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Vio
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Foreign authors

Post by Vio » December 14th, 2009, 10:14 am

Hi Nathan,

Thank you for operating this wonderful forum and sacrificing your time for us!

I am writing on a fantasy novel that's nearing completion and while I am writing it for the simple reason that I love writing, I'd like to at least try getting it published. Now, the thing is, I have written it in English, but I am living in a country where English is not the official language, so trying to sell it to a local publisher is out of the question. Since the US is the world's largest book market, I had the thought of trying my luck there. Will US publishers even consider foreign authors or will it shrink my chances to get an agent to represent me from "negligible" to "impossible"?

Thanks for your help!

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MosesSiregar
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Re: Foreign authors

Post by MosesSiregar » December 14th, 2009, 2:12 pm

Vio wrote:Hi Nathan,

Thank you for operating this wonderful forum and sacrificing your time for us!

I am writing on a fantasy novel that's nearing completion and while I am writing it for the simple reason that I love writing, I'd like to at least try getting it published. Now, the thing is, I have written it in English, but I am living in a country where English is not the official language, so trying to sell it to a local publisher is out of the question. Since the US is the world's largest book market, I had the thought of trying my luck there. Will US publishers even consider foreign authors or will it shrink my chances to get an agent to represent me from "negligible" to "impossible"?

Thanks for your help!
This is addressed to some degree in this blog post in the FAQs.
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Tori
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Tori » December 14th, 2009, 10:06 pm

Hi Nathan,

I'm sixteen and currently polishing my manuscript. I'm not quite ready to query yet, but when i do should i mention my age in the letter? Does it matter?

Thanks for taking the time and, by the way, great blog. I love the new design.

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ElisabethMoore
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by ElisabethMoore » December 14th, 2009, 10:14 pm

Tori wrote:Hi Nathan,

I'm sixteen and currently polishing my manuscript. I'm not quite ready to query yet, but when i do should i mention my age in the letter? Does it matter?

Thanks for taking the time and, by the way, great blog. I love the new design.
That's answered in the FAQs hidden under "When should I tell an agent x" http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2008/11 ... ent-x.html
Your age: if you're under 18, in the query. If you're over 18, not really necessary.

Tori
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Tori » December 14th, 2009, 10:16 pm

Thanks! Should have looked harder in the FAQ's.

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ElisabethMoore
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by ElisabethMoore » December 14th, 2009, 11:19 pm

Tori wrote:Thanks! Should have looked harder in the FAQ's.
I knew I'd seen it before and still had trouble finding it again. :) I just figured if I could find it again and post it, you'd get your answer faster.

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Chopsy
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Chopsy » December 15th, 2009, 3:55 am

Nathan

Just a reminder, I am very new to the submissions process. I sent my first out at the end of November.

I just got a rejection after a request for the first five pages of my MS. The agent said that it didn't draw them in as they had hoped and that they were very busy and their reservations about the project meant it was something they wouldn't be the best fit for. They wished me luck etc (nice letter).

So - what do I need to learn from this? I am assuming that her comments don't necessarily mean that I should be worrying that my opening is weak yet...or should I?

The positive parts are that my query letter must have been ok (I pasted it into their online submission form). They said they only reply to queries they are interested in, so that means the outline I sent them contained a saleable idea? Am I right in thinking this way?

Bottom line - while I know you can't speak for individual agents, do you think her reply was this a nice way of telling me that my writing let me down or am I over thinking it?

(PS - I won't be this anal every time I get a rejection, I just want to learn from the process.)

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by BlancheKing » December 15th, 2009, 7:53 am

Hi Nathan,

Thank you for this forum; it has really been a life saver.

Just a quick question:

Roughly, how many people besides the author should edit the manuscript, and of those, how many of them should the author take advice from?

The reason I ask is because after having several people edit my manuscript, I've had more different and contradicting feedback than consistent ones. Some of them want me to add more scenery description, while others suggest I cut the ones I already have. Then some people are confused by certain details, while others say there's nothing wrong with said details and to explain would be redundant. Now I'm confused about what to change, and am starting to wonder if the contradictions are a result of having too many people edit.

Thank you.

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

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » December 15th, 2009, 8:17 pm

Kaitlyne wrote:
Nathan Bransford wrote:
Kaitlyne wrote:Wow, Nathan, I can't believe it. This hasn't been up a week and already you have so many pages of questions. I'm almost embarrassed to be adding to it, to be honest, because I'm not certain you'll have an answer. Here goes anyway:

I'm getting ready to submit (hopefully this week), and my first three chapters are pretty dialogue heavy. The rest of the book really isn't, but I have very specific reasons for doing this and it's completely intentional. My concern, however, is that many agents ask for the first three chapters when requesting a partial and it's considered representative of the entire book. I'm one of those weird cases where they really aren't, and I'd just hate to think of an agent reading it and saying, "Well, if these chapters are dialogue heavy, then clearly the rest of the book is as well and I'm not going to ask to read it."

I think the dialogue is pretty good dialogue, a decent amount of humor is involved to help keep it fresh, and I've been told that the pacing is good, but I'm just not sure if there's something specific I should be mentioning when I query. Should I just assume that if an agent likes it he/she likes it and will request more without regard to something like this? Or should I actually consider mentioning it somewhere? I almost feel like I'm making an excuse for it if I do--setting it in a negative light in advance when I think it is necessary for the story.
Don't tailor the beginning of the book just to please an agent - just write the best book you can and let the agent think what they will, and I don't think it's necessary to mention something like this in the query.

You seem a bit anxious about this aspect of the book though, so I wonder if your nervousness is speaking to an underlying problem. Was the decision to make the first three chapters very different stylistically necessary?
I'm nervous about it in the sense that I believe to break the "rules" you have to be incredibly good at what you're doing, and I'm not a hundred percent certain I'm at the level required to do what I'm attempting, if that makes sense. I suppose it's more a matter of being uncertain of my abilities. I've also seen people talk about how books with lots of dialogue turn them off, etc., so I feel like I have to be extremely exceptional to make it work. I do believe it's necessary, however, and worked very hard to find a way to make it work. I knew I was being a bit unconventional when I started, but it wasn't until I started seeing so much focus on, "You can't do this," or "You can't do that," I started to wonder. I see advice saying that for a first novel (it's really my fifth, but my first submission) it's best not to take chances, and it makes me look back at it and say, "Am I completely insane?" I suppose it either works or it doesn't, and if it doesn't the rejections will let me know.
I do worry about books that rely heavily on dialogue, but if it's really good dialogue it can carry the day. I think you have the right attitude - all you can do is write the book you want to write and see what happens.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » December 15th, 2009, 8:20 pm

Chopsy wrote:Nathan

Just a reminder, I am very new to the submissions process. I sent my first out at the end of November.

I just got a rejection after a request for the first five pages of my MS. The agent said that it didn't draw them in as they had hoped and that they were very busy and their reservations about the project meant it was something they wouldn't be the best fit for. They wished me luck etc (nice letter).

So - what do I need to learn from this? I am assuming that her comments don't necessarily mean that I should be worrying that my opening is weak yet...or should I?

The positive parts are that my query letter must have been ok (I pasted it into their online submission form). They said they only reply to queries they are interested in, so that means the outline I sent them contained a saleable idea? Am I right in thinking this way?

Bottom line - while I know you can't speak for individual agents, do you think her reply was this a nice way of telling me that my writing let me down or am I over thinking it?

(PS - I won't be this anal every time I get a rejection, I just want to learn from the process.)
Honestly, it could mean anything - just didn't work for them, wasn't good enough, not their area... all it really means is no.

I'd also post you to two blog posts.

This one: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/02 ... tters.html
And this one: http://editorialanonymous.blogspot.com/ ... tions.html

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » December 15th, 2009, 8:22 pm

BlancheKing wrote:Hi Nathan,

Thank you for this forum; it has really been a life saver.

Just a quick question:

Roughly, how many people besides the author should edit the manuscript, and of those, how many of them should the author take advice from?

The reason I ask is because after having several people edit my manuscript, I've had more different and contradicting feedback than consistent ones. Some of them want me to add more scenery description, while others suggest I cut the ones I already have. Then some people are confused by certain details, while others say there's nothing wrong with said details and to explain would be redundant. Now I'm confused about what to change, and am starting to wonder if the contradictions are a result of having too many people edit.

Thank you.

C.C.W
This is a very good question and one that's very difficult to answer. There is definitely such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen, and some people give far more good advice than others.

I'll have to do a full blog post on this someday, but in general, I'd listen most to the people who are trying to work with your vision of the book rather than trying to impose their own vision. You'll know the difference because you'll find yourself agreeing more with the people who are genuinely trying to help you rather than simply telling you how they'd write your book.

With all of the emotions swirling when responding to critiques it's tough to tell the difference. But ultimately you have to go with your gut.

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Chopsy
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Chopsy » December 15th, 2009, 8:34 pm

Nathan Bransford wrote:
Chopsy wrote:Nathan

Just a reminder, I am very new to the submissions process. I sent my first out at the end of November.

I just got a rejection after a request for the first five pages of my MS. The agent said that it didn't draw them in as they had hoped and that they were very busy and their reservations about the project meant it was something they wouldn't be the best fit for. They wished me luck etc (nice letter).

So - what do I need to learn from this? I am assuming that her comments don't necessarily mean that I should be worrying that my opening is weak yet...or should I?

The positive parts are that my query letter must have been ok (I pasted it into their online submission form). They said they only reply to queries they are interested in, so that means the outline I sent them contained a saleable idea? Am I right in thinking this way?

Bottom line - while I know you can't speak for individual agents, do you think her reply was this a nice way of telling me that my writing let me down or am I over thinking it?

(PS - I won't be this anal every time I get a rejection, I just want to learn from the process.)
Honestly, it could mean anything - just didn't work for them, wasn't good enough, not their area... all it really means is no.

I'd also post you to two blog posts.

This one: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2007/02 ... tters.html
And this one: http://editorialanonymous.blogspot.com/ ... tions.html
Thanks for the advice and the links. I guess I knew the answers already based on the questions I asked (they seem pretty typical). Now, I have to go back and try to find out what the 'Great Scrotum Debate' was all about!!

Carpe Scrotum guys... and thanks Nathan. I'll go take a chill pill :)

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MosesSiregar
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by MosesSiregar » December 16th, 2009, 1:01 am

Hi Nathan, from a strictly practical point of view, I'm curious what you think the market is currently like for adult fantasy versus YA fantasy. What is the market like for new authors in these areas? For publishers? For the prospects of having a long and prosperous writing career? Thanks again.
Passion for the Writing Life Blog: Moses and Dionysus Walk Into a Bar ...

Find my work at: Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » December 16th, 2009, 2:18 am

MosesSiregar wrote:Hi Nathan, from a strictly practical point of view, I'm curious what you think the market is currently like for adult fantasy versus YA fantasy. What is the market like for new authors in these areas? For publishers? For the prospects of having a long and prosperous writing career? Thanks again.
Honestly, I feel like boring down into trends isn't all that productive and I don't really chase them as an agent. Your best strategy is to write the best book you can. It's easier to sell a really good book in a genre that's not considered hot than it is to sell a so so book in a hot genre.

Don't worry about the trends and just write the story you want to write.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Kaitlyne » December 16th, 2009, 2:51 am

Thanks for the response Nathan. And now for one that belongs on your FAQs...When do you sleep!? ;)

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