Nathan Bransford, Author

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

What Blog Features/Topics Would You Like to See?

This is fast becoming feedback week at blog central. As I sat staring at the screen last night trying to think of something to blog about, it hit me. I don't know! I'd like to make the blog more helpful to you, the esteemed readers, so please let me know what you'd like to see on the blog. More features? More Q&A's? More guest bloggers? More monkeys?

Please make out your requests in writing, and please keep in mind that while we do our best to serve you we are limited by the bounds of good taste and decency. Strict? Maybe. I assure you that the blog is ruled with an iron fist and a tender hand.

Send on the suggestions, and, as always, watch out for banana peels.


Liz said...

Bring on the monkeys:)

Things I would like to see on the blog or tossed up for discussion:

Always curious about how others go about the act of writing? Do they write by the seat of their pants, do they outline, do they make wall charts?

How do you find time? Do you write early or late in the day?

What's the best and worst marketing efforts you've seen/heard about for a book or author?

Just a few to kick off the discussion....avoiding banana peels dropped by flying monkeys.

Anonymous said...

Topics I'd love to see blogged about:
1. The ideal client
2. The nightmare client
3. When publishing contracts go wrong: your worst experience
4. Your best experience
5. What editors look for in writer relationships
6. Editor-writer relationships gone wrong
7. The importance of foreign rights
8. Movie rights - do they really happen and how?

Lauren said...

I'd also like to see some topics about the writing craft and fitting it into one's day. Perhaps you could have one of your clients blog about how they juggled a full-time job, a family, writing and submitting a novel, and other interests (wait... other interests? Am I still allowed to have those?).

As I'm mired in the rewriting / editing process right now, I'd love to have some advice on how to make that as painless as possible.

And, counter to all this nice stuff about the creation of art, it'd be super interesting to see a breakdown of what (hypothetical) authors earn in, say, a year's time -- maybe a midlist contemporary fiction author vs. a better-selling thriller writer vs. a first-time picture book author... something like that.

Would also love to know what you think is OVER AND DONE in the various genres you rep.

Anonymous said...

We Bran Fans have learned a lot from your blog. I wonder, what have you learned from your clients about a writer's life?

Robin L. said...

Nathan - I'd love to hear about your most bizarre experience as a literary agent. :)

Anonymous said...

I'd personally like to see monkeys. Red-assed baboons, bonobos, woolly monkeys. You can throw in a gorilla too, if you want.

eric said...

More jokes about drinking gin, George Clooney and your little yappy dog!

Oh, wait, sorry. Wrong blog.


I'm just a Southern boy (57 but refusing to grow up) hiding out in the Midwest. As far as I can remember, nothing I've ever written of consequence has been about monkeys. My primary output thus far is a suspense/thriller novel about a serial killer, a pursuing profiler, and chronicling journalist and author. Though young Mr. Bransford passed on my query in August, he was kind enough to provide the first comment on my blog back in late January, which put him on my radar screen again and enabled me to become a regular reader here. The writing style, wit, and visitors are addictive.

Put me in the bucket with the others who write by the seat of their pants. Outlining, at least for me, would hinder spontaneity. Most of my story was written in a coffeehouse loft on lunch hours. Though it took nearly two years, I enjoyed every minute and couldn’t wait to see where my characters would take me from day to day. My direction came from their dialog. They were real people to me, and it was their spontaneity that would have been stifled by an outlining process. I suspect that there are both seats of pants and outlines among the populace.

I do have one question that I posed very late in the comment thread for one of your posts, Nathan, and by the time I submitted it you were off answering comments from your next post. My story is a bit over 72,000 words. One agent mentioned that she was passing due to my manuscript being short for the genre. The lady that currently is reading my full manuscript asked if it could be expanded when she asked for the complete package. My recent research indicates that many writers in the genre have between 80,000 and 100,000 words, but almost all of Patterson’s books come in within a thousand or two of my count. His first, an Edgar winner, ran about 58,000. I’d love to hear your thoughts about word counts and how they differ between genres.

By the way, have you ever considered giving up your weekend social life so we don’t have to read reruns on Saturdays and Sundays? Just kidding.

S. W. Vaughn said...


Er, that is... you're doing great. Keep it up - you've discussed some great topics here. :-)

Christopher M. Park said...

For me, I read your blog for three reasons:
1) It's an often-humorous diversion that is better than working.
2) You drop a number of tips about what we can do as first-time writers to improve the marketabilitiy of our mss.
3) You offer insights and "behind the scenes" looks at an agent's life, which both makes me feel closer to the industry I am trying to break into, and like I'll be able to talk more intelligently with any prospective agents who might want to rep my book.

