Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, January 16, 2009

This Week in Publishing 1/16/09

The 500th post!! Confetti and all that. I'd like to thank the Academy, I'd like to thank my agents, and *tears*... Thank you to everyone who has helped make this blog so much fun for me to write every day. But most importantly, this is for the children who are sitting at home and watching this 500th post and thinking that one day they too could be a literary agent who blogs about bad reality TV shows and is unhealthily obsessed with Cormac McCarthy. Dreams come true, kids. They really do.

And, uh, how about that pilot, right? We should have a competition right now for naming his inevitable book. I'm going with ROUGH SKIES AND SAFE LANDINGS: Life Lessons from the Pilot of Flight 1549, and Why the Geese Hate Us.

But perhaps more astounding than a safe touchdown in the Hudson River is news that people are reading more! No, really! Although Maya Reynolds digs a little deeper to find that they're including Internet reading in the study for the first time. Hmmm... But then they say that didn't cause the increase. I guess I'll take whatever good news I can these days.

In agent blog news, Jessica Faust at BookEnds reminds us that attitude matters. Hopefully you have a good one.

And speaking of reading, a million people are now not reading on their iPhones! E-reader iPhone App Stanza recently announced their millionth download, proving that the iPhone/iPod Touches are e-readers to be reckoned with.

Simon & Schuster recently launched a snazzy new website! Lots of new features and interactivity and Web 2.0ness.

And....... ugh. More lay offs.

Author Sasha Watson posted a really lovely ode to Paris and what it means to her on the Penguin US blog, making me want to get back there as soon as possible. Paris! I miss you!! I will return when I have enough Euros! Don't forget about me!

And finally, via Galley Cat, Macmillan's online marketing team has compiled a very helpful guide to the publishing process, including the way in which editors read manuscripts four times in order to memorize them and name all the characters.

Have a good (long) weekend!


Margaret Yang said...

That video from MacMillan was very educational.

R. Daley said...

I finished reading THE ROAD recently while I was on a plane. I have two boys, the elder is seven, and I was almost moved to tears, except I didn't want to look like a sissy crying on the plane, so I held it back.

On the subject of planes, how about A FEW MINUTES WITH A HERO: THE STORY OF FLIGHT 1549 (flight time was approximately 3 minutes, I believe).

Have a great weekend Nathan!

Craven said...

Flight 1549 Book Title suggestions:

My Goose is Cooked .... and Shredded, and Rinsed.

White Meat

Giblets and Gravy and into the Soup

Marilyn Peake said...

Major huzzahs to airplane pilot Chesley Sullenberger! Finally, a bright spot of news about an amazing hero.

Love Cormac McCarthy's writing.

Have a great long weekend!

Robena Grant said...

Ha ha. Loved the agent's duties, staple the manuscript and put it in an envelope. Very funny.

Crimogenic said...

I too have an unhealthy obsession with Cormac McCarthy so you're not alone.

*think puppies*

Furious D said...

1. 500! Congrats. I somewhere around 450 something, so keep up the good work.

2. How about Geese Grease Make Motor Cease.

3. Reading begets more reading, and prevents those good for nothing illiterates who don't buy books.

4. I don't have a bad attitude! YOU HAVE THE BAD ATTITUDE!! AAAARRRRGGHHH!

5. A million people can now squint to read something a screen a few inches wide. Wonderful!

6. Thanks to the new website they're hoping to con fan-forum members into doing the copy-editing.

7. I didn't know you felt that way about Paris Hilton. She's not my type, but whatever floats your boat.

8. Damn, and here I am naming characters like an idiot. Let someone else name Swarthy Italian Lumberjack #27!

Alison said...

155 Survived: How One Pilot Became a Hero

Scott said...

How about titling the book about the pilot Down, and have feathers floating everywhere on the cover? Okay, easy with the tomatoes, folks.

Congrats on the half millennium, Nathan. Your site's feckin' awesome, dude.

Lady Glamis said...

I saw that video on another blog and burst into tears and laughter. I love how serious they tell it. :)

Congrats on the 500th post. Keep going. We'll keep following. :)

Sarah Jensen said...

and I love all the titles, but Scott, yours is my fav! Love the idea!

Just_Me said...

The video... I don't know if should laugh or cry.

Kudos and candy bars for the pilot. The plane in the Hudson makes my top 10 list for news stories this year, but only because everyone got out all right and it's okay to laugh about the swimming plane.

