Dang Greedy Agents… (Not)

So here’s my response to Chuck’s post yesterday: Personally I wouldn’t favor the kind of fee structure he proposed. But I thought Chuck did a great job of thinking outside the box and proposing some options, and I liked the idea of putting it out there to stimulate some discussion. (Chuck’s not even an agent, so he had nothing to gain by suggesting something new.)

Here’s why I wouldn’t support a “minimum fee” for agents:

1) I’d feel like I were really scamming an author if I took $2000 from a $3500 advance. Believe me, I know how much work it is to write a book. I’m not here to minimize or devalue the important and difficult work authors do. There’s no way I could justify, in my own mind, taking money off the top like that.

2) I enjoy the motivating factor of the 15% commission structure. It keeps me on my toes, making it crucial for me to do my very, very best for each author. It also keeps me from taking too many extraordinary risks on books I might love but can’t sell for much. As several people noted in the comments yesterday, that’s probably a good thing for the publishing business.

3) I don’t mind the “crapshoot” aspect of being an agent. Yes, sometimes I’m going to work my tail off and when all is said and done, maybe I’ve made a dollar an hour. But other times the payoff will be much greater. Like publishers, I take on some big ones and some small ones, and I try to keep it balanced so that I can stay in business.

4) I don’t like any structure that leads to more suspicion about agent practices. Part of the reason the AAR has such strict guidelines is to avoid any gray areas in which an unscrupulous agent could take advantage of authors. If there are gaping loopholes in the system that would make it easier for unprincipled people to scam or shortchange authors, it would be bad for all of us.

5) I don’t think the current system works perfectly, but it works pretty well as far as I’m concerned. I don’t see a reason to change fee structures. Eventually there will be a need for agents to alter their businesses as publishing continues to evolve, but that will be a much bigger change than simply commission rates.

I DO appreciate all of you who rose to the occasion yesterday and thoughtfully responded. Chuck and I wanted to simply open a discussion and see if we could get some good ideas tossed about. I think he has a unique perspective as someone who isn’t an agent himself but talks to a LOT of agents, all the time. He gets to hear some things that the rest of us don’t, and I always like hearing about new ideas, regardless of whether I agree with them. Publishing is changing, and the way people (authors, publishers, agents) make money is going to change, so we might as well get used to talking about it.

Of course it’s predictable that numerous people would use the post as another reason to bash agents, and Chuck and I both knew this going in. I wonder why it’s so hard for some to just consider a hypothetical question without getting all hot under the collar?


Well, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks and I’m exhausted. I feel the need to lighten up. Anybody have a good, clean joke? Leave them in the comments and I’ll choose the one I like best to win a free critique of 20 pages. PG-13, please.

Update: Contest closed!

Have a good weekend!

Photo: Grove Pashley-Corbis. Newsweek.

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  2. Gregory Despain on February 24, 2012 at 4:32 AM

    Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  3. Basiswissen Derivate on July 18, 2011 at 8:15 AM


    It is very interesting for me to read the post. Thanx for it. I like such topics and everything that is connected to them. I would like to read more on this blog soon….

  4. Rebecca LuElla Miller on January 25, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    >I know the contest is closed, but I actually remember this joke (am notorious for forgetting punch lines) so had to pass it along.

    Alerted to the presence of a robber entering her home one night, a woman shouted out, "Acts 2:38."

    The robber froze. The woman called 9-1-1, and a few minutes later the police arrived and arrested him.

    As they were putting him into the car, one officer asked him, "You would have time to get away before we got here. Why didn't you run?"

    The robber sighed. "Because she said she had an ax and two '38's."

  5. Valerie Norris on January 24, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    >Q. How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    A. Two. One to screw it almost all the way in, and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.

  6. Chumplet - Sandra Cormier on January 24, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    >I don't have much, but this is what my daughter overheard in class at college.

    A fellow student was listening to music with earbuds, and another asked, "What are you listening to? Sounds like opera."

    The other responded with a tinge of impatience, "It's Bohemian RHAPsody."

    The other shrugged. "Doesn't sound like RAP to me."

    I guess you had to be there…

  7. Nicola Ford on January 24, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    >“To do is to be.”

    “To be is to do.”
    Jean-Paul Sartre

    Frank Sinatra

    Well, it makes me laugh.

  8. Claire King on January 24, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    >Some great jokes on here, thanks for the laughs everyone.

    Hope you're having a good weekend, here is my sorry contribution:

    An Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman walk into a bar.

    The barman says, "Is this some kind of a joke?"

  9. bill on January 24, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    >A teacher was helping one of her kindergarden pupils put on his boots…
    He asked for help and she could see why.
    Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn't want to go on.
    By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat.

    She almost cried when the little boy said, 'Teacher, they're on the wrong feet.'
    She looked, and sure enough, they were.
    It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on.
    She managed to keep her cool as, together, they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the correct feet.

    He then announced, 'These aren't my boots.'

    She bit her tongue, rather than get right in his face and scream "Why didn't you say so?" like she wanted to.
    Once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet.
    No sooner had they got the boots off when he said,'They're my brother's boots. My Mum made me wear 'em.'

    Now she didn't know if she should laugh or cry.
    But she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again.

    Helping him into his coat, she asked, 'Now, where are your gloves?'
    He said, 'I stuffed 'em in the toes of my boots.'

    She will be eligible for parole in three years.

  10. Lucy on January 24, 2010 at 12:12 AM

    >Three Englishmen are sitting in a pub, watching an Irish lad savor his dinner. Well, it's three to one, which seems like a sporting proposition when you've already had one pint too many, so one stands up and says to his mates, "Now watch this."

    And he walks over to the Irishman's table, and he says, "Say, I hear your Saint Patrick was a weak little man."

    And the Irishman never looks up, just goes on eating his dinner.

    And the Englishman watches him for a minute and shakes his head, and goes back to his own table.

    And the second Englishman says, "Now you see here, I'll handle this."

    So he goes over to the Irishman, and he says, "I hear your Saint Patrick was an idiot."

    And the Irishman goes on eating his dinner.

    Finally the third Englishman gets up. And he's going to rile Paddy, whatever it takes, because you see, they've got their honor at stake here. So he walks up to the Irishman, and he says:

    "I hear your Saint Patrick was an Englishman."

    So at last the Irish lad looks up from his dinner, and all three of your Englishman are looking his way, thinking they've got him this time for sure. And it's right then that he tips his head back and smiles, as sweet as a choirboy in church, before he says:

    "Ah, so that's what your mates were trying to tell me."

  11. emily on January 23, 2010 at 11:26 PM

    >A dyslexic walks into a bra…

    An agnostic, dyslexic, insomniac stayed up all night wondering if there really is a dog.

  12. Kelly Combs on January 23, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    >Barack Obama, at a school assembly, asked the audience for total quiet. Then in the silence, he started to slowly clap his hands every few seconds, his audience sat in total silence. Then he said “Children, every time I clap my hands, a child dies from gun violence.” Then a little boy pierced the quiet and said: “Well, stop clapping!”

  13. The Business Mom on January 23, 2010 at 2:13 PM

    >The other day I ran into Vincent Van Gogh at a restaurant.
    "Vincent," I said, "I love your work. May I buy you a drink?"
    "No thanks," he replied, "I've already got one 'ear'."

    Leah Genuario

  14. Anonymous on January 23, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    >It's not clean, but it is funny. Follow the link, but move liquids away from the keyboard first.


  15. Heather on January 23, 2010 at 12:40 PM

    >Hey, Rachelle, thanks for the post! I appreciate all that you do in trying to make the world of publishing less "mysterious" for authors…

    And here's my joke:
    A mom said to her little girl, "Sweetie, your toenails are filthy. Why didn't you clean them before coming to town?"
    The little girl rolled her eyes and said in an exasperated voice, "Mom, that's what toenail polish is for!"

  16. Jeff Miller on January 23, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    >An Amish man decided to take his family to the big city and see all the sights and wonders. He heard about these walls that open and close, and that they made people "disappear." He had to see this!

    The family made it to the city, the women went off sight seeing and the dad and son found their way to the lobby of the tallest building they could find and there they were, the walls that open.

    About that time and elderly lady, gray haired, bent over walking with a cane "disappeared" into one of the moving walls. A few seconds later the walls moved again and a supermodel was strutting through the lobby.

    The son looked at the father and said "what is that thing pa?"

    "I don't know son but go find your mother!" Said the father

  17. GhostFolk.com on January 23, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    >Heck, I'd give my agent 20% if she needed it.

  18. Heather Marsten on January 23, 2010 at 9:14 AM

    >Thanks for your thoughts about agent fees, I think there needs to be a middle ground especially in this tough market, even agents need to eat – perhaps raise the % a bit more. I suspect that the time invested in selling books is far more than most authors realize. I look forward to finding a trustworthy agent when I finish the book I am writing.


