Old Ask Nathan Thread

Questions for the resident (former) agent
Locked
wickerman
Posts: 3
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 12:44 pm
Location: The frozen tundra
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by wickerman » January 26th, 2010, 11:30 pm

I think someone asked this in the comments section of a blog post once, but hell if I can find it!

Anyway..

If a writer approached you with a contract in hand from a house, would you have any feelings about that positively or negatively? Is it a 'great this guy just saved me a ton of work!' or a 'I don't know if I want to rep something I didn;t sell' type of thing.


Thanks for all you do Nathan.
The shadow of the Wickerman is rising up again...

Donna Hole
Posts: 5
Joined: December 19th, 2009, 7:13 pm
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Donna Hole » January 27th, 2010, 1:33 am

Hi Nathan. Thanks for posting this handy section.

Anyway, my question basically is, when and how to tell an agent your novel has Mature content.

Say: my novel is a literary fiction about a woman coming to terms with her physical and sexual abuse in childhood, and she compares it with her present life circumstances. The novel isn't afraid to describe the sexual acts and use the anatomical terms, but isn't necessarily graphic in the descriptions either. Sex, both sensual and abusive, is a part of the novel, but not the main plot. Sort of like having special creamers with your coffee, but coffee is the essential ingredient in your morning.

How - and when - would you get that across in the query without sabotaging yourself as pornographic. I wouldn't want the agent to think: oh, I wasn't expecting that from the query and I'm seriously turned off now that I've asked for a partial. But, I also don't want to turn them off in the query because the novel is more R rated than G.

Thanks for your consideration.

.........dhole

beacon22
Posts: 54
Joined: January 15th, 2010, 9:11 am
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by beacon22 » January 27th, 2010, 9:44 pm

Hi Nathan....

My book is about to go on submission next week. I have created a blog and talk about my work a lot (the blog is writing related). I have talked about my book, but I have only posted one paragraph of my book on the blog. If I am trying to make a point or show an example, can I put a small excerpt of my book on the blog (for examples, a few paragraphs), or now that it's going to be subbed to agents, should I not share any of it? What are your thoughts to putting bits of your work on your blog?

Thanks!
Come on over to my blog and lurk a little!

http://www.freckle-head.blogspot.com

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1382
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 28th, 2010, 1:05 am

His Lobster wrote: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.
I'm just now caught up on all the queries that came in while I was away, so I'm guessing you've now heard from me. If not, please wait a few weeks and then try again.

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1382
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 28th, 2010, 1:08 am

wickerman wrote:I think someone asked this in the comments section of a blog post once, but hell if I can find it!

Anyway..

If a writer approached you with a contract in hand from a house, would you have any feelings about that positively or negatively? Is it a 'great this guy just saved me a ton of work!' or a 'I don't know if I want to rep something I didn;t sell' type of thing.


Thanks for all you do Nathan.
The important thing is that I still have to love the book and believe in the author and feel that I'm going to be the best advocate. I still really put the same thought into the manuscript as I would if they didn't have an offer in hand. Of course it's helpful to already have the whole submission process done by the time I come on the scene and I give it a close look, but I don't take the decision lightly at all. I've taken on authors who have come to me with offers in hand and I've passed on authors who have come to me with offers in hand. It's all about the right fit.

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1382
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 28th, 2010, 1:09 am

Donna Hole wrote:Hi Nathan. Thanks for posting this handy section.

Anyway, my question basically is, when and how to tell an agent your novel has Mature content.

Say: my novel is a literary fiction about a woman coming to terms with her physical and sexual abuse in childhood, and she compares it with her present life circumstances. The novel isn't afraid to describe the sexual acts and use the anatomical terms, but isn't necessarily graphic in the descriptions either. Sex, both sensual and abusive, is a part of the novel, but not the main plot. Sort of like having special creamers with your coffee, but coffee is the essential ingredient in your morning.

How - and when - would you get that across in the query without sabotaging yourself as pornographic. I wouldn't want the agent to think: oh, I wasn't expecting that from the query and I'm seriously turned off now that I've asked for a partial. But, I also don't want to turn them off in the query because the novel is more R rated than G.

Thanks for your consideration.

.........dhole
Don't tell them. They'll figure it out.

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1382
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 28th, 2010, 1:10 am

beacon22 wrote:Hi Nathan....

My book is about to go on submission next week. I have created a blog and talk about my work a lot (the blog is writing related). I have talked about my book, but I have only posted one paragraph of my book on the blog. If I am trying to make a point or show an example, can I put a small excerpt of my book on the blog (for examples, a few paragraphs), or now that it's going to be subbed to agents, should I not share any of it? What are your thoughts to putting bits of your work on your blog?

Thanks!
Here's a blog post on that: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2008/08 ... sites.html

User avatar
Tycoon
Posts: 106
Joined: January 27th, 2010, 8:37 am
Location: Minnesota
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Tycoon » January 28th, 2010, 10:41 am

Hello Nathan,

I have a Query Quandary that I believe has not been talked about -- Frame stories or a story within a story.

I am receiving conflicting advice about how to write a proper query for my novel which is a frame story.

For example: Story "A" is the first and last chapter of the novel and Story "B" is every chapter in the middle. Story "B" is an Allegory for story "A" and neither story can stand alone.

