Old Ask Nathan Thread

Questions for the resident (former) agent
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gdelao
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by gdelao » July 14th, 2010, 10:00 pm

I haven't found anywhere on the forum or blog where you address the level of sexual content you accept in a young adult novel you would rep. Is there a rule of writing that you have for representing a YA novel that has more sexual content than just kissing? Or fade to black. My MC's don't go "all the way", but they do have experiences with each other.

Thank you for the space you provide to us writers to stretch and grow.

gdelao

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » July 14th, 2010, 10:05 pm

gdelao wrote:I haven't found anywhere on the forum or blog where you address the level of sexual content you accept in a young adult novel you would rep. Is there a rule of writing that you have for representing a YA novel that has more sexual content than just kissing? Or fade to black. My MC's don't go "all the way", but they do have experiences with each other.

Thank you for the space you provide to us writers to stretch and grow.

gdelao
I don't have a specific rule of thumb, it's all case by case.

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gdelao
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by gdelao » July 14th, 2010, 10:16 pm

Nathan Bransford wrote:
gdelao wrote:I haven't found anywhere on the forum or blog where you address the level of sexual content you accept in a young adult novel you would rep. Is there a rule of writing that you have for representing a YA novel that has more sexual content than just kissing? Or fade to black. My MC's don't go "all the way", but they do have experiences with each other.

Thank you for the space you provide to us writers to stretch and grow.

gdelao
I don't have a specific rule of thumb, it's all case by case.
Thank you Nathan. One more question. If you liked the MS and but thought the sexual content was a little to much for the audience the book would attract, would you work with that writer on content or would you pass on it?

Curious.

Thanks again.

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FK7
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by FK7 » July 14th, 2010, 10:21 pm

Hi Nathan!

I was wondering what your thoughts were on re-sending a query after it's been rejected. I know you've blogged about this and the reason I am asking is because I read something on Kristin Nelson's blog that made me wonder...

The post is here, but I've included the relevant section below:
http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2010/03/q- ... d-two.html
Constance asked:
How do you know if or when to resend something to an agent? Are you only supposed to resend a query when they ask you, or can you even when they don't, if you've made extensive revisions?

Constance, I think if you extensively rework a query letter so it’s basically new, I’d resend it. My suggestion? Change the title to something new. Sometimes titles stand out and it will sound familiar. In terms of time span, if you submitted queries and have received mainly rejection responses, I’d revise significantly, wait about 3 weeks, then resend. What can an agent do? Track you down and chastise you for resubmitting? Grin. Be bold. Now if you are rejected numerous times by same agent. Move on. Lots of other agent fishes in the sea.
My situation is this: I've had 2 requests for a full and 1 partial, but I realized it was probably due to the heavy personalization my queries had received for these specific agents vs the query itself. A few months into the submission process, I felt more confident and thought I could write a new query. So I did, and the new query so far has given good results (1 partial request on first day). If we feel the new query is significantly better and the MS itself went under a lot of work (using the feedback we got from the full or partial R), is it acceptable to re-query an agent who had already passed?

Jessica Faust had an interesting entry on it as well (here) and said there was a risk of hurting our reputation.

Does something like Ms. Nelson advised (if the query is entirely new, then send but change title just in case?) make sense? I could only find a few posts on this, but nobody seems to agree about what the acceptable etiquette is.

Thank you!

Meredith
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Meredith » July 14th, 2010, 10:35 pm

Nathan Bransford wrote:
Meredith wrote:I have two questions.

Question One: Word count in a query. Should it be the actual word count (rounded to the nearest thousand), or some sort of calculation, like 250 words per ms page?
Actual word count.
Meredith wrote:Question Two: This one is in the FAQs, but the answer is two years old so I wonder if the answer is still the same. Should information about a blog or website be in the query letter, or just in the signature block?

Thanks.
Signature block.
Thank you.
MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com

BlancheKing
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by BlancheKing » July 15th, 2010, 3:11 pm

Hi Nathan =)

I'm a bit confused in regards to responding to material requests. I remember you mentioned earlier that keeping agents waiting for more than a week or two after their request is impolite. But would agents also consider it to be impolite if they are one out of a dozen who currently have the material? In other words, should I let the agents know that others also have the material?

Thank you very much.

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

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Meredith » July 17th, 2010, 9:51 pm

I'm getting conflicting advice on this one. (Which doesn't seem to be unusual.)

In a synopsis, do you capitalize the names of characters when they first appear, or not?

Thanks for your help.
MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com

MrsGIJoe
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by MrsGIJoe » July 19th, 2010, 8:32 pm

Nathan,

I'm not quite to this point yet but I'm like weeks away from sending out a few queries. So my questions spring from the "what if" board.

1~I got some good replies about face to face time with agents and how not that much happens. But I'm curious about something: If you offered to represent an author would you personally be offended if they asked for an in person meeting first?

2-I have read that sometimes new authors turn down advances. I really love this idea because it just seems to eliminate some hassle just in case sell through isn't met. But when a new author does that how do you perceive it? Smart or lack of confidence?

Thank you so much for always taking the time to respond on here! The personal touches you put on everything really speak volumes of your work ethic.

~Mrs. G.I. Joe

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » July 19th, 2010, 10:53 pm

FK7 wrote:Hi Nathan!

