Nathan Bransford, Author

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hi, My Name Is.... Uh, I'll Have to Get Back to You on That

Day 4. Supplies running short. Fatigue setting in. Considered accosting teenager on subway today who had coffee that smelled good. Thought better of it. Wondering if I'll make it back to California.

Natives are restless.

Ah, just kidding. Things are great here in New York, and it's been really fun to meet with editors, agents and friends. Although I must say that after so many meetings with so many different people at a breakneck pace, my brain feels like it's been run over by a taxi. I didn't go so far as to forget my name as the subject line suggests, but there's still plenty of time for that.

Today I had planned to do sort of a pulse of the industry post, but what I'm constantly reminded of instead is how individual things are for everyone in publishing. We've all read the End of Publishing article and are wondering about the future, but everyone is excited about their lists, ready to find the next great project, and especially in a time where people are on edge, so many people in publishing just really love their jobs.

What are people looking for? Same as always: good books.


Scott said...

First post!

Okay, sorry. Nice to hear that genuine, human enthusiasm trumps the IT backrooms of the online, hawking juggernauts.

Hang in there, dude!

Julie Weathers said...

Day 4. Supplies running short. Fatigue setting in. Considered accosting teenager on subway today who had coffee that smelled good. Thought better of it. Wondering if I'll make it back to California.

Natives are restless.

I know you must be anxious to get home, but it's late fall. DO NOT take the Donner Pass.

Brad D. Green said...

I'm not bright enough to figure out what the pulse of any industry is. In fact, I'd probably try to take the pulse of the publishing industry on someone's cold elbow. There's hardly ever a purple throb of life there. Here's what I know: it's daunting for a new writer.

Anonymous said...

I just heard of another excellent editor--who championed several massively bestselling books--dumped from his job thanks to a buyout.

Editors may love their jobs, but I fear a lot of them are going to be competing with you as a brand new agent very soon.

I am actually hoping this guy does turn into an agent, though, as he was one of the more brilliant editors I've dealt with.

nona said...


My friend just informed me that the lucky couple actually got married on the boardwalk of the bridge. She mistakenly said "under the pier" when she meant to say "pylon," meaning one of the gateway arches that all of the supporting wires radiate from.

My dad was an architect who used to bring his work home with him every night (read: whine and complain) so that's how I know this stuff.

Word choice: so important.

Victoria said...

I've heard a lot of positive thinking in response to the End of the World article from NYMag. Even though people are thinking optimistically about their lists, are they still worried/panicked about "the end?"

Personally I thought the NYMag article was a bit overdramatic and pessimistic. Shouldn't we, as publishers and editors, work to be resilient?


Susan said...

Sounds like an adventure: hmm, maybe you should write a novel about it?

Jordan said...

Weren't Sir Alec Guinness's memoirs entitled My Name Escapes Me?

Madison said...

My cat is sitting here looking out the window because she REALLY wants to chase the robin that's sitting in our ironwood tree.

Sorry, just had to tell you that! It's so funny to watch her.

Have to be honest. When I first saw the title of this post, I thought you were going to talk about people who want to write under pen names and that's how they introduce themselves at the conference, but some don't know the name they'll be writing under and say, well, basically your subject line. Yes, I know, I'm weird! But, hey, I like it that way!

Lady Glamis said...

I believe "The End" has been thoroughly discussed in previous posts, but I suppose I'll add my two cents again.

It's not the end!!! Yes, Mr. Bransford, you are correct; people will always be looking for good books, and the publishing industry will change with the "pulse" and trends,just as everything else with our growing technology has and is changing.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but out of all 61 comments from NYM post, most everybody seemed to agree that the printed word is desirable.

It may end eventually, but it will be gradual and not some immediate "end-of-the-world, let's stop printing right now" deal. Yes, I agree with Victoria --

it was all extremely dramatic.

Loren Eaton said...

Remember -- espresso is your friend.

Steph said...

Gak! Stop it with this end of (the world) publishing books talk! I can't take it!

Hey Nathan, you mentioned that you like to look at sci-fi. Do you also do fantasy? I didn't see that on your list. I'm a copyeditor and I'm revamping my biz (EditQuest) to target solely fantasy writers. I'd love to refer them to you if that's your bag too.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I think the "end of publishing" article was another example of our industry taking itself a little bit too seriously. Books Rock!

spinregina said...

End of nothing; maybe as we know it, and that might be fine. We always (mostly) fear the unknown; and right now there is some new way, sort of mixed with the old way, and it's all going to turn out just fine. Possibly better than fine. I certinaly prefer working on a computer to a typewriter, and no one foresaw this age....

Jeanne said...

I love that people in your industry - especially right there in NYC- aren't wringing their hands about the sky falling. That's what everyone needs - stick to business as usual. And- as a consumer- when cash is tight I actually buy MORE books for my family and self. They make awesome, affordable gifts. They take you away from your troubles. Keep cranking them out people. :)

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

yeah, ditto to the post above me. i'm glad the publishing world is going on as usual.

Marilyn Peake said...

Sounds like a busy time in New York City. That's how I remember New York: bright yellow taxis everywhere, subways whooshing through underground stations, musicians playing drums on subway cars, saxophones resonating under a bridge in Central Park, artwork spread out for sale on sidewalks, the hustle-bustle of crowds...and Starbucks! Remember Starbucks; it makes it so much easier to keep on going. :) Your meetings about the publishing industry sound very exciting. I better go write...

Ryan Field said...

"What are people looking for? Same as always: good books."

Best answer I've heard all year to that question!!

Leet said...

Nice post
nice blog

Cheers - Leet

nona said...

I apologize for the length of this post but I find the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt are very relevant to the present situation:

Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.

We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings.

Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.

It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.

One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment... If it doesn't turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.

We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon.

There is nothing I love as much as a good fight.

When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.

I do not look upon these United States as a finished product. We are still in the making.

Puzzle Time Writings said...

Nice to meet you, Nathan! Good luck in your searching and I'm sure the authors you represent will be proud of all the leg work you do for them!

Lee McQuinn
Penelope Shedrech

Isabelle Santiago said...

I completely imagined you taking that cup of coffee and the subway chase that would ensue. *snort* Needless to say, I had to cut the weird vision short to prevent laughing too loud.

Glad to hear you're enjoying NY. Here here, on good books. I'm branching into genres I didn't read before because good books do keep on coming. It's an exciting thing to see.

Erik said...

Publishing is dead! Long live publishing!

Whirlochre said...

When the tsunami hits, the dudes go surf.

In the mean time, teenagers hang out on subways swigging coffee, waiting to be mugged by out-of-towners just for something to do...

The Tile Lady said...

Wonderful blog with such helpfukl information about the publishing industry! I've added you to my bloglist! said...

Is the "pulse" NYC really so different from CA?

serenity said...

What a happy post. I enjoyed the highly informative article on the end of publishing. But I much prefer your brief but much more optimistic take on what it really feels like in publishing today.

Gail Goetz said...

With your offbeat presence in the publishing world, sorry if you did't realize that some people think you have an offbeat presence in the publishing world, you'll always be okay. Honesty wins in the end.

Vera Ezimora said...

Awww, poor you. First time here. Loving it. I'm working on my first book. I'm on my last chapter. I have not started looking for a publisher yet. I'm soooo scared. Many are the tales I have heard of the rejection letters. Oh, the horror! That being said, I am now very afraid of completing my last chapter.

*bows head in shame*

the Amateur Book Blogger said...

"Guillermo del Toro, is set to tap what has become a rich vein of new vampire fiction, signing up with HarperCollins to write a trilogy of books about a vampiric virus that invades New York." (The Guardian)

Better get home soon Nathan!

Mojo said...

nice blog. i'm curious... how often do you get accosted by hopeful (delusional?) bloggers bent on landing an agent?

enjoy nyc! i'm a fellow west-coaster who fell in love with the city this summer, despite its intolerable heat waves

Thomma Lyn said...

Thanks, Nathan, for being a voice of reason and optimism! :)

m clement hall said...

Since today's blog is without subject, I offer this URL as worth reading

Anonymous said...

Hey . . . I want my coffee back. And my left shoe.

Not The Rockefellers said...

As someone who works in a kindergarten, I would like to share with you what the youngsters think.

" Why do I have to write my words down when I can just tell you them."

" I don't like to listen to just the words without the movie part." (Books on Tape)

" I would like to do my Kindergarten journal on YouTube."

But there is one author who will bring a child to the reading rug everytime and hold their attention for the duration of the book.

Dr. Seuss.

There's still a lot of magic in that hat.

Peace - Rene

lotusloq said...

I can't believe that publishing will ever completely die. Change maybe, but die--never--not when there are people like me out there, and I know I can't be the only one. I just bought 9 books today alone. Add that to the ones I bought Tues. and the ones I bought last week and the week before, then add the ones my husband bought, because our taste in books rarely coincides.

I think it's a lot of over reacting--trying to work people up into a frenzy. It's like there has to be something sensational to talk about, so somebody says, "Let's talk about the publishing industry falling apart. Oooo, yeah, that'll make a great headline. People will freak!" and they have.

I say, "Chill people!" Go out and buy a book, sit back and enjoy. Of course, that's just my humble opinion.

kitkat said...

In case you're curious, I have actually forgot my name before. And the company I worked for. (Wow, a sentence and a fragment both ending a prepositions, please don't send the grammar police, it's late.)

Fortunately, the person on the other end was someone within the company who I knew, so he had a great laugh at my expense. Apparently, I made his day.

Ahh, the city, lucky boy. I miss being there. It's great fun, so much to do, never a dull moment. Accidentally ended up in Jamaica, Queens one night instead at Colombia University (took the subway waaaay too far.) Thank god the trains go both ways, eh?

Enjoy your last few days.

MegMcG said...

If you want to ship some of the unsold good books to Korea, there are many here who would appreciate it! ;) So far I've only managed to find Harry Potter, Ulysses and Walden in English here on Jeju Island...a far cry away from NYC and its endless hustle!

Maris Bosquet said...

Safe flight home, Nathan!

Pairs of small mammals are breaking into my car, the rain is so thick...

nona said...

“If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down,”

- Pres. George W. Bush

m clement hall said...

I find the blog won't accept the full URL:
the terminal portion is _3.html

The article is an interview with Francine Prose, author of (the well worth reading) "Reading Like a Writer."
After 20 years taking money for teaching creative writing she concludes it "Can't be taught. Close reading, combined with constant writing, is the only way a writer really learns."

More useful are:
1. You can write about what's really happened to you, without being constrained by the facts. Go ahead - steal from life when you need to.
2. You don't need to know much (about your project) when you begin.
3. It's all about the sentences.
4. Don't even begin to think you can learn to write by taking an undergraduate course (whether a graduate course is better is left up in the air!!).

Apologies to Nathan for intruding on his valuable, instructional (2 adjectives) blog.

Other Lisa said...

@ M Clement Hall - great article. As a "young" writer, I found it reassuring to read that she doesn't outline (either do I, and I've never been able to do it).

Re: links, if you can't make a hotlink, go to, paste in the long link, and they'll generate something like this:

That's for the Prose article - really worth reading.

AnarchyJack said...

Hey Nathan,

Did you stop by Wall Street to watch the protests?

There's a book.

Juliette Dominguez said...

Hey Nathan, wishing you well in NYC. Fight the fatigue with a nice, tall Manhattan. If you're in the office, take the fabulous Mitchell with you :)

Analiza F. Villarin said...

My name is AziL, short for...
Just want to say, I added you in my bloglist. Keep posting! :)

Sophie said...

M Clement Hall-
Thanks for the washington post tip. Interesting article.

Eric said...

Hi Nathan,

I've been reading your blog for awhile, and have only commented a couple of times. This is largely because between your posts and your loyal readers' comments, 99.9% of my questions get answered. (I also work for a large publishing house, so a lot of my tangential questions get answered at work.)

This question, however, stumped both of my bosses and I have yet to see it asked and answered here, so it is as follows: Is there any kind of public listing of authors and their agents, like there is for the music industry ( If not, why not?



Erik said...

I happen to think that a Golden Age of writing is just around the corner - if we can get our act together, that is. Think of the Paperback. It's the subject of my latest blog entry.

KTDP said...

I really can't comment on the pulse of any given industry .... but I like your blog. Kudos. keep writing .... it's better than most of the crap out there .... including my own ....

.....I'm bored ..... ignoring/deleting this wouldn't be the worst thing you could do ....

Anonymous said...

I suspect that the public psyche will need to express its darkness and mourn a bit along with the changing tides.
It may take itself very seriously.
Then it will need love and will lean towards romance like the classics.
Then it will need to learn to laugh out loud from a place of release.
And, always, it will continue to need magic. Fantasy may embarrass the more serious aspect of these times, but it will still be secretly treasured.

(now putting away crystal ball)

books_jmg said...

Hi. I'm just wondering if you would know that, since you're in publishing, how would an author be able to publish Christian fiction, or what needs to be done in order to do so. I'm trying to publish a manuscript, and have already send an inquiry letter to a publisher, but I'm unsure on whether or not they'll accept me.
If you could give me any advice whatsoever, you would be a real lifesaver! Thanks. :)

Jessica said...

The online world will never takes books away from me! Although I blog, reading an intense book while curled up on the couch (especially in the fall and winter months) cannot be beat. I would not feel the same with a computer on my lap. There is just something nostalgic about it all and something that I will never let go of.. I am sure there are others that feel the same.

Enjoy NYC!

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Good books...slightly altered

These are completely wonderful.

Karen J. Hatzigeorgiou also has a public domain collection of clip art available online **for free!** for both commercial and private use! Oh yeah!

Check out these bees:

Oh yeah, and here are books turned into reliquaries!

Hi, My Name Is...Uh, Lover of Altered Books

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