Old Ask Nathan Thread

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Heather B
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Heather B » May 23rd, 2010, 9:22 pm

Hi Nathan,

I just have a quick question for you that relates to querying agents. I live in Australia and at the moment there are very few agents that are a) looking at my genre and b) accepting anything unsolicited. This leaves me with about two agencies that I can query.
If neither of these work out for me is it okay to query outside of Australia or would I have more luck sending my MS to publishing houses that have their doors open for unsolicited work? (Even if they say they very rarely represent any of them).

I hear about authors sending out twenty queries at a time but that just doesn't seem possible for me.
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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 23rd, 2010, 10:41 pm

FK7 wrote:I was wondering what happened to promised advances in a multiple book deal if the contract is forfeited for whatever reason by the publisher (bad sales on first book for example).

Say someone is promised a 35k advance for a 3 book deal in 7 settlements (1/7 at signing, 1/7 at delivery & acceptance of first book manuscript, 1/7 on publication date of first book, 1/7 at delivery & acceptance of second book manuscript, 1/7 on publication date of second book,....), what happens to the rest of the advance if the first book didn't sell well? Is the rest of the advance forfeited when the contract is annuled?
It depends on the contract and specific language, but usually the first book selling isn't enough to cancel the rest of the books in the agreement.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 23rd, 2010, 10:43 pm

Heather B wrote:Hi Nathan,

I just have a quick question for you that relates to querying agents. I live in Australia and at the moment there are very few agents that are a) looking at my genre and b) accepting anything unsolicited. This leaves me with about two agencies that I can query.
If neither of these work out for me is it okay to query outside of Australia or would I have more luck sending my MS to publishing houses that have their doors open for unsolicited work? (Even if they say they very rarely represent any of them).

I hear about authors sending out twenty queries at a time but that just doesn't seem possible for me.
Hope this post helps: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/12 ... rseas.html

Only you can really decide if your work is best suited for your home market (in which case you should go all-out there), or whether you might expand your search overseas.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by knight_tour » May 24th, 2010, 3:53 am

Ink wrote:Ted, there's actually a lot of serious adult fantasy out there right now, stuff that's winning awards and selling really well. Along with Martin, there's Steven Erikson, Ian C. Esslemont, Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, Richard K. Morgan, Guy Gavriel Kay, Paul Kearney, David Anthony Durham, David Keck, Robin Hobb, Robert Redick, Ken Scholes, R. Scott Bakker...

A long way from Harry Potter, these fellows. There's stuff out there if you look for it.

Best,
Bryan
Hi Bryan,
I have a lot of these books, but the ones I have seen are not using Tolkien/D&D-style worlds with elves, dwarves, etc. I would love to hear about any that are. That is what I am craving most. I enjoy these other worlds, too, just not as much.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by pearlgoddess » May 24th, 2010, 4:33 pm

Mr. Bransford,

I have a two-fold question I hope you can help me with. I am a writer/illustrator and have written an illustrated book for adults. I have done a ton of research but keep coming upon two stumbling blocks (both of which are surmountable, just trying to determine the best way to get past them.) First, my book really doesn't fit neatly into any genre that I am aware of. It isn't a graphic novel; it is, simply, an illustrated book with an adult target audience. The closest I can compare it to would perhaps be some of Edward Gorey's or Shel Silverstein's books (although a bit more erotic!) Thus I am having a difficult time trying to determine which agents would be best for me to query. I'm looking for those open to "quirky" or "off-beat" as that seems my best bet. However, some of them say they do not rep picture books, which mine is, although I am sure they are referring to children's picture books. Secondly, I have found a few that I would like to query (such as yourself) but who only accept email submissions. While my book can be viewed online, I would much prefer to send a dummy by snail mail as it is a much better way to view my work and judge it as a book. But I certainly don't want to disregard an agent's submission guidelines (or lose a dummy book). Of course, I will be enclosing SASEs with all my snail mail queries for the return of the dummy. Any thoughts you have would be much appreciated.

Gretchen

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by treeoflife » May 24th, 2010, 6:53 pm

knight_tour wrote: Hi Bryan,
I have a lot of these books, but the ones I have seen are not using Tolkien/D&D-style worlds with elves, dwarves, etc. I would love to hear about any that are. That is what I am craving most. I enjoy these other worlds, too, just not as much.
Hi knight_tour, I actually did a lot of research on this about 6 months ago, and without going into detail, I'll let you know what I found.

There is a tonne of writing going on in the traditional D&D/Tolkein genre, buuuuut, it's mostly done in video games. World of Warcraft alone brings in more money in a year than the entire adult fantasy genre of books combined. And that's one game, of which there'd be too many to list (albeit WoW is the largest). There are legions of writers working in the field. I'd bet Warcraft employs more fantasy writers itself than there are successful adult fantasy novelists out there.

If you're determined to write in this genre, maybe consider writing for a different medium than a book? This genre is a monster in video games.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 24th, 2010, 9:00 pm

pearlgoddess wrote:Mr. Bransford,

I have a two-fold question I hope you can help me with. I am a writer/illustrator and have written an illustrated book for adults. I have done a ton of research but keep coming upon two stumbling blocks (both of which are surmountable, just trying to determine the best way to get past them.) First, my book really doesn't fit neatly into any genre that I am aware of. It isn't a graphic novel; it is, simply, an illustrated book with an adult target audience. The closest I can compare it to would perhaps be some of Edward Gorey's or Shel Silverstein's books (although a bit more erotic!) Thus I am having a difficult time trying to determine which agents would be best for me to query. I'm looking for those open to "quirky" or "off-beat" as that seems my best bet. However, some of them say they do not rep picture books, which mine is, although I am sure they are referring to children's picture books. Secondly, I have found a few that I would like to query (such as yourself) but who only accept email submissions. While my book can be viewed online, I would much prefer to send a dummy by snail mail as it is a much better way to view my work and judge it as a book. But I certainly don't want to disregard an agent's submission guidelines (or lose a dummy book). Of course, I will be enclosing SASEs with all my snail mail queries for the return of the dummy. Any thoughts you have would be much appreciated.

