Literary Agent Nathan Bransford has a blog that’s kind of fun and interesting, a mix of his perspective on various publishing-related topics, how-tos for authors, and he even does a weekly Page Critique. It’s amazing how often really bad fiction gets submitted for his critique. He claims to use a random generator to pick the submission.
Bransford’s in San Francisco, with Curtis Brown, and is an author as well as an agent… so you’d think he’d see the biz from both sides. (Although I can’t help but think that literary agents have so many connections, they have a leg up on becoming published. This may be because the agents who have written books that they could NOT publish probably don’t advertise the fact.)
Anyway, in addition to being entertaining and providing helpful information, he’s cute. I was struck by a recent post on how to write a query letter. The post not only gave good information about the purpose of a query letter, what to include, what mistakes not to sweat, it also linked to a lot of other useful information… such as identifying your hit list of agents you’d like to query, personalizing your letter, etc. This one post has so much information packed into it, it should be on your favorites bar. And it’s all done in a self-deprecating style that reinforces the fact that there is no magic involved. I’ll repeat that… no magic. Key take-away for me was his advice to always include a sample of five pages or more, even if the agent doesn’t ask for it. Because when it comes down to it, it’s all about the work.