Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Questions: Answered. Kind Of.

Is there room to play with genres if you're querying in one and want to write while you wait. In other words, will an agent expect you to stick close to what you've submitted? I stay fairly dark, but play in horror, sci-fi and a mixture of semi-literary commercial fare. Also, am I able to start a book of short stories, or is that putting the car before the horse.

Write what you want and what you love and whatever is going to make you happy. However.

There are indeed authors who are able to branch out into multiple genres, who write wildly different types of books, and who are successful in different genres. These people also tend to eat coffee grounds for breakfast and mainline Red Bull.

For most mortals, it's best to take things one step at a time. Until you've reached John Grisham level, try and stick to one genre. Because as a writer, you get better. You learn the conventions. You can draw upon your previous work. If you are published, your readers get to know you and your style. Many of the bestselling authors of today weren't born so, they got there through gradually building their audience by writing books of a certain style.

As I've said previously on the blog, it's hard enough to break out in one genre, let alone several. When you have an agent you can discuss hopping and decide what's best. But for most it's best to stay near home.

Do you recommend writing groups, and if so, is there a website devoted to listing them?

This is a question for your fellow writers. I'm like Padma on Top Chef. I just eat the food. I don't need to see how it's made.

Which genres are hot?

Celebrity books and books by existing bestsellers.

(Seriously though, I strongly discourage trend watching.)

When is the new Amazon Kindle coming out?!

According to noted technology gossip site The New York Times, the new Kindle will drop February 9th

I know you only accept email queries, but I'm over here, freezing in Arizona, for a change, and wondering if snail mail queries hold more weight for other agents than the email. It's probably a frequently asked question but I'm really curious about your opinion.


I'm sure this varies from agent to agent, but if they have submission requirements posted, follow that. For me: I look much more highly on the e-mailed queries, because that's how I ask to be queried. But I will say this: if Michael Chabon sent me a letter in the mail I would not throw it away. In fact, I might even write him back.

I'm currently shopping a YA paranormal; while I haven't been offered representation yet, some of the comments I've received make me think I'm getting close. Meanwhile, a friend with publishing experience in the erotica genre read some of my more adult work and thinks I should give erotic romance a try. If I use a pen name and place something with an erotica e-publisher, am I hurting my chances of publishing my YA? I've read up on the possible perils of working in different genres at the same time, including your take on the matter in your FAQ, but I'm specifically concerned about having a more adult publishing credit come back and bite me when I'm writing for younger readers.

You genre hoppers! Always with your hopping!

In the world of the Internet, it seems pretty hard to keep a secret. If you think one is going to endanger the other you'd need to think really carefully about whether you're willing to risk that.

How do you feel about pen names? Have your authors run into any problems using them that you could warn us about?

Pen names can be necessary at certain stages in a career when an author needs a fresh start, or when authors want to avoid the harsh glare of third world dictators. But they should not be adopted lightly and there should be a very good reason for it, mostly because it's an incredible pain to have to pretend you're another person. In this world of blogging and Twittering and nonstop publicity, it's even more of a pain than it used to be.

Do you think more agents will be following Firebrand's idea of offering "query holidays", where writers submit first pages instead of a query letter?

No.

I'd be curious to hear how they felt it worked though. I heard third hand that they ended up requesting more material, which had query-hating authors rejoicing and saying "See! See!!"

But as an agent obsessed with efficiency, I'm not sure I see requesting more material as a harbinger of a successful system.

This past Friday, you mentioned in the comments section of your blog: "And, of course, it means I'm always on the lookout for the next great self-published book." What about small press books for which the publishing contracts have expired, or the publishing house has gone out of business?
Many small press books have impressive resumes: review quote from famous author, hundreds of copies sold, major book awards, placement in libraries, etc.; but absolutely no distribution in bookstores. I’ve seen many such books moved from one small publishing house to another, and have always wondered if the author ever tried to contact a literary agent before submitting to another small press.


Yes, definitely. There are certain difficulties involved with a small sales track, but look: if the major publishers are going to move to a model where they only publishing the safe bets, they're going to be missing stuff. I aim to find said stuff.

If and when a writer does get signed by an agent, are there any newbie mistakes you see newly signed writers making on a regular basis in regards to agents and editors? Maybe if we know about them, we can prevent them from happening in the first place! Knowing is half the battle and all that.

Not all writers know that when they sign with an agent that they are expected to purchase a very, very nice bottle of wine, preferably over $100+ and send it to the agent's attention. They are then expected to follow that up with subscriptions to bacon of the month clubs, courtside tickets to sporting events (preferably basketball games involving teams from Sacramento), and by arranging lunch with Cormac McCarthy at his favorite diner.

Hope that helps!






67 comments:

Bane of Anubis said...

Nathan

Would you be upset if a signee sent you Lakers tickets? :)

Nathan Bransford said...

Bane-

If they were playing the Kings?

No.

Anonymous said...

You're a snot, Nathan. :P

And I mean that in the nicest way, as well as anonymously, because I have a follow up to a question, re: writing erotica.

To me, writing is writing is writing. Rare is the writer who can make a living off fiction, so is a writer just trying to make a buck really going to be dinged if s/he writes erotica under a pseudonym? And, when pitching other adult genres, is it kosher to mention those sales? Sales are sales, right? Or is there some bias against the erotica/romance genre that I don't know about?

Rick Daley said...

Nathan,

Ha, ha! That's funny, send wine!

Red or white?

And a tip to all...many states will not allow you to ship wine to a resident when the purchase originates outside the state's borders. Wine.com, for example won't deliver to Arizona and South Carolina (among others).

The work around is to leverage to power of the web to find a wine store that delivers and is local to your agent...er, recipient.

I've send wine as a gift to friends and relatives this way. Looking forward to the opportunity to get my agent smashed ;-)

Word Verification (I swear this is what it says): hateme. What did I do? I just want to be read.

reader said...

Please don't anyone think you've got to answer this, but why, why, why are unpublished writers so concerned with pen names?

Egads. No disprespect to any writer out there, least of all the one that asked the question, but heck, a pen name isn't your biggest obstacle here. Writing a publishable book, finding an agent, and that agent in turn finding a publisher are such major, nearly impossible hurdles, the pen name isn't even on the scale.

Is this really something people think THAT much about? The first thing my hairdresser asked me, when I told her I was shopping a novel, wasn't, "What's the book about?" But, hand-to-God, "Are you going to use a pen name?"

I don't get it??

Kimber An said...

Not saying it's bad or wrong, but I just hate the idea of having to stick to one genre for even one book, let alone one genre for a bunch of different books for years at a time. I think I'd rather eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning for the rest of my life.

BarbS. said...

Ah, the return of the genre hoppers! :)

Is it not usual for writers to genre-hop while finding their voice and their creative strengths?

Heh-heh, wordver is pyreart. Definition: propping a hideous novel like Anthony Adverse upon the logs in the fireplace and setting the blasted thing alight.

Trashy Cowgirl said...

I'm glad you adressed the genre hopping and indentities question. I'm in a similar predicament. I'm working on a pb with a publisher, and have a very gritty piece of Frontier Fiction featuring an exotic dancer protag, posted in right out plain internet view. I've lost sleep over this question. In the end, I decided I would use my last name and first initial for the pb and my real name for the novel. I'm not hiding or pretending to be something different, but I don't want any confusion between my children's and my adult writing.

Unfortunately, I've done it all backwards. It is easier to write adult stuff and then move into stuff for the kiddies. The public is more forgiving, I think.

At the end of the day I had to evaluate what meant most to me. Writing my adult ms isn't something I could stop if I wanted to, so I guess the choice was made for me. The reality is, I blog and I'm out there. I have to take a leap of faith and hope I can balance both. My pb ms is gritty for a children's book, but only time will tell, though I think the publisher I am working with is pretty open minded.

And, since I didn't get in on time to ask a question, I had one for you to consider for a post down the road (or not).
I know you are a Cormac McCarthy fan. So, I was wondering what your opinion on the future of the Frontier Fiction/ Contemporary Western is. It seems to be a stigma tag in literature, while movies of that genre are thriving. Should I just sell my ms as Literary Fiction and leave the rest out? Authonomy refuses to recognize the genre. That sends a message that big publishers aren't interested. Do I have to be a one in a million Proulx or McCarthy to pull it off?

BarbS. said...

Reader,

About pen names:

I know of several unpublished romance writers who use pen names, and more than one of them have appeared on this site using the assumed name.

Some writers use pen names because they think their real name is too boring for their genre, and others assume different names for reasons of privacy or marketing.

Consider the example of bestselling romance writer Eloisa James. It's no secret that her real name is Mary Bly. But which is more likely to denote a writer of romance, Mary Bly's real name or her pen name, Eloisa James?

Sign me, alas, the very real Barb S. (blech) ;)

Sigh. Wordver now is asequies, which means the half-arsed rendering of acquiesce.

Trashy Cowgirl said...

Reader 3:21,
It is a concern when you are shopping two types of mss around and are building an internet presence. Many writers warm up and hone, as well as build fan base with blogs. If I were to start an erotica blog I certainly wouldn't use the same name for a YA one, and I wouldn't want both shown under the same profile. I'm not really sure it is indulgent these days.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of "celebrity books," Molly Ringwald of the '80's brat pack fame just got a book deal.

Ala Galleycat:

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/

Hmm... I loved her in "Sixteen Candles," of course, but I was fifteen then.

Doug said...

As a huge fan of snark this had me LOL.

"Not all writers know that when they sign with an agent that they are expected to purchase a very, very nice bottle of wine, preferably over $100+ and send it to the agent's attention. ...."

and I appreciate your rapid response to my question today.

twitter.com/thenextwriter

Anonymous said...

I'll answer my reason for using a pseudonym, and that's mostly because my husband is in law enforcement and we have to work very hard to keep our personal lives private. I can't have a Facebook, Myspace, or blog with my real name or identifying details on it, and the same goes for writing, should I ever become published. People have been known to look up the families of cops who have arrested them, and we of course don't want to make it easier for them.

Also, I am in the public health field and I don't want people to find out that I'm writing about genetically enhanced super-demons who want to take over the world. I can just imagine going to a senior center to teach them about Internet safety, and have them look me up online. I just don't see many people being cool with that.

So a pen name, it is! :)

Jill Christine said...

"If you think one is going to endanger the other"

See, that's exactly what I don't know. I have no problem with erotica, and I'd have no problem calling myself an erotica writer. I wouldn't announce it to the world, but I wouldn't consider it a secret, either -- the pen name's to keep that work separate from my other work, not to hide my identity. I'm just curious whether an erotica e-book or two would put off an agent or editor who otherwise wanted my YA work. Would it give you pause? I'd like to think a publication credit is a publication credit, but I'd hate for the erotica credits to leave me feeling like a former porn star looking for an acting gig on the Disney channel.

Kelly Ann Fiore said...

I've seen a handful of analogies today, but few are better than your Padma/"Top Chef" reference. Can you add in any Real Housewives of Orange County comments?

Anonymous said...

Anon @3:13 asked,

"Or is there some bias against the erotica/romance genre that I don't know about?"

Isn't there a certain amount of bias with all genres? I'm not a YA fan, I know people who depise chick lit and I've heard there are even people who can't tolerate Christian lit.

So hopping genres can be tricky no matter what you're writing or planning to write. And there's always going to be some bias attached.

the Amateur Book Blogger said...

Hah - bacon of the month club. who knew of such a thing? the things I learn here...All good answers and some interesting questions. Thanks for both.

Stephanie said...

I write young adult and women's fiction...although I lean toward young adult most of the time. I just go where the ideas hit me but I always stick within those two. I think I'm one of those authors who eat coffee grounds for breakfast, though!

I've had the same question as to snail mail vs. e-mail. Your answer is great for when an agent actually specifies which he/she prefers. Too often, though, I'm seeing agents who accept both snail and e-queries...and give no more weight to one vs. the other in their submission requirements. In those cases, I've been sending my queries via snail mail because I feel as if they're taken more seriously that way.

Just_Me said...

Nathan is optimistic about how much someone wants to get signed. The basketball tickets are mine!