So in this circumstance what would an agent care more about in the query?
1) Story "A"
2) Story "B"
3) Both stories "A" and "B"

So if the answer is either Story "A" or Story "B" and not both -- then is it acceptable to write in the query that this is a frame story so the agent knows?

Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

ebm
Posts: 1
Joined: January 28th, 2010, 5:24 pm
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by ebm » January 28th, 2010, 5:47 pm

Nathan,

This Q&A is such a helpful experiment; thank you.
My question may sound like a legal one, but I promise it is only curiosity and research for my current WIP.

When an author dies, what does his/her agent do? That is, besides the obvious mourning of a valued client. Is there any procedure or customary protocol a typical agent follows. Does the contract to represent said author extend beyond his death, to his heirs? Is there a mad scramble to secure a new contract from those heirs?

My gut tells me you could write extensively on this topic and although I would gratefully soak up all that information, I would be just as satisfied with a little peak into the inner workings of how the situation would be handled.

Thanks,
EB

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1382
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 28th, 2010, 7:56 pm

Tycoon wrote:Hello Nathan,

I have a Query Quandary that I believe has not been talked about -- Frame stories or a story within a story.

I am receiving conflicting advice about how to write a proper query for my novel which is a frame story.

For example: Story "A" is the first and last chapter of the novel and Story "B" is every chapter in the middle. Story "B" is an Allegory for story "A" and neither story can stand alone.

So in this circumstance what would an agent care more about in the query?
1) Story "A"
2) Story "B"
3) Both stories "A" and "B"

So if the answer is either Story "A" or Story "B" and not both -- then is it acceptable to write in the query that this is a frame story so the agent knows?

Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
I think you may be overthinking this. Everyone has to distill their story into its essence. It sounds like the essence of your story is what you call Story B. You don't have to cram everything into the query!

And if you're worried about how the sample pages will read, if you call the opening a prologue an agent isn't going to expect that it necessarily relates directly to the main plot.

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1382
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 28th, 2010, 7:59 pm

ebm wrote:Nathan,

This Q&A is such a helpful experiment; thank you.
My question may sound like a legal one, but I promise it is only curiosity and research for my current WIP.

When an author dies, what does his/her agent do? That is, besides the obvious mourning of a valued client. Is there any procedure or customary protocol a typical agent follows. Does the contract to represent said author extend beyond his death, to his heirs? Is there a mad scramble to secure a new contract from those heirs?

My gut tells me you could write extensively on this topic and although I would gratefully soak up all that information, I would be just as satisfied with a little peak into the inner workings of how the situation would be handled.

Thanks,
EB
We stay on as agents for the estate if we represented them while they were alive, so there's no mad scramble.

User avatar
christi
Posts: 166
Joined: January 31st, 2010, 3:54 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by christi » January 31st, 2010, 4:04 pm

When searching for an agent and describing my work in a query, I am unsure what to call it. It is a compilation of journal entries or rants from 40+ people with varying degrees of insanity. As dour as that sounds, it's actually pretty funny, and when I show them to people, they laugh out loud, so I don't know if it should be considered comedic, or a diary sort of book, or some other genre I'm unaware of. What should I call it in a query? And, of course, are such works an interest to you? (In your blog, you mention you shy away from crazy)
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

http://christigoddard.blogspot.com/

User avatar
courtneyv
Posts: 10
Joined: February 1st, 2010, 12:48 pm
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by courtneyv » February 1st, 2010, 2:28 pm

adtabb wrote:For instance, I can barely see the fonts on this forum, and hope I am not making too many mistakes.

Thank you,

April Brown

If you click on the page and hit CTRL with the PLUS sign, blogs and other online sites will often enlarge. Didn't know if you knew that. I just tested this one, and it does.
Visit my blog, Creative Burst, http://cvwriter.wordpress.com.
Check out my KINGS & QUEENS site. http://www.wix.com/cvwriter_27/kingsandqueens/

User avatar
Remus Shepherd
Posts: 27
Joined: February 1st, 2010, 2:30 pm
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Remus Shepherd » February 1st, 2010, 2:42 pm

Hi, Nathan. I've posted to your old site, but this is the first time I've wandered into your forums.

I'm in a situation where I have queried one agent at an agency, heard nothing and assumed rejection (*), and I now want to query another agent at the same agency.

In your FAQs you state that one should wait three months before querying another agent at the same agency. Would that be three months after querying (it has been over four months) or three months after receiving a rejection (which I never did)?

(* -- The agency in question promises a reply in 6-8 weeks. It has now been 18 weeks with no response. But I just discovered the agent's twitter feed, and they have posted a note saying that 'If you have not heard from me by this date, I'm passing'. I'm assuming that applies to my query.)

Thanks for entertaining our questions here. This one...well, it has relevance you may not understand just now, but perhaps you will someday.

User avatar
Nathan Bransford
Posts: 1382
Joined: December 4th, 2009, 11:17 pm
Location: New York, NY
Contact:

Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » February 1st, 2010, 8:36 pm

christi wrote:When searching for an agent and describing my work in a query, I am unsure what to call it. It is a compilation of journal entries or rants from 40+ people with varying degrees of insanity. As dour as that sounds, it's actually pretty funny, and when I show them to people, they laugh out loud, so I don't know if it should be considered comedic, or a diary sort of book, or some other genre I'm unaware of. What should I call it in a query? And, of course, are such works an interest to you? (In your blog, you mention you shy away from crazy)
Unless there's an overarching narrative it sounds like a short story collection.

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests