Old Ask Nathan Thread

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

Post by BkBlueB » August 23rd, 2010, 10:59 pm

Nathan Bransford wrote:
Well, first I think it's important to listen to both the agent and the feedback. More important than how positive the editors were: do you agree with the feedback? Is it resonating with you? Will it make the manuscript better? If the answer is yes to any of those questions, it's much better to pull it back, take the time, make the changes, and listen to your agent.

Different agents have different approaches, and one approach is to submit a bit at a time, assess the feedback, and if there are common themes coming through in the feedback from editors, to pull back and edit based on those suggestions. I do this a lot. It's not about giving up, it's about taking the time to get it right. It's really hard to sell a book to a publisher right now. I would see it as a positive sign that your agent wants to take the time to get this right rather than just sending it all over town and then throwing up their hands. It takes way more effort to work with your client on a revision than it does to just send it off everywhere.

And if you have any questions about the strategy or what the thought process is, talk to your agent! Don't be scared of them.

Thanks so much for this! Really helpful advice.

Bonnie
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Bonnie » August 24th, 2010, 11:40 am

Nathan Bransford wrote:
Bonnie wrote:Hi, Nathan. I'm struggling with genre. The book has elements of mystery, but there are no dead bodies. I liken it to the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series in that the main character, an unusual private detective, solves little mysteries for clients. In a query, is it OK to call it a "mystery in the same vein as the 'No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency' series, or does that sound too wishy-washy? If I think about where the book might be placed in a bookstore, I would guess perhaps Mystery (as are the "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series books) or just General Fiction. It leans towards Women's Fiction, in that mostly women would read it, I guess, since it deals with relationships and self-discovery, and there is a romantic subplot.
If agents hear Mystery do they automatically assume dead bodies?
I appreciate anything you can tell me.
Thank you very much!
Bonnie
Here's a post you might find helpful. The difference between mysteries, suspense, and thrillers: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2008/10 ... pense.html
Thanks, Nathan. Good to know that mysteries don't always have to have dead bodies.

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gdelao
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by gdelao » August 26th, 2010, 12:49 am

Oh man Nathan, I queried you last Saturday, the 21st, around 2pm and I haven't heard from you. I read over your blog today and noticed you said you answered all the queries as of yesterday 6pm. If I query you again, like you told Anonymous to do, should I mentioned I queried you a couple of days ago or should I just keep it like the original and not mention it?

Thank you for all your help,

Gretchen de la O

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » August 26th, 2010, 12:56 am

gdelao wrote:Oh man Nathan, I queried you last Saturday, the 21st, around 2pm and I haven't heard from you. I read over your blog today and noticed you said you answered all the queries as of yesterday 6pm. If I query you again, like you told Anonymous to do, should I mentioned I queried you a couple of days ago or should I just keep it like the original and not mention it?

Thank you for all your help,

Gretchen de la O
Actually, what would be most helpful is if you could please forward me the original query from your sent items. That way I can see when it came in and whether I responded and my response got trapped in your spam filter. And if the problem was on my end I can pass it on to our tech dept.

Thank you and sorry for the inconvenience! We recently switched servers and it might be a case of our spam filter being a bit overzealous.

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Lillian Grant
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Lillian Grant » August 26th, 2010, 3:10 am

Hi Nathan

I queried you late last Thursday and got no response. I resent it earlier today from my sent items box but I had deleted the information you said you needed to see where it had all gone horribly wrong. Sorry.

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gdelao
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by gdelao » August 26th, 2010, 2:38 pm

Nathan Bransford wrote:
gdelao wrote:Oh man Nathan, I queried you last Saturday, the 21st, around 2pm and I haven't heard from you. I read over your blog today and noticed you said you answered all the queries as of yesterday 6pm. If I query you again, like you told Anonymous to do, should I mentioned I queried you a couple of days ago or should I just keep it like the original and not mention it?

Thank you for all your help,

Gretchen de la O
Actually, what would be most helpful is if you could please forward me the original query from your sent items. That way I can see when it came in and whether I responded and my response got trapped in your spam filter. And if the problem was on my end I can pass it on to our tech dept.

Thank you and sorry for the inconvenience! We recently switched servers and it might be a case of our spam filter being a bit overzealous.

Thank you Nathan, I forwarded the email this morning 6:49am (Pacific No-Cal time) I hope you were able to get it. The subject line was: Fwd: Query for Wilson Mooney.

Thanks- Gretchen de la O

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Matthew MacNish
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Matthew MacNish » August 26th, 2010, 10:03 pm

Nathan, I have a question about the forums that I don't want to just throw out there publicly. In this situation how would you like me to contact you? I can get your Curtis Brown submission address but I'm guessing that isn't the place. Do you have a Yahoo spam account? Would you rather contact me?

It's nothing crucial or super important but I've been having a lot industry professionals paying it forward to me lately and I just figured it was time to check my neck and see if you might need a hand. That is all.

You can find my email through my forum account or my blogger account linked in my sig, but to save you the time it's mattmrush@gmail.com. Otherwise you could just respond in this thread (obviously).

Thanks for all you do!

