Old Ask Nathan Thread

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » April 14th, 2010, 11:23 pm

tameson wrote:Sending out sci fi short stories, manuscript formatting seems to be pretty strongly enforced (Centered # for line breaks, italics should be underlined, only courier 12 point font, etc). That is probably more an issue for short stories than novels, but with a short, I just assume manuscript formating. I would assume sci-fi novel writers who are have done a lot of short stories will just do it without thought (really, if you are used to it, underlining is just as easy as italics). I am told that sci-fi writers are one of the few that hold to the old school system (ironic, eh) so that might be a more genre specific question.
Always follow the guidelines if they're specific. If they're not there's lots of leeway these days.

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writeitsideways
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by writeitsideways » April 15th, 2010, 12:43 am

Hi Nathan,

I recently happened to come across two different books, by two different authors, published by two different well-known houses, and with two different cover designers, but both books have the same photo on the cover.

There are slight differences in colour due to digital manipulation, but both photos are identical poses, right down to the shadows and fabric folds.

I just found this site that has tons of other examples http://shereadsandreads.blogspot.com/se ... r%20covers.

Is using the same stock photography a money-saving thing? When they reuse these images, are they aware of it?

Thanks!
Suzannah

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » April 16th, 2010, 12:17 am

writeitsideways wrote:Hi Nathan,

I recently happened to come across two different books, by two different authors, published by two different well-known houses, and with two different cover designers, but both books have the same photo on the cover.

There are slight differences in colour due to digital manipulation, but both photos are identical poses, right down to the shadows and fabric folds.

I just found this site that has tons of other examples http://shereadsandreads.blogspot.com/se ... r%20covers.

Is using the same stock photography a money-saving thing? When they reuse these images, are they aware of it?

Thanks!
Suzannah
This isn't wholly unique to publishers, it happens in advertising as well. There are stock photo databases, and yeah, sometimes they get used at the same time and everyone is caught unaware. It's bad luck all around.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by SybilNelson » April 16th, 2010, 12:48 pm

Hi there, Nathan!

I have a question that I haven't seen covered in the blogs. I have a wonderful agent who has sold the movie option to one of my YA books. Even though the option has been sold and my book is currently being converted to a screenplay, we still can not find a publisher. I have been rejected by five and 14 publishers are still reading. So I am being proactive and working on marketing myself and the book. I am creating an interactive children's website and I want to make the book available for download. Here is where my question comes in. My agent thinks I should not do this as it may turn off a publisher. His reasoning is that why would people buy something when they can download it for free? Personally, I don't think it's a big deal and may even help. If a publisher sees that two thousand kids download the book wouldn't they be more apt to publish it as it has market appeal?
So, what do you think?

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Donna Hole » April 18th, 2010, 1:24 am

Hello Nathan;

This is not so much a question as an observation. And it's going to sound like a "help desk ticket" because I'm not very good at asking questions.

I've been searching your blog archives tonight looking for a particular post so I can reference it in an article I am writing for my local writers group. I also plan on referencing it on my own blog. I'm sure the specific posting of your's was back before October 2009 at the earliest.

So I clicked on the "search" button on your side bar, hoping to pull it up with a few key words because I don't remember the exact title. I put in "when is good enough" b/c I know you referenced a posting by another agent with that rough blog title (either Janet Reid or Jessica Faust, I don't remember which).

Anyway, when I put in the search criteria the site flickered as if it was processing a request, but nothing changed. So, I've been reviewing every single post by using the "older posts" link and I gotta say, its a lot of work. I've been here for about two hours skimming through post titles and not entirely finding the one I want. (Yes, I've done the same thing at the other two agent blogs so I guess you could cut that time by a third.)

If the "search" box is indeed meant to quickly navigate to a particular post at this site, then I am either not entering the correct criteria; or the button is not working. Seriously, I'm inclined to believe I'm missing something here, because I know I'm not that computer savvy yet. (May never be either.)

Now, I'd rather post a link to your post than a silly "I can't remember the exact post on Nathan's blog, but . ." so I'm bugging you for some basic site navigation training. I know; if I found my way here, I should be able to do it on my own; I'm not a newbie to the blogosphere, but I'm having a hard time grasping all the 101 user essentials that seem so glaringly obvious to most bloggers/followers.

I appreciate any feedback you have for me.

Thanks;
donnahole@gmail.com

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Susan Quinn
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Susan Quinn » April 18th, 2010, 9:32 am

Donna - I can't help with the search function, but is this post by Natalie Whipple perhaps what you're thinking of? In any event, it's a great post on how to know when your writing is "Good Enough."
Susan Kaye Quinn (young adult and middle grade author)
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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » April 19th, 2010, 10:17 pm

SybilNelson wrote:Hi there, Nathan!

