Nathan Bransford, Author


Thursday, August 28, 2008

This Week in Publishing 8/28/08

Yes, TWIP on a Thursday -- I figure people are going to be cutting out early for the long weekend (who, you?), and thought I'd get a jump on things.

Next week my client Rebecca Ramsey is hosting a blog party at her amazing blog Wonders Never Cease! All you have to do is leave a comment on the official party thread, and then on September 3rd post your favorite Wonder of the World on your blog. Rebecca will link to you and you'll be able to check out everyone else's posts, which, as Rebecca says, will make it quite a Wonder-full Wednesday.

Anne & May (as in, Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt) are counting down to the release of their fourth book (and first YA novel) THE MIRACLE GIRLS, which kicks off a four book series about four high school girls who meet in detention and bond when they discover they've all survived near-death experiences. And in honor of the upcoming publication, they have written a series of very helpful posts on writing, including things you can do to help your writing career, how to balance the day job, writing and revising rules of thumb, and, of course, killing your darlings.

I've seen this all over the web after it was published by PW, and with good reason: this interview with superstar agent Molly Friedrich is fantastic. My favorite snippet: "But seriously, it is a business of staying with it long enough to really build up credibility and respect and a reputation for honesty. Always for honesty."

Another week, another company purchased by Amazon. This time it's book social networking site Shelfari, which, as GalleyCat notes, is currently third in the race to become the biggest book social networking site behind GoodReads and LibraryThing (although actually, as Joe Wikert notes, LibraryThing is also partially owned by Amazon since it was partially owend by AbeBooks, which is now owned by Amazon). At this rate, I am scheduled to be purchased by Amazon in approximately seven months.

Annnnnnnnd in still more Amazon news, new editions of the Kindle are slated to come out just in time for me to smack my head for buying one a few months before they announced new editions were coming out. But that's ok, I figure when Amazon owns me they'll just replace my forearm with a Kindle, which would be freaking awesome. UPDATE: Reader rhienelleth notes that Amazon has quashed these rumors (well, the one about a new Kindle this year, not the one about installing one in my forearm).

And finally, marketing book author Richard Laermer lent his own entry into America's most crowded of genres: disgruntled author rants about the publishing industry. The litany: 22 year old editors deciding advances themselves (I want to meet these up-and-comers!), books are too expensive, the slow publishing schedule, resistance to putting things online... Oh, and it's Part 1 or 2, so stay tuned for the sequel. Meanwhile, former book editor and current bestselling author Jason Pinter lent a measured response to Laermer's article with a post entitled "Richard Laermer can kiss my young a**."

Have a great weekend!






31 comments:

Bryan Russell said...

Nathan, you do know that it's hard to dribble a basketball with a kindle for a hand, right? I mean, what the hell would the Kings do then? Kevin Martin can't do it all by himself, poor guy.

Margaret Yang said...

You can have the kindle hand. I still want the monkey tail. Remember that Dilbert cartoon where Dilbert and Wally were complaining that the office monkey had an unfair advantage? Seems he was typing with two hands and using his tail to move the mouse. Talk about freaking awesome....

In other news, the Ann Arbor Observer (monthly magazine) had a long article about Borders and why they are going down the tubes. Seems like they did it to themselves by making bad business decisions and it has very little to do with selling books per se. I'd link to it, but alas, it is only hardcopy.

Dan said...

Me thinks Nathan Bransford is one of those people cutting out for the weekend. I drank two hearty IPAs at lunch today, so it's not exactly as though I'm in a position to judge.

BUT! I did meet a 24 year old 'young up and coming' editor (for a MAJOR imprint) - which was exciting. However, she was interviewing for a job with my company (where someone else knows a famous author) because alas publishing in NYC was not for her - and I work in an industry completely unrelated to publishing.

Goes to show that networking is important, even if you're no where near the publishing market.

AND, you think having a Kindle fore-arm is cool, but only until SKYNET takes over the world and you become a terminator half-breed. Have fun with that!

J.P. Kurzitza said...

Just trying to be in the first 3 comments today.

Sooooo close. . . .

Carly said...

Hi, Nathan,

Just FYI, your Kindle link is a little messed up (at least on my computer). The proper link is here.

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks, Carly!

Erik said...

I just want to say that I'm willing to be bought out by amazon. Cheap.

(once their stock picks up a normal P/E ratio, they won't be buying doodley-squat, however)

rhienelleth said...

Don't believe everything you read - that same Kindle 2.0 rumor has been floating around the internet for awhile, now, but Amazon itself has never confirmed it, and here: Amazon denies a new Kindle this year to the NYT

So, who to believe? Tough to say, but I'd be pleased not to see a new model until sometime next year, personally. Then I'd feel a little less guilty about buying one so soon (though I already know who my current Kindle will go to when that happens.)

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks for the tip, rhienelleth. Updated accordingly.

Elyssa Papa said...

Wow. I bow down to the awesomeness that is Molly. Who wouldn't want an agent who fights to the mat like that and is so passionate about her career and authors?

As always, thanks for the links.

Kitty Bucholtz said...

Nathan, if your blog keeps making me laugh this much, I'm going to have to send you a query. I looked over the books you're repping (at least the list on your blog) and I can't imagine my books would fit into your groove. BUT - I'd love to have a business partner who makes work fun, so... you might be hearing from me soon. {grin}

Happy weekend!
Kitty, who would LOVE to have a Kindle implanted in my left forearm! :)

Anonymous said...

Really good TWIP--thanks.

ashley said...

Nathan, before you get a jump start on that long weekend, I have a question. The discussion about exclusives is what made me think of it.

Have you ever received a query (or read a partial or full) and decided that you weren't really wowed by the story but you liked the author and their style/voice and saw that they had potential? Are you so busy that you just say "thank you but it's not for me" and move right along to the next aspiring author or have you ever encouraged an author to work on a new manuscript and then query you again?

Nathan Bransford said...

ashley-

Occasionally, but I've found that 99% of the people who are querying are interested in finding an agent for the particular project they're querying about, and if I don't want to represent that they move on to the next agent even if I think another project of theirs (or possible future project) has more potential.

Salman said...

*sigh* I wish May's advice on "calling up as many editors as possible" to get a job in publishing was applicable today. It seems getting into publishing these days take more than just a little bit of work and initiative.

I too would love to meet these 22 year old editors Nathan. And ask them what their secret is...

Adaora A. said...

I'll definetly check out lovely Rebecca's blog.

I love GoodReads. There are some great people in publishing lurking around those parts. I haven't come across you over there though Nathan.

As for having TWIP on a Thrusday, is it Labour Day at your end already? Labour Day isn't until September the 1st ish over here. Bring on the stress of exams all over again.

ashley said...

Hmm.. Yeah, I guess I didn't really think of that. But obviously it makes sense that most people wouldn't be willing to give up on a manuscript that they put a lot of love and effort into and go start over just in the hopes of getting representation from one particular agent.

I only ask because I'm very new to the whole writing thing and I haven't really found my niche yet. So, I'm glad to know that there is the occasional situation where you find a writer's style and abilities promising even if their current manuscript leaves something to be desired.

Sorry for the rambling but thanks for the response. I appreciate it!

Lynne said...

I'm waiting for SKYNET, too. Or the forgotten computer in a Bradbury book who created the world. Does anyone know which book that was? Failing that, the USS Enterprise to beam me outta here. I interviewed James Doohan at a sci-fi convention. Nice guy. He was a Canadian pilot in WW11, ended up on a starship. On a tour at NASA he met screaming applause and lots of guys who said, 'I became an engineer after watching *you*!'

Marilyn Peake said...

Thanks for the links, Nathan. I'm going to try to take part in Rebecca's party, although I don't have a blog, just a newsletter.

AstonWest said...

Laermer had a few good points infused into the rest of that rant...

Make sure Amazon pays out the big bucks for you, Nathan...don't sell out for anything less than seven figures.

On re-querying agents, I'd be more than happy to hit an agent up on another project (assuming I don't find one on the first). That's one good reason to keep track of your queries (which I do in Excel). At the point I'm ready to query another project (sans representation), I plan to go in and query all of those agents who wanted to see my work via partial or full before. Then, I plan on querying those who had specific nits (word count, mostly). Lastly, I'll hit up those who at least responded in a fairly timely manner.

Those who didn't bother responding get no respect from me.

lotusloq said...

Nathan,

Thanks for all the great links. That article with Molly Friedrich was especially wonderful!

Other Lisa said...

I loved the interview with Molly Friedrich. I loved her emphasis on loyalty and consistent hard work.

Pierre said...

"I figure when Amazon owns me, they'll replace my forearm with a Kindle."

Seriously, Nathan, that just about made me roll over and die laughing.

nona said...

Have a nice Labor Day weekend, everybody.

Kristin Laughtin said...

Oooh, I may have to join the blog party. Gotta start using my blog for more than commenting on others anyway!

Loved the interview with Molly Friedrich. She's frank, but it was particularly inspiring that her first client was still with her.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathan, hope that you can possibly answer an etiquette question.

If you are a debut fiction writer, sent out a bunch of queries at the same time, got several back saying, "Yes, let's see the full"...what is the etiquette on responding?

Ideally, I'd like to do it one by one so that any comments from anybody who rejects can inform subsequent revisions of the full.
Want to make sure that is ok etiquette. thanks.

Nancy D'Inzillo said...

Thanks as always for the links, Nathan. The rebuttal of Richard Laermer's rant was great!

As someone who is closer to the big publishers than myself, how are they feeling about the fact that Amazon keeps spreading? I know the big houses have been known to fall to corporate take-overs at times and that attempts at monopolies aren't all that rare, but what's the general sentiment about it in the world of big publishers? I'm curious, because I just read a blog about this new development at Amazon on a readers' blog, and there were many rather fearful voices there. It would be interesting to hear the perspective of the other side from someone so close to it.

nona said...

My favorite snippet:

"And the thing that everybody, to a person, loved about Melissa's book is that it had an original voice. Now, what is an original voice? Well, think of it like this: Go to Bonfire of the Vanities and close your eyes and pick a page and have someone read you two paragraphs. If you can't identify those paragraphs as the rhythms and cadences that belong to Tom Wolfe, you're finished . . . If I read a short story by Melissa Bank, I can always identify it as Melissa because of the voice, and my view of the world is altered for having read her work."

How does a person develop "voice"?
Well, my answer was to stop censoring myself. It took a lot of courage.

a cat of impossible colour said...

Thanks for the links!

Nathan - I just wanted to say thanks again for all your great advice here. Following your tips on writing a good query letter, I hammered out a good one for my novel and sent it out yesterday. Within a few hours I received two requests for fulls and one request for a partial from some big-name agents. So thank you, I really appreciate it!

Dr. Dad said...

Nathan,

I wanted to thank you and your blog for entertaining me on call for the last 24 hours! Any chance you can give us examples (with critique of course) of non-fiction proposals?

Jennifer L. Griffith said...

Hey Nathan,

I just knew I'd find a post on the Stephanie Meyer news!! Is it in the making right now??

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