Adaora A. said...

I should have known you'd mention your fellow city man and his amazing save of all of those people. Seriously though, he's amazing and he deserves all the credit he can get.

Congrats on your 500th post. Dreams do come true!

It's very encouraging to hear that people are reading more. Cut the cable bill and start buying books. All of the good shows tend to be available on the cable-free TVs. Unless you live in UK and have to pay a TV tax of sorts.

It must be hell to be unemployed at a time like this. Even as a student I'm feeling the credit crunch. I can't imagine how people with familes - children, bills, etc are coping. I'm hoping things can turn around soon.

lotusgirl said...

500!!!!! Monkeys! and Tyra! and Jellyquariums! Oh My! A big congrats!

Thanks for all the amazing advice along the way! There's a reason so many of the queries are getting better and more people are marketing themselves properly. (Of course, those who refuse to help themselves will remain clueless, but for the rest of us...)

Lisa said...

HA ha! The Warcraft reference in the video killed me!!

Dara said...

I saw that video on another site and nearly fell out of my chair laughing. I especially like the part about how a novel takes ten to thirty years to complete :P

And of course no video can be complete without a Warcraft reference. :P

Newbee said...

Happy 500th Nathan! Congrats. Attitude is everything! Thanks for all of the informative education on becoming a writer. It has helped me be prepared for the future.

Now, I just need to finish my book. (Sigh) Looks like I have six months or less. I want my father to read it before he passes. I gave him the first four chapters for his birthday in November. Wish me luck!


Kate said...

Hey Nathan (or anybody else here), when I sent a query to an agent earlier this afternoon, I dumbly copied and pasted the text from my previous query. I'll never do that again -- in a grand show of idiocy, I forgot to change the name in the salutation from the previous agent I'd queried. So it says Dear Ms. X instead of Ms. Y. Yikes! Should I just let it be and hope Agent Y forgives it, or do I send an email apologizing for the lack of professionalism in case customization is a big deal to her?

Thanks for the advice and help!

Nathan Bransford said...


Don't worry, mistakes happen. I'd e-mail again and joke that you need a vacation or you're just so excited about the inauguration (literary agents love Barack Obama). If they hold it against you... enh, not worth it anyway.

other lisa said...

Happy 500th, Nathan!

Very sad about the layoffs.

You know the first place I heard the news about the plane in the Hudson? Twitter. And that one photo by the "citizen journalist" Janice (?) Krum (?) was taken on her iPhone and originally posted to Twitter. Verry interesting...

Marjorie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marjorie said...

above deleted so errors could be corrected:
live in Manhattan. I was home and the TV was off but I knew something had happened because I could hear helicopters. I live not far from the location where the plane crashed.
A few things I don't get. There were 155 people on the plane yet only a handful were seen standing on the wing and a handful more were in a raft. Where were the others while they were waiting for rescue?
And one passenger said she was sitting in the back of the plane and was in water above her waist. That water must have been freezing cold. So if they all rushed (or did not rush) to get out to avoid drowning.... where were they? Where did 155 people go to wait? I did not see close to that amount of people waiting.

Leis said...

YAY, Cormac! I've read THE ROAD five times, and keep a copy on my writing table, Post-It strips sticking out every few pages. When I get lost at sea, I open the book and dwell on a any one paragraph. Then I'm good again.

You know, I do believe the natural trend is to read more during tough times. Question for me is how will readers' preferences change: light and fluffy, deep and meaningful, quirky and romantic...?

Annie said...

"I'd like to thank the Academy, I'd like to thank my agents, and *tears*... Thank you to everyone who has helped make this blog so much fun for me to write every day."

Congrats. But don't forget 'GATHER'.

Just recently found your blog, NB. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

other lisa,

I thought the person who twittered the photo was a girl, too. It's Janis--pronounced Yanis--and Janis is a guy who was a passenger on a ferry that hurried to the scene.

How do I know? LOL, saw him on CNN.

So how about these titles:

Three Minutes

Into the Drink



Have a great, WARM weekend, everyone!

WHOA! Word verification is unded. Better sign me Zom B.

Devon Ellington said...

Congrats on your 500th Post!

Very funny "speech".

As a New Yorker, my first response to hearing a commercial jet went down in the Hudson was "oh, no, not again."

Thankfully, we all shortly had something to cheer about.

I'm waiting to hear about the inevitable book deals, too. I hope it's not from those who are making the most of their 15 minutes by telling the same, now over-rehearsed story of survival on every station and program that'll book 'em.

Enjoy your weekend.

I just signed a contract for a new book, opened a play last night, and have another to revise while everyone else has a holiday.

I love it.

BarbS. said...

Oh, Macmillan! An insider's view from the 80s, if I may, :-)

A looooong, looooong time ago, when I was an earnest young publishing fetus living (adventuring) on my own in NYC, I had a survival job as the receptionist for Macmillan's CEO.

One of my duties was booking reservations for the executive dining room. (The chef gave me tons of free food to "test.")

I can't tell you how many AGENTS I had the pleasure of meeting when they came to lunch with editors and publishers. All were unfailingly nice, confident in their profession and truly great to be around.

Most emerged from the meetings unscathed, but every now and then the odd one would look like a toddler that's held its breath too long, and I would assume that a work had been rejected or a deal had gone awry.

Then there was the gentleman who came out protesting that he was not in the business of selling garbage; he would not ask his client to lower his standards.

I've long since forgotten the agent's name (I never knew which writer he was speaking about), but I do remember thinking how lucky the writer was to be represented by somebody who refused to sacrifice quality for the expediency of the marketplace.

Of course, the concern for quality probably killed the writer's deal, so who's to say if the writer was pleased with the agent's overdeveloped nobility?

My wordver is "sumist." How very Thomas Aquinas!

Terri said...

Happy 500 and here's to 500 more! The new S&S site is fantastic, seems like pubs are beginning to care about cyber-space.

Alexa said...

Great video.

Congratulations on the 500th post, looking forward to the next 500.

Jessica Burkhart said...

I love the new S&S site! I did spend waaay too much time on the author doodle, though... :)

Anonymous said...

I wrote it on my calendar that day:

"Everyone Lives!"

I was moved to tears. What a miracle!

I can't think of a more joyful headline, even if it gives away the ending.

However, I just love the suggestions here for the movie title too.

Are we not so sure this shouldn't be a blog for comedy writers?

Congrats, Nathan! 500th post! Wow!

I have been reading along with you now for a year. Learning so much.
Thank you.

(And, thanks too for keeping it so snarkless.)

Anna said...

Just found your blog, and as a fellow Nor Cal sort, looking forward to reading more in the future...

(Dad was a cattle rancher, and I too kept away from heavy labor as much as possible...)

Congrats on the 500th post (a fortuitous one to find first up) and yes kudos to the pilot from Danville...

Mary said...

Happy 500th!

And thank you for posting that video. Enlightening ... truly enlightening. ;)

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Surfing is Hard Work

I found this delightful gem - a review of Edna St. Vincent Millay's CONVERSATION AT MIDNIGHT, which is a verse poem meant for the theatre...all male characters hashing out the world as it was in...1937...and preceding Eve Ensler's VAGINA MONOLOGUES by about...60 years? Half a century?

"the conversation [circles] through such topics as Romantic Love, the Supreme Court, the Past, toward ever more pointed conflict between Broker [as in stock] Merton and Communist Carl."


CONVERSATIONS AT MIDNIGHT is not Millay's best work, and might even be a bit of a failure...does anyone else have the experience of, really responding to the not-so-great writing of a great writer - or finding it useful to your own writing, in a way that their best stuff isn't? Like the failure is more thought-provoking than the success.

Cool and groovy winds of change: Request by ArtServe of Michigan for project proposals, for Federal funding under new **incoming** administration economic stimulus package...I'm applying - for any other Michiganders out there, here's the link:

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

If I had the energy, I could explain away the apparent tangentiality of the previous post - but I must shovel snow now!

Anita said...

Congratulations on 500!

My husband is a pilot...I always give him a hard time when he has to go away for training...simulator flights up the wazoo, etc...but I guess it's worth it.

I just ordered a Cormac McCarthy...I hope he's better for me than the last obsession this blog got me hooked on (The Bachelor).

Captain Hook said...

Congratulations on your 500th, Nathan. And may I say you wear your age well?

yvettesgonefishing said...

I'm feeling kind of lost at the moment. The Absolute Write site is down now, for going on two days. That's bad juju. I'm just sitting in my living rubbing a lamp.

Congrats, Nathan, on your 500th. Here's to 500 more.

BarbS. said...

Happy 500, Nathan!

Here's to at least three times 500 more!

crapshooter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Millennium Housewife said...

Anything that gets people reading more has to be a good thing...

Kylie said...

"Digital Marketings SUCKS!"

Awesome video, thanks for sharing. Congrats on the 500th post. I've probably been reading half of that, the past year and a half. Really invaluable advice and a great sense of humor. Fantastic blog :)

Janet said...

I've been testing out a new site called, put up by Harper Collins to scout out new writers. Primarily, it gives me good feedback from other writers, however, several of the writers have notes on their last chapter posted that they will not post the entire book because it could affect their author's rights. The FAQs on the site say this is not the case. Can you comment on this and on Authonomy in general?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened to Absolute Write???? Is it coming back?

Anonymous said...

Let's never underestimate the power of the published word. You might want to check out today's New York Times story about reading's influence on President Obama. The article is "From Books, New President Found Voice," and it's at, if you don't have the newspaper.

Ulysses said...

People are reading more. I think it's because young people are reading more. I think that's because there's so much more out there, in both quality and diversity, for them to read now than there was a decade ago.

Pilot book titles:
- A Bird in the Hand Is Worth Six in the Engine.
- The Goose-Shredder's Guide to the Hudson.

A Paperback Writer said...

Y'know, I accepted the bird-plane bit in "The Last Crusade" (when Sean Connery disrupts birds with his umbrella to cause a nazi plane to crash), but I'd long thought that modern planes were bird proof.
I admire the pilots, certainly. But surely, if we can send spacecraft to Mars and beyond, we have someone on this planet who can design a plane that is insusepctible to something out of a Hitchcock story....

Lupina said...

Happy 500, and here's to 500 more.
Any chance of a back copy/blurb contest in 2009?
I've never been to Paris but have been to Prague twice. I've heard it's the "new Paris," though, so does that count?

Here's another quick "Can I Get an Answer" suggestion...starting sentences with "and" or "but."
I just got an edit ms back with almost no corrections except for many strikeouts where I had committed this sin. It was embarrassing. Does it just depend on the venue? I've always thought it was ok in moderation. But now I'm not so sure.

Marilyn Peake said...

Monday, January 19, 2009 -

Speaking of more people reading, I had a very interesting experience today. My local shopping mall was nearly deserted despite huge sales, but the local Borders bookstore was packed with lots of people buying books and in a very good mood. Also, despite the mall being practically empty, over 500 winter clothing items were donated to a Martin Luther King Service Day collection there.

Scott said...

Anyone know a trick to getting chapters pasted into an email to look normal? Weird spaces between paragraphs, funny font shifts; it's a nightmare. Five pages is okay to fix line by line, but 50? And then it's almost guaranteed it will just go wonky on their end anyway.

Wish we could convince agents to download .pdf's from a secure site or something.

And yeah, I've got the bachelor on. Slow TV night. Swear.

Anonymous said...

I have recently found your site and you have answered many of my questions. Congratulations on your 500th post! I am still catching up on reading the first 499.
One thing though, I have read many agents get annoyed because they recieve mss nowhere near their area of interest by clueless writers. As a children's writer, how do I find out which agents are interested in easy readers? I have not found any easy readers with a thanks to their agent in the beginning. You say to send you anything just to be sure, but I imagine anything probably doesn't include a kids' easy reader mystery series. Is it ridiculous to think that kind of thing could benefit from an agent? Am I destined for the slush pile with this series? What's a girl to do? Thanks for demystifying so much about your profession and many more happy posts to you.

PurpleClover said...

Pillow Fight at 15,000 feet.

Taking a Gander at Flight 1549

A Halo for the Hudson Hero: How She Got Her Wings

Victory Over the Flying V.

All joking aside, it is a tragedy for the poor geese. The flight passengers are fortunate they were able to land safely. That is amazing!

Roland said...

Nathan, I have a question about self-publishing and maybe I'll email you for your opinion, but I'd like to put it out to the blog as well.

Is this a good time to self publish? What I mean is, with larger companies collapsing beneath their own weight, has favor shifted a little towards smaller businesses and how does that translate in the publishing world?

I've just started the query process so my interest in smaller presses and self-publishing aren't a result of frustration, but more to do with the financial climate and the desire to have more control over how my book is marketed and designed.

Just wanted your thoughts.

Related Posts with Thumbnails