Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, July 29, 2011

These Last Few Weeks in Books 7/29/11

Hello! Nice to see you again.

Thank you for indulging me with a mini blog holiday. After returning from ComicCon I was absolutely and completely zonked and it took some time for my brain to regain a modicum of functionality. But! I am back, and since there hasn't been a This Week in Books for a while I have a rather insane number of links for you, which should make for an epic roundup.

Meanwhile, I promised you a full pictorial rundown of ComicCon! The photos really speak for themselves, and you can find them here on Google+. On Thursday and Friday for CNET we had a Base Station for people to charge their gadgets, win prizes, and play with tablets and laptops, then on Saturday I got some conference wandering in, and panels on Sunday.

And yes, there is indeed a picture of me and LL Cool J,  who stopped by the Base Station for an NCIS party honoring some real-life heroes, and who, by the way, is extremely nice in addition to possessing arms that are approximately seventeen times the size of mine:

I also had a fantastic time moderating a YA panel that featured the incredible authors (and fabulous people) Amanda Hocking, Andrea Cremer, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Stephanie Perkins and Tahereh Mafi. We talked about why paranormal and paranormalish are so popular now, who should be deciding what goes in children's books (and how we often underestimate kids), gender in children's books, archetypes, advice for people starting out, and much more.

Photo! (courtesy of our host with the most Lauren B).

And I was later on a middle grade panel, where I confessed how when I was ten I wrote to Roald Dahl and then he died the following weekend and, me being ten, I convinced myself it was my letter that killed him and I didn't write to another author again for years.



Without further ado, here. we. goooooooo...

A few weeks back I did my first-ever interview via Skype, and so you can watch me answer questions live on video! Well. It was live at the time. I talk about how I started this blog and my transition to the tech world. Also, please ignore the part where the video freezes and my face gets stuck in a really awkward position. Thanks.

My awesome agent, Catherine Drayton, who represents the likes of Marcus Zusak, Andrea Cremer, Becca Fitzpatrick, John Flanagan and many more, is now on Twitter! Follow her, follow her!

Meanwhile, some of my friends here in San Francsico have started a fantastic company called Schoolbags for Kids, which donates a schoolbag full of supplies to kids in need for every bag purchased. Here's an article about the company in HuffPo by cofounder Kalon Gutierrez. Check it out.

Long time regular around these parts Josin L. McQuein got a book deal! With Greenwillow/Harper! This means that BOTH co-winners of last year's ROCK PAPER TIGER suspense contest, Josin and Joshua McCune (aka Bane of Anubis) are now soon-to-be-published authors. AT THE SAME PUBLISHER.

Eerie. Also: awesome.

This brings the published blog contest finalists to Staurt Neville, Victoria Schwab, Terry DeHart, Michelle Hodkin, Michelle Davidson Argyle, Joshua McCune, Natalie Whipple and Josin L. McQuein. UPDATE: Two more! Jeanne Ryan and Peter Cooper!

People, can we pick 'em or can we pick 'em???

Very sad news as Borders is basically kaput and liquidation is looming on the horizon. Really sorry for everyone affected. There is lots of analysis and post-mortems out there if you want it. And yeah, Borders made their mistakes. But the biggest takeaway for me is that the world is changing and giant box stores selling things that can be sold digitally just don't make a whole lot of sense anymore.

In publishing advice news, agent Mary Kole has advice on writing a children's nonfiction query letter, Whispered Writings has a list of 10 ways to kill your writing career using social media, and agent Jennifer Laughran has a post with some great information about picture books and where things stand in the picture book market.

Meanwhile, author Courtney Milan posted a very provocative open letter to agents who are trying to navigate the murky waters of facilitating authors self-publishing. Are those services really worth 15%? Are agents avoiding conflicts of interest? What extra are they bringing to the table? (via Livia Blackburne)

If you may recall from before the blog break, we had been talking a lot about self-promotion and what it means for the modern writer. In related posts over the last few weeks Livia Blackburne talks about the right way to have an author blog that sells books, which is to target your actual future readership, but because that's so tricky to do for fiction blogging may not ultimately be worth it. Meanwhile, author Natalie Whipple, now facing promoting her own book down the line, confesses that self-promotion freaks her out. And guest blogging at Shrinking Violet Promotions, Deborah Halverson talks about how introverts can learn to flip the switch into extrovert mode.

In further life-of-a-writer news, Tahereh Mafi talks about surviving being on submission, Natalie Whipple talks about the importance of finding confidence in yourself, and guest blogging for the Rejectionist, Bryan Russell has a fantastic post on the elusiveness of time for the writer.

I almost don't want to give this horrible person any more publicity, but an imposter was posing as Writers House agent Jodi Reamer and managed to convince at least one author that she had gotten a major book deal. Victoria Strauss delved into the messages behind this cruel hoax, which were reasonably convincing. Sick stuff. 

Sue Fondrie won the annual Bulwer-Lytton contest, awarded to the worst sentence of 2011. Her doozie: "Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories."

And Miriam Goderich rounded up some of her favorite last words in novels.

These past few weeks in the Forums, there's a blog/Forums meet and greet in the early planning stages, quite possibly in Las Vegas, so if you're interested in that please check out this thread and make sure to contact Sommer Leigh, a hilarious song about Cthulhu, discussing the BookEnds Agency's move into e-publishing, querying agents overseas, sharing your social media presence, talking about the Harry Potter movie, how good are your first 250 words, and what to do when you piss off your muse.

And finally, speaking of the last Harry Potter movie, Mashable had a great round up of Harry Potter parody videos. I think my favorite one may be the first one, which recasts the trailer as your standard teen summer movie fare:

Have a great weekend!

Monday, July 25, 2011


ComicCon was completely fantastic!

The panels, the costumes, the crowds, the parties (including one with LL Cool J), the swag, the friends!

I'll be sure and give a full pictorial rundown, but things are going to be really busy the next few days as I reenter non-superhero-centric life so posting may be a bit sporadic.

I'll leave you with this photo as a preview.

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