• 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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I Want Your Ugly, I Want Your Disease


186005-2tAmazon rankings. Number of comments. Sales figures. Facebook friends. Twitter followers. Salary. Penis size. Portfolio. The Scale. Bank account. Square feet. Bestseller lists. No one ever asks how many doors you help open for other people, how many times you gave up a seat on the subway or helped a woman with a baby carriage up the stairs. At some point you have stop checking the rankings or you’ll go insane. Some of my clients start every phone call with a report on their rankings. It’s impossible not to check the Bestseller list if you have a client with a book on it. And as it goes up and down so goes the mood of the nation. People like to say that numbers don’t matter. Of course they matter.

What else matters?

19 Responses

  1. new sentences. #thatisall

  2. I LOVE Lady Gaga.

    What else matters – in terms of publishing/writing, like afuckingwriter already said, “new sentences,” and what I was going to say is, writing new material.

    The post reminds me of what we all knew in corporate America. You seldom hear when you’ve done a good job, but just wait till you screw up.

  3. Love. Family. Friends. Health.
    Word of mouth and reviews. Anyone hurt by words written? Anyone delighted?
    Your own pride and happiness?

    • I won’t bother answering, because you’ve answered it almost perfectly, Mike.

      Except that for me, reviews mostly don’t matter. Unless the review shows the reviewer’s genuine delight or happiness. Apart from that, reviews are just Other People’s Opinion, or a book report, or sometimes plain old nastiness. Those don’t matter at all.

      But the rest of your answer is perfect. (This was not a review of your answer. 4.9 stars!)

  4. Categories matter. Literary or commercial. Women’s fiction. Cozy mysteries. Steampunk.

    I had a terrible feeling about my last book when the publisher decided that it was a “reference.” It’s not a f*&^ing reference book! Well, except that it is… but it’s also an advice book, and a social criticism, and funny as hell. Beautifully blurbed, terrifically reviewed in good outlets, but it’s sitting up there next to the SAT prep guides, and that’s not a good neighborhood. And marketed by the division of the press that handles those books, too, so not much attempt at a splashy opening or anything.

    My first book was Library of Congress-coded HQ, which is family, marriage, women and sexuality. An odd choice for a book about the ways teenagers use their homes and schools and communities, but teenagers were seen (by that reader on that day) primarily as children and thus primarily as part of family. Who knows? Who the hell knows anything at all?

    When an editor has an endless array of supplicants, s/he needs to find a way to ignore most of them and focus on a few. Genre is one of those ways. I had a gracious editor at a big house read a MS and love it, only to then say “Your male protagonist and his efforts to (as you say in your description) live a visible life, not to mention the world he inhabits – pool, a billiards club, a bar – are difficulties that are hard to get around in terms of what I’m looking to acquire for my list here.” Women’s fiction has no room for men who love women.

    Nobody tells us these things. I wrecked an academic career before it started by doing an interdisciplinary PhD, which meant (as one writer put it) that I was incompatible with a larger array of disciplines. It took me two fiction manuscripts to discover for myself that I was writing men’s romance, a genre that doesn’t exist and that would get no love if it did. Is it literary? Absolutely it is. Is it commercial? Absolutely it is. But writing outside the label set just means that you’re incompatible with a larger array of gatekeepers. Pick a drawer and get in.

  5. “What else matters?”

    Knowing what matters.

  6. I think what matters most is not what keeps us awake each night, but what makes us want to get out of bed every morning.

  7. Being a better man today than I was yesterday matters. Getting it right matters.

    I’m sitting in a gazzilion dollar beach house in Hobe Sound, the Atlantic in front, a pool and dazzling grounds behind, just me and Beauregardless taking it in. I owe Karma big time for this, and aim to pay. That matters.

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