Gretchen
This sounds like a bit of an esoteric project that you might have difficulty placing with a agent/publisher. Illustrated books are always difficult, and agents sometimes shy away from them (picture books definitely refers to children's picture books). Have you considered a self-publisher like Blurb.com?

But if you want to go the agent route, I would follow agents' guidelines. If they only accept e-mail submissions they only accept e-mail submissions. Especially if the book is viewable online I'm sure that's the route that most would prefer to take.

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Todd Packer
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Todd Packer » May 25th, 2010, 6:30 pm

Nathan, I have a publishing company question to ask you. Is it normal for a publishing company to require that an author buys a minimum of 50 copies of their own book (they recommend at least 100 to start) to sell on a mandatory tour? It feels like a scam, but they seem like a semi-legit company... uh-oh, I said "semi" without realizing it; I might be answering my own question?

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 25th, 2010, 9:00 pm

Todd Packer wrote:Nathan, I have a publishing company question to ask you. Is it normal for a publishing company to require that an author buys a minimum of 50 copies of their own book (they recommend at least 100 to start) to sell on a mandatory tour? It feels like a scam, but they seem like a semi-legit company... uh-oh, I said "semi" without realizing it; I might be answering my own question?
No, not with any of the publishers I've dealt with.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by knight_tour » May 26th, 2010, 1:39 am

Nathan,
I was on Query Tracker looking at various other agents to query. I noticed Ginger Clark on my list, but she works for your agency. If I have been rejected by you, should I assume that she also would not be interested in taking a look at my work? I just don't know the level of interaction between your agents on such things, and I certainly don't want to break a policy against hitting the same agency twice!

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 26th, 2010, 8:23 pm

knight_tour wrote:Nathan,
I was on Query Tracker looking at various other agents to query. I noticed Ginger Clark on my list, but she works for your agency. If I have been rejected by you, should I assume that she also would not be interested in taking a look at my work? I just don't know the level of interaction between your agents on such things, and I certainly don't want to break a policy against hitting the same agency twice!
Yeah, you can query her!

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Scott
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Scott » May 27th, 2010, 11:28 am

Nathan Bransford wrote:I don't think I'd mention the possibility of self-publishing with an agent. Some agents may be disposed to helping you self-publish, but probably not too many. If they like you're work an agent is probably going to want to try first with the traditional method even if you are planning on falling back on self-publishing.
Thanks, Nathan. Traditional methods prior to self-pubbing was actually what I was after, which is why I added this:
Having made my living in marketing over the past two decades, I'm currently designing an integrated, self-publishing campaign for sWitch. However, I'm pleased to say that discovering you and your literary interests has sidelines those efforts.
I felt it was clear that a) I had researched previously and thought self-publishing was the best way, hence my construction of the following online marketing tools, and b) finding the agent has made me rethink the self-pub route and try again to go traditional. In fact, nowhere did I state that I'm interested in an agent help me self-publish. Is that even done? I'm not even sure I understand how that works.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 27th, 2010, 6:10 pm

Scott wrote:
Nathan Bransford wrote:I don't think I'd mention the possibility of self-publishing with an agent. Some agents may be disposed to helping you self-publish, but probably not too many. If they like you're work an agent is probably going to want to try first with the traditional method even if you are planning on falling back on self-publishing.
Thanks, Nathan. Traditional methods prior to self-pubbing was actually what I was after, which is why I added this:
Having made my living in marketing over the past two decades, I'm currently designing an integrated, self-publishing campaign for sWitch. However, I'm pleased to say that discovering you and your literary interests has sidelines those efforts.
I felt it was clear that a) I had researched previously and thought self-publishing was the best way, hence my construction of the following online marketing tools, and b) finding the agent has made me rethink the self-pub route and try again to go traditional. In fact, nowhere did I state that I'm interested in an agent help me self-publish. Is that even done? I'm not even sure I understand how that works.
Ah, okay, I misunderstood. But yes, agents do work with authors on self-publishing efforts.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by JustineDell » May 28th, 2010, 12:51 pm

Nathan Bransford wrote:
knight_tour wrote:Nathan,
I was on Query Tracker looking at various other agents to query. I noticed Ginger Clark on my list, but she works for your agency. If I have been rejected by you, should I assume that she also would not be interested in taking a look at my work? I just don't know the level of interaction between your agents on such things, and I certainly don't want to break a policy against hitting the same agency twice!
Yeah, you can query her!
Hmmm...I'm confused, Nathan. I thought you said once that a rejection by you (or anyone else in the CB agency) is like a rejection from all. Has that changed?

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by bcomet » May 28th, 2010, 3:09 pm

Hi Nathan!
As one hopes to find an agent for their career and not just a project or an area, this came up recently as a concern:

What do you do if an agent loves one genre you write in, but doesn't rep (or want to rep) your other work?

Do you use one agent for one type of work and another agent for the other?

Can an exclusive under a pen name be separate from an exclusive under another name?

How do you discuss this with a prospective agent so that it is polite?

Should you ask them to first look at your other projects (i.e. novels in the drawer or WIPs)?

Thanks for this answer!

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