Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, October 5, 2007

This Week in Publishing 10/5/07


After a week of lunches, meetings, drinks, subway and taxi rides, a Brooklyn reunion, and lots of "Wow, that's new!"s I just had my New York bagel. My trip is complete. Well, I still have to brave the Port Authority bus terminal. Cross your fingers for me.

Also this week: there was publishing news!

After a week of meetings where I said things like, "Wait, so your imprint is changing its identity how?", let me tell you: keeping imprints straight is a full time job. Luckily Jessica Faust at BookEnds gave a great breakdown this week on how it all works.

In other agent blog news, Jonathan Lyons provides a very helpful, succinct summary of what you should include in your author bio. He doesn't mention that you probably shouldn't tell your prospective about the time you had worms, but that's my only addition to his list.

Friend o' the blog John Elder Robison will debut at #13 on the NY Times bestseller list, so congrats! And we can all say we knew him when. Well, I met him when he was an author with a highly anticipated forthcoming book that was the subject of a heated auction, but hey -- now he's a real live bestseller.

As discussed by Maya Reynolds and others (and thanks to Marti for giving me a heads up), Amazon is getting into the contest game as they are looking for the next Breakthrough Author. The press release tells us that the winner gets a publishing contract with Penguin, promotional support from Amazon, and everyone who enters is eligible to have their novel self-published. Of course, everyone in the entire world is eligible to have their novel self-published, but somehow that didn't make the press release.

And finally, I haven't yet blogged about the new season of the Bachelor, which is quite an omission given that Bachelor host Chris Harrison tells us repeatedly that he is THE SEXIEST BACHELOR EVER, and someone in the first episode thought it was a good idea to immediately show THE SEXIEST BACHELOR EVER her webbed feet. But if you are truly needing your Bachelor fix, definitely check out my friend Holly's awesome blog, which, full disclosure, features e-mails we sent back and forth during the premiere (viewer discretion advised -- we were e-mailing about THE BACHELOR after all), but which also includes Holly's top five things said to the Bach in the first episode.

Have a great weekend!


dr. love said...

Question for you, Nathan. For the Amazon contest, the contract that Penguin is offering to the winner is "as is" and "non-negotiable."

Of course, the winner can choose not to sign the contract and not have their novel published by Penguin. The idea of having no option to negotiate would concern me. What are your thougths?

Nathan Bransford said...

dr. love-

I'd have to see the contract, but it seems unfair to me that you're forced to sign a nonnegotiable contract in order to win. This is, I think, one reason that contests don't have a lot of traction in the book world -- if you're good enough to win a contest chances are you're good enough to find an agent who can negotiate on your behalf, resulting in a better deal than you'd get from winning a contest. So what's the incentive?

Kate H said...

The only incentive I can think of to enter the Amazon contest is that some of the judging is done by actual readers. I've had more positive response to my book from readers (even those unrelated to me) than from agents, so far. It seems that agents can get a little jaded (present company excepted, of course!) and what may look exciting to a reader may look ho-hum to an agent who's seen it all before.

My concern about this contest, other than the contract issue, is that you have to agree not to sign a contract with anyone else for the duration of the contest (or until your MS is eliminated). This applies to all entrants, not just the winner. So to be looking for an agent at the same time would be rather pointless, no? Then if one did not win and was not offered a contract, months of good agent-searching time would be lost.

otherkatie said...

Hey I went to high school with Chris Harrison. He is really truly the nicest guy in the world. Nice. That's just as important to a guy as "sexy", right?

Another weird thing about the Amazon contest is that pretty much any genre is eligible, right? Paranormal vampire, chicklit, talking animal chapter books, romance. How do you compare those and pick one winner? Talk about apples and oranges.

Janet said...

Ah, New York bagels... My first time in NYC I had a Black Russian bagel with smoked salmon cream cheese for breakfast. I had intended to try something new every morning, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I had to have it again... and again... and again...

Publishing? This is a publishing blog?


ORION said...

Gee...NOW there are all these contests...I shoulda waited...
And John is super duper nice as I met him in New York in June- It's NOT true nice guys finish last in this case.

The Anti-Wife said...

Yea! Now I don't ever have to watch The Bachelor again. Your recaps are far more entertaining. Good job!

Conduit said...

If I read the T&Cs of the competition correctly, you're not obligated to take the Penguin contract if you get a better offer elsewhere, but you have to allow them to match the offered advance plus 10%.

I didn't see where it said you couldn't explore other avenues with the submitted work for the duration of the contest. I'll re-read the T&Cs.

Conduit said...

I just re-read the T&Cs, and yep, Penguin sew up your work for the duration. A decent looking contest now looks less decent.

Robbie H said...

I guess my concern would be the same as posting your own book on a blog - from an agent's or publisher's perspective, are you already considered 'published' now that Amazon's shown your manuscript to these 8 gazillion readers?

John Elder Robison said...

Thanks so much for listing me on This Week in Publishing.

We're looking into a west coast leg for my book tour now, so I may be out to see all of you soon.

best wishes

Anonymous said...

The Amazon contest has a similarly flawed voting system to what we saw in the late lamented First Chapters contest.

"Voting" means star ratings and reviews posted by friends and family. And all we judge on is first 5,000 words--the equivalent of one chapter.

Reading the first 5,000 words of a book can tell you if it sucks, but it can't tell you if it is a wonderful book, which is why agents and editors look at longer partials and then fulls.

First Chapters also showed us how easy it is to influence ratings based voting and how hard it is to get anyone to read slush for fun.

This is clearly a ploy to sign up customers for Amazon's overpriced for POD services, dangling before the contestants the fantasy that since their their friends were willing to write glowing reviews of their work on Amazon, they'll also buy a copy for $25.

Not likely.

A Paperback Writer said...

FYI to Nathan and everyone else,
the lovely bloggers at Writer Beware! have their Oct. 4 post all about this very thing. They advise against the Amazon contest, as you have, Nathan.
It's worth a read, though.
Unfortunately, I still don't know how to link, so copy and paste this:

Megan said...

I hate that they're telling me he's the "sexiest bachelor ever," because I just don't find him sexy.

Then again, I'm fifteen, and I think Corbin Bleu is sexy.

But still.

Marie said...

LOVE the Bachelor blog. Hilarious! I don't think Brad is anything CLOSE to sexy. Ick! Now, Andy Baldwin, I loved. What IS IT with The Bachelor? It's like a bad train wreck, but I can't make myself stop watching. Now that Andy and Tessa have broken up, though, it might be time to stop hoping that this season's AMAZING couple will stay together. Keep the blogs coming.

Mrs. Revis said...

Is it me, or are there less comments around this place than usual?

Anyway, noticed that some people here (and other places on the net) think the Amazon contest is a hoax. I don't think so. Sure, they're using it to push their self-pub site, but Amazon and Penguin have too big of name brands to make this a hoax. I think it's legit, and as long as you don't cave to the self-pub bit, it's worth a try.

Elyssa Papa said...

Nathan, I loved your joint blog with Holly about The Bachelor. Did you catch this past week's episode where one of the girls had a complete meltdown when she didn't get a rose?

I didn't know anything about the Amazon contest, but that doesn't make sense to me at all.

Nathan Bransford said...


Unfortunately I missed most of the episode because my DVR melted down (thank you AT&T UVerse!) but Hillary sure went out with a wail. I don't know if anyone has ever cried so much in reality TV history. She made Bevin from last season look like a paragon of sanity.

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