Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, March 16, 2009

It's Bracket Time!!

First up, Wiley editor Alan Rinzler interviewed me last week for his blog, so please check that out if you like your info in Q&A form. His blog is a terrific resource for writers, so while you're there, click around and enjoy its awesomeness.

Now then.

It is on, people. It is definitely on.

I know we have plenty of literary-minded sports fans out there, so in honor of this year's NCAA basketball tournament (aka March Madness, aka the greatest sporting event in the entire universe), I thought we'd make things interesting. I'm pleased announce our 1st Annual Blog Bracket Challenge!!

Here's how it works: You'll fill out your NCAA bracket online by picking the winners of all the games. The winner with the most points at the end of the NCAA tournament will win their choice of a free query critique or a book from one of my clients.

And if I win, I don't need a prize because I'll get plenty of satisfaction out of never letting you all hear the end of it.

But don't worry, I never win.

Oh, and for those of you who don't know anything about basketball: Congratulations, you have a much, much better chance of winning.

Here's how to enter:

1. Go to the front page of the ESPN tournament challenge: http://games.espn.go.com/tcmen/frontpage

2. If you have an ESPN username and password you can login, otherwise you may need to create a new user ID and password. But don't worry, it's not onerous and you can decline to receive updates in case you're spam conscious.

3. Click "create entry," and enter the name of your bracket (such as your blog handle). Choose whether or not you want to sign up for the sweepstakes, and then click "submit entry settings."

4. Make your picks and enter the tiebreaker score, and when you're finished, under the name of your bracket you'll see a link that says "create or join a group." Click that.

5. Search for "Bransford Blog Challenge." Enter the password, which is "rhetorical" and then click Join Group.

Then you're all set! You can make changes to your bracket by clicking on it until it locks on Thursday.

Please limit yourself to one entry.

And keep tuning back into the comments thread of this post for updates and/or trash talk. Good luck!






106 comments:

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Congrats on the write-up on Alan Rinzler's blog--very nice!

NCAA... I hate boys' sports. How about something for those of us into figure skating and gymnastics?

Elizabeth said...

Yay March Madness! I'll be there in person on Friday to see my beloved alma mater likely get spanked by Missouri.

But I'm hoping for a Cinderella moment. :)

(Word verification: presse. As in full court?)

Josh said...

WHOOO HOOOO March Madness and my Runnin' Utah Utes!

Nathan -- this is a really fun great idea and I hope this isn't the only time you do it.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic idea, and I love me some college basketball.
And as a true fan, I have absolutely no chance of winning the pool.

Ink said...

Are the Kings going to enter? They might win some games. :)

Nathan Bransford said...

bryan-

I'm pretty sure the Kings would lose in the first round. To a 16 seed.

Ink said...

That was bad of me, I admit. I beg forgiveness. My Raptors actually won a game last night, by twenty-three points, so I'm feeling all uppity. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

L.C. Gant said...

I'm a regular follower Alan Rinzler's blog so I saw the interview when it first posted. Great stuff, Nathan!

As for March Madness, um...yeah. I'm utterly clueless when it comes to sports, especially basketball. Drives my sister crazy; she wants to be a sports agent once she finishes law school (ironic, right?).

Anyway, I'll enter the contest for fun--just don't ask me to know what's going on :-P

Ink said...

Think of the draft picks, though! You lookin' at Blake Griffin or Ricky Rubio for a Kings jersey?

Nathan Bransford said...

Now you're just trying to jinx them!

Dara said...

I know nothing about sports of any kind. Sorry :P

It'll be fun though to watch the others play :)

Josh said...

I was pretty shocked when I read a rumor today about the Kings today possible moving to Anaheim.

Ink said...

Me? Never. cough cough

We already have a Spanish point guard, so you can have Rubio. We'll take Griffin. Though I'd settle for James Harden. We're in desperate need of a scoring swingman. Hey, we'll give you Shawn Marion for Kevin Martin...

Kiersten said...

This almost makes me want to take an interest in sports. Trust me, that's earth-shattering news right there.

But I did say almost...

Michael Pickett said...

Nathan-
Way to combine my two favorite things. Literature and sports!

You are all going down. My bracket rules!

Margaret Yang said...

Am I the only one who fell off my chair laughing at the password, "rhetorical?"

Sea Hayes said...

My family does our own March Madness pool, and every year my now nine year old daughter wins. Last year she almost won over $250 in a big pool. Now I have two chances to lose. Or maybe I'll let her pick for me! Thanks for making things fun!

Bane of Anubis said...

As long as Duke and UNC go down, it's all good :)

Bane of Anubis said...

Take Rubio - it's a PG league now... or maybe make a 2010 play for Lebron or D-Wade; I'm sure the allure of cowbells will draw them away from those way overrated East coast metropoli

Luc2 said...

Not much college bb to see at this side of the ocean, but I'm in. Fun!

I don't know about Griffin, but Rubio can play. But it's hard coming to the NBA as a rookie PG. He may need a few years to adapt.

Anonymous said...

Great article.
Fun to red.
A different perspective and more great info.
I hadn't read down to the submission guide recently either and it was news to learn you now take 5 pages!!
And, how about that picture!

Elyssa Papa said...

First time ever I did a bracket for NCAA. This is so much fun. Plus, a local college (Siena) is in the tourney. Really fun idea, Nathan.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

Oh! The Musicality!

Q: Has your blog helped you get some good writers to represent?

A: Absolutely. Just about all of my new clients come through the blog.

Anonymous said...

Nathan!!

I read your Q&A on Alan Rinzler's blog. You're so cute! I know guys think that's not a compliment, but it IS a compliment. You're so cute!

Seriously, that's a good photo of you. Good work on the Q&A, too. :)

Best,
J.F.

Vancouver Dame said...

Enjoyed your interview by Alan Rinzler - and it's always good to find another writer's site to peruse. Good for you to get more web notice as well.

I'll pass on the sports challenge - my hubby is the sports jock junkie, and American baseball has always been my favorite (to watch, not to play)- just waiting for April.

I'll be looking for more writing posts - hope this week isn't sports week on this blog. . . just not my thing.

Renee Collins said...

Those brackets frighten and confuse me.

J. M. Strother said...

I read the Q&A on Alan's blog. Nice job. He's one of my favorite stops on the blogway.

As to the other thing - well, MIZZOU of course.
~jon

kate said...

Fun idea. . .Good luck to everyone! Last year I won the brackets with my friends and didn't know anything about the teams. . .and this year I know even less. . .but I am hoping to see my Aggies go a few rounds before signing out.

Jaime Theler said...

My husband will be so ecstatic at my sudden new interest in the tournament this year. (I'll have to make sure he tells me who he really thinks will win, not who he just wants to win.)

I'm down with the March Madness!

Tyler said...

Oh, it's on. What a great idea for a contest, Nathan.

Calling it right now: All four number 1 seeds are going down first round.

You heard it here first.

Scott said...

My MSU Spartans are going to come into town a wompin and a stompin everything in sight all the way to the Final Four which, ahem, my town(De-troit) just happens to be hosting this year.

Torg said...

See B.H. Fairchild's "Old Men Playing Basketball" or Updike's "Ex Basketball Player" for thoughtful (or frightening)poems looking into some of this week's athletes' futures. I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone does.

Marilyn Peake said...

Fantastic interview, Nathan! Great information, and love how much you value this fantastic blog.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

KANSAS. Duh.

RC said...

I'm hoping to channel some Diane Chambers kind of luck here, because I know nothing about college basketball. But I love contests!

Is Stanford in?

Marilyn Peake said...

Ordered The Stars above Veracruz. Looks quirky and fabulous.

Word Verification: ningible - sounds poetic. :)

Rachel said...

Nathan,

What a wonderful interview and a fantastic challenge to your sporty (and not-so-sporty) fans. Looking forward to it.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Ok, I tried. I really did. But ESPN has an ad right in the middle of the screen. I thought it was Firefox but it won't work on IE either. :(

Kansas is still gonna womp everybody.

Anna Claire said...

Gah. My Auburn Tigers (who in fact were not sucking this year) were cheated out of a spot in NCAA tournament. Cheated, I tell you! Er...so basically the brackets aren't as shiny exciting for me. But I'll try anyway.

BTW, I picked winners in SEC football one year based on best team color, hottest tight end, etc...and did at least as well as half the other participants. Might try it again this time.

Dan said...

Nathan,

I sense this is more material for our upcoming book, EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT PUBLISHING, I LEARNED FROM SPORTS. There are 64 'good' entries to start with, and even the so-called 'best' entry (say, the overall #1 seed) might not make it all the way to 'best' seller status? (Because UNC is taking the title baby!!!)

BAM. Sports metaphors all up in your eye-holes.

-Dan

Mira said...

oooh, a contest how fun. I'm not into sports at all. In fact, it's like a bunch of you are speaking a foreign language. So, that means I'll probably win.

Good, interesting interview, Nathan. I posted a very supportive and polite comment after it, since it was a moderated discussion. But over here, I can say what I really think.

Max's??? Max's on the Square?? Are you nuts? They charge 16 bucks for a sandwich. I don't care if the pickles are good. Try East Coast West Deli on Polk. Great deli, and they don't steal your wallet on the way out.

Okay, that's my contribution.

Doug Hibbard said...

All right, long-time lurker here. and yes, I skipped de-lurk day.

I tell you what, Vegas Linda Lou, in the off chance that I win, you can have the prize. I read here to see what's going on, and to think about what I would do if ever tried to write a book. Which needs to come much later.

Of course, you're more likely to win the lottery while being struck by lightning than have me win....

Dana said...

Yay March Madness! I love me some colege sports. :) Go Big 12 and dare I say it? Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Since my beloved alma mater sucks at b-ball (Go Buffs!), I'll be wavin' the wheat with the rest of the Big 12. :) What fun Nathan! And I loved the Q&A. Your picture is cute! ;)

Mira said...

Oh. My comment above was 'trash talk.' I was 'trash talking' Max's on the Square.

See? I can participate in the sports stuff. I'm down with it.

Lupina said...

I'm a sports ignoramus, so I figured I could win handily and went to the page to sign up. I DID find the form onerous, but then I'm a formophobe. It was enough to stop me, however, so I'll just play vicariously through everyone else's blog posts. Go everyone!

Anonymous said...

I am a big fan of both blogs...Nice Job, Nathan.

Morgan

Vegas Linda Lou said...

@ Doug Hibbard: You're on! I don't know anything about sports, but I'm all about winning!

XOXO

Aspiring Girl said...

Nathan, I just read your interview on Alan's blog. One of your most endearing traits is your sincerity and dedication to the writers. Good job on the interview. Just like your blog, it was inspiring and insightful.

Allegory19 said...

Nice interview... 7,000 readers a day - aren't you popular.

Well, now off to ESPN to figure this whole bracket thing out.

Litgirl01 said...

^ Knows nothing about sports.

Brilliant interview though! :-D

Just_Me said...

Nathan!!!

This is so totally cheating! I haven't watched a game since I left college (and my post as sport's editor on the collegiate newspaper). I haven't even an inkling of who might win this year.

But I'm tempted to try anyway.

other lisa said...

Wow, I even like sports, but I must admit, I don't follow basketball much (though if I did, it would be the college variety). If I enter, it will be little more than guesswork and wishful thinking.

Which comes to think about it describes many of my life choices.

Melissa McInerney said...

Sigh....Boys! Hope I win so I can harass you mercilessly about my talent at picking winners.

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

I'm so sorry. That was so confusing, I needed to re-write it. It's going to be hard to get you as my agent, if you don't understand what I'm saying!

Let's try again:

Nathan. I don't want to interrupt the discussion, but I want to let you know that tomorrow I'm going over to talk to that nice Janet Reid.

Since you haven't signed me, despite my triple-dog daring you and telling you I have a half-way decent idea, obviously I need something more.

I need an agent.

To represent me to you, so that you'll be my agent.

Cross my finger, she'll be contacting you soon on my behalf. Please don't be too hard on her, though. I think she's very sweet and might have a difficult time driving a tough bargain.

Okey dokey.

Please go back to your discussion, everyone.

Jen C said...

Wow, OK. I have no idea what I just did there, but I did enter. I have never watched an American basketball game in my life (next time please do baseball picks!!).

Normally I pick teams by either the colour of their uniform or who has the cutest boys, but since that information wasn't available I just picked randomly. Good luck to me! (Erm, and to the rest of you... *guards picks with life*)

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, I am so literary and so unsporty.
I thought it was something to do with the misuse of brackets like {} or [], as we use them so seldom there's probably some rules about them????
The fancy ones{} are seen so rarely, I thought it was going to be their moment of glory at last.

Melanie Avila said...

Suh-wheat! I lose every year because I always put a Michigan team winning, but one day I'll be right!

word ver: ineast

Hmm... this could be my year.

J.T Wilbanks said...

Mr. Bransford,

I have but one small question. You see over the pass few months I've been reading about the increase in "young" authors querying agents, young as in high school age(like myself).