So, really, anything that fits those criteria would be a draw for me. Having guest-bloggers that are writers would satisfy part of #2, and that would be interesting to a point, but frankly there are a lot of blogs on the Internet from that pov. What is more interesting is your take on things, and the guest bloggers who are editors or other agents.


Kathy said...

Blog Blog that all you people talk about...:-)
What I'd like to know is
1) how we can bribe you to give our work the go ahead.
2)What you favorite alcohol is
3)your home address (so we can load up you mail box there)
4)And perhaps more details on how to impress you with sly complements, big boy. (wink)

Anonymous said...

please let me know what you'd like to see on the blog.


Failing that, I'd be interested in knowing your thoughts on current trends in fiction (YA, literary and otherwise) and whether and to what extent you can predict the whims of the market.

- Nonny

Janet said...

As an aspiring writer, I'm always interested in getting insight into how an agent's mind works. I fully appreciate that each agent is an individual with individual tastes, (and I'm happy to have more insight into yours) but on the other hand there must be things that are pretty well universal. Do you all auto-reject manuscripts that are heavily studded with errors, what has been done to death and provokes universal eye-rolling, and so on. From reading Miss Snark and Rachel Vater, and a couple of others, I've gotten a feel for the kind of stories they see over and over again to the point where they can't even read through the entire query. Things like magical talisman to fight the evil guys who want to rule the world, novels opening with the main character waking up, that kind of stuff. What makes YOU shudder?

Anonymous said...

As a SF author about to query a bunch of agents (present company included), I would like to see the occasional how-to blog.

Like "How to write something that grabs Nathan Bransford's attention." I saw in your archives, you have how to write an impressive query letter - it's things like that that I find most useful.

Anonymous said...

I would love to get your take on what's cliche and not... a high level breakdown on what all the rights are that writers have (or don't)... what catches your eye in the slush pile (the stats on what you ask partials/fulls on is always interesting as well.)

Anonymous said...

I'd like to second the ideal client/nightmare client topic. Also, any behind-the-scenes interviews with agents/editors are always enlightening. Love your blog!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'd love to hear about your most recent trip to San Rafael and the heaven that is Book Passage. That would make for some good reading. Or it'd elicit strong yearnings that would end with my booking tickets, arranging to be picked up near the DipSea, and going there myself. With or without you, Nathan.

I bet we'd have fun in that store. Hell, ANYone who likes books has fun in that store.

Anonymous said...

Most of the above.

Anonymous said...

Book Passage is in CORTE MADERA, not San Rafael. And it is indeed heaven.

McKoala said...


And yup, trends - what's hot/what makes you sigh 'not again'. Also what are the most common edits that you ask your authors to make before pitching their work - is there any pattern to this? Maybe some help with genres; such as a definition of 'literary fiction' vs 'commercial'.

Jennifer McK said...

I like the behind the scenes looks you've given us. I also like the trends.
I'm not too interested in technical blogs but that's probably my laziness showing. I like funny. I like information, but not floods of information.
I'll read a really long post if it cracks me up AND informs me. LOL.

Anonymous said...

As a newbie, I'd like to see a running list of what comes to you and how you respond (e.g. recvd 5 query letters, 3 Fiction, 1 Non Fiction, 1 YA; passed on all because xyz.....)
Guest bloggers-not so interested; I can find plenty of bloggers out there. Thanks for asking.

Roxan said...

What is the obsession with poo flinging monkeys? If you want to see little creatures picking their noses, take a walk through Wally World.
I'd like to see a discussion on how people research when they are writing.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the topics already mentioned, I'd like to see the occasional "day in the life," either from you or from guest bloggers (like other agents or editors or other publishing people.)

Demon Hunter said...

I'd like to know more about how you go about choosing your clients. Do you suggest revisions before you take some clients on? Would you bother asking for revisions just to not offer someone representation?

Kim Stagliano said...

I'd like to know what YOUR side of the submission process is like. My MS is now with an agent - what's going on in his head (beside, who is this crazy woman I signed.) There are writing blogs already. Tell us about an AGENTS trials and tribulations, please.


L.C.McCabe said...


I'd like to see your opinion on what makes a strong synopsis.

I've gone to quite a few writers conferences over the years, but I don't recall any of the workshops being on that topic.

Do you prefer a thematic overview or a breakdown of the plot blow by blow?

Or does the industry generally want both as companion pieces?

And, umm, what is this obsession of yours with monkeys?

You're beginning to remind me of Ron Stoppable.


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