Monday, November 8, 2010

Thanks, Nathan

As many of you by now know, mes auteurs, Nathan Bransford is leaving the industry. As he announced on Friday, Nathan has left his position as an agent with Curtis Brown and is now installed as a social media strategist for CNET. (See here for extensive media coverage.) This is what happens, dear readers, when you have INFINITY BILLION BLOG AND TWITTER FOLLOWERS. Seriously. Take notes.

In all seriousness, though, I'd like to take a moment/this blog post to thank Nathan profusely for all the help, advice, information, and kind words he's offered over the past several years. His blog has been indispensable to me since 2007 and was instrumental in my decision to work in the industry; in fact, it's because of Nathan that PMN even exists.

I know all of you, too, have come to depend on Nathan's daily posts for help crafting your query letters, industry news, and encouragement in the face of rejection, and while he's not closing up shop and will continue to post about the industry, it's still a little sad knowing he won't (at least in the foreseeable future) be representing you and your work. As for me, I'm sure I can find someone else to hawk Bros and Vampires and More Bros: Also Some Zombies and Explosions. But it won't be the same.

So in honor of Nathan's nigh-decade-long tenure as a literary agent and his impossibly helpful blog—Prithee, Inform Me, meine Autoren: what's your all-time favorite Bransford blog post? Your most oft-quoted Nathanism? The piece of advice that time and again has helped you put your rejection letters behind you and your keyboard in front of you?

My favorite is Digging for Mushrooms. I'm not sure why—I guess I just like the extended metaphor. Also books. Also mushrooms.

What about you?


  1. omg. my absolute favorite Nathan-Bransford-Post of all time?

    "Sweet. My answer is get out of my car."

    thanks for this, Eric. Nate B will be the stuff of legends.

  2. I don't know what my favorite Bransford post is, but my fav moment was at a conference, getting to just sit and have a drink with him and talk about things not related to my crappy experiential literary fiction novel. He's a cool guy in real life and I wish him all the best. :)

  3. While there were more fine and dandy posts than you could shake an RSS feed at, I liked following the contests, such as Be an Agent for a Day, and the first paragraph contest.

  4. He made me question whether the first season of "The Wire" really is the best. His insistence that it's the fourth season has merit. Where I was once steadfast in my opinion that the first was the best, now I hesitate. The fourth was good. So was the fifth. And the third! The second was okay too, kind of.

  5. I'm split between his 10 Commandments for a Happy Writer and the post where I won a query critique. His feedback helped me get my query in shape, and he later requested a partial of my first novel. First novels being what they so often are, the manuscript has some fatal flaws and he declined on the full, but he gave me excellent advice that was encouraging and has helped me become a better writer.

  6. I'm with Rick. My absolute favorite is his 10 Commandments for a happy writer

    It's kept me from falling in to despair more than once.

  7. I'm happy for Nathan. His blog has been indispensable and a great resource. I love the entire thing!

  8. My favorite post is June 7, 2007, "Writing Advice from Old Guys at my Gym."

    The phrase "imagine my surprise" has become a regular part of my vocabulary.

  9. Nathan first crossed my radar as I was finishing (well, I thought I was finishing -- I recently finished again) my novel project and thinking seriously (again) how I was going to pitch it to an agent, and got stuck on the okay, I've always imagined my novel is literary fiction, but what the heck is literary fiction anyway question. You know that one?

    So, I started turning over rocks and looking underneath them, and lo-and-behold there's this literary agent Nathan Bransford who posted on the topic What Makes Literary Fiction Literary and his ideas were grounded and articulate and worth paying attention to. I've been reading his blog ever since I found that post.

    Is it my favorite? Well, it's definitely one of many I've quoted. I blogged about it when I still had few enough posts to count on the fingers of one hand.

    I finally got my manuscript in shape to query Nathan last week. Nowadays, having dug deeper into the category question and had a fair few reader & writer friends assure me that what I've got is some form of literary / commercial crossover, I'm calling my manuscript's category "literary eco-thriller." I sent my query in on Wednesday. On Friday Nathan announced he has left Curtis Brown.

    Not so sweet. I guess I'm out of his car ... But I am grateful for his terrific advice, sharp wit, tough-love sympathy, and solid grip on reality.

  10. He was the first agent I queried, and getting a partial request from him is still the highlight of my fledgling career. I knew he wouldn't take me on, since he doesn't do fantasy, but it he was still my ideal for what an agent should be like online.

  11. Thank you very much for the kind words! When the fickle whims of fate and honor force us into our next blog duel I may perchance forget them amid the pitched battle, but for now, while there's peace in our time, they definitely mean a lot!

    Until the next Sith reunion...

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  13. My favourite is "Reality is Not All It's Cracked Up To Be," in which Nathan uses Wu-Tang Clan to illustrate an important point regarding narrative choices. I think I fell off my chair when I got to this one in the archives.

  14. It's impossible for me to pick just one favorite NB blog. But I will be forever grateful to him for all the great advice and insight into an industry that I'm not quite yet a part of.

    Also, he confirmed for me that I'm not the only one afflicted with the "Am I Crazies?" - and that alone is priceless.

    And one more thing, Nathan led me to this enormously informative blog and a whole Goya beanery of other great blogs and oh, all those YouTube videos (I'll never forget the crying rainbow man for as long as I live).

  15. I weep, remembering how much I loved the lightsaber duel you two had on Twitter awhile back. If I remember correctly I was hella sick at the time (have been for awhile) and it was endlessly entertaining.

    May there be many more, and let me add my own thanks, Mr. Bransford, for all you've given us.