Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, January 8, 2010

The Winner!!! (And This Week in Publishing 1/8/10)

Thanks so much to everyone for joining in as we celebrated the publication week of THE SECRET YEAR with a teen diary contest and shared the books that were our favorites when we were teenagers.

After 650+ entries, five finalists, and hundreds of votes: we have a winner.

And what with it being THE SECRET YEAR week and all, how appropriate that the winning teen diary entry is about teenagers with a secret.

CONGRATULATIONS to Jenny!!!

Jenny and finalists, please e-mail me to discuss your prizes.

Thanks again to everyone who entered and participated!

Now then. There was actually some news in publishing this week and over the holidays, so let's get to it.

It was end of the year prediction time before New Year's, and among those chiming in was Bob Miller, publisher of HarperStudio, with a best of times, worst of times roundup. Some of his predictions: publishers will focus on lowering overhead even as they face pressure to consolidate, big publishers focus on fewer titles even as there more self-published books out there, and authors with track records will receive still bigger advances even as the advances for everyone else shrinks. Definitely worth a read.

Agent Janet Reid looked back on the manuscript-reading year that was 2009 and added up all the reasons she ended up passing on manuscripts. And meanwhile, from the other side, Del Rey editorial director Betsy Mitchell posted about the reasons she passed on agented projects. (via FinePrint)

Looking forward to this new year is The Millions, who has a great roundup of the most anticipated books in 2010. (And by the way: are we all agreed we're saying "Twenty-Ten?" Or are some people still saying "Two thousand ten?" Help me out here.)

Also looking forward is Pimp My Novel: twas the season for the holidays and book sales, but now tis the season for returns.

And amid all the doom and gloom you normally read about the publishing industry and how we're all going to disappear and be replaced by Amazon's latest algorithm, you might be surprised to know that, book sales at outlets Bookscan tracks were only down 3% for the year in 2009. Sky: not falling after all!

You need a subscription to see it, but Publishers Lunch has a seriously awesome roundup of the new eReaders that are about to hit the market, including one by Samsung, a "Dualbook" with two facing screens, the Alex (partnering with Borders), and perhaps most intriguing, one called the Skiff that has a large screen and bends. If you don't have a subscription to Publishers Lunch: get one.

The Guardian UK also takes a look ahead at what an e-book future might look like, with ideas ranging from the perennial favorite Netflix-style book renting system to a "playlist" idea for books. Yeah...... don't know. Netflix-style book renting systems have been tried but have a hard time competing with libraries (many of whom already have e-book lending programs), and my "playlist" is comprised of the many books I downloaded on a whim and haven't had time to read yet. (via Neil Vogler in the Forums)

In publishing advice news, Janet Reid has fifteen things you need to know before you query, editor Cheryl Klein has tips on how to write a great query letter, author Adrienne Kress posts about how yes, the odds are long, but that doesn't mean you should be sweating them, and agent Rachelle Gardner reminds you that yes, we do give advice on queries so we can spot your work, but at the end of the day the book is the most important thing.

The winners of the Literary Lab genre wars was announced! Congrats all.

Almost finally, my client Natalie Whipple has a comprehensive post on how she tackles the revision process, which has an incredible list of questions she asks herself as she's revising, and which you will likely find extremely helpful as you edit redline revise.

And finally finally, I'd just like to give another heartfelt thanks to everyone for participating in the contest and spreading the word about THE SECRET YEAR! It's been a lot of fun, and I was so impressed by the talent on display in those teen diaries.

Have a great weekend!






72 comments:

MeganRebekah said...

I didn't get a chance to vote yesterday, but Jenny's was my favorite of teh finalists!

Congrats Jenny!!

Jenny said...

Yay! I'm so excited. Thanks so much, Nathan. This was a blast. And a BIG thanks to everyone who voted--both for me and ALL the other finalists and to Nathan for reading EVERYONE who did such a fantastic job (whew, makes me tired thinking about it!). The comments that came with the voting were fun to read and informative.

Michelle said...

Congrats, Jenny! Won't you let us all in on "the
secret?" :)

Dara said...

Yay Jenny! Congrats :)

Thanks for having this contest Nathan--it was a lot of fun.

virg_nelson said...

Congrats Jenny and thanks Nathan for the fun contest! *happy dance for making honorable mention*

T. Anne said...

A weekends worth of reading, thanx for the links.
BTW, I like twenty ten. It sounds so very futuristic. Does that mean the future is now? Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Huge congrats to Jenny!

Rowenna said...

Congrats, Jenny! Any thoughts of developing the idea further? It could make a great short story :)

Natalie Whipple said...

Congrats, Jenny! And Jennifer! Can't wait to read The Secret Year.

Tara said...

Congratulations, Jenny, well deserved! I hope we see more from you one day.

Congrats to all the other finalists and honorable mentions as well.

