Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, August 3, 2007

This Week in Publishing 8/3/07

Andrew Sullivan's rage against the publishing machine has spread... to people in publishing. Galley Cat prints a disgruntled (and unnamed) publishing employee singing the blues: "I have worked in the industry for years and I have never seen so many people who have emotional problems," says this anonymous reader. "They either suffer from depression or a lack of interpersonal skills. The pay in publishing does not attract the best people and that includes me I guess. Publishing is not a field that has a bright future because kids today do not want to read and the industry does nothing about it. Sometimes I think it would be better to wash cars." Why yes, because washing cars is SO MUCH FUN. I hear it pays well too.

Also via GalleyCat (What would I do without you, GalleyCat? Who's a good kitty?? Who's a good kitty?? YOU ARE! YES YOU ARE!!), a look at how Harry Potter has changed the publishing industry. I know, I know, how many of these articles have been written in the past month? But this one has sweet info like quotes from Steve Rubin and analysis of the effect of faster printing methods and fewer distribution hubs (now you're speaking my language). Associated Press reporter Hillel Italie, I salute you.

Agent Kristin Nelson is posting a running analysis of author/agency agreements. I'm going to go ahead and mark those posts down as assigned reading, and class, there WILL be a quiz Monday morning. San Dimas High School football rules!!

I linked to this in passing yesterday, but the New York Times has an article on the Espresso Book Machine, which churns out a fully printed book in 15 minutes and it makes a KILLER latte. It also cures cancer and doggone it, it's WORKING on world peace if people would please just LEAVE IT ALONE AND LET IT THINK. Geez.

And finally, now that Bryan Catherman has concluded his "Name George W. Bush's Memoir" contest (winning title: WTF: THE GEORGE W. BUSH STORY) and queried me with the proposal (I ultimately did not feel that I was the most appropriate agent for President Bush's work), and I am now on every watch list and do-not-fly registry from here to Gitmo (to which I have recently received first class tickets! Bright side!). So it behooves me to link to the Travelocity blog The Window Seat, which is written by some friends of mine and which you will enjoy if you like to travel or if you like gnomes. And no, I didn't get paid to mention this. That you know of. But they did promise me I'd get to meet the Travelocity Gnome (great galloping galoshes!)

Have a great weekend!


Brian said...


Do you and Galleycat want to be alone?

Heidi the Hick said...

Oh my gosh, that is almost too much funny for one day. I wish I was witty enough to funny right back! Geez!

But what I really want to reply to is this disgruntled person's idea that kids today don't read. UM???

The boy has read five "Alex Rider" books. The girl has read Stardust, a "Bone" graphic novel, ARe You There God It's Me Margaret, and she's almost done Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy- the whole trilogy in 4 parts!

They squeezed in all their reading around visiting and swimming at the neighbour's and riding Granpa's 4 wheeler and the horses and watching the Simpson's.

So I'd say kids still read! Unless we're weird.

Scott said...

Are your experiences with publishing people anything like that unnamed publishing pro? Are they really that nuts?

Writers being crazy--that I can understand. I remember somebody pointing out that baseball players have it rough because if they only fail twice as often as the succeed, they've had a brilliant season.

I'd *love* my queries to have a 1 in 3 success rate. (Actually, my query success ratio is getting close to that. It's my partial that seems to be destined for a career in the Rookie leagues.)

Spending your life waiting for rejection can drive anybody crazy.

But, you know what? Once you learn to cope, the game's a fun one. That's why I still play.

Anonymous said...

Woo Hoo!

I won! I won! At least I half won the contest. As GWB would say, "I may have just matriculated to famiosity!"

Stephen Prosapio

Other Lisa said...

Steve, you are the Winner Guy!

Scott said...

Oh, just want to add that the people I've met have all been very nice and helpful, and usually a bit odd in a good way.

Nathan Bransford said...


I've certainly met my share of odd ducks in publishing, but more than other industries? I don't really think so.

Kristen said...

"Political memoirs are popular, and given that one in every five Americans approve of the job you are doing as President, your platform is large."


Anonymous said...

Someone used as a title my favorite Bush quote:

"Give My Chance a Plan to Work"

Anonymous said...

"...because kids today don't read."

Weird. Last time I checked, readership levels were up among the young. I think the "watch TV all day" was a baby boomer thing.

Scott said...

Thanks, Nathan. That's the answer I expected. We can all say the same things about the industries we work in.


I have worked in the [computer] industry for years and I have never seen so many people who have emotional problems. They either suffer from depression or a lack of interpersonal skills [or they dress bad or even smell bad]. The pay in [computers] attracts [everybody, including the worst people] and that includes me I guess. [High tech] is not a field that has a bright future because kids today do not want to [play computer games or IM or hang out on MySpace, not when there are Harry Potter books to re-read,] and the industry does nothing about it. Sometimes I think it would be better to wash cars [except, like, I'm a dude and look terrible in a bikini. Or a speedo for that matter. I told you, I've worked in the computer industry for years, and it shows.]

(Sorry. Couldn't resist.)

Maya Reynolds said...

Hey, Nathan: I've already met the Travelocity Gnome.

He was traveling along with the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" auditions. It was a good day. I passed the audition AND got my picture taken holding the Gnome.

Now all I need is that million :)

Michele Lee said...

Well, crazies in publish are sort of harmless. I mean, about the worst they can do is make up autobiographies and write books with no verbs.

But crazies in other science? Well, they have "accidents" with gamma radiation that turn them into big green angry wads of scientist.

Really, have you ever head "Publisher SMASHHH!"?

Keli Garson said...

It's obvious to me this anonymous "disgruntled publishing employee" is a stuper (short for those pesky stupid persons). Anytime anyone purports to speak for any portion of the public at large, anonymously no less, and without evidence, we have stupidity at work. Take note, these stupers are typically doomsayers.
As for, "...that includes me, I guess." Doesn't he/she know for sure? Maybe this person just has an unrealized desire to perform physical labor such as car washing; hence the attack on the publishing machine.

Anonymous said...

I have a rather odd question for you, Nathan.

I'm working on a novel that uses poetic techniques rather extensively. It's not poetry, and it's not written in verse, it's just prose with a very heavy use of these techniques, mostly rhyme and imagery. It runs throughout the entire novel. And it's not young adult or anything like Dr. Seuss, it's general [adult] fiction.

Should I mention something like this in the query so that the agent doesn't hear the rhyming and think I'm repeating words or something? Do you think an agent would notice this? Or worse, consider it poetry and reject me?

(I'm absolutely positive this isn't poetry, though, just in case. It's definitely a novel, it could definitely read like a novel especially when you're not reading it aloud and annunciating certain sounds.)

takoda said...

I agree with Heidi, this is one of your funniest!

I think you might be on watchlists because that's the title that Cheney is using for his memoir.

Off to the beach now....

Nathan Bransford said...


I would definitely tell the agent, because otherwise they might be confused and/or miss your intent.

And there's no shame in a novel in verse. GOLDEN GATE by Vikram Seth is one of my favorites!

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