Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, July 2, 2010

This Week in Publishing 7/2/10

What a week! My visits are always a whirlwind of meetings, lunches, meetings, meetings, drinks, meetings, and meetings, but it's always fun to be here, get a sense of the pulse and make new connections. And thankfully the weather decided to take mercy on me - I was worried there for a moment.

Now then! I did keep track of some of the news and links this week, and I aim to share a few of them with you. Oh - did I mention I'm writing this from my iPad? First iPad-generated post on the blogt! History being made. Only not really. (Please be extra forgiving of typos!)

The cool kids over at Shrinking Violet Promotions have a terrific post on how best to develop a personal brand as an author. The key? Letting it evolve naturally. Much much more in the post, and definitely worth reading.

In this day and age when everyone is wondering what the next vampire/angels/post-apocalyptic/zombies is going to be, agent Rachelle Gardner has a good reminder about what's happening when publishers buy books in hot genres:, it's often about what's selling.

Agent Jim McCarthy from Dystel & Goderich attended a writers conference where they asked him to be positive in a speech, and it got him thinking - are we in publishing actually too nice?

Comment! Of! The! Week! goes to Laurel. Lots of people mentioned overuse of the word "just" as one of their writing tics, but I loved Laurel's way of showing it:

I just can't stop using the word just. It's just so invisible that it just keeps creeping into my MSs no matter how many times I just search and destroy it.

And finally, an enterprising mixologist has created a new cocktail and called it the Literary Agent: part whisky sour, part Hemingway daiquiri. On that note...

Have a great 4th of July weekend!!


J. T. Shea said...

You mean you still write on computers OTHER THAN your I-Pad!? Big Brother...I mean Steve Jobs will get you for that! Remember, the I-Pad does not belong to you. You belong to it!

And, if you find your office on fire and full of rubber chickens, scuba gear, hula dancers, pizzas, moneys, yaks, vaseline, rubber tubing, soapy frogs, corndogs, and marshmelons, you'll find an explanation on the Forums. BUT I'M NOT RESPONSIBLE! Margot and Downthewell and the others MADE ME DO IT!

Mira said...

Sounds like a busy week, Nathan. I hope you're having some fun in there! And thank you (!) for taking the time to post here - that's very cool of you!

J.T., I have no idea what you're talking about. We're having an extremely well-behaved and sophisticated party in the forums. Besides, as Heather B. put it, why would Nathan go out of town if he didn't want us to party? Well said, Heather.

But we do need us some Literary Agent drinks!!! Perfect timing.

So, onto the links. I like the whole website at Shrinking Violet - those of us who are introverted can use help with marketing.

No!!! Publishing people are not too nice. I believe that discouraging someone from writing is heavy, heavy karma. Let them work out their own journey. You never know where people will go. Kindness can have an impact beyond our awareness.

I wish I'd written Laurel's comment. Clever.

Lastly, isn't your birthday somewhere around here, Nathan? I'm not sure what date, but isn't it the end of June or something? I hope it's not a secret or something, since I just mentioned it......

So, Happy Birthday, Nathan!! I hope you have wonderful year ahead of you, full of fun, happiness, fulfillment and enlightenment.

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks, Mira! You are correct, tomorrow I'm turning the big 3-0. Oh my!

Mira said...

Nathan - that's wonderful! Happy Birthday! :)

I remember I was pretty freaked about turning 30. I don't know if you are, but you'll love it. Really. The 30s are a great decade.

Have a truly wonderful day tomorrow!

Emily White said...

Happy Birthday! My son's 1st birthday party is tomorrow (the actual b-day is the 5th).

I must say I did not appreciate the cool weather you brought with you to New York. I don't know how you did it, but I didn't like it.

As far as those in the industry being too nice, I have mixed feelings on that. Though I would love to get nothing but positive reinforcement to suit my own fragile ego, I prefer knowing precisely where I stand. If I need to improve, I want to know it. I don't like the idea of wasting years to figure out I needed to improve in an area when someone who knew could have told me earlier on.

That being said, I like the sandwich method.

J. T. Shea said...

Happy birthday, Nathan! Mira, at least I didn't mention your coffee table tango dance with a rose between your teeth...or was it a corndog?

Kelly Wittmann said...

Thanks for the links, Nathan. Have a nice holiday and a happy birthday!

Kristi Helvig said...

Happy Birthday and thanks for the links. I love the Shrinking Violets site--marketing for introverts is right up my alley! Happy Friday!

Joshua Peacock said...

happy birthday! lucky for you 30 isn't old. no seriously, not sarcasm. it isn't old. lol

treeoflife said...

Jim McCarthy's post is certainly interesting. I would have to say that yes, people in the publishing industry are too nice.

I used to read too many "how to" books on writing, and every one of them will have a chapter about what to do when you sell your manuscript, like it's some forgone conclusion. None talk about the poor odds, and could easily leave one assuming that after you're done editing your work, you go straight to negotiating your advance.

But I guess people like me wouldn't have bought more than one of these books if they told us the real odds.

While it's hard to get a firm number on what the odds really are, I look at NaNoWriMo. Over the years, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people have registered, and of them, maybe 20 have had their books published. 1 or 2 have been successful. So going from someone who wants to be a writer, to an actual published writer, it seems your odds are something like 1 in 40,000.

(And yet for some reason I press on, but just haven't quit the day job!)

D.G. Hudson said...

Welcome back, Nathan, and hope all those in the states enjoy their 4th of July weekend!!

Read Agent Jim McCarthy (from Dystel & Goderich)comments re the writers conference. If people pay to go to conferences, they deserve to receive some value for that exchange. What they choose to do with that info, encouragement, or inspiration is up to the individual.

I don't get Jim's comment that publishing may be too nice??? (by encouraging those who seem hopeless?)

It's a business transaction, with a lot of hope on one end.

Darin said...

Happy 30th birthday Nathan! I just hit the other end of the 30's on June 30th, and am now t-minus 363 for the next flip of the oldometer. Hope you have a great year!

D.G. Hudson said...

Happy Birthday (a little early, Nathan)! Just read Mira's comment. If you're reaching the big 3-0, it just means you've arrived.

Megan said...

Thanks for the links - as always, your wrap-ups are the best!

T. Anne said...

Loved the post by the shrinking violets. I'm glad to hear I don't have to worry too much about author brand until I have few books under my belt. It will give readers a flavor for my writing and it can evolve naturally. *boy I'm optimistic today* Have a great and safe fourth Nathan!

Marjorie said...

Nathan, you are 30? 30? Who is 30? Everybody in my world is on Medicare.

Marjorie said...

Happy Birthday!

Leila said...

Thanks for the links. Glad you had a great week, and Happy Birthday!

Nora MacFarlane said...

Thanks for the links. Happy Birthday!

abc said...

What does it say about me that the thing I am most excited about in your post is the cocktail recipe?


Haste yee back ;-) said...

The publishing industry is too nice???

Good Lord, I'm laughin' sooo hard, I broke a hemorrhoid stitch!

Haste yee back ;-)

ryan field said...

Great link about branding.

Enjoy your Birthday!

k10wnsta said...

Soooooo...any sort of critique dealy happening auf Montag?

...or will you still be recovering from the dangerous combination of hair spray, bat slobber, and DOT4 automatic transmission fluid you'll likely imbibe in the revelries this Sunday?

k10wnsta said...

And happy birthday, by the way.

According to Timothy Leary, you can no longer be trusted. But I think we can give you one more year.

Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me? -Jack Handey

Tracy Sharp said...

Happy Birthday! 30 is a great age.

My writing tic is 'but'. I have 'buts' all over my damned manuscripts. Butts too. :)

Kathryn Paterson said...

Happy Birthday! 30 really isn't bad. Really. :)

And publishing people being too nice? Hmmmm. I'll have to think about that more, but my first reaction to that post was that it's better than academia, where everyone shreds everything to death and picks out every flaw, without stopping to see the real potential in a work. Sometimes I think the publishing industry and the ivory tower could learn a lot from each other.

Kathryn Paterson said...

Oh, and in my first draft, too many people "smiled" at each other, but in my second draft, too many cars "slowed to a crawl" and too many women "touched" each other "on the hand," causing a completely unintentional lesbian subtext. Now in this latest draft, I'm ironing out the kinks, but for some reason I have several instances where men surprise women in graveyards. :)

Oh, and how the heck do you get us to confess all this stuff to you? Dang, you're good.

Keidi said...

That part of your post about the word 'just' couldn't help but make me laugh!

I've 'just' finished writing my book and as I edit I keep finding that word too. It's very frustrating. It makes me wish I had a little red button that I could press and elimiate all of them at once!

k10wnsta said...

Although it's not red, the button labelled 'REPLACE' will do just that.

Replace with:

^^^ Yes, that has been left blank. Then you can simply hit Replace All. Although 'just' does serve a function at times, so you may still need to hit Find Next repeatedly and blank them out as needed.

Sara Samarasinghe said...

Happy belated 30th Birthday, Mr. Bransford! Thank you so much for all the advice in your blog!

Marilyn Peake said...

Just catching up on my Internet reading today, and discovered in the comments section that you had a birthday, Nathan. Happy 30th Birthday! Hope it was awesome!

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