Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, January 23, 2009

This Week in Publishing 1/23/09

This week! Publishing!

This week in celebrity publishing, Sarah Palin has hired lawyer Bob Barnett for a possible book project, and there are rumors afoot that Britney also wants to get into the family business with a book or three of her own.

In completely 100% related news, the Telegraph in the UK has listed 100 novels everyone should read. What's #1? MIDDLEMARCH. Yikes, that's a little long, let's see, already read #2 MOBY DICK, what's next... Oh, ANNA KARENINA. Um. Scientists, aren't we a little behind on the technology of beaming novels directly into heads? Please stop your procrastinating. Thanks. (thanks to reader M Clement Hall for the link)

Speaking of, this week's "Future of Publishing" article is brought to you by Lev Grossman in Time Magazine, with usual suspects advances and returns being cited as plagues/relics of the 20th century, and self-publishing and e-books the wave of the 21st Century. Hmmm... why are the new "Future of Publishing" articles looking a lot like the old "Future of Publishing" articles?

And in case you need proof that the era of e-books has already arrived, 2.1 million people downloaded free electronic versions of Suze Orman's 2009 ACTION PLAN (via Pub Lunch, subscription). 2.1 million!!!!

Meanwhile.... Ugh. More layoffs.

Jessica Faust over at Bookends has been doing a series of query letters that worked, so stop by and check those out.

And finally, when I was a kid I was absolutely positive we'd have flying cars by the year 2000, but look! New flying cars!

Have a great weekend!






54 comments:

Furious D said...

1a. That's inevitable, anyone who's on the news for more than 5 minutes gets a book deal.

1b. Wait until Britney's told that she has to read a book before she can write one.

2. Yeah, I'll get right on to that list..... All done. (I'm a speed reader)

3. I'm going to write an article about the future of the future of publishing articles. It'll consist of the words: Same old-same old.

4. But how many will take the time to read 277 pages off their computer screen.

5. I think the real reasons behind most layoffs don't have anything to do with the recession, but a cheap attempt to impress Wall Street Analysts and get a bigger bonus.

6. I just might.

7. Has anyone taken the time to think that if the engine on a real car fails, the car just stops, but if a flying car breaks down, it's going to fall, and probably take out a building or two?

Anonymous said...

I think a flying car really stirs the imagination. Oh yes!
And...
My brother, a pilot who flew like the plane was his arms outstretched it was such a natural for him, who taught flying too, died in an experimental airplane that someone else built, when the wing broke off...
And...
living for years in Colorado, so many people die who do not know how to fly in the mountains...
The thing about flying is (unless of course you are a Blue Fairy) that it is more lethal and more in need of training, especially for the sport of recreational flyer
and that, combined with national safely (I mean, who wants someone who might deliberately fly into something)
are important elements too in this wonderful invention getting off the ground.
I think my brother would have LOVED this and would have been first in line to help test drive it, drooling for the chance.
Sigh.
-sister of an Angel who also was a writer publishing articles about flying among other things)

Eileen Wiedbrauk said...

It shouldn't be overlooked that most of those people (including me) downloaded Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan because Oprah told us to.

gerriwritinglog said...

*looks through the list of recommended books*

*eyes glaze over with boredom*

*bites tongue over Beloved being on the list*

I had to read Beloved for a class. The major complaint from everyone was that the book made zero sense until page 35, and then it only got marginally better. Keep in mind this was a class on African-American lit, and most of the people in there weren't African-American.

However, to replace that book, I would recommend The Invisible Man by Ralph Waldo Ellison. TIM has the benefit of being just as deep, soulful, and profound as some people claim Beloved# is, while having coherency from beginning to end.

*contemplates the rest of the list*

*eyes go back to being glazed over*

#--I'm not trying to take away from the message of Beloved. I just think the message got lost somewhere in the abundance of prose tricks, not to mention the Story was hard to pick out for the same reason. At some point, clarity becomes paramount.

writermomof5 said...

I confess, I couldn't finish Moby Dick, but I loved Anna Karenina.

Flying cars? Ack! Can you imagine the traffic? Oh my, I just pictured flying cars in Europe where drivers invent a third lane on a two lane road if they really want to get by you. I'd say we're better off if science leaves that one alone.

Rick Daley said...

I don't even want to touch Sarah Palin or Britney Spears...wait, let me re-phrase that. I don't want to comment on Sarah Palin or Britney Spears. They get enough attention as it is.

Thanks for the news on the industry, albeit disparaging news. I give me hope to think that the rejections are due to the economy and not my writing.

I can't say I have read all 100 books on the list, nor do I want to, honestly. I have read number 97 many times, though, and I still laugh out loud each time. I would add my personal favorite, THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Ken Follett.

If Jessica Faust reads this: Thank you!

And as for flying cars...are we really ready for the responsibility need to manage that level of coolness?

Steve Axelrod said...

I don't know about Middlemarch, but the new translation (Oprah approved!) of Anna Karenina is a fantastic page turner. The key is to realize the book is actually about Levin and Kitty.

Bane of Anubis said...

Flying cars rock! -- I need to get me one of those; unfortunately, I was just laid off, so I'm gonna have to prioritize a bit.

As for the list -- I can't take it seriously if Joyce is on there. I know he's considered the quintessential what not, but honestly, I don't get the appeal. And Orwell should be represented by Animal Farm, not 1984.

Finally, don't listen to Oprah - she's evil :)

Jill Wheeler said...

I'd like CRIME AND PUNISHMENT beamed directly into my head. It's been sitting on my bedside table for about three years now. I read a page, and it instantly puts me to sleep.

Steve Fuller said...

There are more and more examples of writers that self-publish, get a following, and then have publishers come after them.

No offense, but it makes me think literary agents are becoming a waste of time.

I mean, instead of spending HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS preparing query letters, emailing agents, and reading rejection letters, why not write a great book, have lots of smart people read it, edit it, and offer suggestions (I have a group of creative people who do this for me now...and I return the favor), and then spend a few hundreds bucks to self-publish.

If it takes off, great. A publisher will come along if they smell cash. If not, well, it probably wouldn't have through traditional methods either, but at least you have a finished product you can put on your bookshelf.

Plus, authors make more money through self-publishing.

Plus, it's not like publishing through a traditional publisher equals tons of success anyway. Most published novels sell less than a thousand copies.

Plus, because of the Internet, most book sales are made online these days, and anyone can market themselves online. Authors don't need to have their book in bookstores anymore (half of which will probably go out of business soon anyway).

That article was spot-on. Self-publishing is the new gatekeeper. Not literary agents.

Nathan Bransford said...

steve-

Self-publishing and indie publishing will indeed continue to rise, particularly in an era when publishers are publishing fewer books and when the ease of access to self-publishing and e-books.

But, as we all contemplate this new era:
1) don't confuse the exception for the norm.
2) re: agents no longer being relevant: how do you suppose these successful self-published books wind up finding mainstream publishers? Who's negotiating those deals? And are those very successful self-published authors going to self-publish their next books?

The publishing world as we know it has not been fundamentally altered. It's changing and changing quickly and I think you bring up some good points, but black isn't white just yet.

Scott said...

Steve, how do you get a self-published book in bookstores? I guess you could back up a van in the parking lot, but the avenues for a getting noticed as a self-pub book are few and crowded, getting worse, and there's no filter for what's crowding you out. I know, I've got one. At least my relatives are enjoying it. ;)

And nice query letter. Really. In fact, mine are generally short, but tend to EPIC FAIL at this:

"I’ve previously had nine historical romances published under the pseudonym Elizabeth Turner."

That already published part kind of helps. I get the point of the post, though.

Brittany and Palin should put out an exercise tape. That's about it.

And flying cars? Where we're going...we don't need roads.

Kimber An said...

Go Sarah Palin! It's good to live in Alaska, which has one of the strongest (if not the strongest) economies in the United States. Out of work? Move here!

Robena Grant said...

The following is a quote from the piece in Time Magazine:

"The novel won't stay the same: it has always been exquisitely sensitive to newness, hence the name. It's about to renew itself again, into something cheaper, wilder, trashier, more democratic and more deliriously fertile than ever."

Ooooh. He used the "t" word. Just teasing, Nathan, 'cause it's Friday and all. Have a great weekend.

ryan field said...

2.1 million is amazing.

Eva Ulian said...

Delighted with the 100 Novels list, haven't read all of them, of course, but a good number. Disappointed that they haven't included Ken Follett or D.H. Lawrence- maybe not Lady Chatterley's Lover, but certainly Women in Love- lots of insight there on the spiritual/carnal facet of love that you don't find in other novels.

Mark Terry said...

Screw the damned flying car. Where's my jetpack?

Bane of Anubis said...

I think Steve has a semi-valid point, though perhaps the paradigm Time was alluding to doesn't hit the nail on the head (it hits the nail, but bends it askew) -- the world is changing from print to digital (or has changed). I'm a genX/Y borderline baby, so the idea that books could simply go away doesn't wholly register with me; however, I do believe books, in the traditional format, will go away (or will become the red-headed step-child)...

Self-publishing may abound and may even take off, but not in the sense that it will lead to "the next big thing" - i.e., self-publishing will be akin to blogs and the such, distributed easily and for free (as done in Japan).

The critical point that the article failed to touch is how the publishing houses are dealing with this transition, because, whether we/they like it or not, the tide's coming in.

Nonetheless, there will always be a market for buying and selling "books" (whether digitally or paper-ly :) -- quality control for those of us that like quality. And the houses must evolve with sufficient alacrity or they'll be usurped.

In any case, literary agents will still serve the same role, just in a different world - but they're used to being on the supply side of things, so I imagine they're adapting more readily than the big boys.

firedrake said...

Bugger, how embarrassing, I've only read 17 of them.
Still, could be worse, 'The Guardian' had '1000 best' love stories, sci fi, etc. this week, and I think I've only read one or two from each list.
I must not be edimicated enuff.

CathM said...

Interesting - the list in the Telegraph’s "100 novels everyone should read". Most of the titles are also in a book I purchased recently “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die” (Peter Boxall). Some great titles... although you’d need a couple of life times to get through them all (lol)!

Anonymous said...

You also might want to know that Harper Collins signed three writers from their website authonomy. They will be publishing their novels. Authonomy works.

http://blog.authonomy.com/2009/01/publishing-contracts-have-begun.html

Nancy D'Inzillo said...

I'd also like to back Nathan's defense of agents by adding that agents are often the one's who will go to bat for you (and know well enough to do so, which most self-publishing authors do not) when a publisher wants to undercut you.
As for flying cars--hey, if we can have those, why not the brain dump to? I always liked Tanith Lee's concept of hypno school where you spend the first five years of life getting all the information you'll ever need.

L.C. Gant said...

Flying cars? How cool is that? I immediately thought of Back to the Future: "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads..."

I'm not a bit surprised about Britney Spears and Sarah Palin. It's almost like you're not a real celebrity unless you have a book. I think I'll pass on those two.

The "Top 100" list looks interesting, though I'm curious as to how the Telegraph put it together. I'm also skeptical about gerriwritinglog's criticism of Beloved; though I haven't read it, I've read several of Toni Morrison's other books and loved each one. The Bluest Eye, for example, definitely needs to be on this list. It's my favorite book ever. Like, ever.

Either way, I love lists like this. It's great to be reminded of the classics.

Steve Fuller said...

Nathan,

Sorry, I realize what I wrote sounded kind of harsh. Trust me, I know literary agents exist to help authors. And I know it is a business, so you guys are going to represent books that you think are going to sell. Literary agents aren't out to make a writer's life miserable.

I don't know you personally, but I have tons of respect for you.

I just wanted to make the point that self-publishing seems like a very attractive option these days. The stigma is fading. Of course, there is a ton of self-published material out there that shouldn't be published, but I'm just surprised that books like "The Shack" were turned down by LOTS of agents. Same with some of the other examples Grossman gave. How could so many agents swing and miss?

And Scott, I would answer, "Why does my book need to be in bookstores?" I mean, really. It would be nice, sure, but don't most people buy from amazon or other online retailers now? I know I do.

And Nathan, aren't authors responsible for LOTS of self-promotion anyway?

Bottom line...I am a pretty good writer. I have a blog that gets about 1,000 unique hits per month. I have written a novel. As I consider my next steps, why would I spend months or years going through the querying process, when I can self-publish, self-market, and move on to my second novel.

Like I said, if my novel is crap (and maybe it is), it's not going to get published anyway. If it is average, it's not going to sell many copies, no matter how it is published. And if it is great, and I market well, and tons of people read it, a publisher will come calling.

Or am I crazy?

Steve Fuller said...

Oh, and Scott, you also reminded me of a great Mitch Hedberg joke:

The only way I could get my old CD into stores is if I took one in and left it.

"Sir, you forgot this."

"No, I did not. That is for sale. Please alphabetize it."

:-)

A Paperback Writer said...

It would be interesting to see what criteria was used to create this "must read" list. I've got an MSc in literature, but there are a few books on that list I've never heard of before. And there are quite a few I wouldn't put on such a list.
Still, it was worth a look. Thanks for the link, Nathan.

A Paperback Writer said...

Hey, Steve, you could also make friends with folks who run indie bookstores. The owners of my two favorite local bookstores have offered to sell anything I publish.

Scott said...

Nathan:

I really love your This Week in Publishing. It's kind of like when I was a kid, I watched "This Week in Baseball" with Mel Allen. Mel, a longtime Yankees' broadcaster, had a great catch phrase..."How about that." I think you should develop one, too, especiall for TWIP.

Karen C said...

I love Trollope, but -- The Warden? Seriously? Not -- The Way We Live Now? Or -- Can You Forgive Her?

Tristram Shandy and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are on there. My faith in humanity (at least the part that makes lists) is momentarily restored.

Now if only I could get Moby Dick beamed OUT of my head. . .

Sarah Jensen said...

I'm surprised. I've read 21 of the top 100 books. I don't know that I agree that they are the best I've read, but I enjoyed most of them. I think Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Dr. Zhivago were my favorites.
And yes, I read Moby Dick. Billy Bud by H. Melville as well. I liked it better. :)

And for the self pub. That's a last resort for me. I'm all for an agent finding a publisher for me. :) Now to find the agent.

Kristan said...

Nathan, saw this piece in the NYTimes and thought of you/your blog. It's about the rise of Web sites for authors/books (and book trailers) and whether or not they actually help:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/books/review/Sullivan-t.html?8bu&emc=bub1

(And I'm just now realizing all this stuff I read, you probably read too... o_O)

Dara said...

I read Middlemarch in college. I had to use SparkNotes through most of it :P

At least my two favorite novels are in the top 20--Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice.

I never thought a flying car would be possible by 2000 but my sister and I have a running joke of sorts that there will be hover chairs instead of the electronic wheelchairs like the Rascal by the time we are old--kind of like the ones that all the people in the cartoon movie Wall-E use :P I don't know why the flying car thing made me think of it.

LOL, is it sad that I also thought of that movie with the flying car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? :P

I think it's past my bedtime, lol.

Nathan Bransford said...

Steve-

I don't think you're crazy at all, and I actually think what you're identifying with agents missing stuff is just a trickle down effect of the new publishing model that we're living in. The climate has made publishers risk averse, which then makes agents risk averse. We only have time to take on what we can sell.

This means that we're absolutely missing stuff and that there's probably a stronger niche for self-publishing now than there ever was.

It doesn't mean the entire model has changed (which was what my comment back to you was basically outlining), and the vast bulk of hits are still going to come from mainstream publishing, but for the right book with the right author making the right push.... well, you're reading about the success in these articles. It's not happening all the time, but it's definitely happening.

And, of course, it means I'm always on the lookout for the next great self-published book.

Nathan Bransford said...

Scott-

This Week in Baseball was THE BEST. That's high praise, and thanks.

Marjorie said...

I don't get this whole bit with "query letters that work." It seems such an absurd way for a literary agent to determine which projects to pursue further.
A phenomenally crafted query can arrive and upon investigation... the book can be not very good. And a poor query letter can be written by an author whose book can actually be amazing.
Of course, it is the barometer by which an agent decides which projects to pursue... but it seems ridiculous to me. It is sort of like judging who will be the best teacher by the suit the teacher is wearing or the handbag she is holding.
A literary agent should just read the description of a book's content and all the rest is just frills.
I cannot stand the expression "query me." And the author has to design a unique sales pitch to woo an agent. It just seems to enable a lofty power trip with "rejected" being an almost knee-jerk response.

other lisa said...

Crap, Mark Terry beat me to it. I want a jet-pack too.

My word verification: "Vabio"! Wow. It's like...Fabio with a Hungarian accent.

the Amateur Book Blogger said...

Rupert Bear has had a flying car since the 1920's. Now that was innovation!

The 100 books list is great, but certainly seems to tend to the classics, and adds two thirds of them to my already woefully large to-be-read stack.

The Guardian has a good article on why they chose their favourite 1000 fiction reads too, which makes some interesting reading as they allocate books to genres and tried to "allow room for both the Mrs Dalloways and Bridget Joneses of this world."

BarbS. said...

Good morning, All! I didn't see it mentioned, so please let me take the liberty of directing your attention to a book marketing story on NY Times.com: "See the Web Site, Buy the Book." Interesting.

Have a great weekend!

PurpleClover said...

Wow.

First of all, Brit-Brit, really? Do you have the time to dictate a book?

As for Sarah Palin, if Tina Fey promises to write it, I'll read it. Just no recipes please.

Flying cars totally cool! But boy, can you picture getting in line at the DMV to get your license...brutal!

As for Steve's comment, I would have to say I guess it's anyone's prerogative if they want to use an agent. But consider this: If you sell the first and the sales are poor, good luck getting an agent later if you change your mind. Am I wrong? That seems to be what I'm finding...

Nathan:

This leads me to ask a question (because I'm reading conflicting or unclear information). What does an agent expect the author to do in ways of promotion? I know book signings...but what exactly else? Going to smaller bookstores? PR if the book is a hot seller? Or does it differ per agent?

Kirsten said...

I'd like to know why Time and all the other similar articles don't even bother to mention the impact of the "new publishing" on authors. Did it occur to anyone that all this "free" content means the author isn't getting paid? Forget the publisher -- if we authors are all just generating content to give away for free on websites or in e-books, why would anyone bother to study craft? Why would anyone bother to slave over a novel for a year, if they're going to make less than a thousand dollars in e-book revenues? Why bother to make writing an art if it can never be a profession?

Sure, we'll keep doing it because we love it, but did it occur to anyone that if they change the foundation of what writers aspire to (the potential to make their living at this game) the ultimate quality of the writing might suffer?

Sorry for the rant, I keep hearing this one and it's really starting to bug me! :-)

Zoe Winters said...

For the person who made the point about someone who self publishes and then sells poorly, how they're doomed with agents: Maybe so, but that's why pen names are great. Also, since agents don't consider self publishing a credit anyway (unless you sell a whole big mess of books), then I see no reason why someone would feel compelled to mention their self publishing history anyway if they later decide to seek traditional publishing for another book.

Agents complain about query letters that become personal confessions. So why confess? I'm not sure that a self pubbed book that did poorly is necessarily a reflection on the fate of a future book published the traditional way. Not every writer is an entrepreneur and there are many reasons why a book can fail.

Being poorly written, and not having a market are only two of them which may not be the problems in the book that failed.

Zoe Winters said...

And anyway, isn't writing ability and potential marketability an agent's job to determine on any given book?

Those seem to be the primary determining factors in choosing to represent a book. Is this writing good? Do I think it can sell?

Marjorie said...

Zoe, I don't understand this: "someone who self publishes and then sells poorly, how they're doomed with agents: Maybe so, but that's why pen names are great."
Why would they be "doomed with agents?" A book that was not self-published can also do poorly. And why would an author these days use a pen name? I would think after all the work the author would want the credit. I think agents dislike self-publishing because it removes their power.
I am going to self-publish my memoir. It is already online as a blog. I get so many E-mails from people who love it and find it totally hilarious. It is "marjorie-pentimentos" and people think it is quirky, nostalgic, and very dark comedy. It will be self-published because I cannot craft the perfect query to initiate interest and I feel the publication of it should not be dependent on that absurdity.
If so many people on the internet tell me they love it, I feel I should go the route of self-publication because realistically it is the only route.
I am publishing it not to make money but to make people laugh. I am a 62 year old retired teacher, and I do think people will laugh because one reader at this blog went there to read it and in an E-mail she told me she almost choked laughing. That made me happy (not that she choked, but that she enjoyed it)

Jenny said...

Middlemarch is a book you won't appreciate until you reach middle age. When you are young, it is boring, but when you have lived longer, you will enjoy every word because it is about what happens in real life and real relationships as they face the stresses of the real world, rather than the fantasy wish fulfillment you find in so many other novels.
==
Re how do you get your self-published books into stores?

I did it by having a bestseller with a mainstream publisher before I self-published. Chains buy based on the author's previous sales, so they stocked my book. That's probably the only way you can do it and it might be much harder to do now than it was when I did it in the 1990s.

BUT, having books in stores means taking returns, and that means taking back thousands of dollars worth of damaged books for which you must refund the full purchase price. The more copies are stocked, the heavier the returns. My most "successful" self-published book was stocked in most retail B&Ns and their college bookstores and the returns killed a lot of the profit, even though I had good sales.

My latest self-published book was done on a no-returns basis so stores won't stock it an it is only available online. I've sold enough copies in 9 months to have earned as much as I received, annually, for my John Wiley & Son's business bestseller back in the 1990s. There were 5 copies of the Wiley book in every Barnes and Noble, faced out. My new book is usually in the top 5 of it's category on Amazon and that is ensuring a steady stream of sales. With no returns to deal with, it's a pleasure to sell them.

Mind you, I really did self-publish--I do my own book production, to a professional standard. I have my own ISBNs and business credit. I work directly with the company that prints and distributes my books so I'm not paying any middlemen like Lulu or Booksurge which lets me earn more per book.

It took me about 5 years to build the web presence that sells my books. Without it, these books would not be selling. And my books are nonfiction, which makes it much easier to sell them to people who find me via appropriate Google searches.

I have completed a couple novels that have potential, but I would never self-publish them. You can't get the price down low enough to make the book competitive and you can't find enough readers using existing web tools.

Newbee said...

I guess if people want to throw away that kind of money...send it to Britney. It won't matter what's on the pages. Nobody with "half a brain" will read it. Can't we have anyone come up with something worth while? This business is run by people with smarts...Right? It seems that they are just grasping at straws...

Carley said...

Loved the top 100 list, and was surprised to find I'd read so many. I just read Middlemarch this past summer, yeah it took nearly the whole summer! My friends and family called it the bible whilst I read it and it took about 200 pages to get really into it. However, hands down one of the best books I've ever read. It is huge, but it's really a great book. So, put on your steely determination and give it a read!

Lis'Anne Harris said...

Hello Mr. Bransford,

Must I really read the top 100? Must I? The titles alone bore me to tears.

I read Tom Jones, simply because Henry Fielding is considered the father of modern romance. I wouldn't call it thigh-thwacking.

I read George Orwell's 1984 because I had to for sophomore lit in high school. Was it my cup of tea? No.

If I don't want to read any of the "classics" does that make me unsophisticated, unenlightened, and unintelligent? No, really...I'm asking because if so, I guess I'll trudge through them. God forbid I should appear a country bumpkin.

Here comes the Whambulance. Whaaa...whaaa...whaaa. I don't want to read e-books. It's tedious reading on a computer screen for 10-12 hours a day writing, critiquing, and judging. I want to feel the paper pages between my fingers, see the cover art with a flip of my wrist, and look with pleasure at my bookshelves loaded with treasures.

Do you see a future void of traditionally published books? I love browsing in my favorite bookstores. If e-books are the future then woe is me.

BTW, you are quite a popular fellow. Every blog I read seems to have a link to yours--including mine now. You wow us with your thought-provoking insight. Thank you!

Lis'Anne

Zoe Winters said...

Marjorie,

It was someone else's statement, not mine. But the view is that if a self pubbed book does poorly that an agent won't want to represent you. But in this case it's not really about it being self published so much as it is about having a failed book.

When you're a totally new debut author people can pin their hopes and dreams on you like maybe you're the next big thing. If you've had one book fail (whether trad published or self published it doesn't matter) you aren't that new totally unknown quantity filled with hope and promise.

As for pen names, not everyone uses one, but there are many reasons to use one. I elected to use one mainly so my mother doesn't have to hear from her church friends about those evil demon sex books her daughter writes. My mom is a really nice woman and very supportive of me even though she doesn't like the content of my books. She shouldn't have to put up with crap like that because of my writing.

And I intend to self publish all my work.

Anonymous said...

Oh I don’t know Mr. Bransford – I think the Telegraph’s list is FAR better than another such compilation I saw published recently, this one American. It’s hard to find a bad selection on this list. Maybe folks in the UK just have better taste.

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

Well, I never said it was a bad list. But now we're judging which country has better taste by newspaper top 100 lists??

Rick Daley said...

I think we should compare the US and UK based on cooking and orthodontics. We can do our research on fark.com.

I meant to post this earlier regarding self-publishing, but I was distracted by my children...

Many musicians have found success foregoing the distribution arms of the major record labels. Artists like Prince, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, AC/DC, and more have either released through select retailers, or released online.

While they may not have sold as many copies as their peers who opted for traditional distribution, they netted a much higher personal income.

Even Radiohead, who put their album up for free - pay if you want to - had a major success. I believe they averaged $6 per download.

The advantage they have, and the Suze Orman has, is name recognition. If James Patterson, John Grisham, Stephen King, or any other author with similar clout put their book up on the web, they would get millions of hits too. So would I if Oprah mentioned it.

For those of us who are struggling to break free from the ranks of the unknown, I see value in working through agents and publishers. So far Oprah hasn't responded to my letter.

Word verification: enache. An online nache.

sharon owen said...

Nathan,
I haven't commented much before but several things made me want to write and thank you for offering such a great newsletter and forum.
1) because of your recommendation, i joined Authonomy. What a great critique group and forum and a showplace for unpublished writers to show their stuff. This past week three authonomies were offered contracts by Harper Collins (the first offered since site set up) and one was a three book contract. Also one of those selected had been approached by an agent who browsed the site. Is this the new direction for writers--much like musicians? Get noticed on the internet first? Perhaps. But even without the publication potential, it is a great support/critique group. I belong to a live group like that. Now I belong to a virtual one as well. So thanks.
2) I appreciate the fact that you and other agents and editors are taking the time to do newsletters and blogs for writers. It gives me hope that y'all are really trying to find good writers and good books.
3) I wanted to weigh in on idea of who's a good writer and who's writing trash. I teach university composition classes and creative writing classes and I would never judge someone's writing as good or bad. First, I ask who their audience is and what they want to accomplish with the writing itself. From there, I can make suggestions--not on the quality of the writing but on wheher it is write for the audience and is appropriate for their goals. Writing to me is very subjective. One person's trash is another person's treasure and I would never make that judgment. I write the kind of books I enjoy reading. So, my first suggestion to any would-be writer is to read read read. Besides the pure enjoyment of it consider it research.
Sorry for the long response, but I had a few things to say.
Mostly thank you for being here for all us unpublished writers in waiting.
Sharon

sharon owen said...

Nathan,
I haven't commented much before but several things made me want to write and thank you for offering such a great newsletter and forum.
1) because of your recommendation, i joined Authonomy. What a great critique group and forum and a showplace for unpublished writers to show their stuff. This past week three authonomies were offered contracts by Harper Collins (the first offered since site set up) and one was a three book contract. Also one of those selected had been approached by an agent who browsed the site. Is this the new direction for writers--much like musicians? Get noticed on the internet first? Perhaps. But even without the publication potential, it is a great support/critique group. I belong to a live group like that. Now I belong to a virtual one as well. So thanks.
2) I appreciate the fact that you and other agents and editors are taking the time to do newsletters and blogs for writers. It gives me hope that y'all are really trying to find good writers and good books.
3) I wanted to weigh in on idea of who's a good writer and who's writing trash. I teach university composition classes and creative writing classes and I would never judge someone's writing as good or bad. First, I ask who their audience is and what they want to accomplish with the writing itself. From there, I can make suggestions--not on the quality of the writing but on wheher it is write for the audience and is appropriate for their goals. Writing to me is very subjective. One person's trash is another person's treasure and I would never make that judgment. I write the kind of books I enjoy reading. So, my first suggestion to any would-be writer is to read read read. Besides the pure enjoyment of it consider it research.
Sorry for the long response, but I had a few things to say.
Mostly thank you for being here for all us unpublished writers in waiting.
Sharon

Ugly Deaf Muslim Punk Gurl! said...

ugh, Sarah Palin needs to disappear. I can't believe that she actually thinks people would want to read her garbage.

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