Nathan, it was a real surprise to me when my entry was chosen especially among so many strong submissions. Thank you for this contest and the opportunity to remember how much I enjoy writing. It was very inspiring.

I look forward to reading The Secret Year, so one last congratulations to Jennifer Hubbard!

Matilda McCloud said...

Congrats, Jenny!!!

Thanks for the contest, Nathan. I've never written YA before, but I enjoyed writing a teen diary entry...

Looking forward to reading The Secret Year...

Josin L. McQuein said...

Congratulations Jenny!

The amount of information you gather and post each week is amazing, Nathan. And for once, I'd seen most of them already myself :-P

Janet Reid's tally post was awesome (and a bit daunting - yipes, tiny numbers)

Sky Not Falling deserves to be a title itself. Yay good news for publishing.

Rachelle Gardner's post was great, though probably not so much for the author asking for detailed feedback. (No one "needs" to be published no matter how much they want it...)

And I've been reading Natalie's blog the last few days (found it through your tweet on Twitter) - great information there (I didn't place in your contest *cries*, but I won hers *squee*)

Marilyn Peake said...

Congratulations, Jenny!

Kristi said...

Congrats to Jenny and all the finalists! Now I'm off to read Natalie's post as revisions are my life right now -- Happy Friday!

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Hear what Leo has to say about publishing:

http://twit.tv/ces5

He talks about book publishing about half way through.

Very interesting since he's like the leader in new media.

Ars Technica did a pretty good round-up of eReaders:

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2010/01/the-e-book-wars-of-2010-display-technology.ars

The world is definitely changing. But will publishing get a clue or find itself trying to catch-up like the music industry did a decade ago.

As for all the posts about agents turning down a lot of submissions, I wonder if the world is shifting to a publishing model, where the Internet decides what is good and what is bad collectively. I still think that Digg is a sign of the future. Content aggregators are going to pave the way to find good content.

As for sales being down only 3%, how far down were they in 2008? And much did the Twilight series of books help out that number?

lotusgirl said...

Congrats, Jenny!

I love my Pub Lunch. Esp. the new deal round-up. I recommend it to anyone who's serious about writing. I'll definitely have to check out the Janet Reid post on querying, since I'm about there. I find her query shark posts very helpful.

Nicole said...

Congrats Jenny!

I like Josin's idea: Sky Not Falling would make a great title. Or blog name. Or fake Native American name. Hmm.

It's definitely Twenty-Ten. If it was Nineteen-Eighty, it's Twenty-Ten.

Have a great weekend!

Kristi said...

Back again to add that Natalie's post is amazing! It's a must read for anyone in the midst of revisions. I'm in the tedious, last phase she described and she's right -- you know you're in that stage if your eyes are crossing.

Amy said...

Congratulations Jenny!! I couldn't vote yesterday cos I'm essentially anonymous, but I wanted to vote for yours! And Tara's was a close second for me. But all in all - VERY strong finalist entries; I had a tough time deciding. You should all be very proud.

Wish I could access that Publishers Lunch story as I have found myself switching from "you can pry my book from my cold dead hands" camp to the "I need one of those things!!!" category. (I was reluctant to get an iPod at first, too...)

ciara said...

in light of all these posthumous publications mentioned on the millions a few questions nathan if you don't mind? what's the process when that happens? is it published unedited? edited without the authors involvement (obviously)? how do you feel about that?

limabean said...

Congratulations, Jenny! Yours was definitely my favorite.

à la vanille said...

Like what everyone else is saying: Congratulations Jenny!

Mira said...

Jenny - congratulations! Your entry was wonderful! :)

Nathan, this is an awesome post today - there is so much here. Lots of wonderful weekend reading.

So, maybe you should wait abit before the next contest, Nathan, this one was so amazing, it made the earth move. Some people think we had an earthquake, but I know it was your contest...oh, and the debut of Jenn's book, of course. :)

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Lady Glamis said...

Wow, such great links. Thank you so much for including ours for The Lit Lab! And congrats to Jenny!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Jenny! Do let us know if this is part of a WIP!
I would so like to read more!

Would also like to add my thoughts on this contest:

There were so many of the entries that really got to me. I didn't read them all, but wow.
Some were so dear and beautiful that they were haunting.
With others,I almost got sick from the amount that were angry at their mothers, and I know it comes with the turf of teenage angst, but whoa Nellie, that was a lot of mom angst.
I was saddened by the amount of entries that were dealing with horrendous circumstances, like horrid, non-meaningful sex, drugs, incest, and neglect. (Time to turn that S.A.D. light back on.)
In the end, I was completely relieved by the finalists. Some darn good shootin' writing out there.

Myrna Foster said...

Congratulations Jenny!

And Nathan, thank you for this post!

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

RE: 2010
GrammarGirl at QuickandDirtyTips says wither twenty-ten or two-thousand-ten is fine, though polling shows that most people want to revert back to the nineteen-ninety way of pronouncing the year.

Happy twenty-ten!

Dan H. said...

Nathan, please do these types of contests again and again . . . it was fun!

Congrats to the finalists and very congrats to Jenny!

Bonnie said...

Nathan, you can learn about twenty-ten vs two thousand ten in Grammar Girl's latest podcast: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/how-do-you-pronounce-2010.aspx.

Ray Rhamey said...

On "twenty-ten:" no one would have said one thousand nine hundred ten instead of nineteen ten.

author said...

Jenny's caught my attention. The others were good but I remember being in that desk, doing about the same thing.

Kelly R. Morgan said...

Congrats Jenny!

Twenty-ten.

The stats are interesting. They keep me driving for one of the increasingly fewer slots for debut authors.

Off to read Natalie's post since being in revision land applies to me :)

Hannah said...

Congratulations Jenny - loved the entry, a very deserving winner.

I'll be calling this year 'two thousand and ten' as I called last year 'two thousand and nine'. And I think if this was going to be a century of 'twenty-___' then we would have started with 'twenty-one'.

But it seems that might just be me.

Jen C said...

Definitely Twenty-Ten. If we don't take steps to introduce the Twenty now, soon we'll be saying "Two Thousand and Seventeen" and that's gonna suck. We need to save syllables, people!

PS even the newsreaders here are saying Twenty-Ten, so I take that as being cemented.

Anonymous said...

0-ten

Anonymous said...

or '10

Swifty said...

CONGRATS JENNY!!!!

Ellie said...

The horror of those debut author stats.... I think I'll stick to Blogger, thanks.

Krista G. said...

Congratulations, Jenny!

And I just wanted to add that Nathan's client Natalie Whipple has had a whole week of great posts on revising. If you're about to embark on that epic adventure, check them out.

Laura Martone said...

Like Megan, I didn't get a chance to vote yesterday either. Besides, I liked all of them - it was kinda tough to decide.

So, congrats, Jenny! You should be especially proud for being singled out amid such tough competition!

P.S. Thanks, Nathan, for generously holding the contest... as always, you managed to pull together some superb talent.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

I am glad. Jenny's was my favourite. It was simple, teenlike and had that final hook that had me wanting to know more.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

What about the decade being called the Twenty-tweens? :s

I have heard this used.

ryan field said...

Congrats to the winner.

This was a hard vote to cast. I wound up casting mine for Jaime B. mainly because of the fact that the entry started off with "Dear Pop Pop,"

This sounds like a silly way to vote, but I thought it was interesting. A teenager normally wouldn't call a grandfather "Pop Pop" in public because of peer pressure. But in a diary, where everything is so safe and secure, they wouldn't think twice. YA's are innocent, and this example, to me, was the perfect example of showing instead of telling.

Ann M said...

Congratulations, Jenny! And to all the finalists. These contests are such fun and so helpful!

Nate said...

Nathan, fantastic blog this week! Jenny, wow! Made me feel 13 again (except for the zits!) ;-)

MzMannerz said...

Wow, I voted for the winner! That doesn't happen to me often!
Congrats, Jenny.

I say both Twenty Ten and Two Thousand Ten. I only detest Two Thousand and Ten, the same way I don't like to hear people say January the fourth and such. It's just January fourth.

Or, actually, eighth.

Jen C said...

I just say Jan Fourth. It is occurring to me that I might be incredibly lazy.

Mira said...

Hmmm.

I say the 4th of January. If I could find another word that fit, I'd throw it in. Abundance and vast excess in word flinging - that's my motto.

So, I vote for calling it two-zero-two-zero.

I really like the article by Rachelle Gardner. Spot on, I thought.

Mira said...

Or even two-zero-one-zero.

Ink said...

Whew. Thought I missed a decade there for a second.

Mira said...

Lol.

Bryan, let me know if that works the opposite direction. Because then I might say 1990 so we can all get younger.

The article by Adrienne Kress is FANTASTIC! I felt like standing up and cheering. Bravo!

Erica said...

Congrats Jenny!

Thanks Nathan for another awesome contest and, as always, for the helpful info in this post :o)

Jen C said...

Mira, lets go one-nine-eight-zero and break out the blue eyeshadow and skinny ties.

J.J. Bennett said...

Twenty ten ... (2010)The other takes too long to say.

Fadz said...

Nathan,

The Secret Year reached Malaysian market! I just bought a hardcover copy for RM 68.13. The book looks different, for one it's darker than on-screen (printing with black matte lamination does that), and it looks real! Feels good in my hands.

I saw your name on the acknowledgement page. It's weird seeing the name of someone you know (knowing is a relative term) in print. Can't wait to read your actual novel. Kapow!

Can't wait to read it. Kudos to you and Jennifer Hubbard.

Jen P said...

Congrats Jenny.

All of these links interesting, but the one that stands out is Natalie Whipple's revisions' process. A REVELATION. Truly GREAT. THANK YOU. Can't recommend it enough. For some this may be basics and elementary, for me it is an 'aha' moment.

It suddenly makes sense why I take so long and can't get it done. I am doing it all backwards, focusing on the small stuff first and getting caught up in detail way too early. Then I have to repeat effort when I make more major changes. Or it seems so superficially polished, that the major changes which need made, get hidden.

Thank you for sharing Nathan, thank you Natalie Whipple.

SZ said...

Congrats Jenny ! The secret keeps coming up, however, if you tell us, it will no longer be one right ?

Nathan, you have a whole big book of tangst there ! Surely you can make it into a book and sell it ? The teens will go nuts.

Terry said...

Congratulations Jenny! Wonderful job.

And to all the finalists! So much talent.

Mary said...

Congratulations, Jenny!

Stephanie said...

Congrats to Jenny! Also, I ordered the Secret Year yesterday. I can't wait to get it!

k10wnsta said...

Damn. I'm terribly disappointed that I missed this contest. That'll learn me for not checking up on Nathan's blog (or the internet as a whole) for a week. But I'll abstain from rehashing 'the saddest words of tongue or pen' here...

I know it's all said and done and I've only read the first page of submissions (so far), but I'd like to dispense a compliment and some constructive criticism for a random entry.

EB's entry (timestamp: January 4, 2010 3:39 PM) really impressed me.
Although I found it a bit difficult to believe that a teenager would only just be seeing his mother (or a woman general) naked for the first time, further entries could establish a viable reason for such a circumstance. Beyond that, as far as I'm concerned, the writing was incredibly strong, cohesive, and compelling.

While everyone who entered deserves kudos for putting themselves out there, I wanted to offer some positive reinforcement to a quality entry that was otherwise unrecognized (which shouldn't be construed as disparaging all the other entries I read or Nathan overlooking this one in particular).

I'm looking forward to reading the next 200 submissions later this afternoon.

Mojito Maven said...

Not really sure if this is the best place to post this question, but I'm going to give it a go. One of my blog readers sent me a link to this site:

http://omnificpublishing.com/index.php?main_page=page&id=1&zenid=b61190f8680bd7396dccf593c4df42e3

I've spent the past hour reading about it...

It is a publishing company staffed by Twilight Fanfic writers. I don't run in the fanfiction realm, but it appears that they will be taking "original" works (i.e. changing the names of characters and locations) and publishing them. Some of the offerings available are from already completed Twilight Fanfiction works that have been re-worked.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would pay for one of these re-worked books, especially if they read the original and that this is not somehow shady.

So my point. Would you consider doing a blog post about fanfiction in general and how it affects the publishing industry.

This site makes it sound so easy. You complete a manuscript and BAM! you're going to get published.

Oman said...

Churchill seems to be on your authors pentips - any reason?

Clarity said...

Dear Nathan,

This is an off-topic but rather urgent so I would appreciate your feedback. One of London's top agents just asked me to send more material for a non-fiction book I am writing that she finds charming/delicious. I don't know what she means by "more" and was wondering if that translates as "everything". You're the first and only expert I thought of re. this, please let me know if I should flood away, thanks.

Nathan Bransford said...

clarity-

Just ask her what she has in mind. Agents don't bite.

Nathan Bransford said...

oman-

I represent several literary estates and handled the deals for some of the recent Churchill projects.

Clarity said...

Thank you!

TKAstle said...

Fun contest. Congrats to all the finalists, especially Jenny. Well, deserved win.

I hope you don't mind me mentioning that Mary Kole at Andrea Brown is haveing a contest this month, too. You submit the first 500 words of your finished Ya or MG novel for a chance to win a critique from her. The entry deadline is Jan. 31.

http://kidlit.com/kidlit-contest

Michael said...

I just wanted to say Congrats to Jenny - excellent entry. As usual, I was impressed with the quality of submissions in one of your contests. Thanks Nathan for putting these on - you're, like, awesome!!!

mkcbunny said...

Congratulations, Jenny! I wasn't able to vote in this contest, but your entry is great. Very intriguing. I want to know what secret they share.

And congratulations to all of the other finalists and runners up. Nice work all around.

Thermocline said...

Any YA or MG authors just itching for another crack at fame, fortune, and fabulous prizes should check out the Kidlit Contest Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Literary Agency is hosting.

Christine said...

As far as the Netflix idea for renting ebooks, I don't think that would be the next big thing, but if the major ebook sellers like Amazon and B&N were to set up subscription programs like Audible for ebooks, where you pay x amount monthly for y number of credits towards down-loadable books (that you "keep" not rent), I could definitely see that making a killing.

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