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sarahdee
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by sarahdee » August 27th, 2010, 12:37 am

Hi Nathan

Sorry if you have already answered something similar.

I have two questions.

1. If you gave feedback but didn't say you liked it and the writer re-edited and used your feedback, can they re-query and should they mention the first query?

2. Second, if the writer followed your advice but it wasn't to exactly what they said, would you consider?

To explain I got feedback from an agent saying my novel was too short (65k) and they had a hard time marketing anything below 80k. After a huge edit (because beta readers gave me room for improvement not just this agent feedback) I am up to around 78k but I don't really want to randomly add stuff just to make a word count. I would of course add if an agent or editor found specific places I could beef it up but I'm kind of happy with where its at right now.

I really liked that agent :)

Thanks

Sarah

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by JadePhoenix » August 27th, 2010, 3:32 pm

Hi Nathan,

I had a question that I know I saw answered somewhere but I can't find it so I'm sorry for having to ask again! Anyway, I've been sending queries and got three requests for partials. All three agents ended up rejecting them, but all three said the EXACT same two things were wrong with the book. I ended up doing a pretty massive revision, and now I'm wondering if it's okay to re-query the same three who originally liked it enough to request partials or if I should move on and look at different agents? The idea behind the book is the same, most of the characters are the same (though I got rid of one and altered a few others, two were melded into one character), the plot is COMPLETELY different.

If it is okay to requery them should I mention it or just treat it like an original query? Thank you! :)

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » August 27th, 2010, 6:39 pm

Matthew Rush wrote:Nathan, I have a question about the forums that I don't want to just throw out there publicly. In this situation how would you like me to contact you? I can get your Curtis Brown submission address but I'm guessing that isn't the place. Do you have a Yahoo spam account? Would you rather contact me?

It's nothing crucial or super important but I've been having a lot industry professionals paying it forward to me lately and I just figured it was time to check my neck and see if you might need a hand. That is all.

You can find my email through my forum account or my blogger account linked in my sig, but to save you the time it's mattmrush@gmail.com. Otherwise you could just respond in this thread (obviously).

Thanks for all you do!
Matthew and everyone, please do feel free to e-mail me at nb@cbltd.com

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » August 27th, 2010, 6:40 pm

sarahdee wrote:Hi Nathan

Sorry if you have already answered something similar.

I have two questions.

1. If you gave feedback but didn't say you liked it and the writer re-edited and used your feedback, can they re-query and should they mention the first query?

2. Second, if the writer followed your advice but it wasn't to exactly what they said, would you consider?

To explain I got feedback from an agent saying my novel was too short (65k) and they had a hard time marketing anything below 80k. After a huge edit (because beta readers gave me room for improvement not just this agent feedback) I am up to around 78k but I don't really want to randomly add stuff just to make a word count. I would of course add if an agent or editor found specific places I could beef it up but I'm kind of happy with where its at right now.

I really liked that agent :)

Thanks

Sarah
JadePhoenix wrote:Hi Nathan,

I had a question that I know I saw answered somewhere but I can't find it so I'm sorry for having to ask again! Anyway, I've been sending queries and got three requests for partials. All three agents ended up rejecting them, but all three said the EXACT same two things were wrong with the book. I ended up doing a pretty massive revision, and now I'm wondering if it's okay to re-query the same three who originally liked it enough to request partials or if I should move on and look at different agents? The idea behind the book is the same, most of the characters are the same (though I got rid of one and altered a few others, two were melded into one character), the plot is COMPLETELY different.

If it is okay to requery them should I mention it or just treat it like an original query? Thank you! :)
This post should explain: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2009/05 ... redux.html

JadePhoenix
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by JadePhoenix » August 27th, 2010, 7:58 pm

Ah, there it is, thank you Nathan! I knew you'd addressed it, and I knew I'd read it in the past, but I couldn't seem to find it! Thank you, thank you. :)

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sarahdee
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by sarahdee » August 27th, 2010, 9:13 pm

Thank you Nathan. I thought it was the sort of query you must have been asked a million times :)

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hulbertsfriend
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by hulbertsfriend » August 28th, 2010, 2:14 am

Hi Nathan,

Through feedback on my MS, I have split the book into two novels. Will the second book be short on words you ask? Nooooo. the original manuscript was finished (before major edit) at 273000. I found a perfect place to split the book, not halfway, but it still left the second book with 115000.

My question is one that I think someone has asked, but I can't seem to find in any of the threads:

Should I mention that a second book already exists in my query or synopsis to an agent?

Have a great weekend, DougM
"All it takes to fly is to hurl yourself at the ground... and miss." Douglas Adams

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » August 28th, 2010, 2:38 pm

hulbertsfriend wrote:Hi Nathan,

Through feedback on my MS, I have split the book into two novels. Will the second book be short on words you ask? Nooooo. the original manuscript was finished (before major edit) at 273000. I found a perfect place to split the book, not halfway, but it still left the second book with 115000.

My question is one that I think someone has asked, but I can't seem to find in any of the threads:

Should I mention that a second book already exists in my query or synopsis to an agent?

Have a great weekend, DougM
No, I would stick to the usual procedure of saying that the first book can stand alone but could be expanded into a series. (and it can stand alone, right?)

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