Old Ask Nathan Thread

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Kaitlyne
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Kaitlyne » May 12th, 2010, 12:39 am

Nathan Bransford wrote:
Just out of curiosity, how do you know it's a bounce-back and not a quick rejection?
I can't speak for specifically what the others have received, but my subject line says, "Message failed to send" and when you open the email, it says, "Message failed permanently" and redirects me to a gmail bulk mail senders guideline or something odd like that. I assume the others are receiving similar messages. I've been getting this for five months. I try every so often to see if it works yet, and it's just recently I've started seeing an increase in other people having the same problem. Her page on Query Tracker has a lot of comments about people getting bounce-backs as well. Also the agent is a non-responder if it's a no.

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Regan Leigh
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Regan Leigh » May 12th, 2010, 1:53 am

Another quick question. :D

I have a YA WIP that I'm editing. I'm a little concerned about the age of the MC. Is 18 too old for a MC in YA lit? I do have a specific reason for them to be that age, but if I felt it was a big enough issue I would re-arrange things to lower the age. It just wouldn't be ideal for the story. Would this be a red flag to you as an agent that it would be a hard sell?

Thanks for your time!

Regan
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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 12th, 2010, 8:37 pm

Kaitlyne wrote:
Nathan Bransford wrote:
Just out of curiosity, how do you know it's a bounce-back and not a quick rejection?
I can't speak for specifically what the others have received, but my subject line says, "Message failed to send" and when you open the email, it says, "Message failed permanently" and redirects me to a gmail bulk mail senders guideline or something odd like that. I assume the others are receiving similar messages. I've been getting this for five months. I try every so often to see if it works yet, and it's just recently I've started seeing an increase in other people having the same problem. Her page on Query Tracker has a lot of comments about people getting bounce-backs as well. Also the agent is a non-responder if it's a no.
Ah, ok, just wanted to double-check there first - people sometimes think I have an auto-reply when in fact I'm actually responding.

But to your question, I think it's up to you - you're not going to get blackballed for e-mailing the agent directly or anything like that, even if you're risking annoying her. But it seems like this agent just isn't on the lookout for new clients at the moment. You can bet that if other people are having the same problem she's been e-mailed about it and knows it's an issue, and if she hasn't taken measures to fix it that may be a sign in and of itself.

Kaitlyne
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Kaitlyne » May 12th, 2010, 9:29 pm

Alright, that makes sense. Thanks for the reply. :)

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by JadePhoenix » May 14th, 2010, 7:28 pm

Hi Nathan, I had a question I was hoping you could help me out with. I queried an agent and she requested a partial which I sent. I noticed though that she's one of the agents on the Diabetes Auction site offering a consultation. Would it be out of line to bid on her when I already have a partial with her? I'm working on a second book so I could bid for a consultation on that book but I was wondering if I would be destroying any possible chance I had by having a partial and then bidding and going that way. It'd be ideal if I got an answer from her before the auction ended (then if I were rejected I could bid to get a consult on why she rejected it and how I could improve it) but, as it stands, her return time is 10-12 weeks and the auction ends in about two weeks or so. So, what would be the best course of auction? Go ahead and bid based on another book or leave it alone and wait for her answer on the partial I already have in with her?

On a side note, she's also an agent whose apparently pretty good at responding to e-mails so would it be better to e-mail her and ask if it's okay?

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by bcomet » May 15th, 2010, 1:48 pm

Hi Nathan. Thanks for the answer to my last question.
Here's something that came up recently:
I read (I think on Query Shark) that a writer should have a designated e-mail and if they didn't or had another name (like a pen name) that it was a BIG RED FLAG, that it would hurt a writer's chances. What exactly is a designated email? I use a symbols or words for my emails and not my name as part of my email address. I know another writer who uses her name and her pen name (one inside the other). Are these no-nos? If so, can you speak a little about how a writer's designated email should appear? Thanks!

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Scott
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Scott » May 17th, 2010, 12:19 pm

Nathan, if an author was in the process of self-marketing their book but prior to self-publishing comes across an agent that may be well-suited for it, is it a good idea to share any of the work you've done? I refer specifically to websites and blogs that may have been created.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 17th, 2010, 8:14 pm

JadePhoenix wrote:Hi Nathan, I had a question I was hoping you could help me out with. I queried an agent and she requested a partial which I sent. I noticed though that she's one of the agents on the Diabetes Auction site offering a consultation. Would it be out of line to bid on her when I already have a partial with her? I'm working on a second book so I could bid for a consultation on that book but I was wondering if I would be destroying any possible chance I had by having a partial and then bidding and going that way. It'd be ideal if I got an answer from her before the auction ended (then if I were rejected I could bid to get a consult on why she rejected it and how I could improve it) but, as it stands, her return time is 10-12 weeks and the auction ends in about two weeks or so. So, what would be the best course of auction? Go ahead and bid based on another book or leave it alone and wait for her answer on the partial I already have in with her?

On a side note, she's also an agent whose apparently pretty good at responding to e-mails so would it be better to e-mail her and ask if it's okay?
I don't think it would be unprofessional to bid - she's probably going to give a more detailed response to the auction winner than to someone whose manuscript she's passing on, and you may well find it helpful to have that extra attention. But if she ends up being interested in your work and you also win the auction you may not have needed to spend the money. Given that it's such a good cause this may be something you're comfortable with. Totally up to you.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 17th, 2010, 8:17 pm

bcomet wrote:Hi Nathan. Thanks for the answer to my last question.
Here's something that came up recently:
I read (I think on Query Shark) that a writer should have a designated e-mail and if they didn't or had another name (like a pen name) that it was a BIG RED FLAG, that it would hurt a writer's chances. What exactly is a designated email? I use a symbols or words for my emails and not my name as part of my email address. I know another writer who uses her name and her pen name (one inside the other). Are these no-nos? If so, can you speak a little about how a writer's designated email should appear? Thanks!
Unless the e-mail address is wildly unprofessional this isn't a huge deal to me, though there are others in the industry who feel more strongly about it and advise people to have their own dedicated e-mail address.

