Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, February 26, 2010

This Week in Publishing 2/26/10

It's my last day in Mexico, and what a trip it's been. My wife and I are staying in a hotel at the top of a funicular (every morning should start with a funicular ride) and are enjoying the sights of Guanajuato, an old silver and gold mining town that has Parisian alleys and Mexican colors. Underneath the city are cavernous passageways that were originally built for flood control but now serve as roads. The food (especially anything sweet) is incredible and the coffee supposedly the best in Mexico. I'm currently at the Cafe Tal coffee shop, and my wife just ordered a shot of pure liquidy chocolate goodness called Beso Negro that should probably be a controlled substance. Mexico = awesome!

But meanwhile, there was a week in publishing and I tried to keep up with it (I'll fold anything I missed into next week).

There was some terrific writing advice catalogued online by the Guardian UK this week by authors as varied as Margaret Atwood, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, and Neil Gaiman, but with apologies to the other luminaries, Elmore Leonard steals the show: don't open with weather, avoid non-said dialogue tags, and best of all, try to leave out the parts that readers skip. (via @ColleenLindsay) The New Yorker's Book Blog notes how personal these lists are to each individual writer, and it hints at the ultimate writing rule: make your own rules.

If you're a writer, chances are you've received your fair share of rejections. But have you received 11,000 rejections?

This week in the Forums: people share their rejection stats, discuss their book cover pet peeves, and does your manuscript get longer or shorter after your first draft?

Kids everywhere have a new strategy for convincing their parents to buy them a Nintendo DSi XL: it doubles as an e-reader. I'm not even a parent and I can hear it now. "But Moommmmmm, it's educational!!"

In addition to serving as poster child for the mid-aughts fake memoir craze, the New York Post is speculating that James Frey is writing many books under many pen names, including supposedly-off-the-grid John Twelve Hawks. Savvy promoter as ever, Frey will neither confirm nor deny the questions. I like this strategy. I will neither confirm nor deny that I am William Faulkner. And a vampire. (via The Book Bench)

And finally, it's a snow day for many of my East Coast friends, who I guess are having as many Snowpocalypses as bad horror movie sequels. I will raise a margarita in false solidarity.


Have a great weekend!






45 comments:

Marilyn Peake said...

Guanajuato sounds awesome! And your photographs are fantastic.

Regarding game systems, it turns out they're educational in and of themselves, especially for hand-eye coordination. Research reports have had some surprising results. Turns out the only difference between college students who play games on computer during study breaks and those who don't is that the game-players develop better multi-tasking abilities. And it turns out that many of the best neurosurgeons play video games. Pretty cool, huh?

The link about 11,000 rejections caught my eye. 11,000 rejections?!!? Holy camoly. Now there's a goal. :)

D. G. Hudson said...

It's great you get to travel to such nice spots, but will you be giving any summaries to your readers of how the conference went? Any epiphanies regarding writing while siting in that warm sun?

Hurry back to the blog, we miss your erudite humour.

D. G. Hudson said...

That's sitting, not siting.

Reesha said...

Wow. Beautiful sunshine. Please enjoy it as much as possible while you're there!

abc said...

It looks so warm and sunny. I want to go to there.

I think after the the 3, 000th rejection I would explode from donut and Ben n' Jerry's consumption.

In my next life I'm going to be a cool literary agent who travels to awesome places instead of a bum, which is what I am.

Nathan Bransford said...

d.g.-

Scroll down, my friend. I recapped the conference on Tuesday.

Mira said...

Nathan - you look so happy and relaxed in that picture, like you're having a wonderful time. That's wonderful - you really deserve it. You work so hard - for example, you're on vacation and you're still posting today!

The links look great - thank you. I appreciate the balance between writing advice that can be helpful, but ultimately doing it your way - that's crucial, and wise, and I appreciate it.

Okay, about the 11,000 rejections. There is definitely someting seriously wrong with me. I read that and found myself thinking: I could beat that. Bet I could get 12,000 rejections. In a weekend.

Okay, I think I need professional help.

Have a wonderful weekend - and Nathan, on your flight back......don't get LOST. (Ha ha ha, I'll never tire of that joke.)

Thermocline said...

Roddy Doyle's first suggestion is the best piece of writing advice ever.

Kittie Howard said...

"Thanks for the warm weather report," she said through frozen East Coast lips. But brain freeze did appreciate the Nintendo link. Thanks!

Ink said...

Man could I use sunshine and a margarita right now.

Other Lisa said...

I am weeping bitter salty tears at this moment. Sadly, I have no margarita.

Kathryn said...

Ah! There was no link to the LOST thread. I actually have to click through and find it myself!

And 11,000 rejections? Yikes.

T. Anne said...

I love, love, love your picture! That brightened my day.
Have a great weekend.

Margaret Yang said...

Thanks for thinking of your loyal readers, even when you're in beautiful Mexico!

Clarity said...

Thanks for reminding me of MY forgotten local paper, it's been a mad week. I was actually in the same area in Mexico yonks ago but it's a foggy, peaceful blank. Well done for taking the wife somewhere lovely and for keeping in touch.

P.S. You look fifteen in the picture, good genes or Mexico? hmmm.

Anonymous said...

“Cut out the metaphors and similes.” Esther Freud

This is important advice to keep in mind after reading Tom Robbins. While reading Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, my writing became infected with a serious case of metaphoritis.

The Red Angel said...

Mexico looks beautiful! =)

Sam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ktvo said...

thank you, Jacob Appel. that is inspirational. I will keep at it til I accrue 11,100 rejections. And then I'll probably keep at it some more.

Let's see, he was 35 when he had that many. I'm 25 and I have about 60 rejections.

I need to work faster.

SB said...

good advice -- ! And very kind of you to raise your glass!
--SB


not too serious i hope

Dawn Simon said...

Dear Mr. Faulkner:

I'm muy impressed you're posting this week. And the post at Pimp My Novel about the man with over 11,000 rejections? Wow!

Best,

J.K. Rowling--I mean, Dawn Simon

Anonymous said...

So cool. Nathan!

Anonymous said...

11,000 rejections?

Whatever he pays his secretary isn't enough.

Yamile said...

The dsi doubles as an ereader? I won't let my already voracious reader 9 YO hear that or he might win the current fight at home.
That is a a great picture of you. I'm happy you and Mrs Bransford are enjoying Mexico.

Thomas Burchfield said...

Well . . . I *feel* like I've received 11,000 rejections. Thank God, I don't keep count, or it would be straitjacket for me.

In my publishing news, I've posted some thoughts about my experiences with e-publishing at: http://www.redroom.com/articlestory/ephemera-forever-an-adventure-e-publishing

Rogue Novelist said...

Great time in San Miguel de Allende!!! My wife Suzy and I were there on 10/10/2009, for our Son's wedding at St. Paul's church. We rented an estate-Casa Capricio-an 18th century home in the center of town, and spent some time touring the Instituto Allende, the Jardin and the town of Dolores Hidalgo.

It's a colorful photo op town and I captured some excellent footage with my camera.

That entire area is so eclectic and classic. We wish we stayed longer than nine days. Maybe next year. Glad you had an enjoyable time.

Malia Sutton said...

Have fun, cutie.

Craig Lebsky said...

Nathan, first time checking out your website. Thanks for all of the great information!

Anonymous said...

I Love Guanajuato! I lived there for a summer in college. Coolest town in Mexico by far!

Anonymous said...

Nathan, are you interested in short stories? There are very few agents who do. What about YA short story collection?

Thanks
R

Lola Cutter Hensel said...

Your post just prompted me to look up the word "funicular".

According to the "learn something new every day" theory, now that I've learned something new I'm free of my obligation to learn anything for the rest of the day. And it's only 2:10 AM.

Thanks!

therese said...

I don't have a margarita here but I also will raise it in false solidarity for all those under the Snowpocalypses, many of them are my family. While I miss them, occasionally, I never miss the weather.

Mary Ellen said...

It was so fun hearing you speak in San Miguel...Thanks for all the great advice. Save travels back to the US.

Amy said...

I can't tell you how upset my 10-yr old is about the new DSi; she just got one for Christmas.

Thanks for thinking of us on our Snow Day. I'm in upstate NY & used to getting more than our share of snow, but every big storm that has attacked the East Coast this year has missed us. All but this one.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

It isn't nice to engender envy Mr Faulkner-Bransford! Guanajuato and its funiculi funicular look spectacular. The walk down, however, you can keep. :)

Should 225 rejections in two days count? No, that was only on your Blog!

Alice said...

Okay, I have to ask. Are you old enough to savor an alcoholic beverage, or did you go to Mexico to see how much your young body can hold without vomiting?

Chuck H. said...

Ya know, if your hair was lighter in color, you would look a lot like the kid on "Two and a Half Men".

WV: dingsat - don't have a funny definition, just thought it sounded kinda cool.

John Jack said...

The New Yorker blog post hints at more than the ultimate writing rule. A rule for life, Learn how to think for one's self. Does anyone really need to be granted permission to think for one's self? I'm afraid it is so too often. Worse, too often, thinking for one's self fosters negative peer pressure of the groupthink variety.

Get in line with the group or you will be shunned, cast out, or sent into solitary exile. Behave according to the dictates of the group.

Being told how to live, to create, to write doesnt' strike me as the best way to be original.

Mira said...

Don't listen to them, Nathan. That picture is wonderful, and you do not look 15. You look about 23-26, and looking younger than you are will make you very happy when you're 50.

You also look very honest and trustworthy and likeable, all of which are true, which goes to show you.

5kidswdisabilities said...

All those east coast folks stole the snow from us Northeast folks...I have 2 snowmobiles and 4 snowman-less children all waiting for a winter that will never come...

Scott said...

Some excellent advice in those lists, but I've never cared for Elmore Leonard. His prose is so curt as to be parched, save the occasions where he bleats on and on with different characters in the same voice. And he smacks of a crotchety old postal worker who needs formula to function. He's the David Mamet of decidedly "unpoetic" fiction without the range.

Anyway, I see you're in a long-sleeve shirt, Nathan. Is it horrible that I hope that means there's at least a slight chill in the air? ;)

Katy said...

snow day was pretty awesome, but i would take Mexico over it in a heartbeat!

Sean Craven said...

Oh, dude.

You got me curious. I googled Beso Negro.

Oh, dude.

Nathan Bransford said...

sean-

Yeah, I'd advise against that.

Nathan Bransford said...

Amazing hot chocolate drink at Cafe Tal though!

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