• 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.
  • Archives

Don’t Go Changing to Try and Please Me


lego-bible-solomon-babyYou’re a first novelist and your mentor from the Iowa Writer’s Conference has referred you to her agent. You send your book to the agent who replies right away. At the same time, your uncle’s high school friend is a famous agent, famous for his A-list writers and unscrupulous ways. Both agents read your novel in under a week and offer representation. Your mentor’s agent has a great reputation, has launched a number of other young literary writers and is known for being hands-on. People says she’s amazing, but not that aggressive. The uncle’s friend is dazzling, seductive, represents writers who are your heroes. He is known for being all about the deal and landing big advances.

Who do you go with?

22 Responses

  1. Good one, Betsy. I’d meet with both of them, and I’d put aside all the particulars you mention. I’d say, Who do I like?

  2. Is there a difference? Uncle or Clan? What the fuck is so special about this Iowa writers conference? Seems like a title wave of nullifying ideas. And half of them end up killing themselves. Imagine that. What the fuck. My uncle was retarded. He had the mind of a 10 year old. Fuck it. I’m not writing anymore. Are these my only choices?

  3. It was a dumb post.

    • Not dumb at all Betsy.
      In life we often have to make choices which are good and good.
      When we are presented with two melons, which look perfect, how can we know which is rotten, which is ripe and whether both satiate our craving or turn our stomachs. It’s a crap shoot.
      Hand me those dice babe. I wanna toss ’em.

    • You really slay me. (It’s my birthday today — 65! Now that’s worth dancing about.)

    • Not dumb at all. I have no idea what I would do in that situation, tough, but I should be so lucky. I’d likely land with the hands-on agent. I’d need some hand holding.

    • Totally not dumb at all. Might be Quantum Mechanics in action with the human psyche. A reaction which has multiple outcomes. All are natural. Our thoughts are also governed by the laws of nature. As much as we would like to think different. Might be a drunk all sauced up and getting triggered by words on the electro-waves. Imagine that. Totally not dumb at all.

  4. mentor’s agent for the relationship. i’ve fucking had it with aggressive men.

  5. What Merry B. Clark said, wish I had this dilemma!

  6. Tom Hanks or Tom Hanks?
    I’ll never wrinkle his sheets so why make the bed?

  7. I go with my mentor, the known, the demonstrated. Mr. Dazzler will not find his scruples because I am somehow special, and there is more to art than the deal. As for the big advances, well, I’ve come far without them, so I’ll stay on course.

  8. Mentor’s agent. It’s just my nature.

  9. I wouldn’t go with either at this point. It’s not that black & white. Instead, I’d query widely and sign with a stellar agent who is literary, hands-on and a stellar businesswoman. Aggression and charm don’t hold much water over time.

  10. “Who do you go with?”

    I would need more information before I decided. What are the details of their offers? I’d like to see a proposed contract. I would tell both of them that I had received an offer from another agent and needed to carefully and fully evaluate both offers in order to choose the best one.

  11. My mentor’s agent, definitely. The famous guy reminds me too much of a buffoon I see on the news every day. Besides, agents do a lot more for their clients than selling their books. With the famous guy, I’d be worried that I’d be told, “You’re fired!” if my book didn’t sell immediately.

  12. Neither. Writing isn’t like that for me anymore.

  13. Hands-on agent, hands down.
    I’d rather have someone who truly cares.
    Plus, unscrupulous is a dirty word. He’ll screw you, too, in the end.

  14. Alex, I’ll take BETSY LERNER for $600, please!!

    Final answer: IF I can’t have Betsy Lerner, then I will take the MENTOR’s agent referral.


    Sent from my iPhone >

  15. Dang, another trick question. Kermit or Animal, Gizmo or Gremlin, dinner with Great Aunt Tilly or a handsome man from Match.com who, as it turns out, picks his nose and failed to mention it on his profile. I try not to think about that stuff anymore. I choose a frame-worthy rejection letter from Betsy Lerner.

    Thanks, Betsy. Always look forward to your posts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: