Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Your Suggestions Appreciated!

We're now three years into the lifespan of this blog, and in that time it has seen many changes. I've gone from breathlessly discussing what is happening on the Hills to seeing an ad for it the other day and thinking, "Wait... there's another season? I thought it was over a year ago!"

The world changes so much in three years.

But that's not what this post is about - I thought I'd check in to see what you'd like to see more/less of on the blog and to solicit feedback. I aim to please!

More/less queries?
More/less writing?
More/less publishing news?
More/less Nathan's writing life?
More/less Nathan speaking in the third person?
More/still-more/no-really-I-mean-way-more monkeys?

The last time I checked in people asked for Forums, so this isn't an idle exercise. I am definitely curious and very much appreciate your thoughts.

And I can't thank you enough for reading and commenting - some of you have been around since the beginning and it really means a lot! Thank you thank you thank you.






210 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   1 – 200 of 210   Newer›   Newest»
Cheyanne Young said...

I'd love to see more queries that you like enough to request and also more of Nathan talking in the third person. :)

Karla Nellenbach said...

more query tips would be great...

definitely more Nathan talking about Nathan in third person and spider-howler-monkeys please :)

Alyssa said...

I enjoy reading about your processes in writing and in agenting. If monkeys happen to sneak in frequently, that's all right too. ;)

Natalie Whipple said...

I need more cowbell.

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Pam said...

More/less queries? query tips from you are always welcome and awesome.

More/less writing? Writing MOAR!

More/less publishing news? Publishing news you can get loads of places I say save your posts and time.

More/less Nathan's writing life? Nathan's writing life is interesting. Go for more.

More/less Nathan speaking in the third person? Who doesn't love third person?

More/still-more/no-really-I-mean-way-more monkeys? Monkeys are a gimmick and to market you need a shiny spiffy gimmick right?:P

KaT said...

Queries, I third that! Those posts are incredibly helpful!

Matt Ryan said...

Hi Nathan -

Thanks for the opportunity to weigh in. Like the others, I am definitely interested in more query best practices and advice on other tools like synopses.

Thanks again.

JohnO said...

I'd love to see a discussion about picking and then developing a premise for a book you're thinking about writing. What would an agent or an editor say to a writer at the outset?

D. G. Hudson said...

My preference is for more writing information, techniques and tips. That would include query, synopsis, and all parts writing.

Keep the same amount of publishing news to keep us up to date on what's important to know, and the same goes for your writing life. It gives us a peek into the your writing process and your dealings with the industry.

As for the monkeys, those pesky little critters, I would cage them in the forums.

I think the forums are great even if I don't visit there often. I like the option. But I'm stingy with my writing time.

Thanks Nathan for asking what we think!

T.J. said...

Ditto to Cheyanne's comments. But she forgot the monkeys. Definitely more of them.

Andrea said...

I also say more queries. Please.

Shari said...

More queries, more writing.

And more cats photo, seriously. Doesn't necessarily have to have bacon taped on them, but cats photo once in a while is nice.

Wordy Birdie said...

I'd love to see the return of a search bar, so we can do a post search using keywords. I've really missed that with the new layout, and it can be a little frustrating and time-expensive to have to search through many posts to find exactly what I'm looking for.

But apart from that, love it. Keep on keeping on!

Tahereh said...

yes! your query posts are exceptionally helpful!

and so is pretty much everything you blog about.

i especially love that you share my love for all things Apple. (so i'd love to hear more on your thoughts re: the iPad, etc. and how these new technologies are going to revolutionize the literary world.)

thank you for all you do!

Nathan Bransford said...

wordy-

There's a search bar on the right side of the page, just under the books by my clients.

Chris Kubica said...

I'm with Natalie. Definitely more cowbell.

hannah said...

More queries, more fun contests.

Derek Whisman said...

I would love to see even more query talk. Perhaps more sample queries with your feedback, etc. I know from experience that the query process can often be the most frustrating parts of writing, so I think that would help tremendously.

Wordy Birdie said...

Thanks Nathan, missed that!

Leis said...

I think you have pretty good instincts, Nathan. All your posts are genuine and informative.

Don't always get the space monkeys. But that's a personal lapse.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

More cats vs. monkeys, please.

Also, more of Nathan's writing life (third person or not), but I'm especially curious about your adventures through the road to publication, and now post-publication-holy-moly-I-have-to-write-a-sequel??? life.

That, and whatever pops into your head. :)

Jess said...

Hm. I'd say more on the writing life and the writing business - so queries, writing, and your writing life would all be great.

I usually tend to just skim the publishing news though, so maybe stick to the BIG NEWS, or stuff that's really going to affect you/us.

Kristine said...

Yes to all of the above!

But seriously... I love reading about news in the publishing world and how different people are reacting to everything...I'm still lost in the world of querying and trying to get that right, so any tips and tricks there are always wonderful...and monkeys? Who doesn't love a monkey?

Melissa Sarno said...

I read a lot of publishing blogs and I feel there's a lot less information about what happens after you get an offer from an agent. I think a lot of us hope to be in that position and it's not always clear to me what happens from the offer to the book deal.

Your posts are always informative and helpful. Thanks for doing what you do. :-)

Lisa said...

More queries and More Writing.

I can't speak for everyone, but I'm not too worried about anything at the moment except working on my writing and getting an agent. This seems to be a good focus on your blog, though, but I would like to see more writing. I loved that you had people submit sample pages. I can't get past that part!

But it's a great blog anyway!

Thermocline said...

I'm jumping on the query/writing train with the others. More monkeys only if they're speaking in third person.

I don't spend much time in the Forums, but I do think they are a great resource. Thanks for adding them.

Kristi Helvig said...

Only if they're space monkeys - the other varieties really don't interest me.

I love everything you post about - well, except for eBooks, but I realize it's stuff I need to know. Basically, I'll just say you should keep up the awesome job you're already doing. I know, I'm so helpful! :)

treeoflife said...

More publishing info... you're much more connected with what's happening in the world of publishing than any of us. I'd like to know what the trends are, what genres are working, and what's not... if that is even possible :P

In no other industry I can think of is there such a disconnect between suppliers (writers) and consumers (publishers, readers). Help bridge that gap.

Stephanie McGee said...

Monkeys are always a nice addition to any post. Especially golden lion tamarinds. They make anything more palatable.

Queries would be good too. If you had examples or something. I'm a visual person so anytime I can see something put into action, it works better.

Not that there's anything wrong with your blog. I'm just saying that there's something wacky with my brain.

Jaimie said...

I agree with Natalie - I could really use more cowbell.

I like your query/writing/publishing stuff, but I like the stuff about YOU too. So... more of the same?

Kourtnie McKenzie said...

I like the way your blog is now... XD

If I had to say I wanted more of something, it's your writing process. It's refreshing hearing the writer side and there's tons of agent resources here on your blog. I loved your post yesterday!

This Is The Knew Me said...

I'm new to your blog and I'm still going through it. So far, I think it's great, but that's not why I'm commenting. One of the first things I thought when I started following you was, "Wow, this guy has a lot of author groupies!" So I was CERTAIN that when I read the comments, someone would have written, "More pictures of you, Cutiepatootie".

LMBO Now, 25 comments in... I'm SO disappointed...

T. Anne said...

Just three years? I've been here that long. I guess I'm a charter member.

I guessed I'd like you teach me how to kick the @#%! out of my revisions so I could actually produce a novel you'd like to represent. How's that?

Emily White said...

More query related posts would be greatly appreciated.

And monkeys. Lots more monkeys.

Actually, a bear vs. monkey death match would make this place perfect.

And Natalie Whipple--AHAHAHA! I am now on my way to YouTube to watch that again.

Claire said...

Hi Nathan, I'd really just like to hear more of everything :) but I'd especially like to hear about the publishing industry and your thoughts on stuff like ebooks and self-publishing and whatnot.

I like reading about queries, but they're not as interesting as hearing about the day to day publishing stuff. :P

Parisa said...

hi Nathan,
I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now and this is my first comment. Just wanted to say thanks for all the invaluable information; I read up on your old blog posts and find all sorts of useful topics (and funny ones... I too used to be amazed by the pirate/hobo that is Justin-Bobby!)

I would love to see more about writing, queries, and the agent's perspective.

Thanks!
-Parisa

David said...

I love this blog the way it is/has been so far. It's not only informative, it's also the most entertaining agent blog there is.

If Miss Snark ever returns, I might have to reevaluate that statement, however.

This Is The Knew Me said...

And I say author groupies in the nicest of ways... I don't mean to offend anyone...

SJDuvall said...

I suggest: Queries and Writing!

But only if you speak in third person about your own writing, and include anecdotes about a monkey.

Just kidding, I really enjoyed your previous post about creating a Series Bible.

Emily Anderson said...

Definitely include more cowbells.
I agree that you have good instincts. I like getting your take on issues that come up in the industry and that you listen to your commenters and respond. That's a biggie. Anything you provide that is informative and/or interactive is always useful and entertaining.
I too just scan the publishing news, but I like that you include a brief summary. If something interests me, I can click on the link.

Mary McDonald said...

More query tips, and general how-to for getting published.

Not sure about the monkey thing. I must have missed that. Sounds...interesting. ;-)

More clips of Coach Taylor giving speeches.

MJR said...

I like your posts about writing. We all need to focus on improving our writing (ie what turns you off as you are reading partials). I'm not so into the posts about queries...

I find reading all the e-news/iPad stuff painful, but that's because I work in book printing and my husband works in book publishing and we are already feeling the impact of the e-revolution in a not-so-great way. But that's just me.

Otherwise, keep doing what you're doing. I love the You Tell Me Posts because I can sound off about myself....which is fun every now and then..

Gypsyroz Poet said...

I would like more of you in third person mostly because you say some pretty funny things; and definitely more query/synopsis and contests.

Deren Hansen said...

There have been a number of votes for more Nathan speaking in the third person.

I, however, want more Nathan in the second person, omniscient.

You know you want to.

abc said...

More contests, more queries, more Mexican vacations with pictures, more pesto, and more discussion of the writing life.

Christina B. said...

I'd say more queries. Sometimes I wonder how much more someone can say on the topic, but after the recent Agent for a Day experiment I realized I'd like more on queries.

Maybe more on Nathan's writing life, too.

Also, a lot of the FAQ posts are pretty "old" (which is crazy to say b/c I feel like I just started reading the blog recently even though its been at least a couple years). And sometimes I wonder if Nathan were writing them today, would they read the same?

Steppe said...

Those six questions were rhetorical hopefully. Your very much on target
as to all those individual aspects.

I use cyber anchors to help my electronic wanderings.
This blog and an old usenet group I have participated in since 1995. That's where I moved from songriting and poetry into short stories after 15 yrs of commercial writing.

What is needed and may be beyond the scope of what your willing to participate in is an idea I'll label
a: "Writers Consortium."

It has many of the functions you already have in forums plus a collaborative function demonstrated by the recent; "Agent For A Day."

Within that broad conceptual umbrella
of a W.Consortium is only the practical sub-divisions of a hierarchical nature that would be genre separations and mixed genres.

Its a idea you might be able to sell to your agency because it is nothing more than an old fashioned writers bar with coffee and snacks.

The details are sketchy.
I have always published my work openly (usenet)and gotten the type of instant feedback that the recent A.F.A.Day exercise provided.
Plus I save the links and have permanent proof of authorship if someone should swipe a word for word poem or song. I'm a realist; people walk away with story "skeletons" constantly. Its the old cliche that there are only so many stories, when you strip them of: the stage settings, and sexual identity assignments into base forms;
of beginnings, middles, and endings with characters the reader shall identify with, even if the surface label is a silly cliche of good or evil.

So in short your doing great unless you want to expand and risk moving beyond your desire to lend leadership as administrator to a broader endeavor. Maybe a pay raise could be in it if you sell it up the executive chain.

There's to much fast food in the entertainment business and not enough
well cooked balanced sit down meals to savor. Its hard to now by browsing the glut of advertising. I'm sure agents editors and publishers suffer from the same effect; indecision due to excess unrecognizable attempted categorization choices that probably wont closely match the final outcome.

Some people read for amusement and some people read to gain insight and knowledge to better there understanding of themselves and their fellow human beings.

But you, personally administer a high quality "Hub" from which to begin a cyber journey/event for business or pleasure.

If I had the skills I would start a writers consortium. The recent exercise helped me to go from editorial brutality level 9.5 to 9.9 on my own work. Behaving as if I was a continuity specialist concerned with not losing the reader for a single beat of the pacing rhythm.

Liesl said...

No Nathan in third-person! NOOOOOOOOO!

Rick Daley said...

Please keep posting regularly. I think your weekly format is excellent. It provides great variety.

I enjoy your contests and special projects, like Agent for a Day, maybe more of those?

P.S. Natalie's cowbell request made me laugh out loud. Good call ;-)

Anonymous said...

more more more queries! and advice geared toward unpublished/unagented writers.

David said...

Rhetorical questions! That's what the blog needs.

Marilyn Peake said...

That’s funny about The Hills. I was flipping through TV channels the other night, saw a few minutes of The Hills, and thought, "Isn’t that the show Nathan used to talk about on his Blog?" LOL. I guess things really do change in just a few years.

I love this Blog, and the Forums are also great. Thanks so much for all the work you put into these!

Here are my suggestions. I’d love to see more in-depth discussions about writing, including quirky topics like symbolism – basically an Advanced Creative Writing Blog Discussion. I’d also love to see in-depth book discussions in which we analyze a book, not just say whether or not we liked it. It’s always fun when you blog about your own writing life and we all join in talking about ours. And I always enjoy your contests.

Oh, and I vote for: "no-really-I-mean-way-more monkeys". Bring on the monkeys!

Michael said...

I'd like to see more examples of quality writing and writing techniques. Help us get better.

You can never have too many good query examples.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

More monkeys and their butts, please.

Carole said...

I am fairly new to your blog and I wonder if once a month or so you could do Questions of the Day. And anyone, with any questions about writing (or monkeys) could ask(in the comment section) and you would answer. Obviously it would be a lot of work for you for the one day, but I think everyone has quirkly little questions and it doesn't seem appropriate to just ask them when it is off topic.

David said...

Advanced Creating Writing? Hmm. I think agent blogs are valuable because they provide information on commercial writing and publishing, from beginning to advanced.

Sissy said...

I really like your blog, which is why I keep coming back. You are incredibly generous with your insider tips while not mocking us aspiring writers too much.

I would be interested in seeing more of the same, and learning more about what you do as an agent. Maybe take us through one project from start to finish...from asking to see a manuscript to the day it comes out. If you've already done that, then ignore me.

And I do need synopsis help. I'm dragging my feet on that one.

Eric said...

I'd like to see a monkey getting in there and really exploring the space with this cowbell I'm hearing so much about.

The Editors said...

More monkeys, cowbell, writing, queries, videos of animals and speaking in the third person

Less i-pad, kindle, nook and endless discusions on how the e-readers with help/destroy/change publishing.

Liberty Speidel said...

While additional info on queries are good, maybe more analysis on how/why you choose to request more from a writer. Maybe use queries from your clients and tell why you chose them, in a variety of genres. (Maybe also include the process of getting them published, too--and an approximate time line from the day you signed to the day they were published?)

Cyndy Aleo said...

Less Lost. More Glee. More queries. WAY more monkeys. Maybe some squid. More how-on-god's-green-acre-you-have-time-to-blog-work-and-write-a-book.

WriterGirl said...

more nathan's writing life would be nice! i never think this blog is lacking something though, you have a great mix of topics :)

Violet said...

I'd love to see more info about topics pertaining to agented folks.

Jen P said...

I'd like to see more of the same - plus perhaps an occasional 'blog off today - go write' amnesty. I spend too much time reading and not enough writing. I could do with some kick in the rear reminders, to just BIC. I've been 'hanging around' since 2006, and WIP is still that.

Anonymous said...

status quo:

publishing news
writing
the value of reading

let's see:

iPad / device convos

mORE:

how the nature of reading / writing is morphing with the aforementioned iPad/device convos

MORE MORE:

are those iPad/device convos going to seem quaint in 10-20 years when the next gen, accoustomed to many-tasking, doesn't even read ...

Matthew Rush said...

I love the funny stuff, but then again the important information is pretty good too.

More of the same would be great as a matter of fact.

Jen P said...

PS you are raising some serious money over at Brenda Novak's. Great to see!

Elizabeth Briggs said...

I'd like to see more advice about things that go with querying beyond writing a good query letter, which I think you have already covered.

Maybe how to spice up your first 5 pages? How to get your partial turned into a full request more often? How to polish your manuscript so agents fight over it?

I think when a lot of people ask for query advice they might really need to improve their novel and/or first five pages so more agents want to read it.

Dara said...

I'd like to read about your own process in writing. I don't think I've read many posts about that.

Anonymous said...

What about a Q and A day once a month or whatever you decide where we can pepper you with questions?

Julie Weathers said...

More query information. There can never be too much.

More on synopsis or proposal writing.

More on what catches your eye as an agent. Interesting trends for instance or even things that just set your teeth on edge.

When you read for pleasure, what really strikes you about a book aside from the ones you throw at the wall and bounce back to strike you. Although that might be interesting also.

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks so much to everyone for the great ideas! For those requesting Q&A day, that is actually every day over at the Forums. There's a dedicated thread where I'll answer your questions:

<a href="http://forums.nathanbransford.com/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=4>Ask Nathan</a>

Jess said...

I really like the idea for more queries. I haven't started querying just yet, but your blog and other useful resources have helped me gain a better understanding of what agents are looking for in a query letter and I am going into the process with much more confidence.

Stephanie Garber said...

I think you have a really good balance. I loved the Be An Agent for a Day test you had last week, I think that was one of the most helpful things I've read in a while about queries and the whole process.

I'm not sure if this helps, but thanks for your blog, I for one really appreciate it... oh and I agree with others about the monkeys!

reader said...

I'd say more writing/reading stuff is always good. The contest stuff is always fun and a nice diversion -- queries, contests, agents for a day, first line contests, first paragraph contests, etc..

The publishing news is always everywhere so I skip most of the links on Fridays. Also, I personally love it when you talk about your book, own writing hazards and successes.

Marc said...

I second JohnO's suggestion above...I think that would make a very interesting post.

I would also like to read more about your writing life, Nathan. I am always interested in hearing how writers go about their work.

Thanks!
Marc

Samuel said...

Would be good to see more on what happens after you've signed an author. The submission to editors process, say, or even how you've handled second novels by clients whose first published books haven't lived up to expectations.

J. R. McLemore said...

More about writing and queries would be great. Of course, Nathan as a monkey in third-person would be cool!

Margaret Yang said...

More coffee.

Oh, wait, that was for me.

John Jack said...

To be frank, I'd like to read more about the cultural culture of publishing in general, literary agencies specifically, and less about the commercial cutlure of publishing.

Give me anecdotes, scandals, controversies, bright shining moments, reflexive retrospectives, and inspirations. Give me richly unique personalities to admire, to loathe, to emulate, to avoid.

Not just dirt, the gamut.

Anonymous said...

I really appreciate your exercises and advice on queries and writing and well, the whole publishing process in general. The exercise last week was really informative and an eye opener. Definitely more Nathan in the third person (I see nothing wrong with)

Joseph L. Selby said...

I come here for industry news, happenings, and leanings. More Monkees would be awesome too.

Mark Cecil said...

I'd say more on how to write...i.e. how to develop character, how to keep tension, how to write snappy dialogue. i mean, it's all about writing a great book, right?
you could offer your own views or have guest bloggers come in, or you could collect the views of other great writers on these topics...
otherwise, i think the blog has a terrific blend of stuff.

E.D. Lindquist said...

More about the industry, please! You always make the news entertaining and approachable. Much appreciated and I'd love to see more.

J.J. Bennett said...

I'm with Mark Cecil on this one. More on writing.

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Something all the *honest* women on this site want to know... boxers, briefs or commando?

Haste yee back ;-)

Lindsey Edwards said...

I love publishing news and posts about queries you or your coworkers liked. But let's be honest: it's the monkeys that will keep me coming back! *g*

Francis K7 said...

More queries
More writing?
less publishing news
More Nathan's writing life
More Nathan speaking in the third person?
no-really-I-mean-way-more monkeys

D. G. Hudson said...

Wow - Haste ye back, that's brazen. . .didn't know we 'honest' women had a spokesperson.

All Adither said...

Less about e-publishing trends, but I love your links. Don't stop those please.

Amy said...

Actually, I like your blog just the way it is. I especially appreciate the posts on queries and e-publishing. I recently compiled a list of what I considered to be useful blog posts about how to write query letters. Your posts totally dominated the list (linked below if anyone is curious):

http://www.querytest.com/qthowto.asp

Katy said...

It could have been a glitch, but I was looking through the forums a few days ago and a lot of them were either really slow to load or didn't load at all (I got about 15 error messages and 5 pages that actually loaded). It looked like you had smart people writing on interesting topics, so I would say faster and more reliable forums would be great!

Ulysses said...

I read this blog for all of the above. That you continue to have something interesting and entertaining to say on a DAILY basis, and that you have stretched that record out over 3 YEARS astonishes me.

Not so much with the monkeys, perhaps. I feel that mutant armadillos are an underrepresented demographic hereabouts, and would appreciate it if you could do something about that.

Thanks for all the laughs, advice and information.

jjdebenedictis said...

I've felt that, in recent months, there's been less concrete information for aspiring writers (as given from a literary agent's perspective) on the blog. I've missed that.

Features like "You Tell Me" are entertaining and let all of us rabble "own" your blog a bit better, but they're of weaker benefit to us as writers.

reader said...

Ooo, I already commented, but I should say that I love the first pages and first paragraph stuff, because I like to see how and what others are writing, and then looking at all the comments as to why they worked or didn't for the blog readers.

Even if none of mine get posted, the conversation in the comments are always enlightening. It's like a mini critique group for those of us that don't have them.

Joshua Peacock said...

More of it all! Except I hate monkeys. Lets have more bears instead.

Mia said...

I think you balance everything well as it is :~D

But really very much more monkeys would be appreciated. I do love them :~)

Nichole Bernier said...

I'd love to hear more about what happens post-queries.... how about the editor submission process? Is there any role for the writer there, or do we sit by quietly like good little seen-but-not-heard kids?
-Nichole, beyondthemargins.com

Other Lisa said...

More cat videos!

ryan field said...

I'm not going to chime in on this one. I like what you do and I think you balance it well.

Ink said...

I think what all the people who are asking for more queries are really saying is that they want more guest posts by Canadian writers.

Surely that's what they're saying.

Angela Dove said...

You give so much of your time and effort to this blog, Nathan. And it's so incredibly helpful. Just keep doing what you do, and I'll keep thanking you for it.

Dawn Simon said...

Please keep doing what you're doing--it's a nice mix. This includes continuing to come up with new ways to say, "This Week in Publishing." Cracks me up. :)

Anonymous said...

More/less queries? DEFINITELY MORE
More/less writing? more
More/less publishing news? less
More/less Nathan's writing life? less
More/less Nathan speaking in the third person? okay
More/still-more/no-really-I-mean-way-more monkeys? only owl monkeys

Kelly said...

I guess I'm in the minority, but I'd love to see more publishing stuff-- your opinions on trends, the future of the novel, genre mixing, etc. Thanks for asking, Nathan.

Jenn Johansson said...

I'd love to see more about the publishing process after you get an agent/publisher. More about marketing, foreign rights, etc. :)

bc said...

This is the best blog ever and such a tremendous resource for us aspiring authors. Thank you, Nathan.

I vote for all of the above.

bc

Francis K7 said...

Ink is correct, and he meant to say Canadian writers from the Eastern parts, who also speak French.

Right Ink?

Calliopenjo said...

Hi Nathan,

What would I like to see more of?

1. More queries. It might give me an insight on what agents will be looking for. Differences aside, there has to be some commonality. Right?

2. More writing. What sort of advice do you have? What seems to be the common link that makes your clients a success? What do editors look at when they go over an MS of a client? Grammar. Building the plot. Cutting detail.

3. More publishing. I always enjoy those. So much so, friday is my favorite day for more than one reason.

4. More about Nathan's Writing adventure. What does his writing group say about his story? How many times have you revised the first page? Did you start with the dreaded: Nathan woke up with the alarm clock. His arm stretched from beneath the blankets to rid himself of the noise.

Speaking of Nathan's story, I hope it coming along all right.

Terry Stonecrop said...

I'd like to see more on writing. Monkeys are good, too.

Zoe Winters said...

Every blog needs more monkeys. It's crazy for you to ask that!! :D

Seriously though, more Nathan talking about himself in 3rd person cause that's funny, more about Nathan's writing, and more publishing industry news.

Ink said...

Francis,

I thought you guys already seceded. Are you still Canuckian? ;) I've got to keep a better grip on current affairs.

And the french-speaking thing would kill me. Je parle un petit peu. With a strong emphasis on the petit part. "Bonjour. Um. Yeah. Ca va bien? Un cahier es loco... oh shit, that was my crappy spanish seeping in. Un cahier es mucho... I mean, tres, um, good. Yeah. Um. Au revoir. Right? Au revoir. I have a, um, telephono call. Damn."

Kristin Laughtin said...

Wow, it has been a while since you talked about The Hills!

Definitely more monkeys, and more queries and tips on things to do/not do in your first few pages. Those are always interesting to read.

And as much of your life as you're comfortable sharing.

Third person is always fine.

The Red Angel said...

It's been great following your blog, Nathan, I'm really glad I found it! :) Congrats on the three years, that's a long time.

More writing and publishing news please! I also especially like it when you have activities such as You Be the Judge/etc. that involve us readers. :D And your reviews on the iPad and such are very interesting as well!

I like getting to know the people who are blogging the blogs I follow, but it's totally up to you how much about your own personal life you'd like to share. But less Nathan speaking in the third person. xD More speaking in first person!

Monkeys! TONS, and tons more monkeys. :3

Anne R. Allen said...

I've got to put in a vote for publishing news. The Friday pub news post is a can't-miss for me.

Maya said...

First off, thanks for providing us with such a great blog (and forums!).

I like to read a mix of all things writing/agenting/publishing. My favorite is the interactive stuff like Agent for a Day and contests.

Maybe some more personalized analysis from you: what YOU think is hot in publishing right now, why you choose one project over another, etc.

Other Lisa said...

Okay, I too love the "This Week in Publishing" and the overall trends.

And cat videos.

Kimberly Kincaid said...

Wait! Waitwaitwait!

Are *monkeys* the new angels (which are the new zombies, which are the new vampires)?!

ZOMG, Nathan...I can't keep track of all of this without my head caving in a little bit!

I'm knee-deep in the query process, so I selfishly vote for more of that, but honestly? I really glean a lot from all of it- even the comments from everyone else. So if you just keep doing what you do, I'm a happy girl.

My word verification is "parflute". I head those tricky cats play a mean one of those...just ask the monkeys.

Jenny said...

I think it would be interesting to hear about the process of contract negotiations, especially regarding the new ebook formats.

Tara said...

More on... everything but the monkeys, I think, and the publishing news. And way, way more third-person writing, yes?

Neurotic Workaholic said...

More of anything on your list sounds good. And maybe talk about candy too, just because I've never met anybody who doesn't like it. And if they don't like (other than for health reasons) then they're weird.

Anita Saxena said...

Definitely more third person Nathan but would love to hear more about your writing and Jacob Wonderbar

P.A.Brown said...

I'd love more queries and writing. Those are my main interests.

The Pollinatrix said...

I'd like it if there were more comments on your posts. Just kidding.

What I'd really like to see is non-fiction writing/querying/publishing topics addressed more fully.

But even if this doesn't happen, I will still see your blog as an amazing gift.

Heidi Thornock said...

Tell us how you get 3500+ "admitted" followers in three years...

Would love more queries and generalized writing advice (like what you see a lot of that doesn't work - gimmicks).

Publishing news seems about right because it's a solid basic foundation without spending hours ourselves searching everything.

By the way - how on earth do you get everything done that you do? I'd love to see a time-based breakdown of your day or week activities. Do you ever even see your wife? Nestled in there of course would be your personal writing experiences (I hope).

Thanks, Nathan. Your blog is my favorite one to follow for more reasons than I could list here.

salarsenッ said...

Monkeys who serve, works. And a straight shot to the first comment after you post. Dang it! I check, check back, wait...and I miss it every time. I end up in the slush pile of Bransford's comments. Yikes!!

Kate said...

More queries and more writing!

Marilyn Peake said...

I had another idea, either for your Blog or Forums. The Feedback section of your Forums is fantastic for writers to receive critiques on their work, but I wonder if writers might enjoy an additional place where they could post excerpts more for discussion than for critique. The volunteers would definitely have to be brave souls to just put their work out there for everyone to discuss, but it might be fun. If you did this on your Blog, you could pick the submissions for discussion. There are only two main reasons why excerpts are usually posted on the Internet: for critique or as enticements to "buy the book". The hugely famous and popular Neil Gaiman is having one of his books, AMERICAN GODS, featured for discussion by all of Twitter, but there isn’t much of an opportunity for unknown writers to have their work discussed in any similar open forum.

Francis K7 said...

Ink,

I am VERY much still a Canuck! Always have, always will be...

Currently enjoying the playoffs VERY MUCH, as our beloved Habs kicked the Capitals' asses, and though the shady penguins have us beat at 3-1 so far, that how it was with the caps... WE SHALL PREVAIL! Go Habs go!

Your first French lesson shall begin here: "Le train s'arrête doucement, surtout quand je suis sous l'effet de notre plante verte préférée."

M Clement Hall said...

More of what works for you, and why.
And thank you for your efforts.

jessjordan said...

Queries are like crack. Monkeys are cute. Third person cracks me up. I'm going with those.

stacy said...

I enjoy hearing about your writing, and the week-ending caps of the publishing business are a great way for me to stay current, even though technically I'm not in the publishing business.

I'd love it if you could do some YouTube vids with full-on jazz hands.

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

All of the above. =) And contests, I'm always up for contests! They keep me on my toes.

Lynn Mitchell said...

More writing tips.

More third person Nathanisms.

...I like monkeys.

...and shoes.

...and talcum powder.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the perfect balance of wit and wisdom , as for monkey's I feel we could be getting a little more specific on the certain breeds , for instance , both the macaque and the proboscis nose could be mentioned a little more . Thanks Nathan.

Andrew E. Kaufman said...

More on queries since, judging by your contests, the majority of your readers are trying to find representation. Writing as well, since the two sort of go hand in hand.

Slushpile Slut said...

This blog is wonderful as is!! You do a great job! Thx so much for all the awesome advice! The forum rocks too!

Scott said...

First of all, Nathan, I think the format you've developed over the years is outstanding. If I can cry for "more", it'd be for queries and possibly more info on your writing experiences. Publishing info is invaluable, but I think many of us feel very far away from needing a lot of it. Attacking some issues closer to the writing process would be way cool.

And if I may comment on a subject of which I know just enough to be dangerous: blog format. It's a huge pain in the hoop to change things, especially since you pretty much just did, but have you ever experienced "nesting" comments, where visitors can reply directly to individual comments. I know the forums handle this pretty well, but sometimes the topics heat up here much better.

Just a thought, and oh–more talk about yourself, but in the fourth person. Cheers!

Christi Goddard said...

What I'd like someone to do, so might as well be the fabulous you, is remark about trends they are seeing in queries and what publishers are accepting. Not to follow the trend, of course, but to know that there IS one would be nice. It'd be nice to know a query might be being rejected because there's umteen zillion others being queried at the time with the same/similar idea.


And not even a specific number or anything. Just a 'hey, this week's trend is intergalactic vampire cowboys and animorphic zombie football players. Seriously, peeps, wtf?' sort of note.

Kermit Rose said...

I predict that the accumulation of all these comments will imply that you just continue on with the same inspirational blogs in the same way as before.

I really appreciate those writing tips such as "Series bible".

Kermit Rose

Anahita said...

I came to your blog when I had just discovered I loved writing and I was clueless on where to find relevant information and which materials to study. You showed me great resources that led to other great resources, and it is still going on. I don't have any suggestions, but I was looking for an opportunity to say thanks. So,
THANK YOU.
Anahita

Ink Spills said...

I would like to see more publishing trends/news and more querying/writing tips, definitely. As an agent, you offer a unique perspective to the industry which makes your opinion (and thus your writing advice) pretty valuable.
And as for the monkeys... Maybe a ninja monkey here and there, but I'm not overly fond.

Tori said...

Things I'd likem to hear more about:

1) Anything having to do with queries. Seriously. It would be great if you could show us examples of what NOT TO DO. Not many agents talk about that.

2) More writing tips. I'm not picky either. It could be anything from how to find time to write, to revising...to...whatever. I love your posts on the subject. They have certainly given me much to think about as a writer.

3) More about YOU and YOUR writing. I don't know why but it always helps knowing that there is someone else out there writing right along with me. I'd love to see your progress on your book, your good says and bad days. It would really inspire me to keep going.

4) More stuff about publishing, finding an agent, how to get published, ect. It's always good for me to be reminded of the ups and downs of publishing and knowing that this will take some time.

There are other things, but these are my first thoughts. Really, any information you give us is gold. I'm just glad you have a blog in the first place!

Kaitlyne said...

Monkeys! :D

SAC said...

I would love more about both writing and about your writing life.

Malia Sutton said...

I'm a newcomer to the blog, but I love what you do. You are a blogging expert, and out of the thousands of self-indulgent amateur blogs out there that suck (and I consider my blog one of these), yours doesn't. So if you do make changes, I'm sure I'll love them :))

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Your take on the publishing industry is fresh and insightful.Information on queries and writing is always useful, but there are other places to find equivalent information.

~ Jim

Bamboo Grovers said...

I think you have a great balance at the moment. When you discuss queries, synopses, etc, I would really love to see more real life examples; good, bad and great. With your rationales for labelling them so.
Thanks for an excellent blog.

Ink said...

Francis,

Ha! That was funny. At least I think it was funny. If I translated it right. I'm starting to worry...

Anonymous said...

I found the agent for a day really interesting. Perhaps you can do a similar contest on a regular basis. For example non fiction one month, mystery/thriller another, memoir a third.

Mel said...

Definately more queries...more third person...and who doesn't love monkeys?

Anonymous said...

Love the links you add in your blog - I've found many interesting things that way, so please keep it up! Always love query stuff and it's sick, but I love hearing about the horrendous ones (Craig's List...etc) makes me feel better about mine. More on the writing life too please! Gotta bring out the monkeys from time to time also-everyone needs a laugh.

John said...

Less about TV shows and more about writing.
How about something for a writer who will publish a one-and-only novel.

Roselyn said...

I am not a blog person. This is the first time I have posted a comment on someone's blog. This is a compliment to you---I think your blog is terrifically helpful.

Great tips for a first time author like myself.

Write a blog on how a previously unpublished author of fiction, who has written a first-time novel, can even have a glimmer of hope in getting a) an agent and b) a publisher.

The one thing I've learned is that this is a cutthroat business.

Thanks for the tips and the HUMOR.
PS Not interested in monkeys.

Patrice said...

Your blog is pretty tremendous now, so I wouldn't change much. I come here before other sites, which tells me something. I like the way you aggregate publishing info on Friday, so we can figure that any big news will end up here and we will be able to learn about it from a reliable source.

Love the contests, etc., and your own journey through publishing (thanks for taking that on, BTW, to help all of us learn about that side of the biz). But I think the most valuable thing you contribute is writing in a tone that is both enthusiastic and realistic as a smart, curious, and in-the-know agent.

Okay, that sounded very suck-up. But I meant it anyway.

Marti said...

Happy blogiversary from one of the old-timers who's been here since the beginning. Best wishes to you for many more years. I love your blog, I learn so much. I really appreciate the query and synopsis advice.

Victoria said...

I'd like to see more ways we would win feedback on our first pages or our queries. You know, not who is up first in the morning or anything (hard for those of us downunder) but... I don't know, some other way. And you know, not like at an auction, where one can buy a critique for a billion dollars, which would be awesome if we weren't a struggling starving writer in a garret.

I can't think. My brain has frozen.

BG said...

I'd definitely love to see more competitions, and the occasional 'Nathan's autopsy' of selected samples. Another nice touch might be an occasional 'What I'd love to read right now' post. I've often seen similar on other agent/editor blogs, and sometimes it sparks an idea. I'm sure you'd love to read about the invasion of the cloned weremonkeys for instance.

Sorry if this is a repeat. I can never get my posts to stick.

Nathalie said...

I love this blog, I'm never bored and always learning something from you or the other readers.

That said, more query everything - especially samples of ones you like enough to request pages. And then what makes you reject them...

I appreciate the links throughout the posts, all very informative.

Anything on the writing process, maybe more suggestions on books about this?

The only thing I might say less of is the publishing news. I can't remember the other things on your list so there you have it.

Just keep it fun and thanks for taking the time to do this.

Steve Fuller said...

More nudity.

Dawn Maria said...

I fully expect Monday, May 24th's post to discuss what the heck happened on LOST.

Haylee said...

More talk of books and authors you love on a regular basis who aren't necessarily your clients. Projects that you wish had come across your desk? Projects that you would like to see land in your inbox?

Francis K7 said...

Ink,

I have no doubt you translated it correctly! ;)

karen said...

i'm with the querie crowd. And maybe some time spent discussing synopsis writing in depth...with examples. That would help.
Thanks, Nathan, for all you do for us.

Kathy M. said...

I want more query, less nothing. I love it all and read you more than the New York Times. LOL I'm from Florida, so I don't read the New York Times. I read you daily, suffice it to say. I want more on the publishing world and its changes. I love being kept uptodate on everything that is important and will educate me and help guide me through the publishing maze. I love your third person writing and I am thrilled you care enough to take time out of your busy work schedule to help, and definitely more monkeys. Thanks Nathan.

Ted Cross said...

I like it when you keep a good mix, but it would be nice to see you do more critiques of both queries and perhaps short partials, as I think that could really help us more than most things. I imagine it is tough to find time for such things, though. If you do this, I hope you will rotate between genres so we will see a variety.

Joy said...

I like hearing about industry trends, where the industry is, what's cutting edge. I realize most people want the fast-track pill to publishing, but I want to know what's going on in the industry. Anyone can look up info on queries and publishing, you know?

Suzan Harden said...

Monkeys. Definitely more monkeys.

Lucy said...

This is such an enjoyable blog; I can't think of anything I'd want to see changed.

(I really, really hate when food manufacturers keep trying to improve their product, which happens to be one of my favorite brands, and, um.... mess it up. Not to name any names, Worthington Foods, but you know who you are.)

Oh, and space monkeys are always good. Reed N. Lurk is into the space monkey thing. :D

Thanks for keeping this blog going, Nathan!

mkcbunny said...

I think you maintain a really good balance between all of the proposed subjects. A little query, a little pub news, a little Q&A, and monkeys. Most of what you post is business, so I do enjoy the funny monkey/TV/other stuff as a fun aside.

But what are you going to talk about when Lost is over?

JulieanneReeves said...

Speaking of monkeys...

My kids were watching Zula patrol this evening and of course I'm not. Well not really, I was feeding the baby.

Anyways...

The narrator starts his shpeal(sp sorry it's late) and I hear the words. I kid you not. SPACE MONKEY OPERA. Seriously. No. Seriously.

I still have no friggin clue what it had to do with the show, but I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. Poor DFS (dear foster son) started crying, I scared him so bad.

Steve said...

Maybe this exists on the FOrums, but It's all I can do to keep up with blog reading, so I don't normally see the forums.

But I'd like to see the occasional "Ask Nathan" post where blog readers can ask their burning questions about topics you may not have directly addressed.

-Steve

(For example, I'd love to hear what your response would be to the possibility of professional query-writing services).

-Steve

Vacuum Queen said...

I think there's enough query info out there. You don't have to end yours, just don't add to it. I'm curious about writing process and agenting in general. Publishing too. I wouldn't mind hearing about Jacob W and where he's at in his publishing life right now. Just to sort of follow him along to learn about it all.

I'm not so much inclined to linger when it's a post about eBooks. No offense.

I'm really sort of a non-writer since I don't know if I'll ever pursue publishing for anything I write, but I enjoy learning about the industry here. "Someday" I'll write more seriously, but I enjoy this world. :)

Vacuum Queen said...

Hey, here's a suggestion (and I'm sorry I'm taking up two comments):

I know you've printed your 2 line blurb for Jacob W, but I would love a post that has your 2 line blurb, your back flap summary, your 1 page synopsis, your 3 minute pitch, etc. etc. Am I right in thinking a person needs to summarize their book in many ways for many reasons? I'd love to read them all in one post. Do you start with the biggest one and pare down? Or start small and go out?

Just curious. And I think it'd be a great example since you've already successfully pitched it.

Zoe said...

Yieks, comment 176! Well I might as well put in my 2 cents. I always love to hear your perspective on what's going on in publishing over the pond so I'd be for more publishing news, but then again I'd be a bit bias in that regard. :)

Joe G said...

I like that you measure your life in reference to the evanescent popularity of The Hills.

Jovanna said...

Rather no monkeys
Rather opinions of person
Rather whatever you feel like writing cos that's what will be most intersting at the time.
Mind me not, had a bad day.

wendy said...

I enjoy visiting this blog and think everything you post is spot on, Nathan. As others have suggested, I'd be interested in hearing more about your writing life as obviously you're onto something that works. I love the contests, too. So more of those, please, if you can spare the time. Also I agree with Bamboo Grover's suggestion of more real life examples of what and what not to do in the querying/writing process.

Thanks, Nathan!

Alexandria Gilbert said...

More about your writing please!

Claire Vorster said...

Thanks for your Blog Nathan. More on your life in Publishing, queries, helpful stuff, funny stuff. And monkeys :)

Elena said...

I say more of everything! This blog is the highlight of my day! ^_^

dennis said...

More queries....publishing news....whatever happened to the winner of the "first paragraph" contest???

Bi-Annual "first paragraph contests"......love that one....great blog.

Dennis

Anonymous said...

With book sales coming down, I'm curious if agents like yourself are changing what is considered good writing. There seems to be a mismatch between what the public wants to read and what people are reading. What has replaced the low-brow pulps of the 30-40's?

I am also curious about the agent/editor relationship. We don't often hear about it. How does that query process work?

Lisa R said...

I'd like to hear more about reasons for rejecting manuscripts you've requested.

Kim Batchelor said...

Echoing what a lot of people are saying (monkeys aside), I really want to thank you for the time you take to write these as frequently as you do. Almost all the information is very helpful, query information especially. I can't recall if you've addressed market trends, but I could always use some information on whatever you're hearing. I have several projects to market and that would help with planning (I already know not to try to write to market).

Malissa said...

I would definitely say more about queries and more about your writing life, the slush pile and what not to do.

Less monkeys

One thing I am curious on is first person vs third person and if there is any way to use both in a novel.

Glynis said...

Query tips would be helpful. . . with some real life examples of what to write and what not to write.

More of what you go through as a writer, first or third person.

Carpy said...

I agree that writing tips and queries are always welcome. Sometimes suggestions I read from the comments section will send me skittering to a new writer's or literary website. More pictures, please. I'll always remember the llamas. Friday's publishing news keeps me informed. I think you do a great job and I recommend your blog to others.

Tim Brandhorst said...

You should publicize the "Connect with a Critique Partner" section of the forums more often--this could be a really cool service/community if enough people took advantage of it.

Chuck H. said...

More monkeys. Monkeeeys Innn Spaaace! No wait! Pigs. Piiigs Innn Spaaace! Yeah, that's the ticket.

goldchevy said...

More on queries and writing

FantasticFiction said...

More queries!
More writing!
less publishing news!
less Nathan's writing life!
ess Nathan speaking in the third person!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to hear more about your experience as a soon-to-be published author, as I am one too. But specifically in relation to the kind of advice you give your own clients, for example, in the contract negotiating phase, or how to promote once a book comes out. It's VERY interesting how you live in both sides of the same world...talk about that more.

Marsha Sigman said...

More query info, more writery info, more personal info (cause thats damn funny) but less Kindle/Ebook/Ipad blah blah blah.

It depresses me.

Backfence said...

Anything on queries is invaluable.

Also your insights into the minds of agents (in general - and yours, in particular) are extremely helpful.

Blogs that help us understand the process, trends, writing and querying no-no's ... And always, ALWAYS with that wonderful sense of humor that is your "signature."

heather said...

I clearly missed this blog - on accident of course!

Is it too late to weigh in and vote for an inordinate amount of monkeys? Perhaps even ones with guns?

Oh, and more on your writing habits and tips, and, hmm. Ooo! How 'bout something on punctuation? Do's, don'ts, and the like?

Love your blog! Oh, and can't wait for more monkeys. And contests! Yes, more of those.

:-)

~heather

Allison Morris said...

Hi Nathan.

Thanks so much for your blog. And thank you for asking us all.

I usually find concrete examples most helpful. Using real queries, synopses, books as examples to illustrate your points. Helps me wrap my head around your insightful advice.

Thanks!

Christina said...

I'd say:

More tips on- queries,synopsis writing, and writing in general because its always good to hear what an agent thinks about these things.

More- your writing life because I always find it interesting to compare methods.

definitely more- monkeys. Who doesn't love monkeys?

Less- publishing news because that's easy to find out there.

jongibbs said...

I wouldn't change a thing :)

Tawny Taylor said...

I'm a lurker. I don't comment much but always read your posts. In particular, I enjoy your publishing/industry news. Speaking of which, I'd love to hear your thoughts on agents/agencies launching digital publishing ventures. I've heard of two now. Is this the start of a new trend?

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