I have a question that I haven't seen covered in the blogs. I have a wonderful agent who has sold the movie option to one of my YA books. Even though the option has been sold and my book is currently being converted to a screenplay, we still can not find a publisher. I have been rejected by five and 14 publishers are still reading. So I am being proactive and working on marketing myself and the book. I am creating an interactive children's website and I want to make the book available for download. Here is where my question comes in. My agent thinks I should not do this as it may turn off a publisher. His reasoning is that why would people buy something when they can download it for free? Personally, I don't think it's a big deal and may even help. If a publisher sees that two thousand kids download the book wouldn't they be more apt to publish it as it has market appeal?
So, what do you think?
I think this is a discussion you have to have with your agent - not my place to jump in.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » April 19th, 2010, 10:19 pm

Donna Hole wrote:Hello Nathan;

This is not so much a question as an observation. And it's going to sound like a "help desk ticket" because I'm not very good at asking questions.

I've been searching your blog archives tonight looking for a particular post so I can reference it in an article I am writing for my local writers group. I also plan on referencing it on my own blog. I'm sure the specific posting of your's was back before October 2009 at the earliest.

So I clicked on the "search" button on your side bar, hoping to pull it up with a few key words because I don't remember the exact title. I put in "when is good enough" b/c I know you referenced a posting by another agent with that rough blog title (either Janet Reid or Jessica Faust, I don't remember which).

Anyway, when I put in the search criteria the site flickered as if it was processing a request, but nothing changed. So, I've been reviewing every single post by using the "older posts" link and I gotta say, its a lot of work. I've been here for about two hours skimming through post titles and not entirely finding the one I want. (Yes, I've done the same thing at the other two agent blogs so I guess you could cut that time by a third.)

If the "search" box is indeed meant to quickly navigate to a particular post at this site, then I am either not entering the correct criteria; or the button is not working. Seriously, I'm inclined to believe I'm missing something here, because I know I'm not that computer savvy yet. (May never be either.)

Now, I'd rather post a link to your post than a silly "I can't remember the exact post on Nathan's blog, but . ." so I'm bugging you for some basic site navigation training. I know; if I found my way here, I should be able to do it on my own; I'm not a newbie to the blogosphere, but I'm having a hard time grasping all the 101 user essentials that seem so glaringly obvious to most bloggers/followers.

I appreciate any feedback you have for me.

Thanks;
donnahole@gmail.com
If the search box isn't working for you think the easiest thing is to just Google Nathan Bransford and whatever topic you're looking for. I'm not quite sure which blog post you're referring to, so I don't know that I'll be better than The Google.

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FK7
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by FK7 » April 19th, 2010, 10:44 pm

You, Kristin Nelson, Janet Reid and I believe Jessica Faust all blogged about this issue, but there is one aspect that wasn't answered. The topic was about querying a new agent when you already have an offer of representation on the table. Janet Reid's entry is the most recent. She said that unless she has a partial or full, mentioning in a query that we have already received an offer of representation will make no difference, unless she knows the agent and respects him/her. I found this a bit puzzling.

It's not rare to see writers approaching the query stage like a RISK game. Query five at a time, if you're lucky to get feedback on your rejections (either at query or partial/full stage), use that criticism to better your query or MS, then query five more... until you feel you have improved enough to approach your "top" picks. Some writers on writing forums feel this smoke and mirrors game isn't necessary... "query as widely as possible" was Miss Snark's motto. However, since you can't re-query an agent after you get a rejection, isn't it a better idea to start slow and work your way up until you're at your zenith?

Of course I could just be crazy... too strategic? Too much chess played as a child? Wouldn't be surprised.

What if I do query say a certain San Fransisco agent, or a Pub Rant owner, and already have an offer from another agency (say a certain shark from FinePrint), is there an etiquette about mentioning agent names that are in the run, or is it just exceedingly bad decorum to do so? Something like, "I already have an offer of representation from The Angry Shark at FinePrint, but I hold tremendous respect for your agency and felt compelled to query you as well."

I realize the likelihood of such a scenario is infinitely small, however I've seen agents blog about authors they wanted badly but that had seven other offers on the table (K. Nelson comes to mind, also Jennifer Jackson), so I suppose it does happen. Is it acceptable to lure or woo your top pick with other offers of representation?

Edit: The following 2007 guest blog entry covered this topic: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/10 ... ow-to.html , specifically here:
4. I expect the author will, when asked by these agents, tell them that I was the agent who offered representation.
So I suppose mentioning names when asked is ok, but not at the query stage?