I was wondering what your thoughts were on re-sending a query after it's been rejected. I know you've blogged about this and the reason I am asking is because I read something on Kristin Nelson's blog that made me wonder...

The post is here, but I've included the relevant section below:
http://pubrants.blogspot.com/2010/03/q- ... d-two.html
Constance asked:
How do you know if or when to resend something to an agent? Are you only supposed to resend a query when they ask you, or can you even when they don't, if you've made extensive revisions?

Constance, I think if you extensively rework a query letter so it’s basically new, I’d resend it. My suggestion? Change the title to something new. Sometimes titles stand out and it will sound familiar. In terms of time span, if you submitted queries and have received mainly rejection responses, I’d revise significantly, wait about 3 weeks, then resend. What can an agent do? Track you down and chastise you for resubmitting? Grin. Be bold. Now if you are rejected numerous times by same agent. Move on. Lots of other agent fishes in the sea.
My situation is this: I've had 2 requests for a full and 1 partial, but I realized it was probably due to the heavy personalization my queries had received for these specific agents vs the query itself. A few months into the submission process, I felt more confident and thought I could write a new query. So I did, and the new query so far has given good results (1 partial request on first day). If we feel the new query is significantly better and the MS itself went under a lot of work (using the feedback we got from the full or partial R), is it acceptable to re-query an agent who had already passed?

Jessica Faust had an interesting entry on it as well (here) and said there was a risk of hurting our reputation.

Does something like Ms. Nelson advised (if the query is entirely new, then send but change title just in case?) make sense? I could only find a few posts on this, but nobody seems to agree about what the acceptable etiquette is.

Thank you!
Here's my official line on this, from this post:
If the agent passed on your query: Do not re-query with the same project, even if you've revised your query and/or manuscript. The agent has made their decision.
And here's my unofficial line on this, which I will only say in comment sections and in the Forums, to hopefully only reach the really conscientious writers out there:
What I will say in the comments section but not the main post is that if you really truly believe in good faith that you have drastically improved your query and would like to try again, they're probably not going to notice that you did so, and unless they personalized their response to you I wouldn't mention that it's a re-query.

However, I beg that people don't abuse this because if everyone kept re-querying my life would be insane.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » July 19th, 2010, 10:54 pm

gdelao wrote:
Nathan Bransford wrote:
gdelao wrote:I haven't found anywhere on the forum or blog where you address the level of sexual content you accept in a young adult novel you would rep. Is there a rule of writing that you have for representing a YA novel that has more sexual content than just kissing? Or fade to black. My MC's don't go "all the way", but they do have experiences with each other.

Thank you for the space you provide to us writers to stretch and grow.

gdelao
I don't have a specific rule of thumb, it's all case by case.
Thank you Nathan. One more question. If you liked the MS and but thought the sexual content was a little to much for the audience the book would attract, would you work with that writer on content or would you pass on it?

Curious.

Thanks again.
I'd work with the author.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » July 19th, 2010, 10:55 pm

BlancheKing wrote:Hi Nathan =)

I'm a bit confused in regards to responding to material requests. I remember you mentioned earlier that keeping agents waiting for more than a week or two after their request is impolite. But would agents also consider it to be impolite if they are one out of a dozen who currently have the material? In other words, should I let the agents know that others also have the material?

Thank you very much.

B.
No, I'd only tell them if they ask. I assume someone is querying other people and has their manuscript out in the meantime. The only time you need to notify them that it's out with other people is if an agent is asking for an exclusive or you receive an offer of representation.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » July 19th, 2010, 10:56 pm

Meredith wrote:I'm getting conflicting advice on this one. (Which doesn't seem to be unusual.)

In a synopsis, do you capitalize the names of characters when they first appear, or not?

Thanks for your help.
No, I've never quite understood this practice, which I think is more of a film thing. I prefer that they're uncapitalized.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » July 19th, 2010, 10:58 pm

MrsGIJoe wrote:Nathan,

I'm not quite to this point yet but I'm like weeks away from sending out a few queries. So my questions spring from the "what if" board.

1~I got some good replies about face to face time with agents and how not that much happens. But I'm curious about something: If you offered to represent an author would you personally be offended if they asked for an in person meeting first?
It would depend on how practical the meeting would be. If it's reasonable for both sides I think I would jump at the opportunity to meet face to face first so we can get a sense of each other's personalities.
MrsGIJoe wrote:2-I have read that sometimes new authors turn down advances. I really love this idea because it just seems to eliminate some hassle just in case sell through isn't met. But when a new author does that how do you perceive it? Smart or lack of confidence?

Thank you so much for always taking the time to respond on here! The personal touches you put on everything really speak volumes of your work ethic.

~Mrs. G.I. Joe
I don't know if I've ever seen this happen, though it would depend a lot on the author and the situation whether I'd recommend it.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by MrsGIJoe » July 20th, 2010, 9:05 am

Thanks Nathan!

You make the publishing industry seem a little less scary. A little :)

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Kerri » July 22nd, 2010, 5:30 pm

Hi Nathan, do you think it's acceptable to query a novel as a "literary love story"? My book is literary fiction, mostly about a romantic relationship, with some family saga and coming-of-age elements as well. I don't want to name too many genres at once, but I do want the agent to get an accurate sense of what my book is like. Comp titles have been tricky for me (either too popular or too obscure). What do you suggest?

Thanks for your help and all your good work,
Kerri

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