Also, now is a good time for me to advise everyone to hurry hurry hurry and buy the domain for your name or pen name if at all possible. Then you can set up a very professional e-mail address along the lines of yourfirstname@yourfirstandlastname.com

JadePhoenix
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by JadePhoenix » May 18th, 2010, 12:40 am

Nathan Bransford wrote:
JadePhoenix wrote:Hi Nathan, I had a question I was hoping you could help me out with. I queried an agent and she requested a partial which I sent. I noticed though that she's one of the agents on the Diabetes Auction site offering a consultation. Would it be out of line to bid on her when I already have a partial with her? I'm working on a second book so I could bid for a consultation on that book but I was wondering if I would be destroying any possible chance I had by having a partial and then bidding and going that way. It'd be ideal if I got an answer from her before the auction ended (then if I were rejected I could bid to get a consult on why she rejected it and how I could improve it) but, as it stands, her return time is 10-12 weeks and the auction ends in about two weeks or so. So, what would be the best course of auction? Go ahead and bid based on another book or leave it alone and wait for her answer on the partial I already have in with her?

On a side note, she's also an agent whose apparently pretty good at responding to e-mails so would it be better to e-mail her and ask if it's okay?
I don't think it would be unprofessional to bid - she's probably going to give a more detailed response to the auction winner than to someone whose manuscript she's passing on, and you may well find it helpful to have that extra attention. But if she ends up being interested in your work and you also win the auction you may not have needed to spend the money. Given that it's such a good cause this may be something you're comfortable with. Totally up to you.
Thank you Nathan. I think I'll go ahead and bid and, if I win, I'll submit a portion of the second manuscript I'm working on and not the one she currently has under review. Any remarks/help she gives me can be applied to all my writing (if she points out I need to work on my tone or dialogue for example those are both universal problems that can then be addressed). Then if she passes on my manuscript I can take what she said and apply it to that one to improve it and can also apply what she said to the second one I'm working on. if, however, she chooses to offer representation I'll have help for both the first manuscript (if she feels any changes need to be made) and a headstart on a better, higher quality second manuscript. Also since, as you said, it's an auction for a good charity it ends up being a win-win all the way around. Thank you again for the help, it puts my mind at ease about bidding!

mattkrol
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by mattkrol » May 18th, 2010, 10:32 am

Mr. Bransford,

Just a quick question for you ... when an agent says to send the first 10 pages, or the first 50, how strict are they on those numbers? What if the first chapter is 12 pages? Or the first 5 chapters are 54 pages? Wouldn't I want to send them a complete chapter, instead of a partial?

Thanks, and love your blog, its super-informative!

Matt

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 18th, 2010, 11:57 pm

Scott wrote:Nathan, if an author was in the process of self-marketing their book but prior to self-publishing comes across an agent that may be well-suited for it, is it a good idea to share any of the work you've done? I refer specifically to websites and blogs that may have been created.
Sure - I'd mention it with links that they can check out if they're interested. Maybe as a PS?

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 19th, 2010, 1:45 am

mattkrol wrote:Mr. Bransford,

Just a quick question for you ... when an agent says to send the first 10 pages, or the first 50, how strict are they on those numbers? What if the first chapter is 12 pages? Or the first 5 chapters are 54 pages? Wouldn't I want to send them a complete chapter, instead of a partial?

Thanks, and love your blog, its super-informative!

Matt
Within a couple of pages is fine if there's a natural break. No one is going to reject you for sending a few extra pages.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by emptyrefrigerator » May 19th, 2010, 8:43 am

Dear Nathan,

Thanks for this feature on your forum. Here's my question: How many form rejections does it take to get a clue?

To explain -- I've sent out 21 queries (lit fiction). The first 5 were with a sucky query letter; the next 16 were with a better query letter (I think). So far, I've gotten 14 form rejections and 7 are pending. No partial requests. Do I take that as a sign that I need to rework my query letter yet again? Or are 14 rejections too few to base that on?

For the record, I have definitely solicited and received lots of feedback on the query, and I have revised it heavily in response to the feedback. This is to say that I really don't think I'm making basic query mistakes. But, something is wrong. Or is it? Do I just need to keep submiting? That's the heart of my question.

I realize you can't give me a magic number (unless you can) but I would love to hear your general thoughts on this.

Thank you.

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Scott
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Scott » May 19th, 2010, 9:51 am

Nathan Bransford wrote:
Scott wrote:Nathan, if an author was in the process of self-marketing their book but prior to self-publishing comes across an agent that may be well-suited for it, is it a good idea to share any of the work you've done? I refer specifically to websites and blogs that may have been created.
Sure - I'd mention it with links that they can check out if they're interested. Maybe as a PS?
Thanks, Nathan. What I thought to do was mention that I was in process of self-pub/marketing in the final paragraph of my query along with why I halted the process upon discovering their interests, and put a couple links after my name. I do wonder if agents bother to click on those. I think both tell a lot about who I am as an author.

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