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » April 21st, 2010, 8:15 pm

FK7 wrote:You, Kristin Nelson, Janet Reid and I believe Jessica Faust all blogged about this issue, but there is one aspect that wasn't answered. The topic was about querying a new agent when you already have an offer of representation on the table. Janet Reid's entry is the most recent. She said that unless she has a partial or full, mentioning in a query that we have already received an offer of representation will make no difference, unless she knows the agent and respects him/her. I found this a bit puzzling.

It's not rare to see writers approaching the query stage like a RISK game. Query five at a time, if you're lucky to get feedback on your rejections (either at query or partial/full stage), use that criticism to better your query or MS, then query five more... until you feel you have improved enough to approach your "top" picks. Some writers on writing forums feel this smoke and mirrors game isn't necessary... "query as widely as possible" was Miss Snark's motto. However, since you can't re-query an agent after you get a rejection, isn't it a better idea to start slow and work your way up until you're at your zenith?

Of course I could just be crazy... too strategic? Too much chess played as a child? Wouldn't be surprised.

What if I do query say a certain San Fransisco agent, or a Pub Rant owner, and already have an offer from another agency (say a certain shark from FinePrint), is there an etiquette about mentioning agent names that are in the run, or is it just exceedingly bad decorum to do so? Something like, "I already have an offer of representation from The Angry Shark at FinePrint, but I hold tremendous respect for your agency and felt compelled to query you as well."

I realize the likelihood of such a scenario is infinitely small, however I've seen agents blog about authors they wanted badly but that had seven other offers on the table (K. Nelson comes to mind, also Jennifer Jackson), so I suppose it does happen. Is it acceptable to lure or woo your top pick with other offers of representation?

Edit: The following 2007 guest blog entry covered this topic: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/10 ... ow-to.html , specifically here:
4. I expect the author will, when asked by these agents, tell them that I was the agent who offered representation.
So I suppose mentioning names when asked is ok, but not at the query stage?
Well, two main responses:

1) I don't think it's totally ethical to shop around an offer of representation everywhere, including to people you haven't yet queried. You should definitely let the people who are actively considering your work that you have an offer, but as far as taking the offer and then going to new people? I wouldn't do it. It's not respectful of the agent who made you the offer.

2) When you're notifying the agents actively considering that you have an offer of representation, I don't think it's necessary to tell everyone who the offer of representation is from unless someone asks - and then yeah, we figure you'll tell other people when they do ask, but I wouldn't lead with that info.

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Matthew MacNish
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Matthew MacNish » April 22nd, 2010, 11:39 am

Nathan ... this is by no means important so feel free to take your time to get back but I'm just curious:

How did you feel about Phil Jackson misquoting Mark Twain for the TV cameras the other day?

Did he really have to add "or whatever" to the end of his clumsy attempt at a clever quote?

I know you hate the Lakers almost as much as me so I was just wondering what you thought about it.

Thanks!

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Todd Packer
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Todd Packer » April 22nd, 2010, 6:05 pm

Forgive me if this has been answered (and I suspect it has), but what's normal amount of time to wait before following up with an agent who asked to read a sample? Or do not at all?

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » April 22nd, 2010, 8:50 pm

Matthew Rush wrote:Nathan ... this is by no means important so feel free to take your time to get back but I'm just curious:

How did you feel about Phil Jackson misquoting Mark Twain for the TV cameras the other day?

Did he really have to add "or whatever" to the end of his clumsy attempt at a clever quote?

I know you hate the Lakers almost as much as me so I was just wondering what you thought about it.

Thanks!
Oh wow, I missed this. Hilarious.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » April 22nd, 2010, 8:51 pm

Todd Packer wrote:Forgive me if this has been answered (and I suspect it has), but what's normal amount of time to wait before following up with an agent who asked to read a sample? Or do not at all?
Hope this helps (scroll down to the bolded part): http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/08 ... -with.html

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Regan Leigh
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Regan Leigh » April 23rd, 2010, 2:46 am

This is a question somewhat related to your recent blog post on the query process.

I've been noticing recently that some agents have changed the game up a bit. :) There have been a few different scenarios I'm aware of since December where a writer was approached by an agent before they even queried. I've heard of it happening through Twitter, blogs, and forums. Some agents have become interested after reading queries posted on blogs or excerpts from the WIP.

This trend may not be new, but it's a tactic I'd never seen before. I'm interested in your opinion. Is this a common practice for agents? To seek out writers first? Does it show a lack of faith in the query process on the agent's end or is it merely them being proactive?


(If this question has been asked before, my apologies.)
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