Old Ask Nathan Thread

Questions for the resident (former) agent

Old Ask Nathan Thread

Postby Nathan Bransford » 06 Dec 2009, 10:29

Hey everyone, if you have a question about the publishing process that isn't covered on the blog, here's the place to ask it.

Please please please remember to first check the FAQS and please scan the thread to see if your question has already been answered Or do a search in the search box in the top right for your topic.

If it's not there: ask away!

Also, while you may know the answer to a question someone has asked, please hold off on answering it - otherwise the forum gets a little confusing if everyone is weighing in. Thank you!
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby MosesSiregar » 06 Dec 2009, 23:54

Nathan, I'm looking for a good book to read from your client list. I'm eying Brad Geagley's YEAR OF THE HYENAS since I am interested in ancient Egypt, and the book looks good from all I've researched about it. I'm curious if there are any titles you've agented that are closer to Sci-Fi/Fantasy, though? If so, I might end up doing both :-)
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby Nathan Bransford » 07 Dec 2009, 00:16

MosesSiregar wrote:Nathan, I'm looking for a good book to read from your client list. I'm eying Brad Geagley's YEAR OF THE HYENAS since I am interested in ancient Egypt, and the book looks good from all I've researched about it. I'm curious if there are any titles you've agented that are closer to Sci-Fi/Fantasy, though? If so, I might end up doing both :-)


Brad's books are terrific, though I don't actually represent him anymore. J.N. Duncan's new novel is urban fantasy/paranormal, though that isn't coming out until 2010. Don't have an exact match for you just yet, but soon!
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby MosesSiregar » 07 Dec 2009, 00:41

Thanks, I'm glad I asked. I'm about 2K words away from finishing my 115K first draft (it's epic fantasy--a unique story that pays overt homage to The Iliad), I think it's fantastic, and I hope to be querying you about the book sometime in the Spring or Summer. Here's to hoping I can help you fill that niche some day!
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby Sandy Shin » 07 Dec 2009, 10:24

Hi Nathan,

I read through the FAQs and could not find the answer to this question, so I am hoping it is all right for me to ask it here.

If I want to publish under a specific pen name (because my real name is hard to pronounce and much too common) and have been using that pen name on the Internet for everything writerly, should I query using my pen name or my real name? If the latter, should I mention the pen name only after I've signed on with the agent?

Thanks!
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby Nathan Bransford » 07 Dec 2009, 10:28

Sandy Shin wrote:Hi Nathan,

I read through the FAQs and could not find the answer to this question, so I am hoping it is all right for me to ask it here.

If I want to publish under a specific pen name (because my real name is hard to pronounce and much too common) and have been using that pen name on the Internet for everything writerly, should I query using my pen name or my real name? If the latter, should I mention the pen name only after I've signed on with the agent?

Thanks!


This is a common question, and I'm actually going to be blogging about it soon. Query with your real name - I want to know who I'm really corresponding with. If you want to use a pen name you can mention it in the query if you want, but it's really something that can be decided much later in the process.
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby Sandy Shin » 07 Dec 2009, 10:32

Thank you for the response! :)
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby wordwrestler » 07 Dec 2009, 11:11

Hi, Nathan.

I've heard many editors don't read submissions this time of year. Please say it ain't so! My agented submission is out there, whimpering and biting what's left of its nails and dreading spending Christmas without a home.
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby Nathan Bransford » 07 Dec 2009, 11:14

wordwrestler wrote:Hi, Nathan.

I've heard many editors don't read submissions this time of year. Please say it ain't so! My agented submission is out there, whimpering and biting what's left of its nails and dreading spending Christmas without a home.


Things are definitely slow this time of year, and this year things seem to be especially slow. Editors do read in November and December, but they're also launching Fall '10 lists and have been deluged by the traditional Fall onslaught of agented submissions.
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby osmom » 07 Dec 2009, 11:34

Nathan,

How often to you reach out to journalists for an offer of representation for nonfiction? Is this rare? This was how I found my last agent and current one (well-respected, both -- they'd read my articles and contacted me), but it always gets me the evil eye when other writers ask me how I landed them. Now I sort of lie and say I pitched them. No one wants to hear that bagging an agent is that easy (easy being that I've busted my ass for the last 12 years writing for magazines and newspapers). Thanks!
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby Nathan Bransford » 07 Dec 2009, 11:40

osmom wrote:Nathan,

How often to you reach out to journalists for an offer of representation for nonfiction? Is this rare? This was how I found my last agent and current one (well-respected, both -- they'd read my articles and contacted me), but it always gets me the evil eye when other writers ask me how I landed them. Now I sort of lie and say I pitched them. No one wants to hear that bagging an agent is that easy (easy being that I've busted my ass for the last 12 years writing for magazines and newspapers). Thanks!


I will reach out occasionally to journalists, bloggers and others when I see an article I like. The challenge with this though is that people aren't always ready or in a position to write a book, so it doesn't always work out, but I try to be proactive.
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby gilesth » 07 Dec 2009, 13:10

Nathan,

How long should an author try to get a project represented by an agent before they should scrap it and move on to something else?
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby Nathan Bransford » 07 Dec 2009, 13:18

gilesth wrote:Nathan,

How long should an author try to get a project represented by an agent before they should scrap it and move on to something else?


Here's the post for you: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/03 ... ve-up.html
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby parsley » 07 Dec 2009, 14:47

Hi Nathan! I love the new layout. And these forums are awesome. So delicious and orange.

Question: If someone said in a query letter "I am an English major at [Ye Olde University of Note and Splendor]", this being his or her only biographical info, would your reaction be:
A) This author must also be of Note and Splendor! Famous writers Jones and Rambo teach at that school! I will request many pages!
B) This author must be a young amorphous coddled being and must grow more before writing! I will request no pages!
C) OK fine.

I suspect C. And of course I realize this question is silly. But if agents would tend to err more towards B than A, maybe it would be better to leave it out.
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Re: Ask Nathan

Postby Nathan Bransford » 07 Dec 2009, 14:49

parsley wrote:Hi Nathan! I love the new layout. And these forums are awesome. So delicious and orange.

Question: If someone said in a query letter "I am an English major at [Ye Olde University of Note and Splendor]", this being his or her only biographical info, would your reaction be:
A) This author must also be of Note and Splendor! Famous writers Jones and Rambo teach at that school! I will request many pages!
B) This author must be a young amorphous coddled being and must grow more before writing! I will request no pages!
C) OK fine.

I suspect C. And of course I realize this question is silly. But if agents would tend to err more towards B than A, maybe it would be better to leave it out.


C - it won't have a bearing on whether I request or pass, but it is nice to get some biographical info just so I have a sense of who the person is.
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