    A Sunday School teacher wanted the preschoolers to know that Jesus was real, that He was not just a story. That The birth of Jesus and His death and resurrection really occurred. The teacher asked the class, “Where is Jesus today?” Joseph raised his hand and said, “He’s in Heaven.” Mary called out the answer, “He’s in my heart.” Christopher raised his hand and said, “I know, I know! He’s in our bathroom!!” The class got quiet and looked at the teacher. At a loss for words, the teacher said, “Why do you think He is in your bathroom?” Christopher said, “Well, every morning my daddy gets up, knocks on the bathroom door and yells, “Good Lord, are you still in there?”


  19. care on January 23, 2010 at 8:56 AM

    >There's this man who had been lost in the desert for about 2 weeks.
    One hot day, he sees the home of a missionary. Tired and weak, he crawls up to the house and collapses on the doorstep.
    The missionary finds the man and nurse's him back to health.

    Feeling better, the man asks the missionary for directions to the nearest town.
    On his way out the door he sees a horse.
    He goes back in the house and asks the missionary, "Could I borrow your horse and give it back when I reach town?"
    The missionary says, "Sure, but there is a special thing about this horse. You have to say, 'Thank God' to make it go and 'Amen' to make it stop."

    Not paying much attention the man says, "Sure, ok."
    So, he gets on the horse and says, 'Thank God' and the horse starts walking.

    Then he says, 'Thank God' 'Thank God' and the horse starts trotting.

    Feeling really brave, the man says
    'Thank God' 'Thank God' 'Thank God''Thank God' 'Thank God' and the horse just literally takes off.

    Pretty soon he sees a cliff coming and he's doing everything he can to make the horse stop.
    "Whoa,stop,hold on!!!"
    Finally he remembers, "AMEN!"
    The horsse stops 4inches from the cliff.
    The man leans back in his saddle and says, "Thank God."

  20. Linda Norman on January 23, 2010 at 1:50 AM

    >A kindergarten teacher gave her class a "show and tell" assignment. Each student was instructed to bring in an object to share with the class that represented their religion.

    The first student got up in front of the class and said, "My name is Benjamin and I am Jewish and this is a Star of David."

    The second student got up in front of the class and said, "My name is Mary. I'm a Catholic and this is a Rosary."

    The third student got up in front of the class and said, "My name is Tommy. I am Baptist, and this is a casserole."

  21. Shelley Ring on January 23, 2010 at 1:13 AM

    >Thanks for all your great advice, Rachelle. And what fun to start the weekend. I have to say, the butt ash and the "What's green and has wheels" get my vote for best. Laughed out loud and almost woke my six month old. 😉

    This joke isn't as funny and is better told in person, but I have to share because it made the little boy I babysat years ago laugh hysterically.

    Q: Guess what I saw?
    A: Wood.

    Q: Guess what I heard (herd)?
    A: Sheep.

    Have a fantastic weekend, Rachelle!

  22. Mark Wise on January 23, 2010 at 12:55 AM

    >Q: Why couldn't they play cards on the ark?

    A: Because Noah was always sitting on the deck!


  23. Rick Barry on January 22, 2010 at 11:46 PM

    >Well, I was going to tell this joke about a cow… But then I decided that one is udderly terrible.


    Thanks for maintaining a blog that is both practical and fun.

  24. myimaginaryblog on January 22, 2010 at 11:42 PM

    >I don't have any pages to have critiqued, but I do have two jokes for you. The first is dear to my heart because my husband's an engineer:

    A scientist comes home in the wee hours of the morning. He’s disheveled, with lipstick on his collar and reeking of perfume. When his wife confronts him angrily, he explains, “Look, here’s what happened: the guys and I went out for drinks, we met some women, and one thing led to another. I’m really sorry, and it will never happen again. ” His wife shrieks, “Liar! You were at the lab all night!”

    I heard this next joke told as a lawyer joke, but I've adapted it for the circumstances:

    The devil comes to a literary agent and says, "I'll make you a deal. I'll make all your clients' books succeed beyond your wildest fantasies, and all you have to give me in exchange is your soul, the souls of your spouse and children, and the souls of all your clients." The agent leans in close and whispers, "What's the catch?"

  25. Sharon Mayhew on January 22, 2010 at 11:11 PM

    >Please forgive my joke…It's the only one I can ever remember:

    Q: Why did the cucumber blush?

    A: He saw the salad dressing…

  26. Leah Morgan on January 22, 2010 at 10:42 PM

    >My dad is a faithful reader, but alas, a terrible communicator. He sat chuckling in the corner chair over an open copy of one of Jan Karon’s books. He just couldn’t keep it to himself. He walks over to the nearby table where the remainder of the company sits, one hand at his waist, the other in its usual position propped behind his ear. “This here, GUY…he dies. And he, he, well there’s a, you know, a funeral and all. So he’s going down the town, down through the town. Ha, ha and the guy, the one that’s….dead, his casket, it rolls away. It rolls off down through the lot to the-the-oh! Now what’s that called? My! You know! I can’t think of the -where you get your-THE PHARMACY! This casket rolls up to the pharmacy there, you know, and the guy, you know that’s dead, he sets up and says, ha! He says, ‘You got anything that’ll stop this casket?’
    My dad laughs. Alone. And walks off.
    I had to get to the bottom of the senseless joke. What author would waste the space on a page for this nonsense? I picked up the book from the chair in the corner and started at the beginning. I got hooked on Jan Karon AND discovered that if my dad had inserted COFFIN for casket, you have yourself a mighty fine corny joke that makes absolute sense!

  27. Melissa on January 22, 2010 at 10:27 PM

    >I am 100% not exaggerating when I say that this is the only joke I've been able to memorize in 28 years of existence. So, I share it rarely 'cause I've got to save it up for only the best of occasions. An interesting blog topic and the lure of a 20-page critique counts as the best of occasions…

    Why did the Siamese twins go to London?

    So the other one could drive.

  28. Faith Imagined on January 22, 2010 at 10:23 PM

    >Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater.

    Give her a house, she will give you a home;
    give her groceries, she will give you a meal;
    give her sperm, she will make a beautiful baby;
    give her a smile, she will give you her heart.

    She multiplies and enlarges what she is given. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of S–T!

    -Alisa Hope
    Faith Imagined

  29. Barb Robertson on January 22, 2010 at 10:18 PM

    >A blonde decides to try horseback riding, even though she has had no lessons or prior experience. She mounts the horse unassisted and the horse immediately springs into motion.

    It gallops along at a steady and rhythmic pace, but the blonde begins to slip from the saddle. In terror, she grabs for the horse's mane, but cannot seem to get a firm grip.

    She tries to throw her arms around the horse's neck, but she slides down the side of the horse anyway. The horse gallops along, seemingly impervious to it's slipping rider.

    Finally, giving up her frail grip, she leaps away from the horse to try and throw herself to safety. Unfortunately, her foot has become entangled in the stirrup, she is now at the mercy of the horse's pounding hooves as her head is struck against the surface over and over.

    As her head is battered against the ground, she is mere moments away from unconsciousness when to her great fortune …………………….

    The Wal-Mart manager sees her and shuts the horse off

  30. Jan Rider Newman on January 22, 2010 at 10:04 PM

    >Hi. I think it's funny that you've got as many jokes to read through and choose from as writer queries! This joke probably won't earn me a 20-page critique, but it might make you smile:

    What does Mrs. Santa Claus want for Christmas?


    Have a nice weekend. Don't hurt youself laughing. 🙂

  31. Saundra on January 22, 2010 at 9:51 PM

    >Husband: "Your birthday is coming up, so I'd like some idea of what you'd like for your birthday."
    Wife: "I want a divorce!"
    Husband: "I'm really sorry, but I hadn't planned to spend that much."

  32. A.L. Sonnichsen on January 22, 2010 at 9:15 PM

    >Oops, I didn't spell blond consistently correctly in my last post. *edit, edit, edit*

  33. A.L. Sonnichsen on January 22, 2010 at 9:13 PM

    >Here's a good blonde joke for you. (No offense to any that are blond among us.)

    A blonde goes to heaven. While waiting at the pearly gates, Peter, in an attempt to figure out if he should let her in or not, approaches and asks, "What is God's Name?"

    The blond says, "That's an easy one … Andy."

    "Andy?" Peter says. "Why Andy?"

    "Oh, c'mon, Peter," the blond says. "You know. Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am his own."

    (I know, bad theology. Sorry!)

