Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, December 3, 2010

This Week in Books 12/3/10

This! Books! Week!

NaNoWriMo is over!! Congrats to all participants, and hope everyone is enjoying some non-writing activities. Would you believe that the event produced 2,799,449,947 words? That's two BILLION. Good work, people.

My former client Natalie Whipple has written one of the most beautifully honest posts I've read in an extremely long time. She dared to speak something that writers usually don't discuss: the agony of being on submission for fifteen months. A truly amazing post, and she followed it up with a post on what she learned.

And speaking of great writing advice, agent Rachelle Gardner talks about one of the most important lessons about staying sane as a writer: it doesn't work to compare your situation to others.

My wife sent me this amazing link that really is too incredible for words: Terrifying Nixon-era Children's Books.

But in actually-good book news, just in time for the holidays, my former colleague Sarah LaPolla has an amazing roundup of her favorite books of the year to help inspire your shopping list.

Simon & Schuster gave a book deal to God. Or at least God's Twitter account.

And e-book distributor Smashwords announced that it is ending discounting and is moving to a model where the author or publisher exclusively sets the retail price. CEO Mark Coker explains their reasoning behind the shift. Closely related to all of this, for all you publishing wonks out there, Mike Shatzkin reviews the biggest story in publishing in 2010: the shift to the agency model.

This week in the Forums, the strange things we think about, where do you find your list of agents, history buffs unite, wondering how "terrible" books get published (Nathan gnashes teeth), and what's your addiction?

And finally, via smasover in The Forums, a hilarious video that has been making the rounds: So you wanna write a novel...

Have a great weekend!


Jay said...

Interesting content on the Nixon-era childrens' books, although it's not really that "terrifying". I don't expect the vocabularies or social folkways from a few decades ago to match our own present ones. Heck, 20 years from now we might look at how badly men are treating in commercials with the same level of revulsion.

dwkazzie said...


I wrote the "So You Want to Write a Novel" video -- thanks so much for posting it. I'm thrilled that so many people have liked it.

David said...

Those Nixon-era books should have been horror stories, yikes! I was a child in the 70s and yes, I suppose it was a scary time and on top of that we had to wear 70s outfits, enough said...

Loved the "So you want to write a novel" video. Hilarious, I was that deluded once actually, well, not as bad but close (at least I read Stephen King's On Writing)

Nathan Bransford said...

Congrats, David! The response has been great.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@David That video is awesome!

@Nathan Natalie has inspired lots of posts with her amazing honest talk about her journey. It's hard not to get down about the industry, sometimes. Then I read about a friend's success, and it keeps me going.

Whirlochre said...

Those Natalie posts are among the bloggy highlights of the year.

Fawn Neun said...

Those terrifying Nixon-era kids books are hilarious. It's a wonder any GenXr's are willing to read.

B.E.T. said...

............That video was AMAZING.

And that was a very depressing book...but speaking of political correctness, the comedy stunt of signing God certainly doesn't care about it. That entire press release was pretty offensive if someone actually meant it.

Great posts by your former clients! Definitely great insights.

Donea Lee said...

I read Natalie's post - so brave and heart-wrenching. She got an amazing response to it. Obviously, so many of us aspiring writers can identify. I was so touched by all the support and well-wishes she received! Such a FANTASTIC community of writers out here in the blogosphere. :)

Nano kicked my can a little. Didn't quite get to the 50K. But, my December is all about reading!! NeToReMo and 650k words read in a month!! Wish me luck!

Chris Phillips said...

I love the Nixon Era books.

D.G. Hudson said...

Re - the children's books: The Nixon era was terrifying - period. Lies, belligerent police action, Intelligence faux pas, you name it. Trying to cut through the crap fostered in the fifties, meant saying bluntly what needed to be said - even in literature/books for kids.

Nathan - liked the commentary by your wife regarding the French language and Paris (on her blog). I can identify with that.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

RosieC said...

What great links! Thanks. I hadn't seen the Nixon-era books or the video. Those are fantastic.

Anita Saxena said...

That video was freakin' hilarious. Thanks for sharing!

Steppe said...

The presidency didn't become a cult of personality until 1960.

Since then liberals and conservatives have fought a daily battle to find the ultimate Fuhrer who can begin the Fourth Reich and eliminate the other side for all eternity.

Liberal fundamentalists and Conservative fundamentalists of atheism and theism are repulsive and in retreat as the middle way of civilizations truth arms itself to crush both camps.
That is why everything is in flux, People see the lunatics are running the asylum and they have sealed the perimeter and are organizing S.W.A.T. teams to retake the institutions which protect our freedom, so we are safe from each other and safe from the crushing power of people who gather together to use the power of government as a tool of oppression.

Richard Nixon created SSDI to give money to the mentally ill who were left to sleep in the streets after the messianic fundamentalist social mindset decided to close the hospitals without creating an alternative leaving them to starve unmedicated in the streets.

Today is Friday the third of November 2010 it is not The Obama Era. The christian right wing was crushed mercilessly by the truthful middle. Now it's the liberal god doesn't exist because I am a true god cometh in the flesh as enlightened liberal judgement caster on the unwashed uneducated masses, who display the same filthy arrogance the right wing did before their justified demise in 1992.

Political historics as a savvy overview states unequivocally:
Obama is a ringer to crush ivy league posers. "Give them what they want and it shall annihilate them."
In the end Vonnegut attempted suicide in 1984. Abbey Hoffman and Hunter Thompson succeeded.
Few people understand the idea that it takes one to no one as stated thusly: "Judge not lest ye be judged"

There are many political blogs to read
I hope this doesn't become one.

J said...

Nathan, your wife is so freaking adorable!

Reading her blog made me just feel happy for you guys.

Kim Kasch said...

So happy for you and your 'good news' but I will miss "seeing" you over here.

J. T. Shea said...

I want to read about Natalie Whipple's Ninja and the hot cheerleader! And about the crime lord's invisible daughter! Both books! Right now! Bad publishing industry! Bad! Bad! Bad! WHAAAAA!!!

Rachelle Gardner versus comparing? How right she is! One of my worst faults, BTW.

Mrs. Nathan's Sweet Juniper link lists 'Terrifying Children's Books' only from the Nixon and Reagan and Eisenhower eras. Perhaps they'll list the 'Terrifying Children's Books' from the Kennedy and Johnson and Carter eras next week. But I'm not holding my breath...Though the site does have an interesting photo of President Gerald Ford as a kid.

I see God is now repped by the Levine Greenburg Literary Agency. I wonder did he have to query? Even with 5 billion sales, the last of his big three books was published thirteen hundred years ago. Maybe he might post his query and excerpts on the Forums?

Dwkazzie, you have a lot to answer for! Agents and publishers will soon be inundated by novels written by Teddy Bears!

Mira said...

dwkazzie - that was wonderful! Loved the deadpan. :)

This is alittle off topic, but boy the forums have been jumping this week, Nathan. I can barely keep up with the threads. Pretty fun.

So, wonderful links, as always, thank you. I am going to address half of the links now, and half later, because I am a graduate student and, as such, I am extremely organized and structured, even when there's no point to being organized and structured. Yes indeed. That's the way us students roll.

So, let's see. What's first? Well, super congrats to the NaNo people! All those wonderful words and writing. I admit I am jealous, I really wanted to do NaNo, but couldn't. So, next year, I'm going to complete NaNo and win. Then you get to lord it over everyone you know, right? Something to look forward to.

Natalie's article was vulnerable and heartbreaking. I so feel for her. I am also really surprised - she has such a wonderful voice, surely someone would be smart enough to snap her up! I also saw something scary in her article - she said that if no one picked her up she'd drop the book. !!!!!!! Let me say that again. !!!!!!! No offense, but that's just nuttso! First of all, Nathan offered representation on that book, and do you know how picky he is??? I mean, in a good way? Second, you cleary can build a following, Natalie. If no one is smart enough to pick you up, you might check out the Smashwords link on this thread. But don't drop your book! If only for the important reason that I want to read it! Okay, enough said. Your book will be in print one way or another and that's final.

Okay, moving on - I really liked Rachelle's article! Very affirming and practical, too.

I really enjoy your wife's blog, Nathan! She has a wonderful voice, the kind of voice where you re-read her articles, because they are fun. She can be very funny, too, especially when she's giving you a hard time. Ha, ha. I love those. I laughed at the Empire State building post, that was so funny.

I enjoyed the Nixon era book link. It was very interesting to see the seeds of our books now in the books then. Also, some were really funny and creepy which was fun.

Okay, so that's enough for now. I don't know if that's exactly half....but although I am an organized and structured grad student, let's not take it too far. No need to actually count the links.

So, hope everyone is all warm and cozy, and thanks so much again for the links, Nathan!

Amy said...

I hate, hate, hate agency model pricing. What it means for the reader (i.e. me) is that ebook prices end up being, in many cases, HIGHER than the paper book prices. Ridiculous. I am buying a lot fewer books now.

wendy said...

Thanks for the link to Natalie's post. Truly revealing and awesome. Thanks, Natalie.

And more thanks for linking to your wife. I was so curious about her. She sounds adorable from her words on the Locusts and Wild Honey website. I feel a kind of empathy and that I can relate to her, perhaps because she seems so original and sweet-natured. I'm kidding myself, of course. But I wish I knew her. Lucky you, Nathan!

Matthew Rush said...

First of all I can't discuss the Natalie posts. I mean I did comment there, and her courage is amazingly commendable, but I can't really talk about it without either tearing up or taking off.

Otherwise, AP sent you a creepy link? Dude. I'm so there!

And in other news a man married a dog, and a woman bought the rights to the sun. No, I'm not joking, Google those topics.

Thanks NB! You're still the man.

Sean Grey Hanson said...

I'm loving those children's books. They seemed like so much fun to read.

Steppe said...

Thanks for allowing my post to stand Nathan. Maybe someday when the publishing industry is through this binge and purge insanity you'll go back in ten years and be the type of acquiring editor that makes sure important books receive the structural and line editing required and then are sold like crazy the old fashioned way, handshake to handshake. You made the right move to get out and your clients all report extremely ethical and inspired support from you through the ever increasing madness of a business that still has not faced the new "cultural" reality IE; people want information and heartfelt opinions from people they know have invested the time in their works arguments. Its younger people who are forcing this change and it's a change towards unfiltered truth and commentary labeled as commentary. Keep up the good work.

Nathan Bransford said...

Thanks, Steppe

February Grace said...

To paraphrase James T. Kirk, "What does God need with a Twitter account?"

Apparently, even the Almighty needs a web presence to get a book deal these days.


J. T. Shea said...

Yikes, February Grace! I sure hope God's Twitter account works out better than the Star Trek V starship!

Mira said...

Okay, I'm ready for the second half, but the question is: is the second half ready for me? Well, ready or not, here I come!

Okay, so what's next? Sarah LaPolla's list. You know, she's got a nice voice, I like reading her writing. I liked her recommendations, too. But I don't think she should refer to you, Nathan, as our dearly departed. I think the reasons for that speak for themselves and since I assume you will be enjoying a very long, healthy and happy life, if only for the purposes of writing a blog I enjoy, then maybe we could rephrase that one.

I wish I'd thought of the God Twitter. It's a very clever idea. However, I don't like what they are doing with it. I was really hoping for some wisdom or thoughtful humor. Well, maybe it will find its stride over time.

Fascinating article by the Smashwords guy - he sounds intelligent and with his finger on the pulse of what's happening. I like Shatzkin's article for information. He is in favor of the agency model, though, and I'm not sure why.

Okay, I guess my splitting the links in half wasn't exactly even because I'm done! It was extremely organized, though, you can't argue with that. Thanks for the fun and informative links, Nathan! Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Maya said...

Just wanted to share something for next week's edition...

The first writing how-to book!

Teralyn Rose Pilgrim said...

I love the God tweets. While I think religion is important, some people take it too seriously. It's nice to have a relaxing chuckle every now and then.

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