Old Ask Nathan Thread

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Elena
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Elena » January 21st, 2010, 4:06 pm

Dear Nathan,

I've heard a lot of talk about getting refferals from established authors or other notable people who already have a foot in the door of the publishing industry. I've just never heard of ways to go about snagging one. Well, not any that I could accomplish. I'm from a small town and have too many kids and not enough money to attend any notable writers conferences. What is another way I could establish a relationship with people who may, or may not, offer a refferal in the future?

Elena
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Elena » January 21st, 2010, 4:29 pm

Dear Nathan,

Me again, sorry for posting two questions back to back, but I really wanted to ask you this. I am a Canadian citizen, I live and write in Canada. Does that affect my chances of getting a contract with an agent in the Untied States? Does it make it harder to work out a contract? Would it be something to slip into a query letter or not? What other possible affects can their be? I've never come across anything about Canadians sending queries to American agents, so I feel very much left in the dark.

Thank you for your time.

Elena.

adtabb
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by adtabb » January 22nd, 2010, 7:37 am

I have a question that should be simple to answer, and expect the "it varies" response, yet I feel I need to ask.

As a visually impaired writer, I write in Verdana14 point font. Having only 3/4 of one eye, I cannot see Courier font on the screen hardly at all. I do expect to have to change it to Courier, or requested font. However, we all know mistakes can occur, or one can get to excited and send without remembering to change the font. Should I let my potential agent know my vision difficulties up front, or as I send the manuscript?

Another reason I can see to share this information is simple - if I cannot see the font to submit it, I will miss formatting issues that appear correct in Verdana, but do not work in Courier correctly. For instance, I can barely see the fonts on this forum, and hope I am not making too many mistakes.

Main Question: Do I inform my potential agent of my vision difficulties in order to create understanding, and allow myself an opportunity to correct manuscript potential formatting errors?

Thank you,

April Brown

Gypsy
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Gypsy » January 23rd, 2010, 2:08 pm

Nathan,

First, thank you for taking the time to read this.

Here is my question. On your page where you say you'll take pretty much anything you like, excluding poetry and scripts, you make no mention of picture books. Would you consider representing a manuscript for a picture book? Of course it would have to be awesome, but I was just wondering if you would take one on at all?

Thanks again for your time.

Gypsy.

vastdistances
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by vastdistances » January 24th, 2010, 11:45 am

Just a quick question really.

Nathan, you say you want the first five pages in the query. How many words aproximatly do you expect?
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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 25th, 2010, 8:29 pm

Dakota388 wrote:
Nathan Bransford wrote:
lexcade wrote:Nathan,

if an agent doesn't have a specified synopsis length on the website or asks for a "short synopsis," then what does he typically mean? i know lengths are different per agent, and not everyone's "short" is the same. is there a golden rule?

thanks!
Sorry lexcade, missed this one. If there is a golden rule I don't know it. I think you're safe with two pages double spaced, but opinions vary. I don't generally ask for them so I might not be the person to ask.
I'm dying here. I thought for sure from researching on other forums and other agent websites that the consensus for a 2-page synopsis was single-spacing. I'll never get this right. I hope I haven't frustrated my latest batch of agents with my 1300-word synopsises-es-es. Two double-spaced pages cuts that down to about 500 words which is only 250 more words than my query synopsis. I think I'm going to try a different approach. I think I'll sit in my house like a shut-in and wait for agents to come to me. Sound like a good strategy?
Yeah, like I said, opinions vary greatly. I feel your pain.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 25th, 2010, 8:31 pm

tameson wrote:If you are doing a retelling of fairy tale or other literary work, when do you mention this? All names are changed and characters have different personalities, but key story elements are the same: ex: Clueless is a retelling of Emma, Bridget Jone's Diary is Pride and Prejudice. Also, does when you tell depend on popularity of the fairy tale? For example- Dragonball is a retelling of Monkey King, but most people don't know Monkey King. Or how Alvin Maker series (by Orson Scott Card) is inspired by a biography of Joseph Smith (but in a world with magic and a totally different US history and whatevever elements of his life changed that OSC felt like changing). So would this be something to include in a query, in a summary, when the partial is requested, with the full or never? The work I was inspired by is several centuries old and in public domain and with my albeit weak understanding of copyright law, even if it was still protected, my work is so different it would be a hard case for plagiarism. I just want to make sure I do everything completely ethically correct.
If it's a retelling, I'd always mention it. If you're retelling a relatively obscure work just explain what it is/was.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 25th, 2010, 8:33 pm

Ann wrote:Hi Nathan,

I'm in the process of attempting to find an agent. I currently have an agent who is interested in representing my children's picture books, but not my YA or adult novels. I've heard many times that agents typically like to represent the entirety of an author's works. So, my question is, how difficult would it be to find an agent for my novels if I sign on with this agent to represent just my children's books? Will already having an agent for part of my portfolio be a problem when I seek agents for my other novels? As always, thank you for your insight! -Ann
Yes, you've heard correctly - agents do usually prefer to represent the entirety of an author's works. If you're motivated to branch out, all you can do is try and find an agent who will rep all of your work or find an agent who is comfortable just representing your older works.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 25th, 2010, 8:39 pm

Elena wrote:Dear Nathan,

I've heard a lot of talk about getting refferals from established authors or other notable people who already have a foot in the door of the publishing industry. I've just never heard of ways to go about snagging one. Well, not any that I could accomplish. I'm from a small town and have too many kids and not enough money to attend any notable writers conferences. What is another way I could establish a relationship with people who may, or may not, offer a refferal in the future?
I think the important way of getting a referral is to plug in and put yourself in a position to be discovered - you don't have to do this by attending writers' conferences, but networking online and investing in authors and interacting with people online can help.