  34. mulligangirl on January 22, 2010 at 8:29 PM

    >A duck walks into a bar, plunks onto a stool at the counter and asks for some grapes. The bartender says, “We don’t serve ducks in here, and we don’t have any grapes.” He throws the duck out.

    Next day, the duck goes back to the bar, sidles up to the counter and orders some grapes. The bartender glares at him and says, “I told you yesterday, we don’t serve ducks in here and we don’t have any grapes. Get out.” He throws the duck out.

    The third day when the duck returns to the bar asking for grapes the bartender says, “Look, I told you yesterday and I told you the day before, we don’t serve ducks in here and WE DON”T HAVE ANY GRAPES. If you come back again I’m going to nail your pretty-boy tail-feathers to the floor.”

    The next day the duck goes to the bar, slides onto a bar stool and says, “Got any nails?” The bartender looks ready to implode. “NO!” he says.

    The duck smirks and says, “Got any grapes?”

  35. Stephanie on January 22, 2010 at 8:22 PM

    >The kindergartners were creating their snowy day pictures. Looking over one little girl's shoulder, I saw a person with a huge white circle over its head.
    "Is that a snowball?" I asked.
    "Yes," replied the little girl. "And guess what it's doing?"
    "That's you and it's about to squash you!"
    Minutes later, I returned to see the figure had, indeed, been squashed.
    "Look at mine," another girl exclaimed. "That's a snowball," she said and pointed to a large white circle. "And that's you." She pointed to the stick figure on the paper. "But guess what? You moved out of the way."

  36. Anonymous on January 22, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    >The hunter joke would've been a lot funnier if the main hunter was Dick Cheney out with his friend.
    It coulda happened!

  37. Peggy on January 22, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    >Bob goes on vacation and his brother agrees to house-sit and take care of Bob’s cat. After a few days, Bob calls to check in and his brother says, "Your cat is dead."

    Bob is beside himself with grief and chastises his brother for breaking the news in such an abrupt manner. The brother asks how he could have done it better and Bob explains "Well, for example, you could have told me the cat was on the roof. The next time we talked, you could have said the Fire Department is trying to get him down. The next time, you could have said the cat fell during the rescue and was at the vet's office. The next time I called, you could have said the cat succumbed to his injuries and passed away. That way I would have been prepared for the bad news."

    The brother says he understands. Then he adds, "Oh, by the way, Mom is on the roof."

  38. Livia on January 22, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    >Rachelle, Chuck, and Livia get arrested and jailed for excessive blogging. Chuck manages to dig a tunnel out, and the three of them escape into the forest, only to hear the alarm go off minutes after they left. Unable to outrun their pursuers, they each climb a tree.
    A policeman notices a rustling in Rachelle's tree and goes to investigate. Quick thinking Rachelle says "Tweet Tweet," and the officer moves on, thinking it's just a bird.
    He then comes to Chuck's tree. Chuck takes a page out of Rachelle's book and says "Whoo whoo." The officer moves on, thinking it's just an owl.
    Finally, the officer comes to Livia's tree. "I can do that," she thinks. So she takes a deep breath, and as loudly as she can, says, "Mooooooooo"

  39. Anonymous on January 22, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    >Keep on posting such themes. I like to read articles like this. BTW add more pics 🙂

  40. Staci at Writing and Living on January 22, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    >What did the zero say to the eight?

    Nice belt.

  41. Katie Ganshert on January 22, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    >Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.

    Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.

    Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.

    Why, oh why, does my husband split a side everytime he tells me these Chuck Norris jokes?

    Is it a guy thing?

  42. Kev Webb on January 22, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    >A horse walks into a bar, the barman turns to him and says. Hey fella why the long face?

  43. A P Mullaly on January 22, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    >I have a lot of jokes, but most are a little racier than PG-13.

    A guy has been drinking at the bar for hours when he realizes its 4:30 and his wife will be home soon.

    "Ah crap" he thinks, "I have to get home before the wife or she'll kill me." He gets up to walk out of the bar and falls flat on his face.

    "Oh hell, I must have drank more than I thought, maybe if I drag myself outside the fresh air will wake me up and I'll be able to walk."

    Getting outside he tries to stand only to fall (hand smack) flat on the ground again.

    "Oh she's going to kill me. I can't believe I'm this drunk." Thinking about his options, while lying on the ground, he decides to crawl home.

    He drags himself the five blocks home and passes out on the front porch.

    His wife wakes him by slamming the front door into his head.

    She says, "You've been drinking."

    "Oh no, not me. I just fell asleep on the porch."

    She glares at him for a moment. "Don't lie, the bar called. You left your wheelchair, again."

  44. Beth on January 22, 2010 at 4:56 PM

    >Robert Dinero, Mel Gibosn and Arnold Schwarzenegger were approached to play different composers in a film.

    "I'd like to be Mozart," said Robert.

    "Hmm," said Mel, "I'll play Handel."

    Arnold thought for a moment and then informed the others, "I'll be Bach."

  45. Kate Fall on January 22, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    >Q: How many writers does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A. Five. One to change the lightbulb and four to analyze how they would have done it better.

    Q: How many copyeditors does it take to change a lightbulb?

    A: In the last joke, this read "writers" not "copyeditors." Which is correct? Please fix.

  46. Richard Mabry on January 22, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    >One for each of my two favorite pro teams:

    After another September collapse: Did you hear that the Texas Rangers have been bought by a consortium of businessmen in the Philippines? They're going to change the name to the Manila Folders.

    After a particularly bad game by a Cowboy quarterback: He was so dejected he threw himself to the ground…but he missed.

  47. Cossette on January 22, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    >A woman was completely remodeling her house, and yard. When it came time to paint the walls, she walked through the house with the contractor telling him what she wanted.
    "In this room I want the walls green–a really warm, soothing green, that will make you feel like summertime."
    "Ok, we can do that" replied the contractor, then he walked to the window, stuck his head out, and yelled "Hey! Green side up!"
    They moved to the next room.
    The woman went on, "This room I want to be red–a hardy brick red."
    "Ok." the contractor again went to the window and stuck his head out and yelled "Hey! Green side up!"

    The woman thought this was odd, but went on to the third room. "I want this room a light blue–a really cool relaxing color. I want this room to be soothing."

    "Alright, we can do that too." Again, the contractor went to the window, stuck his head out, and yelled "Hey! Green side up!"

    Finally, the woman couldn't take it anymore. "Look, I don't understand. Every room we've been in you've gone to the window and yelled 'Hey! Green side up!'"

    "Oh," explained the contractor, "I've got a couple blondes out there laying sod."

  48. Michael Joshua on January 22, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    >Ok after the Texas joke I had to add my own –

    Do you know what the last thing a Texan tells his buddies?

    "Hey, Watch me do this"

    (I have 20 pages)

    Thanks for all the laughs today.

  49. Bernita on January 22, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    >In the hospital, the relatives were gathered in the waiting room while a family member lay gravely ill. Finally, the doctor came in looking tired and somber.

    'I'm afraid I'm the bearer of bad news,' he said, as he surveyed the worried faces. 'The only hope left for your loved one at this time is a brain transplant. It's an experimental procedure, and very risky, but it is the only hope. Insurance will cover the procedure, but you will have to pay for the BRAIN.'

    The family members sat silent as they absorbed the news. ; After a time, someone asked, 'How much will a brain cost?'

    The doctor responded, '$5,000 for a male brain; $200 for a female brain.'

    The moment turned awkward. Some of the men actually had to 'try' to not smile, avoiding eye contact with the women.

    One man, unable to control his curiosity, finally blurted out the question that everyone wanted to ask, 'Why does a male brain cost so much more than a female brain?'

    The doctor smiled at the childish innocence and explained to the entire group, 'It's just standard pricing procedure…. We have to price the female brains a lot lower because they've been used.'

  50. Elena on January 22, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    >There was this blonde driving through the cornfields of Iowa. In one of the cornfields she saw another blonde sitting in a canoe, paddling, going nowhere. The first blonde stopped the car, got out and yelled to the blonde in the canoe…"It's blondes like you that give us a bad name…I swear, if I could swim I'm come out there and kick the crap out of you!"

  51. Flora on January 22, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    >What do you call a fish without an eye?


  52. Dominique on January 22, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    >A woman walking along a beach stumbled upon a Genie's lamp. She rubbed it, and a great and terrifying Genie appeared. The woman asked if he would grant her three wished.

    Unfortunately, the Genie said, "No. Due to inflation and increases in wish production costs, I can only grant you one wish. What do you wish for?"

    The woman thought for a moment. "I want peace in the Middle East." She showed the Genie a map of the countries she would like to stop fighting.

    "Impossible," the Genie cried. "These countries have been at war for thousands of years. It cannot be done. Make another wish."

    The woman thought for a minute and said, "Well, I've never been able to find the right man. Considerate, fun, has a sense of humor, likes to cook, isn't opposed to housework gets along with my mother. I wish for the perfect boyfriend."

    The Genie let out a long sigh. "Let me see the map again."

  53. AvocadoDiva on January 22, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    >I usually don't consider hair color discrimination jokes in good taste, but as a former blonde who is now a brunette, I'll go ahead an share my favorite blonde joke in hopes it tickles your funny bone:

    Q: What do you call 3 Blondes stuck in a freezer?

    A: Frosted Flakes

  54. M.B. Sandefur on January 22, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    >**Just saw this one…I think it's funny because its about the very stereotypical New Yorker, haha. I can't say it's especially clean but it is HILARIOUS**

    A Frenchman, an Englishman, and a New Yorker were captured by a fierce tribe in the rain forests of Brazil. Not long after their capture, the chief walked up to them and said, “The bad news is that now that we've caught you we're going to kill you and use your skins to build a canoe. The good news is that you get to choose how you die”.

    The Frenchman said, “I take ze poison”. The chief gave him some poison. The Frenchman said “Vive la France!” and drank the poison down and died.

    The Englishman said, “A pistol for me, please”. The chief gave him a pistol. The Englishmen pointed it at his head, said “God save the Queen!” and blew his brains out.

    The New Yorker said, “Gimme a fork”. The chief was puzzled, but he shrugged and gave him a fork. The New Yorker took the fork and started jabbing himself all over: the stomach, the sides, the chest, everywhere. There was blood gushing out all over the ground and all over everyone. It was horrible.

    The chief was appalled, and screamed, “What are you doing???”

    The New Yorker looked at the chief and said, “So much for your canoe!”

  55. Tamika: on January 22, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    >A warthog hits a lady so her husband frantically calls 9-1-1.

    The operator asks, "Where are you sir?"

    The man cranes to read the sign, "Eucalyptus Road" he pants.

    Operator replies, "Can you spell that for me please."

    He says, "I'll just drag her over to Oak Road and you can pick her up there!"

    Thanks Rachelle.

  56. Matt Mikalatos on January 22, 2010 at 3:17 PM

    >Okay, this one will never win but it's my favorite joke from my seven year old, which she made up when she was four.

    What did one hobbit say to the other hobbit?

    "Take me to your stinky lagoon!"

    I don't know what it means but it makes me laugh.

  57. Anonymous on January 22, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    >Great jokes! As an aside, I want to point out that two of NYT's bestsellers, THE HELP and THE PIANO TEACHER, are both 20th-century historical novels written by DEBUT authors. Congrats!

  58. Alex Fayle on January 22, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    >I'm trying to imagine a real estate agent asking for a minimum commission and I imagine a real estate agent that doesn't last long in the business.

  59. kate on January 22, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    >Okay, this joke is hard to write – I strongly suggest you read it aloud and say the animal quotes in your best animal imitations.

    A chicken walks into a library, and asks the librarian, "Booook (pronounced more like a chicken's bawk) book book book book book." The librarian gives him a book, and the chicken walks out.

    A few minutes later, the chicken comes back in and says, "Boooook book book book book book." Again, the librarian gives him a book, and the chicken leaves.

    A few minutes later the chicken comes back in and them same thing is repeated. The fourth time, the librarian is curious about the repeated requests for a book, so when the chicken leaves, the librarian quietly follows him out the door. The chicken takes the book and goes down to the creek and puts the book down in front of a frog, who croaks, "Read-it. Read-it. Read-it."

    Hee hee. Depends on the sound… but my 5-yr-old nephew loves that one!

  60. Suze on January 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    >Q: How many surrealists does it take to change a light bulb?

    A: Brightly colored machine parts.

  61. Melissa on January 22, 2010 at 1:51 PM

    >Two hunters are in the woods, when one of them suddenly collapses. He wasn't breathing, and his eyes looked glazed. Thinking quickly, the other guy grabs his cell phone and calls for help.

    He shouts at the emergency operator, "My friend is dead! What do I do!?"

    "Calm down", the operator says, "I can help you. But first, we need to make sure he's dead."

    The phone goes silent, for a second. Then the operator hears a gunshot.

    "Ok", says the hunter, "what now?"

  62. Dana on January 22, 2010 at 1:47 PM


    I have to vote. Erastes was right on the mark. Great job!!!


    Have a great weekend Rachelle. Thanks for all your hard work this week.

  63. nightwriter on January 22, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    >Hi Rachelle–here's a joke for you:

    After her husband complained of chest pains, his worried wife rushed him to the hospital. As she anxiously waited by her husband's side for the doctor, she saw a dog enter the examining room, walk around the bed and then leave. A few minutes later, a cat circled the same room, then exited.

    What's going on? she wondered. Worried, she called the nurse and asked, "What's taking the doctor so long?"

    "It'll be a little while longer," the nurse told her. "We're still waiting on the results of the lab report and the cat scan."

  64. Glenn Sasscer on January 22, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    >Hi Rachel! Hope your day picks up with all these jokes…

    A termite walks into a bar and asks, "Is the bar tender?"

  65. Beverly Bender on January 22, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    >Rachelle, love reading your blog each day.

    my joke:

    A man comes home from the office and tells his wife he had a frustrating day at work.

    "Ahhhhh, tell me all about your day honey," his wife says.

    The husband looks at her and says, "Well.. I just did."

  66. hillary on January 22, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    >Here are two.

    How to Clean House

    1. Open a new folder on your PC.

    2. Name it "Housework."

    3. Send it to the Recycle Bin.

    4. Empty the Recycle Bin.

    5. Your PC will ask you, "Are you sure you want to delete
    Housework permanently?"

    6. Calmly answer, "Yes," and press the mouse button firmly.

    7. Feel better?


    Last night, my family and I were sitting in the living room and I said to them, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle.. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.'

    They got up, unplugged the Computer, and threw out my wine.

    They are SO on my BAD list …

  67. Anonymous on January 22, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    >people get hot under the collar because of a hypothetical question because of what the question was.

  68. DakotaWrites on January 22, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    >What kind of berry is the most colorful? A crayon-berry.

  69. Carol Benedict on January 22, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    >A Sunday school teacher said to her children, "We've been learning how powerful kings and queens were in Bible times. But, there is a higher power.

    Can anybody tell me what it is?"

    One child blurted out, "Aces!"

  70. Kathi Lipp on January 22, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    >Why do blondes have more fun?

    Because there aren't enough redheads to go around.

    Kathi "Carrot Top" Lipp

  71. Rebecca Knight on January 22, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    >A woman is having a bad day at the roulette tables in Vegas. Down to her last $100, completely exasperated, she cries, "What horrible luck! What in the world should I do now?"

    A gentleman next to her, trying to calm her down, suggests, "I don't know… Why don't you play your age?"

    He walks away. Moments later, his he is intrigued to hear a great commotion at the roulette table. Maybe, she won!

    Rushing back to the table and pushing his way through the crowd, he is stunned to see the lady lying limp on the floor, with the table operator kneeling over her.

    He asks, "What happened? Is she all right?"

    The operator replies, "I don't know, buddy…. She put all her money on 29. When 36 came up she fainted!"

  72. Debbie Maxwell Allen on January 22, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    >When a 84-year-old bride married for the fourth time, an interviewer asked her questions about her life, her husbands and their occupations.

    She smiled and said, "I married a banker in my 20s, a circus ringmaster in my 40s and a preacher in my 60s.

    "What's your current husband's occupation?" The interviewer asked.

    "A funeral director."

    "Why did you marry men with such diverse occupations?"

    "Easy, son. I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go."

  73. Falen on January 22, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    >Yay jokes!

    A man was sitting on the sofa watching TV when he heard his wife's voice from the kitchen.

    "What would you like for dinner, Love? Chicken, beef or lamb?"

    He said, "Thank you, I'll have chicken."

    "Forget you! You're having soup. I was talking to the cat."

  74. T. Anne on January 22, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    >A man was badly burned in a fire and his face needed a skin graft. Alas the man was far too thin and the doctor said he couldn't find enough skin for the graft. The husbands wife graciously agreed to let the doctor use her own skin. The doctor suggested the skin off her bottom since she had an ample supply. The wife agreed, but suggested they not tell the husband which part of her body the skin came from.

    After the surgery the husband raved about how beautiful and youthful his new face looked. He was eternally thankful to his wife and asked her what he could do for her in return?

    The wife replied, Nothing. It's thanks enough each time I see your mother kiss your face.

    Side note;
    ( I have novels other than VAPOR that I would love to share with you.)

  75. Chris on January 22, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    >I enjoyed yesterday's debate. Here's my joke:

    A writer is in a terrible auto accident and while he's on the operating table, he has a near death experience where an angel tells him, "The big man is going to give you a second chance to turn your life around by showing you the afterlife."

