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!


Evie said...

How did the YA panel go? I would've loved to attend this meeting. So why is paranormal or paranormalish so popular these days?

Doug said...

Just to be picky (one of my favorite pastimes): Borders' liquidation isn't "looming." It's been underway for the past week, having started Friday, July 22.

The liquidation involves all Borders and Waldenbooks locations. Books-A-Million tried to work a deal to take over 30-35 of the locations, but were unable to come to terms. My interpretation: the creditors committee absolutely wanted Borders' head on a pike; letting some of the stores survive under different ownership didn't sufficiently scorch and salt the earth [mixed metaphor alert!].

Still to be disposed of: the Borders name,, and Borders' 11% share in Kobo.

Michael Offutt said...

Wow...whoever that imposter was he/she sure was cruel.

Carrie Filetti said...

Awesome information, Nathan! Thanks! :)

Danette Haworth said...

Oh, Nathan! Poor ten-year-old you, thinking you had a hand in your favorite author's death. Did you tell your mother at that time? I would have given you cookies and milk and let you stay up late reading.

Lauren said...

This post made me laugh about 17 times. Love the pic with LL Cool J and loved meeting you. As usual, the links are fantastic! Thank you!!

abc said...

Well, Josin has proven time and time (and time!) again that she is nothing short of awesome so it was only a matter of time. Congratulations! Yes, Nathan, you can pick em! I'm excited to read all of these books.

whisperedwritings said...

Great post. It is very informative. I am currently blowing off a workshop session at my writer's conference to read all of the links.Thanks.

Mira said...

So, I don't know. I really don't know.

You didn't post for THREE DAYS.

I have FEELINGS about this. The first feeling is that I'm very glad you took care of yourself and rested until you felt better. The second feeling is that I'm really really mad at you.

I think I'm going to resolve my terrible ambivalence in my usual mature manner. I will commend you for your good self-care, inform you that I am sulking, and refuse to respond to the links until Sunday. Because you're not only one who can not post.

So there.

See you on Sunday.

p.s. Congratulations to Josin!! YAY!! So well-deserved! Can't wait to read your book! :)

p.p.s. Thanks for all the great links, Nathan. Glad you had a blast at Comicon.

Darley said...

That looks so natural, you standing next to Mr. Cool J.

Thanks for the post and all of the info.

D.G. Hudson said...

Congrats to Josin! Yes, you can pick them, Nathan, judging by the stats.

Enjoyed Bryan's post on the Rejectionist's blog. Bryan writes in a way that reminds us that life has layers, many of them.

Liked the photos of the conference. Pretty girls, LL Cool J, Darth Vader, great costumes,and comic books - what's not to like?

PS - the confession about Roald Dahl is priceless. My daughter wrote to Robert Munsch when she was younger, and still treasures that letter.

Have a great weekend!

Josin L. McQuein said...

ComiCon sounds like it was a blast, with the panel being very informative (I had no idea so many YA writers were short :-P )I'm still jealous of the people who got to attend.

And thanks for the shout out, Nathan. :-)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Thanks for the shoutout, Nathan! I've put you in my acknowledgements because of that contest. It literally steered me in a better direction than where I was going. So thank you! Can't believe Monarch is coming out soon!

That, and that contest introduced me and Natalie to each other. That was the best thing to happen!

Ana said...

This is awesome. I was there a couple of years ago and had the best time ever. So so much to's totally an exhausting event.

Bryan Russell said...

That was a veritable cornucopia of awesomeness.

Marilyn Peake said...

Looks like ComicCon was awesome! Awww, that is such a sad, but precious, story about your ten-year-old self and Roald Dahl.

Congratulations to Josin! Here on this blog, her comments about writing and the publishing industry have consistently been so intelligent and insightful, I’ve thought of her for years as someone who most likely had written awesome books a publisher should look into. Same for Joshua McCune (Bane of Anubis). I’m thrilled to hear they’ve both landed book contracts! Congratulations to both Josin and Bane!

Have a great weekend!

Valerie Rieker said...

Haha! That faux-trailer is brilliant!

Anonymous said...

I'm schvitzing (?) at the prospect of all the links.

Q: Is there a transcript and/or video of the YA panel?

