Old Ask Nathan Thread

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amanda.mermaid
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by amanda.mermaid » June 24th, 2010, 1:09 pm

Hi Nathan,
I truly hope you can help me with this question.
When I format my gmail to send out my query, it changes all my formatting.
When I copy and paste my pages, gmail distorts those, as well.
Do you know the trick to preventing this??
Do agents know about this, or are they looking for perfectly formatted emails?
Thank you!!
Amanda

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » June 24th, 2010, 1:48 pm

isaiahjc wrote:Hey, Nathan!

What do you think about authors serializing their book via podcast before they seek agent representation? Is it a bad idea, or will that catch an agents attention as a viable marketing strategy?

Thanks!
I don't know that I'd do this unless you're planning to full-bore self-publish. It could potentially compromise audio rights if it's out there and selling, and I don't know that an agent would look at it as a potential selling point.

In general, if you're looking for an agent and traditional publishing I would hold off on putting up too much of your work online. If, however, you're planning to self-publish I think it's fine to look to get it out there anywhere you can.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » June 24th, 2010, 1:50 pm

Username wrote:Thanks.

You've blogged about query letters before, obviously - but if I were to read your own query letter I believe it would give me a much better insight as to what you're looking for as an agent.

Also, completely off topic, but somebody said to me that San Francisco is fast becoming America's secondary publishing hub (New York obviously being the chief hub). Is this true? I would've thought that LA would've become the secondary hub? I wonder if people, for whatever reasons, are maybe just a little more cultured in San Francisco? I noticed a few years ago that when Jean Luc Naret, the editor-in-chief of The Michelin Guides, decided to publish a second US Guide, he chose not LA or Chicago, but rather San Francisco (he extended the zone down to Los Gatos because he wanted to include the restaurant Manresa).

That guy is really on the ball, and I suspect that he was probably tapping into something.
Yeah, I think the Bay Area is probably the second largest publishing center. There are great publishers out here (Chronicle, HarperOne, Counterpount, Jossey-Bass, just to name a few) and plenty of agents as well. It's great to have both the lifestyle of the Bay Area and plenty of publishing people to hang out with as well.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » June 24th, 2010, 1:51 pm

bcomet wrote:Hi Nathan,
What should be in the "subject line" of an email containing a request for more pages?

I recently found out (six weeks later as I was trying to be polite and not bug the agent) that ones relabeled as "Requested Materials" or "Requested Partial" didn't/might not go through.

Should you just hit the resend button or make sure the word "query" is still in the subject line?

Thanks!

bcomet
I'd just reply to the original e-mail and don't change the subject line. If the agent is using gmail it's going to be way easier to keep track of. If they don't have things set up properly on their end... don't know what to tell you. There's really no way to know that in advance unless they give you a heads up.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » June 24th, 2010, 1:54 pm

amanda.mermaid wrote:Hi Nathan,
I truly hope you can help me with this question.
When I format my gmail to send out my query, it changes all my formatting.
When I copy and paste my pages, gmail distorts those, as well.
Do you know the trick to preventing this??
Do agents know about this, or are they looking for perfectly formatted emails?
Thank you!!
Amanda
Paste first into a plain text application like Notepad, then copy over to gmail. Copying over from Word can make things wonky, so you want to make sure you're removing the underlying formatting code and just copying the text.

Meghan
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Meghan » June 24th, 2010, 2:52 pm

Nathan,

Is it normal for a publishing company to make the author pay for production charges (ie. printing, extra pages, etc.)?

Thanks

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » June 24th, 2010, 6:29 pm

Meghan wrote:Nathan,

Is it normal for a publishing company to make the author pay for production charges (ie. printing, extra pages, etc.)?

Thanks
It depends on what kind of publisher it is. If it's a traditional publisher, no. If it's a self-publisher, yes.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Username » June 24th, 2010, 11:06 pm

I'm beginning to think that one of the novels I've written, and have been sending to agents, is probably much, much better suited for a British readership.

I submitted this novel to you, and you rejected it. But why does Curtis Brown have an office in Great Britain? - I'm assuming it's because they represent works that are British? I think I should've sent my submission to them instead? How does this work - did you log in my submission? Has it been entered into a company-wide data-base? Am I now finished with Curtis Brown?

(Nathan, sorry for this question. But I've just spent nearly an hour trying to find the answer to this question here at your website - I KNOW that this question has been asked already).

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Matthew MacNish
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Matthew MacNish » June 25th, 2010, 7:04 am

Chris - er, I mean Mr. Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent,

I know this isn't really the proper place for this, but I figure I can get away with it because I know you love Tahereh AKA TH Mafi. She has shared her query/submission/representation process on The QQQE today and if you have a moment over the weekend I thought you might want to check it out:

http://theqqqe.blogspot.com/2010/06/sum ... tupid.html

I also plug your blog, your forums and your Sheriff, but of course that's not the point. If you don't find the time no worries, I can drown my sorrow in a pitcher while swilling suds with the fellas tomorrow afternoon at the local sports bar as I cheer on USA again the Ghanaians.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » June 25th, 2010, 6:27 pm

Username wrote:I'm beginning to think that one of the novels I've written, and have been sending to agents, is probably much, much better suited for a British readership.

I submitted this novel to you, and you rejected it. But why does Curtis Brown have an office in Great Britain? - I'm assuming it's because they represent works that are British? I think I should've sent my submission to them instead? How does this work - did you log in my submission? Has it been entered into a company-wide data-base? Am I now finished with Curtis Brown?

(Nathan, sorry for this question. But I've just spent nearly an hour trying to find the answer to this question here at your website - I KNOW that this question has been asked already).
Curtis Brown US and Curtis Brown UK (and Canada and Australia) are all separate companies. So if you submitted to Curtis Brown US you can still submit to Curtis Brown UK.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » June 25th, 2010, 6:28 pm

Matthew Rush wrote:Chris - er, I mean Mr. Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent,

I know this isn't really the proper place for this, but I figure I can get away with it because I know you love Tahereh AKA TH Mafi. She has shared her query/submission/representation process on The QQQE today and if you have a moment over the weekend I thought you might want to check it out:

http://theqqqe.blogspot.com/2010/06/sum ... tupid.html

I also plug your blog, your forums and your Sheriff, but of course that's not the point. If you don't find the time no worries, I can drown my sorrow in a pitcher while swilling suds with the fellas tomorrow afternoon at the local sports bar as I cheer on USA again the Ghanaians.
Ha! Awesome! Can't wait to check it out.

RebeccaHamilton
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by RebeccaHamilton » June 26th, 2010, 12:38 pm

Dear Nathan,

I'm working with a reputable editor on my novel (she's pretty well known, and I know her only in a professional manner, not friend, relative, or anything of the sort). Do I offer to mention her in my query (is this the polite thing to do--to give her credit for the state of my manuscript?) or do I not ask her if she wants to be mentioned and leave it out of the query (so it doesn't look like "name-dropping"). The only information I've read on this said to ask the person if they want to be mentioned, but what I read also made it hard to tell if it's something that would be looked down on or not.

I don't want to come across as tacky to a potential agent, and I don't want to come across rude to my editor. I will definitely mention her in my thank you's if the book is ever published. Not sure how to handle it on the query-front, though. Of course, if she doesn't want to be mentioned I won't mention her, but I don't know if I'd be rude not to offer, and I'm worried about offering, her accepting, and then agents think I'm tacky for mentioning her.

(Can you tell how confused I am? I've tried several query sites for information, but had no luck)

Thanks in advance for your time and insight.
-Shana

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » June 26th, 2010, 6:12 pm

RebeccaHamilton wrote:Dear Nathan,

I'm working with a reputable editor on my novel (she's pretty well known, and I know her only in a professional manner, not friend, relative, or anything of the sort). Do I offer to mention her in my query (is this the polite thing to do--to give her credit for the state of my manuscript?) or do I not ask her if she wants to be mentioned and leave it out of the query (so it doesn't look like "name-dropping"). The only information I've read on this said to ask the person if they want to be mentioned, but what I read also made it hard to tell if it's something that would be looked down on or not.

I don't want to come across as tacky to a potential agent, and I don't want to come across rude to my editor. I will definitely mention her in my thank you's if the book is ever published. Not sure how to handle it on the query-front, though. Of course, if she doesn't want to be mentioned I won't mention her, but I don't know if I'd be rude not to offer, and I'm worried about offering, her accepting, and then agents think I'm tacky for mentioning her.

(Can you tell how confused I am? I've tried several query sites for information, but had no luck)

Thanks in advance for your time and insight.
-Shana
I'd leave it out - I assume that a novel has been edited, and whether it's by a professional or by someone's critique group doesn't make much difference to me. That said, I know there are some agents who look favorably on professional editing so I can only speak for myself here. But the only reason to do this is to hopefully impress an agent, not to give the editor credit. You're paying them, which is credit enough!

RebeccaHamilton
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by RebeccaHamilton » June 26th, 2010, 7:42 pm

Thank you, Nathan. That's what I thought :) I want the agent to like my work because it's in good condition, not because so-and-so copy-edited it. But I didn't want to be rude either. Appreciate your quick response. It's good to know it would be assumed they were paid, also, and not done on a mentor-basis because they liked your work. It's a crazy industry, but it seems impressions are everything and some things lead to assumptions (probably do to with general patterns, so I understand why).
-Shana

carolm
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by carolm » June 30th, 2010, 12:32 am

Nathan -

First and foremost - thank you for my very first ever reject last week ;). Knew it was coming and it was like a rite of passage =D. I've also revised both my query letter and manuscript since then :p. Such is life...

Another question I haven't seen answered, but it's possible I've missed it... I don't think so but you never know...

CreateSpace gave all NaNoWriMo winners a free proof copy of their manuscript [code expires tomorrow - yeah, nothing like waiting till the last minute]. The last time I had looked at the site, they didn't assign an ISBN until you actually made it available/published/whatever, but now it's assigned immediately. I have read that agents/publishers are wary of something that has already had an ISBN at some point. All I want is the proof copy. It is very unlikely to be published there ever [read: only after I've spent years and several other books getting rejected at all turns ;)], but I don't want to ruin my shots at an agent/publisher just for a free copy.

If nothing else, I'll get my daughter [age 8 who finished her first Young Writer's Program] another copy of her book but am curious as to your thoughts?

Hope NY is going well for you! Thank you again for your site and all you do!
CarolM

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