    The angel takes the writer's soul to Hell where he sees writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. "Oh my. This is awful," says the writer.

    Next they go to Heaven where they see writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop.

    "Wait a minute," says the writer, "This is just like Hell."

    "No," replies the angel, "Here your work gets published."

  76. Kierah Jane on January 22, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    >Once a year in the village of Tridsville, the locals trek up a mountain to pay homage to their god. However, the temple at the top is guarded by a giant and only a few people ever make it to the top.

    One year, no one makes it up, and the simple villagers blame everything (the earthquake, the hurricane, forest fires and the recession) on the giant. Anytime anyone gets close, the giant just kicks them down the steep mountain.

    Fearing that everything will get worse unless someone makes it to the top, they enlist the help of a rabbi in the next village. He agrees to go up and have a little heart to heart with the big guy.

    So, he walks up the mountain, fully expecting to get kicked down at any moment. But he makes it to the top! Sitting on the temple steps is the giant. He walks up and says, "Hey. Why didn't you try to kick me down?"

    The giant says, "Silly rabbi, kicks are for Trids."

  77. Sonja on January 22, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    >Dear Rachelle,

    How fun! Spent the last twenty minutes reading jokes!

    A little boy is walking home from school and he stops to look in the toy store window. He sees the most beautiful shiny, red bike. He rushes home and begs his mother to get him the bicycle.

    "Christmas is coming up, why don't you write a letter to Santa?" she suggests.

    The little boy hurries to his bedroom and sits at his desk with a fresh piece of paper in front of him. 'Dear Santa,' he begins… Then he has an idea. "Why waste my time on Santa? I'm going straight to the top…"

    He crumples the paper and tosses it into the waste basket. He begins a new letter. 'Dear God, if you get me that bike I will be good for a whole year…' The boy stops to think. "A year is a really long time. I know I can't be good for a whole year and I'm not going to lie to God." He tries again. 'Dear God, if you get me that bike I promise I'll be good for a whole month.' Again, he stops. "A month is still a long time…"

    Frustrated, the boy looks around his room. He sees the statue of the Virgin Mary on his dresser. He gets up, takes the statue down, and carefully wraps her in his softest blanket. He puts her in a shoebox and buries the box in the back of his closet. He sits down once more.

    'Dear God, if you ever want to see your mother again…'

  78. Ruth in the Desert on January 22, 2010 at 12:03 PM

    >So this pizza walks into a bar and the bartender says…

    "I'm sorry, we don't serve food."

  79. A. C. Ellis on January 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    >I don't think Chuck's structure would work for most authors. I'm glad you agree.

    A. C. Ellis – Science Fiction & Mystery/Suspense

  80. Miriam King on January 22, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    >I've gained a lot of perspective reading your blog articles — thank you. This is not a traditional joke per se, but a favorite poem of mine by Ogden Nash, which might inspire a restful weekend!

    Oh if you are an early bird, be an early bird
    And catch a worm for the breakfast plate
    Oh if you are an early bird, be an early bird
    But if you are a worm, sleep late.

  81. Paula Wiseman on January 22, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    >A 5 year old boy goes the hospital to have his tonsils out. His mother discreetly explains her son has never been circumcised and asks the surgeon if he would do that procedure as well while the boy was under anesthesia. The surgeon agrees.

    The next week, after the boy has recovered, he is outside playing when one of his buddies calls him over. "Mom just told me I have to get my tonsils out too. How did it go?" the friend asked.

    The boy shook his head. "All I can tell you is your tonsils AIN'T where you think they are!"

  82. Delilah S. Dawson on January 22, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    >What's brown and sticky?
    A stick.

    That's all I've got. =)

  83. Rock on January 22, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    >Given the forum, I'll go with this joke (hopefully it's considered PG-13):

    TEXAN: "Where are you from?"
    HARVARD GRAD: "I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions."
    TEXAN: "OK – where are you from, jackass?"

  84. Whirlochre on January 22, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    >A man walks into a horse.

    On seeing the horse is not amused, the man says, "why the long face?"

    The horse lifts the hoof injured by the man's reckless stomping. "I was just on the way to the bar. The guy there always cheers me up with his off-the-wall humour, but now I can't go on account of this wound."

    The man takes pity on the horse and offers to carry it to the bar. "Heck, I'll even buy you a drink…"

    When they finally make it, the bar is shut.

  85. Stephanie on January 22, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    >Q: Why did the bee go to the doctor?

    A: Because he had hives!

  86. Shawn Smucker on January 22, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    >"Let's put the fun back in funeral" – this is on a t-shirt I bought my father which claims he wants to be buried in.

  87. Annie on January 22, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    >For all of us worrisome, unpublished little blog followers, this joke thing was a really brilliant idea. 🙂
    Here's my contribution:

    A prince had a curse put on him when he was a young man. He could only speak two words every year. If he managed to not speak at all for a whole year, he would then be able to speak 4 words the next year, and so on.

    One day he met a lovely princess named Josie, and he wanted to say "My Princess". Still, he decided to save up his words for the next year.

    The next year he saw her, he wanted to say "I love you, Princess"-which he did, having saved up enough words. Happily, Princess Josie loved the Prince, and they began dating.

    The third year, he wanted to say "My princess, I love you, will you marry me?" However, having just used up his word quota, the young prince realized he would have to wait a couple more years.

    So, on the fifth year, excited to finally present his question, he visited the princess.

    He approached her respectfully, knelt down and asked, "JOSIE, MY PRINCESS, I LOVE YOU. WILL YOU MARRY ME?"

    And the princess said, "Pardon?"


  88. babybloomr on January 22, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    >Guy walks into a store with a white cane and a seeing eye dog. Picks dog up by the leash, starts whirling him dervishly around his head in a circle. Clerk runs over in alarm, yells, "Sir! Can I do anything to help you?" Guy says, "Nah, just looking around…"

    *slinks away consumed by the magnitude of her political incorrectness*

    *yet still giggling under her breath*

  89. Emily Ryan on January 22, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    >My favorite Easter joke:

    A rabbi, a priest, and a televangelist all die in a car crash and meet at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter tells them, "If you can tell me the true meaning of Easter, you may enter Heaven."

    The rabbi says, "Sure, it's all about thankfulness for what God has done. We gather around a large turkey, stuff ourselves with stuffing, and thank God for his many provisions."

    "That's Thanksgiving, not Easter," St. Peter says. "You're out."

    The priest steps in. "Easter is really about the ultimate gift we have received in Christ. We even have a fat man in a red suit to help us celebrate such a great gift."

    "That's Christmas. Not Easter. Good-bye."

    Finally, the televangelist begins. "Easter is all about Jesus and his crucifixion on the cross of Calvary-a. He died for our sins-a so that we may live-a. Then they buried our savior in a borrowed tomb-a, but he did not stay dead! Can I get an amen?"

    "Amen!" St. Peter shouts, and begins to unlock the Pearly Gates.

    "And every year, Jesus comes out of his tomb-a, and if he sees his shadow, we get six more weeks of winter!"

  90. Angela on January 22, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    >A visiting minister stood before the congregation to give the offertory prayer.

    "Dear Lord," he began, with arms extended and a rapturous look on his upturned face, "without you we are but dust…"

    He would have continued, but at that moment one little girl (who was listening carefully) leaned over to her mother and asked quite audibly:

    "Mommy, what is butt dust?"

    Church was pretty much over at that point.

  91. Gary on January 22, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    >"Doctor, Doctor, my brother thinks he's a chicken."

    "That's ridiculous. Bring him in and I'll tell him he's not a chicken."

    "I can't. We need the eggs."

  92. Juli Page Morgan on January 22, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    >What a great idea to ask for jokes, Rachelle! Just reading the ones posted has gotten my day off to a great start. Here's one my brother sent me, calling it the best joke of 2009:

    Two women were sitting together quietly.

  93. Jaycee Adams on January 22, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    >I'll add a joke that keeps me in stitches…

    I'm sure you guys have heard of the Chuck Norris Facts (http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com/) and its many imitators, plus the only decent response to it, the TrueFacts about Lacey Chabert (http://truefacts.mopjockey.com), right? One of my favorite Chuck Norris Facts, which isn't on either of those sites is this. And if told in person, you have to say it with a straight face for maximum effect. (I still can't do it!)

    The in-person version: Did you hear that Chuck Norris died? (They say something expressing their shock.) Yeah, he died 17 years ago, but Death is too afraid to tell him.

    As a one-liner: I heard that Chuck Norris died 17 years ago, but Death is too afraid to tell him.

    And my favorite TrueFact, I can't decide between:

    Before Copernicus, it was believed the universe revolved around the Earth. Thanks to him, we now know it really revolves around Lacey Chabert.


    Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the moon as a stunt to impress Lacey Chabert.

    Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week.

  94. Michael Joshua on January 22, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    >I don't have a joke – but Kim and the duck story get my vote!

  95. Ace on January 22, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    >Why do ducks have flat feet? To stomp out forest fires.

    why do elephants have flat feet? To stomp out flaming ducks.

  96. Mira on January 22, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    >Rachelle, I love how you run your blog. I also hope you have a relaxing, restful weekend. 🙂

    Okay, I'll contribute to a happy Friday. I looked this up on the internet, and thought it was funny. Sorry, it's a bit long.

    The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and will tell you whether you are qualified to be a professional. The questions are NOT that difficult.

    1. How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?

    Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe, and close the door. This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.

    2. How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

    Did you say, Open the refrigerator, put in the elephant, and close the refrigerator?

    Wrong Answer.

    Correct Answer: Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door. This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.

    3. The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend…. except one. Which animal does not attend?

    Correct Answer: The Elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there. This tests your memory.

    Okay, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your true abilities.

    4. There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and you do not have a boat. How do you manage it?

    Correct Answer: You jump into the river and swim across. Have you not been listening? All the crocodiles are attending the Animal Meeting. This tests whether you learn quickly from your mistakes.

  97. Jude Hardin on January 22, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    >A Phillip's-head screw named Publisher talking to a flat-head screw named Writer

    Publisher: I'm a little loose.

    Writer: Me too.

    Publisher: Who can we possibly find who has the right tools to screw us both?

    Writer: That's easy. An agent!

  98. Wendy Sparrow on January 22, 2010 at 10:36 AM

    >Well, in my mind, the duck joke has already taken it. (Laughed out loud and told it to my husband.) Still, I'll tell you my favorite muffin joke because everyone should have a favorite muffin joke:

    Two muffins were sitting in an oven baking. The first muffin turned to the other and said, "It sure is hot in here." The second muffin shouted, "Holy crap–a talking muffin!"

  99. Helen on January 22, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    >I don't have twenty pages, but I have a friend who does, so I hope the prize is transferable.

    A burglar breaks into a house at night. As he quietly creeps across the floor he suddenly hears a voice, "Jesus is watching you!".
    He stops dead still and listens, but he doesn't hear anything.
    He shines his flashlight around the room and he doesn't see anyone.
    He takes another step. Again he hears "You better be careful, Jesus is watching you!"
    Again he stops and remains still. Nothing. He takes another step..
    "Oh ho, you're in trouble now. Jesus is watching you!"
    He shines his flashlight around the room again. This time in the upper corner of the room he sees a parrot on a perch. The parrot says, "I told you to be careful, Jesus is watching you!"
    He goes up to the parrot and shines his light in its face.
    "Who are you?", he asks.
    "Fishbowl" the parrot replies.
    "What fool would name their parrot fishbowl?" he asks the parrot.
    "The same fool that named his killer rotteweiler Jesus" the parrot answers.

  100. Kat Harris on January 22, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    >I don't understand all of these texting shortcuts my daughter and her friends use.

    So when she used one in a message she recently sent me, I had to consult with my husband.

    "Honey, what does IDK mean?" I asked.

    He replied: "I don't know."

    Apparently, he doesn't understand those shortcuts either.

  101. Anna Claire on January 22, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    >This joke is funnier in person:

    So there were two muffins sitting next to each other in the oven. One muffin says, "Man, it's hot in here." The other muffin looked at him and said, "Wow, a talking muffin!"

  102. Penny Zeller on January 22, 2010 at 10:26 AM

    >Regarding your request for clean jokes – ok here's one…I use this on the students at school when I'm there volunteering and it always makes them laugh –

    What did one eye say to the other eye? Just between you and me, something smells! LOL

    Thanks for all of your informative blogs about the publishing world!

  103. Terry Burns on January 22, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    >I agree Rachelle. I'm probably still as much writer as agent and I do a lot of deals that are not worth my time financially. I do them to help a client get started because I have a belief that they will grow into a client that will reward me for my efforts on down the road, and because I just like to help writers. Chuck also did a blog over on the Hartline blog today on Ten Smart Questions About the Query Process.

  104. mary bailey on January 22, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    >A preacher was invited to eat Sunday dinner at the home of one of the families in his congregation. During the entire meal the family's young son stared at the preacher with a sad, glum look on his face.

    When the meal was over the preacher shook hands with everyone as he said his goodbyes.

    "Pastor," the boy piped up "when I'm a grown-up I'm going to give you all my money."

    "Why, that's very kind of you, Bobby," the pastor responded. "But why would you want to do that?"

    "Because daddy told mom that you're the poorest preacher we've ever had."

  105. Matilda McCloud on January 22, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    >This was one of my father's favorite jokes:

    A pastor is scheduled to give a talk about sex to teens, but he's worried about what his wife will think so he writes "talk about sailing" in his appt book.

    A week later his wife gets a call. "Your husband gave such a sensitive talk. The teens really appreciated it."

    To which she says, "But that's so strange. He's only done it twice. One time he threw up and the other time his hat blew off!"

  106. Karen Witemeyer on January 22, 2010 at 10:00 AM

    >This isn't so much a joke as a kid funny. Two nights ago, my daughter was reading our devotional and decided to try to memorize the verse (John 3:16). She's got a keen memory, so she just glanced at it once and gave it a whirl.

    "For God so loved the world he sent his one and only FORGOTTEN son…"

    I laughed so hard, I nearly cried.

  107. Tim Sinclair on January 22, 2010 at 9:48 AM

    >A doctor walks in and tells his patient, "I have bad news and I have worse news. The bad news is that you have AIDS."

    "Wow, what could be worse than that?" the man said.

    "You have alzheimers," said the doctor.

    "Well, could be worse," said the patient, "I could have AIDS."

  108. abouttothunder on January 22, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    >I appreciate the discussion of ideas.

    Here's my joke:

    Three sons left home, went out on their own and prospered. Getting back
    together, they discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly

    The first said, "I built a big house for our mother."
    The second said, "I sent her a Mercedes with a driver."
    The third smiled and said, "I've got you both beat. Remember how mom
    enjoyed reading the Bible? And you know she can't see very well. I sent her a
    remarkable parrot that recites the entire Bible. It took elders in the church
    12 years to teach him. He's one of a kind. Mama just has to name the
    chapter and verse, and the parrot recites it."

    Soon thereafter, mom sent a letter to each son. "Milton," she wrote one son,
    "the house you built is so huge. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the
    whole house."

    "Gerald," she wrote to another, "I am too old to travel. I stay most of the
    time at home, so I rarely use the Mercedes. And the driver is so rude!"

    "Dearest Donald," she wrote to her third son, "you have the good sense to
    know what your mother likes. The chicken was delicious."

  109. Amalia T. on January 22, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    >Two atoms are walking down the street, one turns to the other and says, "Hey, I think I lost an electron."
    The other atom says, "Are you sure?"
    The first atom responds, "Yeah, I'm Positive!"


    Well, then there's always the old favorite– What do you call a running girlscout?
    The answer– Brownian Motion.

    Yeah, I'm not sure why all my favorites are science jokes. 🙂 But I love them.

  110. Joyce on January 22, 2010 at 9:41 AM

    >So, Rachelle, how many editors does it take to change a lightbulb?

    One. But first you have to remove the ambiguity.


  111. Walt M on January 22, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    >Hope everyone likes this one.

    As we were walking to the car after church one Sunday, I tried to explain to my 8-year old son that "No one knows the actual location of Jesus's birth."

    My son looked at me dumbfounded. "But Dad, can't they look it up on the Internet?"

  112. Kim on January 22, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    >Three women die together in an accident and go to heaven.

    When they get there, St. Peter says, 'We only have one rule here in heaven:
    Don't step on the ducks!'

    So they enter heaven, and sure enough, there are ducks all over the place. It is almost impossible not to step on a duck,
    and although they try their best to avoid them, the first woman accidentally steps on one.

    Along comes St. Peter with the
    ugliest man she ever saw.
    St. Peter chains them together and says, 'Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to
    spend eternity chained to this ugly man!'

    The next day, the second woman accidentally steps on a duck.
    Along comes St. Peter,
    who doesn't miss a thing.
    With him is another extremely ugly man. He chains them together
    with the same admonishment as for the first woman.

    The third woman has observed all this and, not wanting to be chained for all eternity to an ugly man, is very,
    VERY careful where she steps.

    She manages to go months
    without stepping on any ducks.
    One day St. Peter comes up to her
    with the most handsome man
    she has ever laid eyes on . . .
    very tall, long eyelashes, muscular . . .
    St. Peter chains them together without saying a word.

    The happy woman says,
    'I wonder what I did to deserve being chained to you for all of eternity?'

    The guy says,
    'I don't know about you,
    but I stepped on a duck.’

  113. TrishaleighKC on January 22, 2010 at 9:15 AM

    >Thanks for the discussion, Rachelle. It's been interesting. Publishing will change – like everything – but nothing has ever diminished our love for reading. It's the reason I write! Here's my joke:

    What do you call a deer with no eyes?

    No ideer. (imagine hillbilly accent)

    What do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs?


    Loved the jokes, they lightened my Friday morning as well.


  114. Kelly on January 22, 2010 at 8:42 AM

    >Eleven people were hanging on a rope under a helicopter.

    10 men and 1 woman

    The rope was not strong enough to carry them all so they decided that one had to leave,

    Because otherwise they were all going to fall.

    They weren't able to choose that person,

    Until the woman gave a very touching speech..

    She said that she would voluntarily let go of the rope,

    Because, as a woman, she was used to giving up everything

    For her husband and kids or for men in general,

    And was used to always making sacrifices with little in return.

    As soon as she finished her speech,

    All the men started clapping . . . . …

  115. Rowenna on January 22, 2010 at 8:38 AM

    >Thanks for the discussion–was interesting to see how people felt and thought about this one!

    This is a terrible pun…

    A man goes to the dentist, having just gotten a new plate several months before. As the dentist examines the new dental hardware, he notices that it is already wearing away very badly.

    "Well, this is odd," he says. "The only thing I can think of is that you've changed your diet, because your old plate lasted years."

    "Huh," says the man, "come to think of it, my wife started making Hollandaise sauce. I love it. I put it on everything."

    "Oh, that's bad," replies the dentist. "Hollandaise is very acidic, it wears away the metal. We'll need to make your next plate chrome."

    "Why chrome?"

    "Oh, there's no plate like chrome for the Hollandaise."

    Now imagine Perry Como saying it 🙂

  116. Jaycee Adams on January 22, 2010 at 8:33 AM

    >For books that are good, but not good-enough, there is the self-publishing industry. And Amazon. And you can hire somebody to help you market and sell it direct to customers. And maybe you can sell them straight to the bookstores yourself. And garage sales. And flea markets.

    There are plenty of options out there if you really believe in your book.

  117. Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought on January 22, 2010 at 8:30 AM

    >Five more reasons why I keep coming back here.

    I am joke impaired (and I've envisioned myself as a stand up comedian…what?), but I'll enjoy reading the others. What a great offer…a 20 page critique! Congrats in advance to the winner.

    Have lots of laughs this weekend, Rachelle.
    ~ Wendy

  118. Suze on January 22, 2010 at 8:24 AM

    >My nephew's favorite joke:

    What's brown, long and sticky?

    A stick.

    (You may have to be a 12 year old British kid to get that one – or a 40 year old one!)

  119. Laura on January 22, 2010 at 8:17 AM

    Two guys walk into a bar, which is pretty stupid since you'd think the other guy would have ducked.

    (I'm in a Sanford and Son mood) Yo mama so ugly, they push her face into dough to make gorilla cookies.

    You're welcome. 😉

  120. Sara Tribble on January 22, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    >LOL–some of those are really good!

    I'll use the one that's famous in our family, since the kids LOVE knock-knock jokes.

    Knock Knock?

    Who's there?


    Olive who?

    Olive You! (If you say it right it sounds like I love you.)

    Can't complain when the kids say that one…it's too cute.

  121. Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke on January 22, 2010 at 7:55 AM

    >A preacher was completing a temperance sermon; with great expression he said, "If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river."

    With even greater emphasis he said, "And if I had all the wine in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river."

    And then finally, he said, "And if I had all the whiskey in the world, I'd take it and throw it into the river."

    He sat down.

    The song leader then stood very cautiously and announced with a smile, "For our closing song, let us sing Hymn # 365: "Shall We Gather at the River."

  122. DL Hammons on January 22, 2010 at 7:55 AM

    >If you're ever in need of a pick-me-up, you might want to try my idea here Tickle Me

    Anyway, this might bring a smile to your face.

    Every day, a male co-worker walks up very close to a lady standing at the coffee machine, inhales a big breath of air and
    tells her that her hair smells nice. After a week of this, she can't stand it anymore, takes her complaint to a supervisor in the personnel department and asks to file a sexual harassment grievance against him.

    The Human Resources supervisor is puzzled and asks,
    "What's sexually threatening about a co-worker telling you your hair smells nice?"

    The woman replies, "It's Keith, the midget”.

  123. Mari-Anna Frangén Stålnacke on January 22, 2010 at 7:54 AM

    >One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the evil that was going on. He decided to send an angel down to Earth to check it out. So he called one of His best angels and sent the angel to Earth for a time.

    When she returned she told God, yes it is bad on Earth, 95% is bad and 5% is good.

    Well, he thought for a moment and said, maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another point of view.

    So God called another angel and sent her to Earth for a time too.

    When the angel returned she went to God and told him yes, the Earth was in decline, 95% was bad and 5% was good.

    God said this was not good. So He decided to E-mail the 5% that were good and He wanted to encourage them, give them a little something to help them keep going.

    Do you know what that E-mail said????

    You didn't get one either,…..huh?

  124. Yvonne on January 22, 2010 at 7:54 AM

    >Agents charge more than 10%?

    Well….where have I been? I know how hard all of you work but I am glad to see you don't support taking a percentage of the debut author's small advance, which I understand ends up being spent on marketing. About a joke….

    Hmmm… I don't have one for a PG 13 site but have you seen the new encryped dollar bills? There is a hidden hitchhiker on the back. He is pretty small but visible with a trained naked eye.

    Go ahead check it out.

    Can't find it?

    ….it's there. Need glasses?

    Give it here.
    Hmmm, let's see….

    Well, I'll be darned, he must have caught a ride.

  125. Author Sandra D. Bricker on January 22, 2010 at 7:50 AM

    >In honor of my agent:

    A writer comes home to a burned-down house. His wife is standing in the driveway, smeared with ashes. “What happened?” he asks.

    “Baby, it was terrible,” she sobs. “I was cooking and the phone rang. It was your agent, and I only looked away for a minute, but I didn’t notice the stove was on fire. It went up in seconds. Everything is gone, baby. I nearly didn’t make it out of the house. And the dog! Baby, the dog is…”

    “Wait, wait. Back up a minute,” her husband interrupts. “My agent called?”

  126. Brenda on January 22, 2010 at 7:45 AM

    >I think Rhonda is right. Business is business. Fees are based on what the market will bear. If a writer is motivated solely by publication, they may agree to a larger agency cut just to be signed.

    Personally, I want my book to reach the widest audience possible, and that means finding an agent and publisher who believe in the book as much as I do. If an agent wants a bigger slice because they don’t believe the book will be successful, then it probably won’t be – at least not with that agent.

    Although this is no competition for Erastes, here’s my favorite joke from my previous profession:

    A computer programmer, an engineer and a doctor are sitting in a bar discussing the history of their professions.

    “The Bible tells us that medicine is the oldest profession,” the doctor boasts.

    “How do you figure that?” asks the engineer.

    “In Genesis, God uses one of Adam’s ribs to make Eve,” the doctor replies. “That’s clearly a surgical procedure.”

    “Well, if you’re going to use the Bible,” the engineer counters, “then engineering is the oldest profession. Right at the beginning, God created heaven and the earth out of chaos. That’s what engineering is all about.”

    The computer programmer shakes his head. “You’re both wrong. According to the Bible, programming is the oldest profession.“

    “What?” the doctor and engineer exclaim together.

    The programmer smirks. “Well, who do you think created the chaos?”

  127. Lance on January 22, 2010 at 7:34 AM

    >Did you hear about the cow that jumped over the barbed wire fence?

    An udder disaster!


  128. Amy Sue Nathan on January 22, 2010 at 7:32 AM

    >Is somewhat self-deprecating humor appreciated? Here goes:

    What's a Jewish American Princess's favorite wine?

    I want to go to Flor-i-da!

  129. Sharon A. Lavy on January 22, 2010 at 7:31 AM

    >Woo Hoo! I found this great joke on facebook!

    "I saw on the internet that Haiti is without a government. To help out, I am donating one Obama, one Pelosi, one Reid, one Frank, one Coakley and two Clintons! They may keep them permanently! I'd give them a constitution; but I can't find mine right now!"

  130. Mark on January 22, 2010 at 7:28 AM

    >Q. What do you get when you cross the Godfather with a philosopher?

