Old Ask Nathan Thread

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

Post by Cellophane » February 18th, 2010, 8:14 pm

What the heck? Why not ask the agent.

I had a novella length YA science fiction published by itty-bitty publisher, who apparently is mystified on how to get my book on Amazon, etc. All right. End of contract on 5/31/2010.

I've rewritten majorly adding 20K words, but I'm still only at 59K. I added lots of stuff, including some fairly hot sex scenes. I renamed the book and the major characters.

Question is: Can I go ahead subbing this to publishers without a who owns what problem? I know it's too short to even consider an agent, but lots of publishers like ebook lengths around the 60K level. I'm ready to go with an adult edition. What do I owe my previous publisher who didn't do diddley to put my book into the public arena? I'm so ticked off, I think nothing. However, I don't want a lawsuit. If I got a publisher who agreed to wait until the end of my previous contract, am I cool with subbing?

Lucky92
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Conferences & Submissions

Post by Lucky92 » February 22nd, 2010, 7:01 pm

Nathan, I love this blog so much and have decided to never query you because 1) that whole # breakdown for queries/clients is scary and 2) I don't want sour feelings if you reject me :) But I will ask you a question:

How much stock do you take on writers who have had editors request their manuscripts? (either from conferences, connections, meetings..) If you have a potential client who highlights this in a query does it impact your decision either way? I've heard a varying concepts. It might work against you because maybe an agent doesn't feel right with the editor who is holding the work, or - it's good because it shows that a house would be interested in this work if you signed them, that's its a marketable concept worth looking at. Do these things matter or make a difference in your desicion making? I always figured it would but had to ask the expert!

Thanks man!

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christi
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by christi » February 23rd, 2010, 4:58 pm

I have several friends in the internet community that want to advertise my book for free.

1 has 400,000 hits.
1 has 100,000 hits.
A few are in the 12,000-30,000 a year range.

Is this something that would pique an agent's interest in a query? Or something that I don't mention until an agent is interested in the book?
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

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r louis scott
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by r louis scott » February 24th, 2010, 10:08 am

Hello, Nathan, and welcome back from your conference in Mexico!

My question regards finding an agent, but for different purposes. Let's say, for example, that a responsible, well established organization wanted to invite you to participate in their conference. There would be the panel discussions and opportunities to pitch to you like other conferences, and of course the conference would consider you their guest for the weekend. How far in advance would this responsible, well established, and dare I say respected organization need to contact you so that you might fit that responsible, well established organization into your plans?

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d minus
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by d minus » February 24th, 2010, 3:05 pm

an agent (who represents both fiction and nonfiction) notes on his website that he is not considering politics or sports (or food, or history, etc.). I've taken this to refer to nonfiction subjects. Now, I'm thinking that I might be wrong in that assumption. Do agents reject literary fiction that centers around (say) family and jealousy, just because it has a lot of sports or politics (or food, or history, etc.)?

is this a list of subjects that he altogether hates? Do you have subjects you hate?

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maybegenius
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by maybegenius » February 26th, 2010, 1:01 pm

This is probably a total noob question, but... are the Curtis Brown offices in San Francisco and New York considered the same entity? As in, if we would like to query a Curtis Brown agent, we should pick ONE between the two offices, not one from each office?

I assume the answer is yes, but wanted to be sure :)
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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » February 26th, 2010, 1:26 pm

raagachi wrote:Dear Nathan,

A question regarding completed MS copy-editing:

I have completed a few drafts of my novel and advanced from macro-editing to line-editing. A second set of eyes (with experience and credentials) has done the same. Yet I still find errors, nearly all of which are simple copy-editing mistakes (two spaces between words, a line of improper indentation, etc.) and a few of which are best left to the Fowlers and Garners of the world. When it comes to dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s, how important is an absolutely polished pearl of a final MS?

I notice even the New Yorker, with its famed team of full-timers and proofreaders, shows cracks now and then.

Thank you.
I wouldn't sweat some typos here or there. It's almost impossible to catch everything. It should be as clean as possible, but don't go crazy trying to find every last mistake.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » February 26th, 2010, 1:30 pm

MosesSiregar wrote:Hi Nathan, thanks for your time.

I've researched an agent that I think could be a perfect fit for my first book. I'm considering querying this person with only four polished chapters ready for consideration, as well as a complete synopsis (though the first draft is written), so that I could give the person an exclusive first look at my project. I expect to have the final draft ready in the second half of this year. Do you think there are agents who would respond positively to such a query, or is it probably pointless or maybe even harmful to query someone like this before the full book is polished? The agency's query guidelines don't specify anything about this issue one way or the other. Thanks again.

p.s. I think my Suns are about to trade away Amare ... EDIT: Amare stays!
I can't speak for every agent, though most are not really open to considering a partially completed manuscript without some serious special dispensation. More importantly, I don't know that it's a good idea to have an agent so completely picked out ahead of time. You never know who's going to respond best to your work, and I think you might do yourself a disservice if you limit yourself to only one agent. And no, unless they specifically ask for exclusivity during the submission process, in general I don't think an agent would necessarily give you extra points for querying them with an exclusive first look. It all comes down to the manuscript anyway.

And yeah, with all of the movement at the trade deadline I'm pretty surprised that Amare is staying put!

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » February 26th, 2010, 1:32 pm

Cellophane wrote:What the heck? Why not ask the agent.

I had a novella length YA science fiction published by itty-bitty publisher, who apparently is mystified on how to get my book on Amazon, etc. All right. End of contract on 5/31/2010.

I've rewritten majorly adding 20K words, but I'm still only at 59K. I added lots of stuff, including some fairly hot sex scenes. I renamed the book and the major characters.

Question is: Can I go ahead subbing this to publishers without a who owns what problem? I know it's too short to even consider an agent, but lots of publishers like ebook lengths around the 60K level. I'm ready to go with an adult edition. What do I owe my previous publisher who didn't do diddley to put my book into the public arena? I'm so ticked off, I think nothing. However, I don't want a lawsuit. If I got a publisher who agreed to wait until the end of my previous contract, am I cool with subbing?
If your contract has a hard end date of 5/31/2010 you would be fine securing a publisher in anticipation of that date, provided they didn't publish before then.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Conferences & Submissions

Post by Nathan Bransford » February 26th, 2010, 1:34 pm

Lucky92 wrote:Nathan, I love this blog so much and have decided to never query you because 1) that whole # breakdown for queries/clients is scary and 2) I don't want sour feelings if you reject me :) But I will ask you a question:

How much stock do you take on writers who have had editors request their manuscripts? (either from conferences, connections, meetings..) If you have a potential client who highlights this in a query does it impact your decision either way? I've heard a varying concepts. It might work against you because maybe an agent doesn't feel right with the editor who is holding the work, or - it's good because it shows that a house would be interested in this work if you signed them, that's its a marketable concept worth looking at. Do these things matter or make a difference in your desicion making? I always figured it would but had to ask the expert!

Thanks man!
Honestly: none. Manuscripts get requested all the time, I don't take much from it. I think it's fine to submit to editors authors meet at conferences (provided it's not too many) but it's not something I would put a whole lot of stock in.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » February 26th, 2010, 1:35 pm

christi wrote:I have several friends in the internet community that want to advertise my book for free.

1 has 400,000 hits.
1 has 100,000 hits.
A few are in the 12,000-30,000 a year range.

Is this something that would pique an agent's interest in a query? Or something that I don't mention until an agent is interested in the book?
No, I don't know if it's something to mention in a query, I'd mention it farther down the line.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » February 26th, 2010, 1:37 pm

r louis scott wrote:Hello, Nathan, and welcome back from your conference in Mexico!

My question regards finding an agent, but for different purposes. Let's say, for example, that a responsible, well established organization wanted to invite you to participate in their conference. There would be the panel discussions and opportunities to pitch to you like other conferences, and of course the conference would consider you their guest for the weekend. How far in advance would this responsible, well established, and dare I say respected organization need to contact you so that you might fit that responsible, well established organization into your plans?
I actually prefer flexibility when planning upcoming conferences, so I don't need that much lead time. I always seem to have upcoming trips to NYC and things that are somewhat in flux and it's tough to schedule things way far in advance.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » February 26th, 2010, 1:38 pm

d minus wrote:an agent (who represents both fiction and nonfiction) notes on his website that he is not considering politics or sports (or food, or history, etc.). I've taken this to refer to nonfiction subjects. Now, I'm thinking that I might be wrong in that assumption. Do agents reject literary fiction that centers around (say) family and jealousy, just because it has a lot of sports or politics (or food, or history, etc.)?

is this a list of subjects that he altogether hates? Do you have subjects you hate?
I don't really know, honestly, though if those aren't areas of interest in fiction I can't imagine that they would then be interests in fiction.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » February 26th, 2010, 1:39 pm

maybegenius wrote:This is probably a total noob question, but... are the Curtis Brown offices in San Francisco and New York considered the same entity? As in, if we would like to query a Curtis Brown agent, we should pick ONE between the two offices, not one from each office?

I assume the answer is yes, but wanted to be sure :)
Yes, for the purposes of querying the SF and NYC offices are one office. Though we are separate from the other Curtis Browns around the world.

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dios4vida
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Re: How old are you?

Post by dios4vida » February 26th, 2010, 2:19 pm

Nathan, a specific question for you:

Did you have a desire to write fiction before you became a literary agent, or did working with authors give you that passion?

Thanks for these boards, it's great to find such a community of others with the Am-I-Crazies! :)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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