Old Ask Nathan Thread

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Holly
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Holly » January 6th, 2010, 1:24 pm

Game 6, 2002, Lakers-Kings. It will never die.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 6th, 2010, 1:26 pm

Holly wrote:Game 6, 2002, Lakers-Kings. It will never die.
No, it won't. It still hurts.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Writermom10 » January 6th, 2010, 7:14 pm

Hi Nathan,

I don't see this addressed in FAQs, and maybe it's a silly question but I'll ask anyway. My MS is a YA Fantasy. When querying agents, should I stick with those who represent both YA and Fantasy, or if an agent reps. YA should I assume that encompasses all genres?

Thanks for answering this and for providing these forums!
Last edited by Writermom10 on January 6th, 2010, 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Kerri » January 6th, 2010, 7:23 pm

Hi Nathan,
My women's fiction manuscript contains subject matter that's currently popular in the non-fiction market (green living, organic farming, holistic health). Should I mention this angle in my query, or is comparing fiction to non-fiction a matter of apples and oranges?
Thanks in advance for your help!

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by jnduncan » January 7th, 2010, 12:36 am

Nathan, you posted at some point (can't recall when but it was recent) that you find reading a manuscript a very different experience than reading in book form. How do you think it would be if queriers sent their ms's in properly formatted ebooks that you read off your kindle/ereader/whatever? You think it would make the experience of reading the slush any different?

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by KappaP » January 7th, 2010, 4:43 am

Hey Nathan!

My novel is told in first person, but not by either of the protagonists (or antagonist, for that matter). He's not a major character in the action, but his perspective is crucial for telling the story. In my queries, I haven't even mentioned him since he doesn't drive the action and I don't want to name dump. (the POV is similar to The Great Gatsby or Oscar Wao... not comparing myself to those books, just saying the POV is similar). That said, I'm wondering if this is jarring for agents who request the first few pages of the manuscript-- to find that the narrator is a character who wasn't mentioned in the query.

Any advice on this? Do I continue to leave him out of the query or do I find a way to stick him in, even if it (to me) makes the query sound cluttered? I just don't want an agent to go "ehh.... wtf" when reading the first 5 pages b/c the narrator is unfamiliar from the query.
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Terry Towery
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Terry Towery » January 7th, 2010, 9:52 pm

Hey Nathan,
Any way to get rid of the irritating porn bots that seem to be taking over the forums? I mean, I like Pamela Anderson as much as the next guy (she's so '90s!), but really ...

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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » January 7th, 2010, 10:13 pm

Lol, Terry. No need to worry Management. They're dead and buried six feet under.
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Terry Towery
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Terry Towery » January 7th, 2010, 10:25 pm

Thanks Brian!
Sigh. I sorta miss her already.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 8th, 2010, 4:54 pm

Writermom10 wrote:Hi Nathan,

I don't see this addressed in FAQs, and maybe it's a silly question but I'll ask anyway. My MS is a YA Fantasy. When querying agents, should I stick with those who represent both YA and Fantasy, or if an agent reps. YA should I assume that encompasses all genres?

Thanks for answering this and for providing these forums!
Yes, stick to agents who represent YA rather than agents who list fantasy but not YA.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 8th, 2010, 4:55 pm

Kerri wrote:Hi Nathan,
My women's fiction manuscript contains subject matter that's currently popular in the non-fiction market (green living, organic farming, holistic health). Should I mention this angle in my query, or is comparing fiction to non-fiction a matter of apples and oranges?
Thanks in advance for your help!
Apples to oranges - I think the more important thing is selling a prospective agent on the story itself. If it happens to be about a trendy topic the agent will sniff it out.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 8th, 2010, 4:57 pm

jnduncan wrote:Nathan, you posted at some point (can't recall when but it was recent) that you find reading a manuscript a very different experience than reading in book form. How do you think it would be if queriers sent their ms's in properly formatted ebooks that you read off your kindle/ereader/whatever? You think it would make the experience of reading the slush any different?
It's not so much reading it bound or in e-book form that is what makes the difference, but rather the implicit knowledge that other people have invested in it. When I read unpublished manuscripts on my Sony Reader, for instance, they look identical to published books, but the challenge of deciding if it's good or not is just the same as if I were reading it in manuscript form.

So it's not the binding/formatting, but rather the knowledge that an agent, editor, and readers all agreed about the book's worth. You just don't have that when reading an unpublished manuscript and it's not always easy to make that decision.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 8th, 2010, 5:00 pm

KappaP wrote:Hey Nathan!

My novel is told in first person, but not by either of the protagonists (or antagonist, for that matter). He's not a major character in the action, but his perspective is crucial for telling the story. In my queries, I haven't even mentioned him since he doesn't drive the action and I don't want to name dump. (the POV is similar to The Great Gatsby or Oscar Wao... not comparing myself to those books, just saying the POV is similar). That said, I'm wondering if this is jarring for agents who request the first few pages of the manuscript-- to find that the narrator is a character who wasn't mentioned in the query.

Any advice on this? Do I continue to leave him out of the query or do I find a way to stick him in, even if it (to me) makes the query sound cluttered? I just don't want an agent to go "ehh.... wtf" when reading the first 5 pages b/c the narrator is unfamiliar from the query.
If it works it works. I would think it would be apparent early on who is telling the story, though if it doesn't come up in the first 5 pages you could always just put a brief note in the query that it's narrated by so and so. I think you just have to use your judgment there.

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Nathan Bransford
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Nathan Bransford » January 8th, 2010, 5:01 pm

Terry Towery wrote:Hey Nathan,
Any way to get rid of the irritating porn bots that seem to be taking over the forums? I mean, I like Pamela Anderson as much as the next guy (she's so '90s!), but really ...
Yeah, sorry about that! The bots have been coming on strong lately. It didn't help that while clearing out spam I accidentally booted my moderator for a time as well. Whoops!

Writermom10
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Re: Ask Nathan

Post by Writermom10 » January 8th, 2010, 5:59 pm

Nathan Bransford wrote:
Writermom10 wrote:Hi Nathan,

I don't see this addressed in FAQs, and maybe it's a silly question but I'll ask anyway. My MS is a YA Fantasy. When querying agents, should I stick with those who represent both YA and Fantasy, or if an agent reps. YA should I assume that encompasses all genres?

Thanks for answering this and for providing these forums!
Yes, stick to agents who represent YA rather than agents who list fantasy but not YA.

Nathan,

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. Actually, I was wondering more whether it's okay for me to query agents who represent YA but NOT fantasy. Can I assume that if they represent YA that they will represent any genre of YA?

Thanks and sorry for bothering you again--maybe I just worded the question weirdly the first time. :)

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