    A. An offer you can't understand.

    Have a great weekend!

  131. pseudonymn2 on January 22, 2010 at 7:12 AM

    >Two guys walk into a bar. The third guy ducks.

    The possibility that struck me while I was reading Chuck's post yesterday was that agents should stick with the commission system in general, but that a third party non-profit, cultural group could be set up to ensure that agents can afford to represent low-commission books. The agent never asks the author for more, still gets paid for performance, and still tries his level best, but the non-profit gives "support of smaller artists" grants here and there, and maybe manages to even things out a little. It could be funded by donations and not tied to any one particular book, rather to the agent's overall efforts on behalf of struggling writers.

    I think that would work particularly well in Christian publishing where people share common ideals as well as a common philosophy.

  132. Jessica on January 22, 2010 at 7:07 AM

    >Eek, I really want a good joke but don't know any off the top of my head.

    I liked reading the post yesterday. Not sure why people get so angry about things. If an agent charges too much, just don't go with them if they want you to. There are many houses that still take unagented authors too, so it's not like having an agent is the only way to get pubbed.

    Hope you have a restful weekend!

    Great jokes everyone else. 🙂

  133. Majo on January 22, 2010 at 7:04 AM

    >Heard recently.

    Five surgeons were at the hospital cafeteria taking a break and discussing work.

    The first surgeon said, "I think bookkeepers are the easiest. Everything inside is numbered."

    "I prefer electricians," replied the second surgeon. "You open them up and everything inside is color-coded."

    The third one shook her head. "I think librarians are the easiest to operate on. You open them up and everything inside is in alphabetical order."

    The fourth one boasted, "I like to operate on lawyers. They're heartless, spineless, gutless, and their heads and their butts are interchangeable."

    After a long swig of coffee, the fifth surgeon chimed in, "I like engineers best. They always understand when you have a few parts left over at the end."

  134. Erastes on January 22, 2010 at 6:43 AM

    >NOT aimed at you, my dear!

    How many agents does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    Agent 1: Sorry, we're not accepting screw in light bulbs anymore. Bayonets only, and we only get them from the store.

    Agent 2: We considered your light bulb but it's a bit too modern. Have you tried turning it into a candle?

    A3: Loved your light bulb. Great light. Lots of illumination. Unfortunately, the agency's decided
    to remain in the dark indefinitely.

  135. Katie Ganshert on January 22, 2010 at 6:40 AM

    >A little boy sat in court while his recently divorced parents went through a nasty custody battle.

    The judge sighed, looked down at the boy and asked, "Little boy, do you want to live with your dad?"

    The little boy's eyes got big and he said, "No, he beats me."

    The judge sighed again. "Then would you like to live with your mom?"

    The little boy's eyes got even bigger and he said, "No, she beats me."

    The judge sighed a third time. "Who do you want to live with then?"

    "The Cubs. They don't beat anybody."

    (One of my 5th grade students told me this one. I laughed out loud.)

  136. Shelby on January 22, 2010 at 6:09 AM

    >What do you call cheese that isn't yours?


  137. Sharon A. Lavy on January 22, 2010 at 5:56 AM

    >I know my limits. I have never been able to tell a joke. I always rush to the punchline. But wait, I never tried writing one! That always slows me down.

    Now if I could just remember one!

    I always appreciate your posts and that's no joke.

    Thanks Rachelle.

  138. Jill Edmondson on January 22, 2010 at 5:54 AM

    >I think on eof the things that needs to change in publishing overall is that books go to stores on consignment. As long as that is the business model, things will remain convoluted. Perhaps a change in fees to agents and other changes in money should be considered in tandem with a change in distribution to retail outlets.

    Thanks, Jill
    "Blood and Groom" is now in stores!

  139. Jeff on January 22, 2010 at 5:13 AM

    >I heard My all time favorite joke from a three year old that I used to babysit. I had been telling him some standard jokes and he came back with this.

    What is green and has 4 wheels? Grass! I was just kidding about the wheels.

  140. Tabitha Bird on January 22, 2010 at 5:08 AM

    >All you need is a good joke for a 20 page critique? Cool.

    Ummm… okay, my husband thinks this is hilarious… you be the judge.

    Two cows are standing together at the top of the hill. The first cow looks at the second cow and says, "Moooo."

    "Damn!" says the second cow. "I was going to say that!"

    I can't laugh anymore. I have heard it too many times. We've been married for 12 years (you realize I am now speaking about my husband and I, and not the cows, right?)

    But if his joke wins me a 20 page critique I will laugh heartily beside him at every dinner party for the next 50 years, or till death do us part.

    Have a great weekend 🙂

  141. Ellen B on January 22, 2010 at 4:09 AM

    >A man walked into a drum kit.

    Buh-dum TTSSSH.

  142. Ronda Laveen on January 22, 2010 at 2:04 AM

    >I wish I could tell a joke but, even more, I wish I had 20 pages that would be worthy of review of said 20 pages.

    I am new to reading agent blogs and really have nothing but short stories written. So, I really don't need an agent unless there is a reason I don't know about. I am not in a position to "query" but am studying the process in case I ever do.

    But what I do know is that I have been a massage therapist for nearly 20 years. The last several years I have worked in salons and spas where stylists, nail techs, massage therapists, and estheticians either pay a booth (space) rent per month or a commission percentage of each service/job. Either way one is paying rent. You just have to keep doing the math until you figure out when a situation is not to your advantage.

    Like I say, I am a neophyte to this profession but, in other professions, commission rates range from 40 to 60 percent for the house/agent and only 60 to 40 for the professional. That is considered usual and customary practice. There are times when commissions of greater than 60 percent go to the house. I see that giving an agent 15% is not a popular idea but, unless you are so hot that you can exist without them, do the math, pay the money and cut a better deal when you are stronger and more able. Above all…quit sniveling.

  143. Aimee LS on January 22, 2010 at 2:01 AM

    >Exasperated man rings a tech-support line because he’s having trouble logging on to his work computer:

    “If you aren’t getting past the login screen sir, it may be a problem with your password. I’ll reset it for you. Can you tell me the password you set up so I can verify it please?”

    “Certainly. It’s ‘SneezySleepyHappyGrumpyDopeyDocBashfulSnowWhiteLondon’.”

    There is a pause on the other end of the line.

    “I suspect that’s your problem sir, your password is too long. Why did you choose that one?”

    “Because!” Cried exasperated man. “It told me to use eight characters and a capital!”

  144. Eileen on January 22, 2010 at 1:45 AM

    >I appreciate Chuck's thoughts and recognize that agents often spend long hours on projects that never move forward or make them (and the author) little money.

    However, I wouldn't propose a rate change because using the same logic it is a hop skip jump to agents charging fees across the board. A fee to read (agents spend time on queries after all- how many must they read that make them no money?) A fee to represent you even before they attempt to sell because there will be edits etc. While some agents might only use fees to recoup lost time, it becomes far too easy to be a scam charging authors who the agent knows they may never sell.

    Have a great weekend.

  145. Cam Snow on January 22, 2010 at 1:43 AM

    >Here's one from the middle east.

    Q: So a one-humped camel and a two-humped camel have a baby with no humps. What do they name it?

    A: Humphrey

    (the reason I deleted my earlier comment was that there is no such thing as a 3 humped camel and I wanted to present a biologically accurate joke)

  146. Terresa on January 22, 2010 at 1:34 AM

    >Here's a joke, as told to me by my eight-year old daughter just today:

    "What did one octopus say to the other octopus?"

    Answer: "I want to hold your hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand, hand."

    (Which for me, brought to mind the Beatles song and much spontaneous laughter.)

    Happy weekend, Rachelle.

  147. Kelly on January 22, 2010 at 1:25 AM

    >What's the smallest room?

    The mushroom!

  148. Gilbert J. Avila on January 22, 2010 at 1:20 AM

    >Two men in a retirement home are talking. One says–"I can't stand it, every morning at 7am I empty my bladder and at 7:30 I have a bowel movement."

    The other says–"What's wrong with that?"

    The first says–"I don't wake up until 8."

  149. Karen on January 22, 2010 at 1:20 AM

    >I was just thinking of this joke today and wanted to share it with someone. 🙂

    A rope walks into a bar and asks for a drink.

    "We don't serve your kind here," says the bartender.

    The rope wanders outside, ties himself in a knot, and frazzles up his ends.

    When he walks back in, the bartender says, "Hey! Aren't you that rope that was just in here?"

    "Nope," says the rope, "I'm a frayed knot."


  150. Anonymous on January 22, 2010 at 12:46 AM

    >Thanks, Rachelle–what a relief! Amen to keeping the present agent fees as is and not escalating the rates. After all, not too long ago agents charged only a 10% fee. Those were the days!