Do you think that for the most part agents are willing to look past the young age if the person shows promise and would you ever be willing to take on a book(or series of books) written by a 15-19 year old author.

Thanks for your time.

-J.T.

:)Ash said...

My hometown Louisville Cardinals are totally winning this year!

GO CARDS!!!

NotATeenager said...

JT:

It's freaking simple, kiddo: Don't mention your age in your query.

Old people don't mention it; why should you. Hook him with your query & tell him your age when he offers representation.

Sarah said...

In a world of sports enthusiasts, should an uninformed writer challenge ESPN's bracket thingys?

Of course.

(The password was rhetorical, Nathan.)

I had no idea who to pick, so I just flipped a coin. Heads, top bracket, tails, bottom. I figure I'll be there to make everyone else feel good about their picks.

Jen C said...

Don't worry Sarah, I've never even heard of any of the teams I picked! But it's still fun to play...

MaLanie said...

Nathan - I did it, I went to the ESPN web site {gagging} all to win a query critque. I must really want this bad!

I closed my eyes and clicked away, that was until I got to Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.

Utimately Oklahoma will win.

BOOMER SOONER, BOOMER SOONER! (LOL, as if I even know if they are any good in Basketball I just live here)

Anonymous said...

DARA:

ENTER ANYWAY! You don't have to know anything about sports. The little numbers beside the teams tell you how they are ranked, so that helps with you choose the first couple of rounds, and then you can just randomly choose teams from there on! You have just as good a chance as anyone, really!

kimmirich said...

hehee, Pitinos' Louisville Cards all the waaaay!!

Griffin Asher said...

I'll take USFA (United States Fencing Association)over the NCAA any day. I'm just not interested in any sport that doesn't involve killing someone with a sword ;-)

Lisa Schroeder said...

oooh, this will be so fun!! I came in first one year in the office pool! I picked the ones with the best uniforms.

Ha - just kidding. :)

Deborah Blake Dempsey said...

I've done this once before and I blew it. I'm not much of a basketball fan, but now I have an incentive. BRING! IT! ON!

I need to brush up on my smack talk.

Deb

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

You're getting cleverer and cleverer all the time. When the NHL Playoffs start, will you do another one? My novel might be finished by then!

Chumplet - Sandra Cormier said...

Ink, you're a Raptors fan? My condolences. I'm a Leaf fan.

other lisa said...

All right, I have no idea what I just did, but I'm in.

Go, uh...who did I pick again?!

Lady Glamis said...

Nathan, that was a fantastic interview!!! I enjoyed reading your answers to the questions. Thank you so much, once again, for investing so much time in your helpful blog and readers. :)

pjd said...

It's too bad Cal and UConn have to square off before the national championship game.

Nathan, I know you like the Kings of the NBA (New Billionaires Association), but what team(s) do you support at the college level? And when your bracket becomes visible, will we see you've chosen with your heart or with your keen analytical skills?

@Griffin Asher: That is the best "I'm not into this sport" comment I've ever read.

Jen P said...

I'm with Jen C - have no idea who's who, but it was fun! Nice article, and fun game.

But was I only the only one who expected a post on grammar? I guess parenthesis is your word for our British 'brackets'.

This was much more fun.

Jen C said...

Wow, so many Jens! We should start our own gang or something...

LOL re: the post on grammar. I normally read the posts when I get up in the morning, so in my sleepiness it took me ages to work out that there wasn't going to be any parentheses. I couldn't even wrap my head around a sporting competition until after my morning soy chai!

Ink said...

Sandra,

'Tis tough to be a good and loyal Canuckian sports fan these days. Toronto FC better win a title this year. (Hey, they have Dwayne DeRosario, though, and he's great. I used to have to mark him)

My best,
Bryan Russell

T. Anne said...

Thank you for the interview Nathan!

Go Trojans!

Teri said...

Interesting interview. More and more agents are turning to blogs to communicate with writers.
The world needs more agents like you!

MommyJ said...

It's so gonna be the tarheels this year.. Hansbrough deserves one more championship...

I entered. I'm in. :)

shanasilver said...

Yay for March Madness! I always feel very close to it because my college, Syracuse, won the entire tournament when I was a senior. That was one of the best days ever!

Also, I designed all the March Madness graphics on CBS. The bracket graphics are my particular claim to fame. As well as the score board that's always up on the bottom of the screen during the game.

So when you watch the game, think of me!

PurpleClover said...

Nooootttt baskettttballlll...

Car said...

Nathan,
Alan has edited work with so many of my most favorite authors!
Obviously, he really knows his stuff and has helped shape greatness!
How important and at what point, would you send or advise an author to go through an independent editor like Alan?
Thanks.
-Car

Nathan Bransford said...

pjd-

I root for Stanford, so hopefully I'm avoiding sentimentality with my picks this year.

car-

Basically I think authors should go to paid editors when they need it. Some people are able to get feedback from their reading group, others might benefit from an editor. It's really up to the author.

7-iron said...

I love March for college bball, for college hockey, for pro hockey, for the start of golf season, for Spring Training... I'm freaking out.

EAGLES EAGLES EAGLES woooo

Nona said...

"Publishers will live and die by their big bets if they aren’t cultivating any small bets that have the potential of panning out in a big way."

It sounds like the publishing world and the investment world have a lot in common. Bottom line: Don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Evenstarr1 said...

I loath basketball...that's why it'll be even more ironic when Nathan is giving me a critique on my query! See you all at the ending line! :)

adrcremer said...

Woot, bracket time. Great contest, Nathan!

Heather Wardell said...

I entered, although I know exactly zero about basketball. I used my well-honed fantasy sport strategy of "teams I've heard of and teams with funny names", which has won me several hockey pools and REALLY upset people who actually know sports. :)

car said...

Thanks for your answer, Nathan.

Cat Moleski said...

Wonderful interview. Go, Nathan! I may not have the time to get to the whole bracket thing.

JaxPop said...

Great interview - saved it as a favorite. Nice to see you mention Jenn in the interview. She's s terrific person - can't wait to read her book. I also recommend her blog to anyone that wants to learn, laugh or reflect when it comes to writing - takes pointers from her agent I suppose.

Gotta go with Pitt this year - Hard to pick against my guys from Villanova but they're too small & can't match up down low.

I'll go back to lurking now.....

Anonymous said...

Jax:

Have a little faith. I think Villanova has a chance against Pitt. I've changed my bracket three times now, and that's the only came I can't decide on. Villanova v. Pitt. I keep going back and forth. Right now, I have Villanova in the final four.

pjd said...

I root for Stanford, so hopefully I'm avoiding sentimentality with my picks this year.

Oh, yeah, I forgot your Stanford affiliation and the fact that we can never be friends. Oh well, no one's perfect. Go Bears.

Casey said...

I know little-to-nothing about sports but I entered.

I didn't even know what kind of number range to consider for the tie breaker! Ha!

Bonnie said...

I'm in. Somebody has to come in last, after all, and it may as well be me.

Eden said...

I bet I'm the only one who's picking FSU to win it all (I have to; I'm contractually obligated via the diploma).

Anonymous said...

Did it. Just blindly picked. I have no idea who plats well. I wasn't even sure how many points are usually scored in a game.

This will be totally dumb luck if I do well.

coll

Luc2 said...

Davidson and Stephen Curry torched Soutch Carolina in the NIT. Too bad they're not in the NCAA tournament.

I love underdogs. As an aspiring writer, I have to admire people who defy the odds and succeed. I hope another relatively unknown team can make a run like Davidson did last year.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I am so going to lose, and get mocked.

I always pick brackets based on "Schools I like" instead of any relevant statistics.

But I'll risk humiliation for a critique!

Gretchen said...

I'm going to rock this bracket like a hurricane! Or a Sooner, whatever the hell that is. I picked Oklahoma over Louisville in the final.

Anonymous said...

I had a mighty urge to do a second entry of Obama's NCAA picks, just to see how he stacked up to Team Bransford - but I figure he probably already knows how to write a query letter. ;)

I picked pretty much at random. Chaos theory ahoy!

sruble said...

Yay! Thanks for the NCAA contest Nathan! It's fun to be part of a large group again this year. :)

Kathie Leung said...

Grrr... my kids think it's horribly funny to hear me yelling at the TV. I played ball in high school, but have never been a big fan of watching (although, of all sports, I enjoy watching b-ball more than anything else). Oh, it's a barrel of fun here, Nathan. Please send duct tape, I fear I'll teach my kids not just the right plays to be making, but a few choice words they're still a bit too young to know!

That writer chic... said...

Good day to you, Nathan. I followed your link and read Mr. Alan's blog and what he had to say about you. It's great seeing an agent who takes the time to reach out and speak to all of us aspiring writers that are on the net. Kudos.

Dawn

Related Posts with Thumbnails