Old Ask Nathan Thread

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BlancheKing
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by BlancheKing » May 5th, 2010, 11:33 pm

Hi Nathan,

I also have a question on polish. An agent was kind enough to ask for a partial a week ago, but after I sent it, I realized that I'd left out an word (a preposition) in the middle of one sentence. Will that be very detrimental to my chances?

-Blanche
One manuscript, One dream, One stack of stamps that needs to be bought...
Writing Process: http://blancheking.blogspot.com/

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 6th, 2010, 8:24 pm

BlancheKing wrote:Hi Nathan,

I also have a question on polish. An agent was kind enough to ask for a partial a week ago, but after I sent it, I realized that I'd left out an word (a preposition) in the middle of one sentence. Will that be very detrimental to my chances?

-Blanche
No. Nothing this small is going to affect anyone's opinion.

CafeCliche
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by CafeCliche » May 6th, 2010, 11:49 pm

Hi Nathan! I've had a partial request out for two weeks now. I recently received an e-mail from another agent, and while she really liked the premise, she wanted me to make some additions to the first chapter before she requested any more.

I thought she had a point, so I made those additions. And now I'm wondering if I should tell the agent who has my partial about the revised chapter. Should I ask if she wants to see it, and what's a prudent way to go about it?

Thank you!
Last edited by CafeCliche on May 10th, 2010, 1:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Wryan
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Wryan » May 7th, 2010, 4:07 pm

Hi Nathan,

I had an agent request for my full manuscript. She ultimately passed, saying that the subject matter was more fit for middle grade, but the tone was young adult.

I've never seen a good differentiation between middle grade and young adult. What, would you say, is the difference?

Jen P
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Jen P » May 9th, 2010, 6:00 am

Social Networking and Data Privacy
Hi Nathan : what is your opinion on need to have a public profile and get involved in social networking, vs the need for data privacy?

Since the most recent changes to Facebook (Instant personalization) mean that we really need to dig deep into both the account and privacy settings, as well as individual third party websites to restrict access from those sites (pandora/yelp/microsoft docs for now) which can access ALL the data held in our own profile PLUS ALL that of friends, I am considering canceling my account - I love much of what I get from facebook in terms of writing connections, news and information, but I am reviewing at what cost? If you restrict the personalisation settings much of your more fun profile data is deleted by the system (the potentially interesting background info about you for prospective publishers/agents /readers); you are basically punished for not wanting to play along. If I am a known author, then my account can show a profile image, and minimal personal data, but if you do this as an unknown author, are you shooting yourself in the foot? Do agents encourage clients to use social networking and look negatively on those who don't?

raagachi
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by raagachi » May 10th, 2010, 12:31 pm

Dear Nathan,

I have a question regarding queries and the query advice one finds on the internet.

I’m wondering if there exists a difference between a query letter for genre fiction and a query letter for “literary” fiction. I ask because nearly all query letter advice I read online seems geared towards genre fiction writing or YA writing and the like. For example, an agent such as Janet Reid will recommend that you open with a hook (though not a rhetorical question!) which then launches right into your mini-synopsis; but somehow this advice seems better suited to plot-heavy genre queries. Might serious or self-serious agents with a yen for literary fiction scoff at such a query structure? I would prefer opening my query as Reid recommends (avoiding the “I’m seeking representation…” type of opening), but I fear it could be inappropriate for a literary query.

In summary:

Is there a difference between a genre query and a literary query?

When querying for literary fiction, is it bad form to skip the personalized introduction and open with a hook and plot-synopsis?

Thanks in advance!

bcomet
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by bcomet » May 10th, 2010, 4:56 pm

Hi Nathan.
I just got my first request for a 50 page partial, synopsis, and bio.
(yippeee yippeeee)
On the agency's website, it states that if they request a partial or full, that they expect exclusivity and to notify them of any other agent/agency under consideration.
I sent out a handful of queries. Should I notify them of these other queries? It has just been a few days and they were the first to respond.
Or should I wait until/unless I get another request?

(Sorry if this has been asked and answered already. I did a few searches and couldn't find an answer.)

Your site and help continues to be invaluable! Thank you for all your help!

Kaitlyne
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Kaitlyne » May 10th, 2010, 9:59 pm

Nathan! I haven't been around much lately (crazy busy!), but I thought you might be able to answer a question for me. I know you're crazy busy, too, but I'm not sure where else to ask.

There's a particular (rather popular) agency that only accepts email queries to a specific email address. Unfortunately, quite a few of us are receiving bounce-backs when we send. They aren't messages saying that the inbox is full, but rather messages saying the email was rejected. I've tried sending from other email addresses, as have some of the others.

We aren't sure what to do about this. I know the easy option is to just write them off the list and move on, but considering the agency is one I'd consider a top agency at least, many of us would like to be able to query. We've tried sending emails to the personal accounts, but the agents specifically state that any emails sent there will be deleted unread and that snail mail queries will be recycled unopened.

Is there any option here that you can think of, or are we just out of luck? I would think that if a few of us that I know are having this problem (it's been going on for months), chances are many others are being hit by it as well, and it's possible the agency in question has no idea.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 11th, 2010, 11:56 pm

CafeCliche wrote:Hi Nathan! I've had a partial request out for two weeks now. I recently received an e-mail from another agent, and while she really liked the premise, she wanted me to make some additions to the first chapter before she requested any more.

I thought she had a point, so I made those additions. And now I'm wondering if I should tell the agent who has my partial about the revised chapter. Should I ask if she wants to see it, and what's a prudent way to go about it?

Thank you!
If it's a relatively minor change I'd hold tight on letting the other agent know. If it's a significant to major change you can give the other agent a heads-up, and just let them know that if they haven't yet read the MS yet to start with the new version.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 11th, 2010, 11:59 pm

Wryan wrote:Hi Nathan,

I had an agent request for my full manuscript. She ultimately passed, saying that the subject matter was more fit for middle grade, but the tone was young adult.

I've never seen a good differentiation between middle grade and young adult. What, would you say, is the difference?
Definitions and age ranges vary, but middle grade is usually middle school (i.e. ages 8-14) and young adult is usually high school (14-18). Middle grade tends to be stylistically and content-wise geared toward a younger audience (i.e. kissing is usually blech and violence not too graphic), whereas in YA there's more flexibility to tackle a range of topics.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 12th, 2010, 12:09 am

Jen P wrote:Social Networking and Data Privacy
Hi Nathan : what is your opinion on need to have a public profile and get involved in social networking, vs the need for data privacy?

Since the most recent changes to Facebook (Instant personalization) mean that we really need to dig deep into both the account and privacy settings, as well as individual third party websites to restrict access from those sites (pandora/yelp/microsoft docs for now) which can access ALL the data held in our own profile PLUS ALL that of friends, I am considering canceling my account - I love much of what I get from facebook in terms of writing connections, news and information, but I am reviewing at what cost? If you restrict the personalisation settings much of your more fun profile data is deleted by the system (the potentially interesting background info about you for prospective publishers/agents /readers); you are basically punished for not wanting to play along. If I am a known author, then my account can show a profile image, and minimal personal data, but if you do this as an unknown author, are you shooting yourself in the foot? Do agents encourage clients to use social networking and look negatively on those who don't?
I think it's somewhat up to the author, though I think the mere choice of becoming an author in some sense is a choice to have one's persona out there. The author may have a pen name or might choose to keep aspects of their life private, but I don't think in this day and age it's usually sufficient for an author to just write and hide out and not engage in publicity efforts. It's too hard to stand out in this media environment if the author is completely hidden and unwilling to use the tools at their disposal. Agents expect that authors are going to do what they can because publishers expect that authors are going to do what they can.

This is increasingly the choice that people are going to have to make when they decide whether they want to write for fun or write for publication. Even if, let's say, an author publishers their novel and it takes off through no publicity efforts on their own, in the Internet era that author's life is going to become public to a certain degree. It's up to everyone to decide which aspects of their life they want to make public, but in my opinion at least this is the future.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 12th, 2010, 12:11 am

raagachi wrote:Dear Nathan,

I have a question regarding queries and the query advice one finds on the internet.

I’m wondering if there exists a difference between a query letter for genre fiction and a query letter for “literary” fiction. I ask because nearly all query letter advice I read online seems geared towards genre fiction writing or YA writing and the like. For example, an agent such as Janet Reid will recommend that you open with a hook (though not a rhetorical question!) which then launches right into your mini-synopsis; but somehow this advice seems better suited to plot-heavy genre queries. Might serious or self-serious agents with a yen for literary fiction scoff at such a query structure? I would prefer opening my query as Reid recommends (avoiding the “I’m seeking representation…” type of opening), but I fear it could be inappropriate for a literary query.

In summary:

Is there a difference between a genre query and a literary query?

When querying for literary fiction, is it bad form to skip the personalized introduction and open with a hook and plot-synopsis?

Thanks in advance!
Nope - I think the basic rules are the same. Literary fiction should still have a plot and the query should still reflect the style of the book. If anything the query needs to be even better because literary fiction is such a tough sell.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 12th, 2010, 12:15 am

bcomet wrote:Hi Nathan.
I just got my first request for a 50 page partial, synopsis, and bio.
(yippeee yippeeee)
On the agency's website, it states that if they request a partial or full, that they expect exclusivity and to notify them of any other agent/agency under consideration.
I sent out a handful of queries. Should I notify them of these other queries? It has just been a few days and they were the first to respond.
Or should I wait until/unless I get another request?

(Sorry if this has been asked and answered already. I did a few searches and couldn't find an answer.)

Your site and help continues to be invaluable! Thank you for all your help!
If they ask for that info I think you'll want to give it to them (and I'd only let them know about agents considering the actual manuscript, not just a query). Also, personally I would think long and hard about granting an open-ended exclusive look and would try to attach a time-limit (1-2 months is totally reasonable).

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

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

Kaitlyne wrote:Nathan! I haven't been around much lately (crazy busy!), but I thought you might be able to answer a question for me. I know you're crazy busy, too, but I'm not sure where else to ask.

There's a particular (rather popular) agency that only accepts email queries to a specific email address. Unfortunately, quite a few of us are receiving bounce-backs when we send. They aren't messages saying that the inbox is full, but rather messages saying the email was rejected. I've tried sending from other email addresses, as have some of the others.

We aren't sure what to do about this. I know the easy option is to just write them off the list and move on, but considering the agency is one I'd consider a top agency at least, many of us would like to be able to query. We've tried sending emails to the personal accounts, but the agents specifically state that any emails sent there will be deleted unread and that snail mail queries will be recycled unopened.

Is there any option here that you can think of, or are we just out of luck? I would think that if a few of us that I know are having this problem (it's been going on for months), chances are many others are being hit by it as well, and it's possible the agency in question has no idea.
Just out of curiosity, how do you know it's a bounce-back and not a quick rejection?

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Josin
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Josin » May 12th, 2010, 12:25 am

Nathan Bransford wrote:Just out of curiosity, how do you know it's a bounce-back and not a quick rejection?
Bounce-backs don't come from the person you're sending the e-mail to. I know with Yahoo, if it's a bounce back you get a "MAILER-DAEMON" message that says it tried to send and it wouldn't go through within a specified amount of time.

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