Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, October 17, 2008

This Week in Publishing 10/17/08

This week...

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes, I am now on the mend.

This week's end-of-publishing-as-we-know it article is brought to you by...... The New York Observer! This one has the scintillating subhead "Fewer books, bigger deals—No room for debuts?" and tackles the new Blockbuster Model that seems to be en vogue among publishers.

Meanwhile, on HarperStudio's blog, the very awesome young agent Jeff Moores (and fellow veteran of the East of Eden Writers Conference) offers his take on one of the assertions of the Observer article, namely that it will be tough for young agents to break out. Moores, needless to say, (very politely) disagrees.

Also on HarperStudio's blog, an interview with Borders CEO George Jones on the current (and future) state of the book business. It's not all doom and gloom!

Want some insight into editorial letters, i.e. the letters that your editor sends you when it's time to revise your work? You're in luck. My very smart client Jennifer Hubbard blogged about how she tackled her recent revision, and it's an indispensable inside look into the process.

Speaking of editors and indispensability, the very smart and up-and-coming Grove/Atlantic editor Jofie Ferrari-Adler has published his latest incredible publishing interview, this time with veteran Algonquin editor Chuck Adams. A must-must read.

Annnnd speaking of smart up-and-coming editors, Maria Gagliano and Celia Johnson are the brains behind the Brooklyn-based lit journal Slice Magazine. Their current issue features interviews with Salman Rushdie, Nam Le, and fellow San Francisco resident Andrew Sean Greer.

And finally, via reader John Ochwat, the BBC is officially stealing ideas from this blog, and they solicited readers on their favorite, er, favourite words.

Have a great weekend!


juliana stone said...

Thanks for the link to Jennifer Hubbard's revision notes....I'm currently awaiting my first set of revisions and it was great to see how she deals with hers!
glad to see you're feeling better and have a great weekend!

lotusloq said...

I was heartened by the article on publisher's marketplace today. All is not gloom and doom in the publishing industry! Yea!

I don't think newbies are out. It might be a little tougher, but as long as you find good books to push editors will be interested in looking at what you're peddling. (new agents that is)

I especially liked the words quidnunc and omphaloskepsis. It's what we do. Gossip about ourselves. Well, sort of.

Nancy D'Inzillo said...

Thanks as always for the great links, Nathan. I especially appreciate the list of "favourite" words! Defenestrate would have been on my list too, though I'd have great trepidation if an author threw around too many of these words at the cost of clarity.

JohnO said...

It's the journalist in me ... I can't help sharing the gossip.

Thanks for the tip o' the hat, Nathan :-)

JES said...

The P&W interview with Algonquin's Chuck Allen is tremendous. Thanks much for that link, especially!

lotusloq said...

A couple of the comments in that New York Observer article sounded very Nathan-ish. The Nathan one and one of the anonymous ones. Was that you? If so great comments!

Erik said...

This week's "Publishing is Dead!" was a bit more interesting than most because it really did point where the niche for smaller publishers is opening up. That's the secret, IMHO. The question is really whether there's room in the distribution and sales network for small publishers or if the barriers to entry will remain high.

It's really up to the internet, in the end. Which reminds me, if anyone has a serious "thing" for short stories and would like to see them published, please e-mail me.

(it's a start, y'see ...)

Other Lisa said...

I'm glad I saved the Chuck Adams interview for after the NYO piece. I needed the morale boost after reading that one.

Elyssa Papa said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better. Thanks for the links!

Oh and not sure if you read this YA or not but if you haven't... read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I just read it this afternoon---could not put it down---and absolutely loved it.

Stacey said...

Thanks so much! I am currently writing a novel set in London, and although most of those words on the BBC list are much too big for a YA novel, it was tons of fun to peruse!

Furious D said...

1. Nice to see publishing following the same strategy Hollywood is following. They've now become so obsessed with "blockbusters" that they're pricing themselves out of business. Ask Paramount how that's working for them.

2. Do more than disagree, raise the black flag and start kicking ass.

3. Still a better entertainment buy than a movie ticket, that's what Borders should be shilling.

4. So there's a hidden meaning to: "This sucks, rewrite the whole thing and ditch the unicorns-- it's a freaking crime novel!!"

5. Let me get this straight, this Chuck Adams edits for Al Gonquin?

6. The interview with Salman Rushdie took place at a secret safe house. They weren't there five minutes before the phone rang, it was the student loan people. You can't hide from them.

7. My suggestion, sue the BBC. How dare they have an interest in the English language.

Adaora A. said...

Good to hear that you're feeling better. Whenever someone - I'm assuming this - has cold I suggest ginger tea. It sounds disgusting, but it actually has a good taste and can cure any 'ill feeling' anyone is eperiencing. Cheers to good health eh?

We should all make up a cheer for every 'end of publishing' article which comes out. They are becoming more and more frequent so we might as well wish them well as they're coming and going.

Have a great weekend!

jnantz said...

Mr. Bransford,
Thank you for the link directing me to Jennifer Hubbard's post about revisions. It's so nice to get something so specific that is usually referred to in very general terms. Awesome stuff!

Marilyn Peake said...

Hi, Nathan,

Thanks for all the links about changes in the publishing world – lots of food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathan:

A quick question for you regarding setting a closing dates: it's been four weeks since my agent submitted my proposal. A few editors have expressed interest, but no offers have been made. My agent is thus, setting a closing date for them. What do you know of and think of this strategy?

Sandy N said...

Dear Mr. Bransford,
Your 10/17/08 blog concerning the state of the publishing industry caught my attention. My first career was in economics––I hold a couple of degrees in the subject and was Economic Analyst for Santa Clara County until the Planning Department was eliminated. (That’s downsizing!) I worked for many years after that, coaching negotiations at Stanford's GSB, among other things.

What wisdom do I have to add to the articles you cite? Lots, as it turns out. I started writing a comment and realized it was too much to put here. I wrote some observations as an article on my blog,

I hope it's useful to young agents, or anyone wondering how to navigate the moment.
Sandy Nathan

wickerman said...

The chuck adams bit was good - very good. There was only one bit that bugged me. He got a little strong when he started going on about insisting authors change things. Now I'm not so egotistical as to believe my work can't be improved, but when an editor or agent says 'When i suggest a change, I'm right and the author hadn't better aregue with me' I run screaming for the exit.

Tacking on 'my fix may not be THE fix' doesn't quite take the edge off. Maybe mr adams didn't mean that so strongly, but it still makes me think. ANYONE in ANY business who says he is never wrong about this or that makes me nervous.

There are perfectly talented, respectable agents and editors who rejected works that went on to be mega bestsellers. Therefore, they are NOT always right. No one is.

Ali was the greatest - but he wasn't undefeated :)

Searcher said...

Hi Nathan,

just bumped into your blog. Great going. Much as i want to gush in right now and say how much i want to be a published author and could you please point me in the right direction, I won't. However i'd be thrilled if you could just have a look and my blog and tell me what you think (a review of sorts)... and THEN maybe point me in the right direction? :D


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