Re: Roald Dahl, & reaching out to authors, I was a huge Judy Blume fan, & called her hotel when she was touring through the city where I was suffering through 3rd or 4th grade. She answered the phone, & was very polite. I don't know what exactly I "needed" to speak w/her, or even what I said, but she lived, & I grew up to write YA. The idea that you thought to contact Dahl is semi-amazing: his stories were so out there, even as a kid, I assumed he lived on some other planet.

Kristin Laughtin said...

Comic-Con was so much fun, and it sounds like you had a good time too! I'm still recovering. I should have looked more closely at the schedule; I would have come to your panel if I'd known, but didn't look too closely as I'm not very into YA. I went to a LOT of book-related panels, though, and had some interesting experiences.

Dang, you know how to pick the right finalists! I suppose we did a good job of choosing the winners as well. Congrats to them all.

Milan's letter to agents is very provocative and interesting, and I'm glad to see dialogue going both ways. I only hope some agents will actually read her letter and respond to some of her concerns. Some of them have done a better job convincing me than others, but I assume I can't issue a final verdict until we hear from authors who actually try this new situation out with their agents.

I read about the fake Jodi Reamer case and was horrified. I just do not understand what would possess someone to pull a prank like that. The human mind is baffling sometimes.

Off to read the rest of the links!

Sheila Cull said...

Nice-r to see you again! That's a great photo of you and LL Cool J; you both appear hip and happy. Hip and happy? What a super combination!

And we're America. Yes, we can!

Anonymous said...

Nice photos. You look great. Very happy!!

On another note, I wish Courtney Milan would mind her own business, which is writing historical romance.

The agents she's talking about aren't doing anything wrong and they all have good, long-standing reputations. And though I like Kristen Nelson, whom Courtney mentioned, and think she's a great blogger and agent, no one really even knows who she is outside of a small community on the web.

Livia said...

I wish I could've been there for those panels! Glad you had a good time, and thanks for the double mention :-)

Jeanne Ryan said...

LL Cool J! ComicCon! Super fun!

BTW, if you're keeping track of contest winners, thought I'd mention that I won your SUFLC many, many moons ago ( The partial critique you gave was tough, but valuable. Thanks so much!

Although that ms is now hiding on my hard drive, I'm happy to say I've got a YA suspense coming out with Dial/Penguin.

Jeanne Ryan said...

Ack, link didn't work. SUFLC = Stupendously Ultimate First Line Challenge.

Peter Cooper said...

I signed a 3 book deal with Scholastic last year, so I should add myself to the list of published (or soon to be published) blog contest finalists too :-)

Nathan Bransford said...

Jeanne and Peter-

Awesome!! Post updated!

Alvarado Frazier said...

Loved and hated the post 'why blogging may ultimately be a waste of time." It was like the spoonful of cod liver oil my mom forced down my throat, but it was good for me.I appreciate the resources you give, thanks.

Sam Wood said...

Aw when I was 8 my teacher introduced me to Roald Dahl and I flewwww through his children's books. Then I excitedly told her I was writing him a letter for his autograph, and she had to break the news to me that he had been dead for several years. I was so upset! I probably made the poor woman feel terrible...

clindsay said...

Nathan -

Was that your first San Diego Comic-Con? SO MUCH FUN! I use to go every year to run Del Rey's booth and programming. It's like nerd prom. Hope you had fun!



5 Kids With Disabilities said...

Wow! Hangin' with LLCoolJ! Nothing like adding a little excitement to the day!!!

Mira said...

Well, I read the links, and they're great. Thank you, Nathan.

Unfortunately, I'm not going to say anything more because I'm still sulking. I know. I should be over it, it's been DAYS. And it's not like you did anything wrong, it's good that you took care of yourself, Nathan. But what can I do? I have to respect my capacity to sulk, it's one of my special talents.

I was abit disturbed to notice that no one else seems to be sulking just because you took a three day break, but then I remembered that everyone else is much more mature than I am, so that cleared it all up.

Okey dokey. That's it from me. Thanks again for the links Nathan! They were great.

p.s. Really sorry to hear about Borders. Very sad.
p.p.s. I really like Natalie and Livia's blogs.
p.p.p.s. That was pretty cool about LL Cool J!!

Ishta Mercurio said...

Thanks for the links, Nathan! And glad you had such a blast at ComicCon. :-D

Welcome back!

Matt Larkin said...

Thanks for the great interview, Nathan.

Donna K. Weaver said...

That video is awesome!

Related Posts with Thumbnails