As for the person who wanted a good critique group, I recommend Critique Circle. Password protected, but free to join.

Re: Pen Names. A pain to use but the people I want to keep from noticing that I write sci-fi are the ones who don't use Twitter or blog, so I'm okay with that. And I already use it because I am submitting and I am building a web presence.

Lea Schizas - Author/Editor said...

Nathan, would you accept a trip to Greece to see a few Greek beauties? GRIN

No?

Hmm...

Okay, how about a really good manuscript? More GRINS!

Marilyn Peake said...

Thank you so much for answering our questions today. I really appreciate it.

May we all be in a position one day to be "arranging lunch with Cormac McCarthy at his favorite diner." That would really be something. Sigh...

Courtney Foley said...

Nathan,

If you signed someone under twenty-one, would sparkling grape juice work?

Also, if you get time to answer more questions anytime soon, here is a serious one for consideration:

When submitting a full manuscript, do you include an author's bio and dedication, or are those something to worry about after it's contracted?

Anonymous said...

Now HERE'S a genre that might require a pen name: Christian paranormal erotica.

I'm signing anonymously, but I think you'll know who I am anyway! :)

Scott said...

Thanks, Nathan. You took a lot of time for my question, and your answer helped a lot. In the immortal words of Billy Shakespeare, "Thou dost rocketh".

My genre hopping is more like horror to sci-fi/horror to dark literary fiction. In all cases, there's a dark element and I imagine common sense should inform me not to hit an agent looking for one but not the other.

I'm just really going to be perturbed if I spend three months on a new book, and my current book finds representation that would have advised me to work on another idea. Guess you gotta roll the dice sometime, and like Nathan says, write what makes you happy.

quiped v. pt. 1. having been undone by a clever retort or "qiup", usually in public.

CC said...

Courtney --

I'm not Nathan, but I'll answer your question, if you don't mind.


Question: Do you need a "dedication?"

Answer: I'm assuming you're asking who you want the book to be dedicated to? No, you do not send that to an agent or editor, as they really don't care. If you get a book deal, after all the numerous edits are accomplished you will then do the dedication and acknowlegments pages.

Question: Does an agent need a bio with a query?

Answer: For fiction, a very short writing related bio is fine -- meaning if you have pub credits, mention them briefly within the query. Otherwise, no, the agent you are querying doesn't care to read some type of formal resume thing.

Look on the previous query examples, and read Nathan's remarks. Also, read in the FAQ on the side of the blog.

Anonymous said...

Q & A session was great. Thanks for taking time out of your day for this.

but, seriously, I don't believe someone really asked when the new kindle is coming out. What a waste.

Annie said...

"I've heard there are even people who can't tolerate Christian lit."

Blimey!

Kristan said...

"I'm like Padma on Top Chef. I just eat the food. I don't need to see how it's made."

Oh thank you, Nathan. You are an eternal star upon my sky.

Dara said...

Your answer to the last question made me laugh.

Thanks for taking the time to answer all of these. I don't see myself being a "genre hopper," at least not at this stage of life. All of my WiPs are historical fiction. I simply have no interest in writing anything else :P

Perhaps I'm the oddball since it seems like there are many writers who don't stick to one genre.

rhistacl said...

Bacon of the month club.

To hell with this writing racket, I'm going to start this as a small business and make buckets of money. And bacon.

Madison said...

I write both sci-fi and fantasy. I've been that way for a long time. Yes, it's genre hopping, but I write what I love. I guess as long as I'm happy, that's what matters. :)

And I am against pen names. I would never use one. But if you want to use one, then I say more power to ya! :D

Lady Glamis said...

Thanks for the great answers, Nathan. I laughed the whole way through, although many of your answers were quite helpful.

I was considering a pen name and now see the stupidity of it for someone like me who doesn't need one at all. I have an "online" name, but Lady Glamis isn't something I'm going to go out and publish under. That would just be weird.

And hardly anybody out there understands what it references, anyway. Only if you're die-hard Shakespeare fan. Specifically Macbeth.

mkcbunny said...

To that last question, I assume a high-end bottle of bourbon might be acceptable? Bacon and bourbon, now that's a "thank you" gift.

Liz said...

It exists!!!

http://www.gratefulpalate.com/?p=Category_11

I'll assume you've seen Jim Gaffigan's comedy genius re bacon. I may have already sent it to you. I heart bacon.

BarbS. said...

Hey, All, you might want to check out
"Self-Publishers Flourish as Writers Pay the Tab" at NYTimes.com

Here's the lede:

"The point may soon come when there are more people who want to write books than there are people who want to read them."

Scary, yes?

Melissa said...

Thanks, Nathan!

Do you think we could bribe you with the aforementioned expensive wine/sports tickets/bacon to be our agent? What if we can write really well as an added bonus?

Melissa said...

Oh, and while I'm asking questions, what is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Nathan Bransford said...

African or European?

Court said...

Hey Nathan--

Can't I just send you a bottle of wine + first page of my manuscript in lieu of a query letter? I'm quite certain we'll both have more fun that way.

T-Anne said...

Reader:
If my real name were ever spalshed onto a book cover you would quick pray a pen name for me, lol! A pen name is also a marketing tag and it helps if someone could say it let alone read it and remember it. So those are my reasons.

Nathan;
Too bad you are up north! I would woo you with free Taco Bell for life. That and my alarmingly charming novel which has exploded in a series because it never seems to end!?!

Ann Victor said...

Great questions, interesting answers!

Chris Eldin said...

try and stick to one genre. Because as a writer, you get better.
This is such really, really good advice.

Rick Daley said...

Melissa,

In order to maintain air speed velocity, a swallow need to beat its wings 43 times every second. Right?

Am I right?

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Okay, so no genre hopping. But what about POV. Can one book be in first person and another in third?

Anonymous said...

And what about switching POV in the same story?

Kat Harris said...

According to noted technology gossip site The New York Times, the new Kindle will drop February 9.

Which just happens to be my birthday if anyone wants to get me a gift.

I'm just sayin'...:-)

Devon Ellignton said...

May I share a slightly different viewpoint based on my personal experience regarding crossing genre lines and multiple names?

I make my living as a writer. I don't write, I don't eat. I don't have the luxury of writer's block. I love what I do.

I don't rely on someone else's income or on a day job I hate while I wait to "break out".

I publish under a half a dozen names in both fiction and non-fiction, I cover sports, I provide business-writing services for clients all over the world, and my plays are produced in New York, London, Edinburgh, and Australia.

I have two books coming out this year (so far) -- one is a paranormal action/adventure, part of a series, and one is a YA horse racing mystery (I cover thoroughbred racing in my non-fiction writing). I have one play currently running, one play set to open in fall, and two more commissioned, with negotiations for a couple more in process, as well as another two novels going out on submission in the next few weeks.

For me, it works well. Am I famous? No. Do I want to be famous? Not particularly, although with each book I try to reach a wider audience. I want to sell well, and I keep working towards that goal without the desire for celebrity.

One of the things I LIKE about using pseudonyms is that it lets me keep my life MINE. Not that it's all that fascinating or scandalous, but it's MINE.

Sometimes I market across genres and tie the names together; sometimes I don't. Different names for different genres helps me in the marketing process, and I can choose where and how to link them. I don't really care if anyone "digs up" other names -- my response is, "yeah, I wrote that, too."

It's not easy; I work steadily, I work hard, I'm constantly learning from book to book, piece to piece, and applying it to the next.

But I make a living and I love what I do. Yes, it's more difficult in this economy, but I'm getting by.

Most importantly, for the most part, I'm happy. I keep working, I keep striving, but I'm happy.

Arthur Miller once told me that I'd never be a professional writer until I had to count on it to pay the bills, and he was right. There's a whole different mind set when this is what you count on to pay the bills, and a lot of the self-sabotage and the stuff like "writer's block" fall away. There's no room for it.

I'm not trying to sound like I know more than you do, because I don't -- you're the pro agent with the high profile clients. I'm just pointing out, based on my own experience, that there are several ways to attack the writing life. But it is possible to make a living and love what you do while working under multiple names and in multiple genres.

The bottom line is the question, "How badly do you want this?" Everyone has to discover that answer for themselves, and see if they're willing to do what it takes to make it work.

For some, it's working on one particular thing in one particular area until they get "the shot". For others, it's a wide variety of interesting and exciting work, using each as a building block to a bigger whole. It's an individual process.

ryan field said...

Thank you, Devon Ellington.

I work the same way you do and my agent is always supportive.

The thing that always amazes me is when I see writers turn down paying writing jobs to focus on one novel in the query stage that may or may not ever get published.

There are genres I don't do: sci fi isn't my thing. But I've used many pen names and written in many other genres...for money. And writing is a business; not just a dream.

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear more professionals say they don't want to "twitter" all day, but need and chose to get on to their jobs.
Too many writers get lost thinking they have to do all those time wasting things like twitter.
I personally find it a colossal waste of time and am not interested.
I use a professional writing coach to keep me on track with my WIP. He has also commented that in this time of fragmentation, that he has observed that things like twitter serve to further fragment -especially writers. He advises his clients NOT to twitter no matter what they've been told about it as a way -or even essential- to "establish themselves on the internet."

MiraFae said...

I think there's a difference between hopping the sci-fi/fantasy fence or even the romance/chick lit/YA fence and hopping between erotica and picture books.

While I know we all need to write what we love and let the muses take us where they will, part of it is about marketing your name as a brand. (Can you tell I've been working in corporate too long?)

Sci-fi and Fantasy books pull readers from the same well, as do Romance, Chick Lit, and YA. I've even known one author to do rather well at writing a YA series on Vampires and a (really bad) sci-fi novel about body snatchers within the same time period... *coughStephenieMeyerscough*

But if you want to be a known children's book author, you probably don't want there to be an erotica skeleton in your closet. I'm not sure it would be a big deal to an agent or editor as much as it might end up alienating your readership if word got out.

Also, there is a UK trend that I read may be coming to the US... where Children's and YA contracts will include some kind of a morality clause. Certain major publishing houses already have it in the UK, and it's even been enforced. A YA author was arrested for DUI and lost his book contract because of it.

I actually don't agree with the notion that you should stick to a genre as the only way to grow as a writer, though. I think it's important to write where you're inspired, and to write as many different genres as you want... find your niche.

It took me years to realize that YA is totally my niche. And I wrote mystery, fantasy, MG, science fiction, romance, and even horror trying to find my way there. I guess I would say that just because you've always written in one genre, doesn't mean that's the genre that you should be writing.

mari said...

So, are you going to pitch this blog as a reality TV show?

You totally should. American Idol meets Finding Forrester?

I'd totally watch that, especially if you made the finalists get up on stage and perform.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm so glad I'm not the only person who mainlines Red Bull.

Seriously though, if this is a common problem...Are there junkie websites that help Red Bull addicts kick the habit?

Anonymous said...

Nathan,

I'm not sure if it's appropriate to add my own question to this post, but...

When would you recommend starting an author website? Do you--as an agent--like to see websites already in place when a writer is working through the query process? Does it help or hurt?

Thanks!

Candace

Anonymous said...

There are good reasons for pen names. My real name is astonishingly ordinary and unmemorable not quite Jane Doe but almost), so I chose a pen name when my first novel was published. I have never regretted it.

Anonymous said...

Actually, my agent has a lot of clients who write both erotica and kids books. If you use a pen name and a dba filing, no one but your agent ever has to know that you write both...

Just saying.

As for pen names in general, sometimes using a pen name can act as a safety screen between the author and the public that allows them to go places they might not feel comfortable going for all the world to see (and I'm not just talking about erotica) or to keep their family from the public eye or all sorts of privacy issues. Twenty years ago, these same privacy issues weren't as big a factor, but with the internet and all the semi-required social networking sites, it makes perfect sense to me to want to maintain one's privacy.

::she says, posting anonymously::

sex scenes at starbucks said...

"A YA author was arrested for DUI and lost his book contract because of it.'

That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

Books are entertainment, and writers shouldn't be held any more accountable than any other celebrity in any other entertainment industry. I guess Brendan Fraizer can't drink now, since he's been in a couple of kids' movies.

Trashy Cowgirl said...

I do think you need to be careful when genre hopping between adult writing and writing for children. My posted WIP may be gritty and have an exotic dancer protag, but I am very careful how I explore scenes with sex and violence. I set the scenes up and leave the rest to imagination. I don't remember any of my favourite books being very graphic and for the scope of what I am writing, the events are for more important than the names of parts and where they went.

I also refrain from discussing my adult work on my blog, except for onemention that my work was up, on the more adult of the two.

But I do think I should be aloud to be an artist, a woman, and a mother. Though I know that the public doesn't always allow a person to present all of their sides. That means if you are going to write erotica and pbs you need a well protected identity. I personally wouldn't have a problem with buying a pb from an erotica author, but I don't think many other parents feel that way.

However, how famous of an author would you have to be for it to become a news worthy story.

I think that the grit and graphics in my adult writing is akin to the level you could find in a Richler novel. He wrote children's books, as well. So, I would hope there isn't a problem for me. But the growing lack of anonymity has made people feel entitled to judge another persons every move.

And, I am very aware of the morality clause. If my contract contains one, I will be doing some heavy digging to make sure that my WIP does not infringe upon that and that my dealings are done professionally.

Anonymous said...

There has been some discussion here about genre-hopping between sci-fi/fantasy/urban fantasy/YA urban fantasy/YA fantasy (okay, I extended the list a bit).

My question is this, how much do you consider that genre-hopping, since (as was mentioned, they somewhat pull from the same well of readers). For example, if Orson Scott Card had published "Magic Street" first (YA Urban Fantasy - at least that's how I would categorize it), would it have been okay, in your opinion, for him to write "Songmaster" next (which as I recall was fantasy, but not YA)? Or is that still to big of a hop?

And I really hope that question made sense.

Devon Ellington said...

I would walk away from a contract rather than sign something with a "morality clause". That's not a publisher with whom I'd work.

And before anyone raises a hue and cry that no one would turn down a contract, yes, I've walked away from contracts before and I'm sure I will again, AND I've worked as a union negotiator AND in a contracts department. So I'm not just talking out of nothing.

My writing is my JOB. Unless I'm being paid A LOT (as in several million dollars) for an exclusive contract, I can write for whomever I want. In whatever genre I want. And my life, my "morality" or lack thereof based on someone else's judgment, is not the publisher's business.

It's another form of censorship, and not one to which the writer has to cave.

Yes, in my opinion, you are better off not being published by someone who demands a "morality clause".

I work with PEN's Core Freedoms/Freedom to Write Program -- which is usually about aiding political writers in getting out of jail/not getting killed for what they write and believe -- but this is a discussion I want to get in to with them. I'm sure someone on the committee knows about this and is working on it.

And what does The Authors' Guild say about it? Any AG members out there with that information?

Anonymous said...

Yea to writing groups.

Good ones. With smart, supportive, but honest people.

hi, it's me! melissa c said...

So you're saying that a box of wine won't cut the mustard?

I don't drink but I'm guessing anything that costs $100 would be good.

Is that how it really works though? Do you have to buy a good agent? If they have faith in your work, shouldn't THEY buy the writer the wine? lol

LindaBudz said...

Nathan, I'm pretty sure if you look up "good guy" in the dictionary, your picture shows up.

Patti said...

I like to read different genres so why can't I write different, maybe not so far extremes as children's pictures books and erotica but YA and women's literature or historical fiction should be acceptable. Although maybe you want to establish yourself in one area or better yet just one book published and go from there.

I can't believe no one's mentioned the query holiday, how joyous would that be.

Anonymous said...

I use a pen name because nobody would want to read my work if they saw my real name.

Melanie Avila said...

These are very helpful, thanks!

Monica M. said...

Hilarious and very insightful. Thanks Nathan! I'm actually getting into the publishing industry (hopefully editing in the future) so reading about the acquiring stages of the manuscript is very interesting!

Vancouver Dame said...

Re the comments screen: I found it easier to read and search specific comments by you, Nathan, and other followers on the old screen. Do not like this new format.

As for the Kindle and Sony readers, I'm waiting for them to come down in price.

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