Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What's your biggest distraction from writing?


When my sister told me about the game 2048 I knew I was in trouble.

Most writers I know have an addictive personality. In order to be a writer you kind of have to. If you're the type of person who doesn't feel compulsively like you absolutely have to finish something you may not have the type of drive it takes to

I'm fortunate that I'm not prone to substance abuse, but I am very susceptible to games. When I start, I feel like I have to finish.

2048 is right up my alley in a really bad way. It is a mental puzzle, it's simple, it has an endless challenge. I lost a lot of time playing that game, and yes, the image above is a screenshot of my high score (*shakes fist at sister*).

Games are my biggest source for distraction. What's yours?






Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Don't overthink it


The publishing process is a stressful one. And despite all our best intentions, I don't know a single person who is able to play it cool all the time.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, stresses out at some point.

Which is how I very often end up with e-mails like, "OMG I THINK I JUST BLEW IT I E-MAILED AN AGENT AND IT HAD AN EXTRA PERIOD AT THE END OF IT OMG WHAT DO I DO CAN YOU UNSEND E-MAILS PLEASE HELP EMERGENCY EMERGENCY."

And "I don't see this covered in your FAQs, but should I spell out the word "Street" when I provide my mailing address or is "St." okay?"

Deep breaths, people! (Those e-mails are fictional by the way. No authors were harmed in the making of this blog post).

A typo isn't going to sink your query. Fiddling with tiny, inconsequential changes in your manuscript isn't going to be the difference whether someone buys it or not if you decide to self-publish.

Success can seem so fleeting in the publishing process that it can feel like you're about to fall off a cliff at every moment. But it's not true. You're fine.

When you find yourself unsure or spinning, ask yourself a very basic question: "Is this really going to be the thing that sinks my query/manuscript?"

Chances are the answer is no.

The little things won't sink you. It can be tough to distinguish between what's a big deal and not when you're stressed, but try and keep your head.

Art: Mater Dolorosa by Titian






Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What are your writing superstitions?


Writers can be a superstitious lot.

A coffee mug that confers special powers. An exacting but necessary pre-writing routine that must be adhered to before sitting down to write. A snack that is crucial for proper brain functioning.

What are your writing superstitions?






Monday, May 19, 2014

How do you plan to publish your WIP? The results!

With all the usual caveats that this is a for-fun unscientific quiz on a cybertown weblog, here's how the publishing plans of those intrepid people who voted on our How do you plan to publish your WIP? quiz compare to the intrepid people who voted on the same quiz in 2013.

First, 2013:


And now this year:


Blink and you might miss the differences. They're basically identical.

What do you make of this? Is this just the vagaries of Internet poll-taking? Or are views toward traditional publishing vs. self-publishing becoming relatively cemented at this point?

What say you?






Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How do you plan to publish your work-in-progress?


So. I'm curious if the times they are a-changing.

A year ago, I asked a simple question: how do you plan to publish your work-in-progress?

And now, inspired my long-running poll about buying e-books, I'm asking agin. Do you think the times have changed? Are more people willing to go straight to self-publishing? Are people reconsidering the benefits of traditional publication?

We shall see. Poll below. If you're reading this on a feed reader or via e-mail, please click through to see it.








Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What Jiro Dreams of Sushi means for writers


Like many people I know, I have been seriously obsessed with the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, which is available for streaming on Netflix and Amazon.

Jiro Ono has been making sushi for over 70 years. His restaurant, a humble space that is literally located in a subway station, has been awarded three Michelin stars. He recently hosted President Obama.

What emerges from the documentary is the passion of one man who has one overarching ambition: to be the best in the world.

He wakes up every day thinking of how he can make better sushi. As the title of the documentary suggests, he dreams of making sushi. He doesn't take days off if he can help it. He doesn't have hobbies. And he is relentless in training his apprentices (including his sons) to be the absolute best they can be as well.

He very famously asked apprentice Daisuke Nakazawa to make tamago over two hundred times before he finally deemed it acceptable.

As a writer, I found this documentary incredibly inspiring. I only wish I had the same single-minded focus on improving my craft, on waking up every single day to think about how to improve my writing, and never wavering from my own vision.

Of course, Jiro Ono also wishes he had more. At one point in the documentary he wonders what would be possible if he had been born with the taste buds of Joel Robuchon.

Have you seen the documentary? What do you think?






Thursday, May 1, 2014

Brenda Novak's 10th Annual Diabetes Auction!



Bestselling author Brenda Novak is hosting her 10th annual auction to support diabetes research, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it once again!

I'm offering an hour-long Skype consultation that includes reading twenty pages and a query critique.

And there are many, many other great things up for bid, including being named as a character in a David Baldacci novel, tons of agent consultations, and much much more.

Please consider bidding for a great cause!






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