. I wanna change my answer to: “The writer, because he’s the only person they’re -all- trying to screw.”

        I don’t really understand the question, though. Betsy knows this stuff better’n any of us. What is she trying to figure out, in her sly way?

        Speaking of sly, I just thought of a way for her to get blood from the stone. Forget about writing a book based on the blog; instead, announce that she’s writing a book based on the blogs of people who comment on her blog. She picks a topic, the inkstained masses answer on their blogs, people in comments say which answer they like best, she uses those answers as jumping-off points for her authoritative take–and locks in traffic and a market.

        Is there any doubt about why I’m in the back room with the dishes?

      • I’m in. I never miss an opportunity to lose a contest.

      • How about the question being about Betsy being all three? She has to buy herself a drink.

    • Yeah, that does it for me ordering aioli, ever again. Thanks, August.

      This is how I felt after reading the perversions section of Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex (which I snuck from my mother’s bedside table), that told of a guy who worked in a women’s shoe dept. He had a foot fetish, so after he measured their feet, he’d go to the back room, jack off, then come back with the requested shoes. I STILL think about that, every time I go into Nordstroms and ask to try on a pair of shoes.

  7. I really, truly think Nathan is one of those rare beasts – a good guy. I wish him all the very best as he goes forward.

    As for you not being here, I’d gnash my teeth, tear my clothes and email bomb you until you came back, or blocked me as spam. I can’t stay away, kind of like I’m drawn to the fifth circle of Hell, or the third, depending.

    Oh, and the agent, for sure and certain. Sorry, Betsy. I recommend following my agent’s lead – acquire recovering pseudo-alcoholic clients who only drink coffee.

  8. I wouldn’t cry if you left, but I wouldn’t be pleased.

    The agent will get stuck with the tab. Get out while you still can.

  9. Generally I offer to pay because that’s how I was raised (have worn both editor and writer shoes). Luckily, I usually get overruled–in which case I slip a few bucks into someone’s pocket (“the reverse pick” perfected by my untrue-to-stereotype Scottish grandmother).

    Editor pays first, then agent, then writer.

    That said, please pass the Pellegrino and buy me a nice paperback.

  10. You guys are waaaay funnier than me. That’s why I love this blog.

    If Betsy stopped blogging in the forest for the trees, would anyone notice?

    I’m sure lots of people would.

  11. I think Bransford is reading the signs, like one of those clever people who knew the housing bubble wouldn’t last and sold their home at the height of the inflated price, cleaning up in the process.

    I got a chatty rejection note today (to a query I sent on July 14) saying they used to get a hundred letters a week and now they get 200 a day thanks to email, so can’t respond personally, etc. The pressure is already funnelling a lot of writers straight to ebooks.

    Meanwhile the list of “deals being inked” on Galley Cat is long and depressing. But not this blog, this breath of fresh air.

  12. The poor desperate writer, of course. Eager to please. Aren’t we all.

  13. I mean it when I say your blog is the best one—because it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

  14. None of the three. A grateful reader would recognize them instantly and buy a few rounds for them all.

    Betsy, don’t even THINK of stopping blogging. And to say that, I was willing to violate the all-caps rule so get it that this is serious.

    I’ll miss Nathan.

  15. Waaaiiit a second – HE’S the biggest agent blogger ??

    I think not.

    The king is dead, long live the queen.

    And as for you leaving – Sorry, Betsy, I’ve checked your contract – you’re locked in forever…mwahahaha

  16. Not the writer, that’s for sure!

  17. Please don’t even think of jumping blog ship ever.

    Answer to riddle: Creepy Guy down the bar.

  18. Don’t mind you fishing for love and affection from your readers. Of course, we would miss you. But we don’t have to suffer because you’re staying, right?

    I would buy you the first round. Then, we’d look around to see if there were some cute guys who would buy us drinks because they think we will go to their places to see their etchings.

    Of course, we would excuse ourselves to the restroom and leave out the back door.

  19. Duh. The writer buys! He/She can’t do jack without the other two and will use this primo chance to suck up.

    I’ll pass on that aioli.

  20. Whoever can charge it to the expense account.

  21. I was in a hurry before and failed to add … I, too, will miss Nathan and his blog. There are so few that I follow regularly! All the in your new endeavors.

    But Betsy, we’re holding you hostage.

  22. A writer, an agent and an editor were sitting at a wobbly table in a crowded bar. Talented, young and searching for a healing truth, the writer drank white wine. The agent was a bear of a man, bald but with Shel Silverstein facial hair. The editor searched the room for conversations and broken body language. She ordered a margarita, the agent a rum and coke. They spoke about the young writer’s book and a man sitting nearby asked if they were in the publishing business. The trio hesitated before answering yes. Lacking an invitation, the man sat down with the group. He had kind eyes, a friendly wit and a lack of shyness the others envied. His tales made everyone laugh and the writer thought she had found someone who could teach her something about life, but when he touched her knee and attempted to massage her thigh, the writer excused herself and went to the bar for another drink. The stranger said he was an author and asked the agent if he would consider representing him. Intrigued by the prospect of representing one so well spoken, the agent asked, “What genre?”

    “Horror,” the man replied. “More gore than you can shake a stick at.”

    The agent went back to his drink and mumbled something to the man about sending out a query letter. The writer was scribbling something on a cocktail napkin while two goofy young men were trying to get her attention. Meanwhile, the editor had noticed two spelling mistakes on the drink menu and was hoping no one requested a dinner menu; she was off work and trying to relax without words.

    Soon the man got up, but before leaving he picked up their tab and handed the agent his card. Although they were reluctant to admit it, the writer, agent and editor hoped for happy endings and if the best thing that happened all day was a stranger buying them drinks, well, you take what you can get.

  23. The editor buys, of course. He’s got an expense account and a salary and he’s bought the book from the writer and agent. Time to celebrate and he ponies up at the bar.
    Nathan is a brilliant blogger. He will still blog but now that he’s a published writer we can get his perspective from that side of the bar. From my perspective this will make his blog even more informative.
    And, lastly, your blog is unique and flat out poetry in motion. Oh, the way you put those words together. . . But I don’t think those who suggest you write a book based on your blog are on track. What you need to do is just write a damn novel . . . just put the words together like you do here and attach some sort of plot (or not, whathehell) and publish that. It would be wonderful.

  24. I lied about the videos.

    Betsy, for you:

  25. And nevermind that it looks like a tampon commercial.

  26. given Betsy’s footwear:

  27. The agent. The editor has others he can boost, and the writer is too broke to buy anything. It’s gotta be the agent.

  28. The downcast and embittered among us need like-minded blogs to help keep us positively negative. Keep up the good work.

    The writer brings the beer, the agent drinks 15% of it, and the editor sells the rest to the bartender.

  29. Please don’t leave!! We drank the editor under the table and the bar tab is still open!!

    Thanks so much for your kind words, I appreciate it! Love this blog.

  30. Love your blog. It’s different from all the others. Please keep writing.

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