Old Ask Nathan Thread

Questions for the resident (former) agent
User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1370
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » September 2nd, 2010, 4:27 pm

Lillian Grant wrote:Hi Nathan

I just wondered if you are still having email issues? I have sent my query four times from 3 different email addresses and even changed the subject to just query. I am staring to think the gods are trying to tell me something. All I want is a personalised rejection. :)

Thanks
Lillian (aka Janet)
Yes, we're trying hard to figure out what is happening with these e-mails, but so far no solution.

Could anyone who can't get through to me do me a HUGE favor and forward your sent e-mails to querycontest@gmail.com? I would really really appreciate it. Please send me a Forum PM when you've sent it so I'll know to check it.

So sorry for the inconvenience!!

JuiceinLA
Posts: 47
Joined: April 30th, 2010, 7:46 pm
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by JuiceinLA » September 2nd, 2010, 8:08 pm

Hi Nathan (and all!) I am hoping to impose upon you and all the other amazing contributors to these forums by asking for opinions on my one sentence "Pitch". Which is the proper forum to "pitch your Pitch"? I looked around in "feedback" and "Password protected" but didn't see a thread. I searched your blogs, read quite a few and found a 2009 pitch contest, but didn't see a 2010 pitch contest or a blog where you critiqued one liners. Did I miss it?

I am attending a conference this month, and expect people to ask me "So what's your book about?" Rather than my standard answer: "you, a nine iron and a bag of ice chips.", I thought I'd better put together the best one line summary I can.

Thanks so much for any help you can give!

Kerri
Posts: 3
Joined: January 6th, 2010, 7:03 pm
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Kerri » September 2nd, 2010, 8:48 pm

Hi Nathan,

I was lucky enough to have an article published this week in a major newspaper, which generated interest from a film producer who wants to option the rights to my story. I have an unpublished autobiographical novel that I was going to begin querying after Labor Day. Is there any harm in sending this producer my manuscript in the meantime? Would prospective agents look favorably or unfavorably on that? According to Google he's legit, but I'm new to all this and don't know what the protocol is. I don't want to do anything that would cause my future agent (if I land one) problems.

I've been wringing my hands about who could help answer this question, and finally I remembered your forum. It's a wonderful service you provide.

Thanks,
Kerri

Unrepentant Escapist
Posts: 3
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 8:34 pm
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Unrepentant Escapist » September 3rd, 2010, 4:50 am

Question: So I've been querying on my first novel for six months or so, and the other day I got a request for a full. Yay! says I. Except when I go back and read the manuscript in question for typos and stuff, I realize I must have puked it out in a drunken stupor because IT IS BAD. I try to revise it, but I realize that the only way to make it remotely passable is to rewrite the entire book--and even then, it would still be a horrible mass of tangled, writhing cliches, so it's probably not worth the effort. It's nice that I've improved enough in the past few months to recognize this.

Should I a) send the stinky manuscript off to the agent anyway, in hopes that the agent might remember me in the future as a "not-quite-there-yet" type. b) Apologize for yanking her chain and not forward her the full, because I don't want to be associated negatively with such a horrible piece of crap. I'm guessing A because I don't want to have the reputation of that "crazy writer" who sends out queries but refuses to let anyone read her novels, but it really is bad. The fact that anyone ever saw it makes me want to go in a corner and cry...

Mesmerix
Posts: 2
Joined: June 21st, 2010, 9:45 am
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Mesmerix » September 3rd, 2010, 2:24 pm

I am attending my first writer's conference in a few months.

1) Aside from the obvious, what helpful things should I bring with me?

2) Any surprises I might anticipate to prevent shell-shock? :)

Thank you!

Loree H
Posts: 2
Joined: September 3rd, 2010, 5:14 pm
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Loree H » September 3rd, 2010, 5:48 pm

Dear Nathan,

I'm about to start the querying process on a recently completed novel. I do have a few questions that I cannot seem to get answers to.

I wrote a novel that has some historical input and story collaboration with another person.

I am the prime author. Do I query the novel for myself, or for the both of us?
If the agent wants to offer representation, will she/he offer it to both or just the prime author?

Is this a problem for the agents?

