Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, March 13, 2009

This Week in Publishing 3/13/09

Lots of links this week, and they don't all fit neatly into the theme of Negativity Week, so in lieu of an actual theme to the news I will instead be saying "Bah!" at the end of every paragraph regardless of my feeling about the news I've just relayed. Consider it negativity, old man style. (Or sheep-style, I suppose, but that would be baaa. It's all in the inflection.)

Reader/commenter Rick Daley has started a blog devoted to critiques of queries submitted by participants. It's also a good time to remind everyone about agent Janet Reid's indispensable/awesome/generous ongoing resource Query Shark. Bah!

Attention suspense fans, Barry Eisler, author of the very awesome and popular John Rain series, has a new standalone thriller just out this week called FAULT LINE. Barry also has a very interesting blog, and this week he reprinted a fascinating interview about his work. Bah!

And in case you needed proof that books or still selling.... well, just ask Pilot Sully, he of the artfully downed plane in the Hudson, who scored a reported $3.2 million two book deal, one for a memoir and the other rumored to be a collection of inspirational poetry. Bah!

Also scoring a big book deal this week was Audrey Niffenegger for her completely written follow up to THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE. After agent Kristin Nelson blogged about it and speculated on who triggered the leak. Niffenegger's agent, Joe Regal, later chimed in and insisted they didn't want the amount to leak, but also used the opportunity to say how much he admires that Ms. Niffenegger took her time to completely write a brilliant follow-up. Which, I agree, is admirable. Bah!

Among the great BookEnds LLC blog posts this week was one on a successful nonfiction query sample. Poor neglected nonfiction queries, they are so rarely used as examples! Jessica Faust also posted a list of query don'ts -- you wouldn't want your agent doing them, so don't do them yourself. Bah!

Also in the hizzy is my colleague Tracy Marchini, who I reckon be droppin' a hella wicked post on some fings to consider when writing slang (and yes, I tried to incorporate as many disparate dialects as possible in that sentence). Bah!

Lastly but not leastly in agent news is blogging agent extraordinaire Jennifer Jackson, who posted some of the wonderful things about being an agent. Bah!

Experimentation is definitely in the air, and from always-indispensable GalleyCat came word that Lexycle and Macmillan are teaming up to produce a book in standalone iPhone App form. Could this be a harbinger for more self-contained reading apps? Bah!

Also in that vein, reader Margaret Welman Paez was kind enough to direct me to an post in the Paper Cuts blog of the New York Times about a book by Clay Shirky called HERE COMES EVERBODY. Within the post there is a tremendous quote that I think sums up the coming deluge of content in the e-book era that I've blogged about before: "It’s going from a world of ‘filter, then publish’ … to ‘publish, then filter." Well said. Bah!

And finally, Andrew Sullivan linked to this amazing short film by Bruce Branit, which I think captures what it's like to be a writer:


World Builder from Bruce Branit on Vimeo.

Have a great weekend! Bah!






60 comments:

clindsay said...

You could say "Humbug!" instead of Bah! A tad less sheeplike. =)

Lisa Katzenberger said...

Nathan, I could not help but picture Grandpa Simpson reading today's post and shouting Bah! to it all. Not that you remind me of Grandpa Simpson, of course. Anyway, Happy Friday.

Kristi said...

Thanks for the best negativity week ever. I don't know about you but I feel great. Happy Friday everyone. :)

Kiersten said...

I'm sorry, I imagined you saying "baaaa" instead, because it was funnier.

Rick Daley said...

Nathan,

Thanks for mentioning my query blog. I just launched it last Thursday. So far I've posted 5 unique queries and 2 revisions. Many people gave useful feedback, and I'm eager to see more people benefit from the platform.

Ink said...

That was a beautiful little film. Imagination acting on memory... writing, indeed.


Bryan

T. Anne said...

Great links, I might just finish all my sentences in Bah! today. Scary isn't it? Bah!

Litgirl01 said...

I simply can't WAIT to see what the theme for next week will be!
;-)

Emily Breen said...

Missed out on a productive day today because I had triple booked myself in an attempt to not lose touch with friends for sake of book...

On the whole would rather have stayed home with final edits - suspect I have turned into terrible person. Bothered? Not so much :) Bah & a whole bag of humbugs x

Marilyn Peake said...

Whoa, Bruce Branit’s film is absolutely stunning, and really does capture what it's like to be a writer. I had an extraordinary day of writing that felt much like being inside that kind of world today. After struggling through mountains of background research and writing more than two-thirds of the novel for over a year, I suddenly reached a place where the clouds broke apart and I could visualize the entire rest of the story to the end of the book. Now, I need to feverishly type and manipulate language in order to complete the first draft, hopefully by summer.

Thank you for so many wonderful links! After reading about Audrey Niffenegger earlier this week on Literary Agent Kristin Nelson’s blog, I decided to purchase The Time Traveler’s Wife and the author’s next book as soon as it’s available. I also rediscovered Janet Reid’s wonderful blog after it came up so many times in discussion here.

Something very creative happens on your blog, Nathan – very intelligent discussion that’s extremely conducive to the creative spirit.

Oh, in my exuberance, I almost forgot to add: Bah!

Anonymous said...

You could have used neiggghhhh, or nay, and sounded like a horse instead. It's pretty neeeeegative. Just a thought. I pictured a sheep all of the way through the post.

Old McDonald

Thomas Burchfield said...

Actually, I'm really fine with "Bah!" as so much wool-gathering goes around around here, anyway

[Gosh, where do I get these ideas!? Must lie down . . . sides hurt from so much laughter ha . . . ha.]

Anonymous said...

"Rick Daley has started a blog devoted to critiques of queries submitted by participants."

Sweeeet, more free book ideas! Keep posting, people!

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

Book idea theft is much more in the realm of theory than practice.

Bane of Anubis said...

Bah, Ramn You :)

Sweet Vid

TTW was a great idea - but I felt the execution could have been better...

Have a great weekend, y'all

Anonymous said...

Still, Nathan, if you wrote a book that everyone knows wasn't yet published or even represented yet, would you want its main idea (premise/concept/plot, whatever) out there for anyone to borrow/modify/use as they please? Not me.

I guess if it's just another receycled plot it wouldn't really matter, but if you have something unique, it makes sense to find other, less public, ways to ensure you have a competitive query.

Shannon said...

Thanks for the hilarious post; great way to usher in the weekend.

Take care and Bah!

Dara said...

I really enjoyed that short film. It definitely is something that I can relate to!

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

I guess I'd just look at it as: the likelihood that someone is going to see your idea and whip out a novel that's better than yours before you sell your book is minuscule. And if they CAN do it better than you, well, you have bigger problems than theft.

I actually think there's more risk of concurrent ideas than there are stolen ones.

It's no reason not to be vigilant, but I don't think it's a very common problem.

Cook Zoo said...

Is it acceptable, in a query, to say "I chose to submit to you because your blog rocks the house"?

Seriously, is it?

Anna said...

and Alex Smith renegotiated his contract so there will be a QB controversy over the summer (and possibly into the start of the season), but as long as he doesn't get 3.2 million to write his memoirs (or inspiration poetry), well there you go.

Baaa... Yorkshire escapes...

MzMannerz said...

A sequel to Time Traveler's Wife?! YAY!

By the way, there is an incredible story about John Cheever in The Washington Post if you haven't already seen it. Wednesday's edition, but it's online. Since I hurried to comment after reading about the follow up to TTW without reading the rest of your post - hope you didn't already mention it.

Anonymous said...

I refuse to hear anything more about the publishing industry being broke. Nope, not hearing it. Not with advances like that. Congrats to the author and the pilot, that's for sure, but no more publishing industry is broke because I don't believe it. Period. That's my entry to negativity week.

Marilyn Peake said...

I forgot to mention - I am so happy that Pilot Sully got such a huge book deal. There is justice in this world, and apparently a belief that people want to read about good news and people behaving heroically!

Tsana said...

Gah! Please no books in their own little apps. I like to keep all my books loaded in Stanza and if they start releasing standalones that's going to take up precious screen realestate. I'd have to delete after reading and that just makes it feel much less permanent. Not to mention that it wouldn't be readable anywhere else (ie, on computer, etc). I hope they don't go through with that idea and release them in sensible formats instead/as well.

Bane of Anubis said...

A Negative ?, Nathan,

I'm assuming the Kings go 0 - 25 vs. Eastern teams when the King and his court visit tonight?

Do you think that ignominious streak ends before the end of the year?

Prairie Chicks Write Romance said...

Ewe should never have mentioned sheep in your blogpost, Nathan. I've went through shear agony reading the thing from start to finish. Muttonous, I say. Sheep trick. Wool ewe please consider ewer readers in the future?

Thank ewe.

Janet
That was so baaa-d :)

ryan field said...

The link to "slang" was excellent. I hope everyone reads it.

Gary Corby said...

The way the town is built in the video is almost identical to how people build in the virtual world Second Life.

Anonymous said...

$3.2 million? I'm going to sign up for flying lessons.

BTW, has anyone out there been asked to sign a release form before an agent looks at their full?

Jen said...

Wow, that film was a revelation. I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the floor! Visually stunning, I just adored it.

I'm sure there was other news but I can't remember it now...... oh wait, Pilot Sully... millions of dollars... it's coming back to me.

I think that there is still money to be made in publishing, and lots of it, it's just that the money will be spread around fewer people. So more than ever it's important to write the most awesomest kickingest book that you can.

And, bah! I use bah! all the time. They don't call me Nanna Jen for nothing!

PS I have a picture now, but don't worry, I'm still the same Jen you all know and love...

Jen said...

Awesome post. Thanks for all the linkage -- I'll have to check everything out when I get a moment. Bah!

Oh, and happy Friday. Bah!

Orange Slushie said...

that film was corny beyond belief. i'm feeling slightly nauseous. bruce is not using his powers for good.

Mira said...

I thought that film was wonderful. I'll check out the links this weekend - thanks for all the effort you put into this, Nathan.

Except now I have 'baa' running through my head. It's very rhythmic.....

Actually, speaking of stealing things, I could use that in something. Baaa. Baaa. That's useable. That's very useable. Baaa, Baaa, Baaa.

That's usable.

Hmmmm. I think......I've had a very long day.

Baa.

Mira said...

Oh, I want to add that I've been to Rick's new site. I thought it was really useful. I like the respectful and helpful tone, and thought the comments were good. I'd recommend it.

Sandra G. said...

Links galore - going to have to review them over the weekend when I get a bit of time. Bah!

The video worked on a number of different levels, but I agree it defined what being a writer is like. I've never heard of Bruce Bandit before (is this a 'shame on me' situation?), so thanks for the link.

Mira said...

Nathan, I couldn't help but notice once again there was no signing contract in my e-mail.

Sigh.

What's it going to take? I mean, really? I've tried everything I can think of.

Everything.

I feel as though I'm missing something important. But what? What? It's like it's all around me, but I just can't see it. What does an agent really want?!

I wish you'd be more direct. Post some links or something letting me know what you're looking for.

What is it? What am I missing? What is that secret, elusive thing that an agent wants.....?

What......?

I must think......

Mira said...

I know!!!!!!

I thought of it!!!!!

The one thing I haven't tried!!!!

It's right there in front of me. How could I be so blind???

Of course.

What I need to do to get an agent is......

Get an agent.

I need to locate an agent to represent me to you, Nathan.

Duh, it's so obvious.

I think I'll try that nice Janet Reid. She seems really sweet.

jimnduncan said...

Is there really a market for 18 dollar books read on the ipod/phone? Though admittedly, it's a teen oriented book, and teens will blow cash on just about anything if they want it. Must say, I will never pay that kind of money to read a book on a tiny screen. My patience level is not that low.

Tsana said...

Jimmduncan, I wouldn't pay that much for an ebook in general but I would/have paid for ebooks. And my primary method of reading ebooks is on my iPhone. Also, I should point out, I'm not a teenager. And I'm certainly not buying an ebook which takes up an entire icon space.

lotusgirl said...

That video was amazing. It really was just like it feels to create a scene. Thanks for sharing.

Bane of Anubis said...

End of 3 - 98 - 84, Kings lead - the streak might be over :)

Writer from Hell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

The true definition of bah!

Let's say you make chicken and noodles for human consumption.

Let's say somewhere in there you pop open a can of cat food - oh, let's say - chicken flavor - to feed the cats!

Let's say you used one spoon for the chicken and noodles, and another spoon for the chicken-flavored cat food.

You mix the spoons up, and you, the human, get a taste of chicken-flavored cat food, when you were expecting chicken and noodles!

Bah!

Lady Glamis said...

Thank you for linking Rick's new blog, Nathan. It's something I'm excited about as well. Do you think it is something you, as an agent, would go look through every now and then?

What a great week of posts! Bah!

Bane of Anubis said...

Oops - defeat snapped from those darn victory jaws.

Richard Lewis said...

AT Changi Airport, Singapore, one of the world's wonders, going home (to Bali) after back surgery. Bah! Wait, no, that's hurrah! The painkillers are da kine. My first wardmate snored like he was firing bazookas. Stuff for a novel. Sorry to miss the week's thread live, Nathan, will catch up at home.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant film.

Emily Cross said...

Hey Nathan,

If your a coffee lover/book lover i think you'll love this idea from blackwell

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/79878-blackwell-to-unveil-the-espresso.html

Rick Daley said...

Anon @ 5:08-

It's the landing lessons that pay off.

Anons @ 2:58 & 3:11

I agree with Nathan, I think it's very unlikely that someone will take a plot and spin it into their own 80K word novel and sell that out from under the original author.

I think most of the people who have the talent to write a full novel that has sales value also have the talent to come up with their own ideas.

If I'm wrong, and my idea gets pinched, it will give me great fodder for my next story. It will be a tale of vigilante-style revenge...

Writer from Hell said...

The first para is superb...just awesome - you have the WOW in your writing! Really read it for yourself!

After Dan Brown it'll be you Mr. Brown to clock a huge bestseller!

But if you turn a writer pls accept me as your agent. Have you come across anything on how to become an agent?

Writer from Hell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shabang said...

Wow, Nathan!
That film was amazing.
And the caliber of this blog keeps surpassing itself.
Thank you.


To Anon above:
I also know of several ripped off plots, however, I know of more writers who keep their material so close for fear of it being ripped off that it never even gets a chance to go ANYwhere.

Annie Dillard said something like: Just keep writing your very best. Don't hoard your words. And more will come. I kind of agree.

For putting it out there though, for me, some things are better kept between me and my one-day agent (or doled out in tastes, rather than the whole shabang) and others are fine for sharing more completely or publicly.

laughingwolf said...

bah! ;) lol

great stuff, as always....

pjd said...

I am not a big fan of the self-contained iBook or ebook or whatever app. Why? Because they've been trying to do it since a 40 megabyte hard drive was for the rich and powerful. Portability of course changes things a bit, but not enough. There were a few mildly successful titles in the early 90s, but mostly it's been a bust.

Negativity week... how bourgeois.

Joy said...

Read your interview on Alan Rinzer's blog. Great job!

Scott said...

Watched the video first and all I can say is "wow". Thanks, Nathan.

On book theft, if you have a tasty high concept, it can definitely be stolen. However, high concepts are rarely original, therefore I would think the odds of having your idea land in capable hands first are probably very small, so get writing. Still, I keep them to myself until the book is written and, for what its worth, registered with WGE.

And nice idea for a blog, Rick. See you there.

Nona said...

For me, it's going to be the Writer's Guild of America, West. And don't forget the Library of Congress. I've had concepts stolen, not in literary circles, but in advertising. It does happen. I know of a screenwriting group that does critiques online but it's a small group and they keep things private.

Sooki Scott said...

Nathan, thanks for the laugh—must be a riot to work with you. Bah!




Confucius say; man who sneezes without tissue takes matters in his own hands.

Ray Rhamey said...

Loved the video. Many thanks for that.

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