Referrals aren't everything, but they can help. Unfortunately there's no one easy way to go about getting them.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 25th, 2010, 8:39 pm

Elena wrote:Dear Nathan,

Me again, sorry for posting two questions back to back, but I really wanted to ask you this. I am a Canadian citizen, I live and write in Canada. Does that affect my chances of getting a contract with an agent in the Untied States? Does it make it harder to work out a contract? Would it be something to slip into a query letter or not? What other possible affects can their be? I've never come across anything about Canadians sending queries to American agents, so I feel very much left in the dark.

Thank you for your time.

Elena.
This one is in the FAQs.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 25th, 2010, 8:42 pm

adtabb wrote:I have a question that should be simple to answer, and expect the "it varies" response, yet I feel I need to ask.

As a visually impaired writer, I write in Verdana14 point font. Having only 3/4 of one eye, I cannot see Courier font on the screen hardly at all. I do expect to have to change it to Courier, or requested font. However, we all know mistakes can occur, or one can get to excited and send without remembering to change the font. Should I let my potential agent know my vision difficulties up front, or as I send the manuscript?

Another reason I can see to share this information is simple - if I cannot see the font to submit it, I will miss formatting issues that appear correct in Verdana, but do not work in Courier correctly. For instance, I can barely see the fonts on this forum, and hope I am not making too many mistakes.

Main Question: Do I inform my potential agent of my vision difficulties in order to create understanding, and allow myself an opportunity to correct manuscript potential formatting errors?

Thank you,

April Brown
I don't see why an agent needs to know this, but I also don't see why you couldn't write in the font you're comfortable with and then change it right before you send - if you forget no one is going to reject you just because you sent it in the wrong font.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 25th, 2010, 8:42 pm

Gypsy wrote:Nathan,

First, thank you for taking the time to read this.

Here is my question. On your page where you say you'll take pretty much anything you like, excluding poetry and scripts, you make no mention of picture books. Would you consider representing a manuscript for a picture book? Of course it would have to be awesome, but I was just wondering if you would take one on at all?

Thanks again for your time.

Gypsy.
I would only take on a picture book if it was something that was written by one of my existing clients.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 25th, 2010, 8:43 pm

vastdistances wrote:Just a quick question really.

Nathan, you say you want the first five pages in the query. How many words aproximatly do you expect?
However many words are in the first five pages of your mansucript?

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Matera_the_Mad
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Matera_the_Mad » January 25th, 2010, 11:43 pm

Nathan Bransford wrote:
adtabb wrote:I have a question that should be simple to answer, and expect the "it varies" response, yet I feel I need to ask.

As a visually impaired writer, I write in Verdana14 point font. Having only 3/4 of one eye, I cannot see Courier font on the screen hardly at all. I do expect to have to change it to Courier, or requested font. However, we all know mistakes can occur, or one can get to excited and send without remembering to change the font. Should I let my potential agent know my vision difficulties up front, or as I send the manuscript?

Another reason I can see to share this information is simple - if I cannot see the font to submit it, I will miss formatting issues that appear correct in Verdana, but do not work in Courier correctly. For instance, I can barely see the fonts on this forum, and hope I am not making too many mistakes.

Main Question: Do I inform my potential agent of my vision difficulties in order to create understanding, and allow myself an opportunity to correct manuscript potential formatting errors?

Thank you,

April Brown
I don't see why an agent needs to know this, but I also don't see why you couldn't write in the font you're comfortable with and then change it right before you send - if you forget no one is going to reject you just because you sent it in the wrong font.
Damn right! There is nothing sacred about fonts, nothing about a font that makes you a writer or not. The only reason to use Courier Blind is to get a rough page count and please pernickety agents. IMO the use of poorly designed screen fonts when writing leads to a lot of missed errors.

I don't write with a word processor if I can help it. I use a plain text editor that allows me to have a comfortable background and font color without affecting the actual content of the file. When I do use Word, I use the Draft View with a sans-serif font and zoom it up -- that way there is no need to change fonts. It saves me a lot of trouble when beta-reading others' manuscripts.

I have advanced glaucoma. Websites that use fonts like Times New Eyestrain and/or scramble text when zoomed in on make me mad enough to spit acid. This forum is pretty me-friendly :)
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His Lobster
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by His Lobster » January 26th, 2010, 9:34 pm

I know, I know...it has to have been answered somewhere. I honestly did look on the bog and I even did a search, but what can I say...? I'm a tad bit lazy (did I type that out loud?) and I'm also a fan of instant gratification. (probably means I'm in the wrong industry too...)

Anyway, I was pondering what to do if I don't receive a response to the query I've sent you. Now, I understand that the sound of crickets usually means "NO", however, I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that you typically respond to all. I know I read that you usually respond within twenty-four hours. What I'm actually wondering is if my query even made it to you...I sent it when you were out of the office. My bad for not wanting to wait the weekend, but I was just so giddy with excitement on having found someone with a deep appreciation of monkeys that I queried immediately (well not immediately, I called a friend and we laughed for quite some time while reading your blog archives, so I collected myself and then queried.). Just lookin' for some guidance on whether I should try that patience thing that I seem to hear about all the time, take the crickets at their chirping, or re-query.

So, I apologize for asking something that has most-likely been asked several times over, and I hope that I haven't tried your patience too much (a little might be okay, but if I'm hoping for you to represent me, I should probably try and stay on your good side.). Oh, and thanks for the laughs...it's a precious commodity in my opinion.

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