I have the credit after the title as : A Novel by Loree XXXXXXX(ME) with XXXX XXXXXXX(other person)
I have written the query stating me as the prime author of the story along with both of our credentials, signed by the both of us.

Is this ok or not? Should I be querying solo at first or not?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1370
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » September 3rd, 2010, 10:24 pm

JuiceinLA wrote:Hi Nathan (and all!) I am hoping to impose upon you and all the other amazing contributors to these forums by asking for opinions on my one sentence "Pitch". Which is the proper forum to "pitch your Pitch"? I looked around in "feedback" and "Password protected" but didn't see a thread. I searched your blogs, read quite a few and found a 2009 pitch contest, but didn't see a 2010 pitch contest or a blog where you critiqued one liners. Did I miss it?

I am attending a conference this month, and expect people to ask me "So what's your book about?" Rather than my standard answer: "you, a nine iron and a bag of ice chips.", I thought I'd better put together the best one line summary I can.

Thanks so much for any help you can give!
Good question - I think I'd go with the Synopsis Forum, and maybe make it clear that it's a one sentence pitch.

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1370
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » September 3rd, 2010, 10:28 pm

Kerri wrote:Hi Nathan,

I was lucky enough to have an article published this week in a major newspaper, which generated interest from a film producer who wants to option the rights to my story. I have an unpublished autobiographical novel that I was going to begin querying after Labor Day. Is there any harm in sending this producer my manuscript in the meantime? Would prospective agents look favorably or unfavorably on that? According to Google he's legit, but I'm new to all this and don't know what the protocol is. I don't want to do anything that would cause my future agent (if I land one) problems.

I've been wringing my hands about who could help answer this question, and finally I remembered your forum. It's a wonderful service you provide.

Thanks,
Kerri
If it might help him make a decision I don't personally see the harm. I'd just mention that you're seeking representation and that if there's going to be a deal you hope to hand off the negotiation to your agent.

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1370
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » September 3rd, 2010, 10:31 pm

Unrepentant Escapist wrote:Question: So I've been querying on my first novel for six months or so, and the other day I got a request for a full. Yay! says I. Except when I go back and read the manuscript in question for typos and stuff, I realize I must have puked it out in a drunken stupor because IT IS BAD. I try to revise it, but I realize that the only way to make it remotely passable is to rewrite the entire book--and even then, it would still be a horrible mass of tangled, writhing cliches, so it's probably not worth the effort. It's nice that I've improved enough in the past few months to recognize this.

Should I a) send the stinky manuscript off to the agent anyway, in hopes that the agent might remember me in the future as a "not-quite-there-yet" type. b) Apologize for yanking her chain and not forward her the full, because I don't want to be associated negatively with such a horrible piece of crap. I'm guessing A because I don't want to have the reputation of that "crazy writer" who sends out queries but refuses to let anyone read her novels, but it really is bad. The fact that anyone ever saw it makes me want to go in a corner and cry...
My basic feeling about this is to consider the magnitude of the changes you're thinking about. Typos and stuff doesn't matter at all, so if that's what you're noticing I'd go ahead and send it. If however you have in mind a change that will drastically improve the manuscript, then you might just write the agent and say, "I just had some inspiration for some changes that will improve the manuscript, hope you don't mind if I tackle these now and I'll send you the manuscript when it's ready." The agent will just say "Okay fine" and receive it when they receive it and will think nothing of it.

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1370
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » September 3rd, 2010, 10:36 pm

Mesmerix wrote:I am attending my first writer's conference in a few months.

1) Aside from the obvious, what helpful things should I bring with me?

2) Any surprises I might anticipate to prevent shell-shock? :)

Thank you!
1) You should bring confidence! A spirit of fun and adventure! A willingness to mingle with strangers!

2) Yes, beware the rejection pens of death.

Actually my main advice about conferences is that if you're attending a pitch session, instead of focusing on pitching your work to an agent (they're just going to listen politely and tell you to send a query or part of the manuscript), come to them with a specific question or two or three you'd like answered as a conversation entree. We are there to help out and to meet people, and not many of us are good at hearing a pitch and saying anything intelligent about it since it all depends on the writing. I'd much prefer to give people some constructive advice than to try and divine the quality of their manuscript based on a pitch.

And don't feel that your writing life is depending on what happens at the conference. It's more just great to be surrounded by people who love writing and are going through all the same ups and downs as you and making some personal connections.

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1370
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » September 3rd, 2010, 10:40 pm

Loree H wrote:Dear Nathan,

I'm about to start the querying process on a recently completed novel. I do have a few questions that I cannot seem to get answers to.

I wrote a novel that has some historical input and story collaboration with another person.

I am the prime author. Do I query the novel for myself, or for the both of us?
If the agent wants to offer representation, will she/he offer it to both or just the prime author?

Is this a problem for the agents?

I have the credit after the title as : A Novel by Loree XXXXXXX(ME) with XXXX XXXXXXX(other person)
I have written the query stating me as the prime author of the story along with both of our credentials, signed by the both of us.

Is this ok or not? Should I be querying solo at first or not?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
The most important thing is to work out your arrangement with your collaborator before you approach agents. Figure out the credit, how the compensation will be split, anything that you both need to know and would like worked out and sign it in blood (or pen, either way). Once you have an agent they may want you to work a more formalized agreement, but it will be smoother if you have the parameters figured out in advance before dollar signs start dancing in peoples' eyes.

It's fine to query solo if you're the primary author and will be the point person.

stephmcgee
Posts: 210
Joined: August 16th, 2010, 12:44 pm
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by stephmcgee » September 4th, 2010, 12:47 am

Okay, random question. What do you like to see in your authors' business cards?

If they are still trying to sell their debut novel, what do you counsel them to put on there? A generic design with colors that are neutral? A design intended to mesh with the genre of the book they're trying to sell? An amalgam of the two?

When your author is published, and has maybe a book or two under their belt, is that the time to go the opposite direction? (Either more specific or more general, depending on what was done first?)

A business card is such a small thing that I can't imagine cramming a ton of information in there. Name, "writer", and website? (Maybe e-mail and/or phone number?)

Sorry for all the random little questions. I'm just trying to design a business card for myself as a writer in hopes that I'll someday need it. Right now the design is rather generic in color scheme, but leans toward the steampunk side of things with the design itself. I won't necessarily be writing exclusively in the steampunk genre, but it's on my radar right now because of the short story I'm looking at expanding into a novel-length work. I've found some information on-line about business cards, but again they're so varied and run the gamut of the spectrum. Just thought I'd ask for an agent's perspective on this one.

Loree H
Posts: 2
Joined: September 3rd, 2010, 5:14 pm
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Loree H » September 4th, 2010, 2:10 pm

Nathan,

Thanks for answering my questions so quickly. Your help and time is truly appreciated.

Loree H

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1370
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » September 4th, 2010, 3:03 pm

stephmcgee wrote:Okay, random question. What do you like to see in your authors' business cards?

If they are still trying to sell their debut novel, what do you counsel them to put on there? A generic design with colors that are neutral? A design intended to mesh with the genre of the book they're trying to sell? An amalgam of the two?

When your author is published, and has maybe a book or two under their belt, is that the time to go the opposite direction? (Either more specific or more general, depending on what was done first?)

A business card is such a small thing that I can't imagine cramming a ton of information in there. Name, "writer", and website? (Maybe e-mail and/or phone number?)

Sorry for all the random little questions. I'm just trying to design a business card for myself as a writer in hopes that I'll someday need it. Right now the design is rather generic in color scheme, but leans toward the steampunk side of things with the design itself. I won't necessarily be writing exclusively in the steampunk genre, but it's on my radar right now because of the short story I'm looking at expanding into a novel-length work. I've found some information on-line about business cards, but again they're so varied and run the gamut of the spectrum. Just thought I'd ask for an agent's perspective on this one.
I'm not sure honestly! I don't often take them from authors because I do everything paperless, so I'm probably not the best person to ask, but a steampunk business card does sound rather awesome.

stephmcgee
Posts: 210
Joined: August 16th, 2010, 12:44 pm
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by stephmcgee » September 4th, 2010, 10:44 pm

Thanks, Nathan. If you want to steampunk-ify your business cards, I do know how to make gears in Adobe Illustrator. But that's about as far as my steampunk abilities go.

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests