Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh Nathan...

My lovable (kick ass) character in The Kindrily is named Nathan. I could go on about his greatness for days. However, this post is about Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown Literary Agency. He was quite the lesson-teaching superhero yesterday. He started a contest for writers and bloggers to act as "Agent for a Day." The goal was to help writers understand a fraction of an agent's job; the tedious, never-ending duty of reading and replying to query letters. Ugh.

I read each one, though I didn't actually participate in the contest because I do have a day job and I knew it was a time comittment I couldn't make. Let's just say it was eye opening. I completely understand why agents use form rejections and why it's so hard to catch an agent's interest. It made me extremely happy that I was revising my own query letter (with the help of my new angel friend Jenn--thank you times infinity). It also gave me a whole new respect--and sympathy--for agents. Don't get me wrong, some queries were interesting, well written, etc. However others...not so much. But apparently it's all subjective because people were asking for manuscripts all day. Even if EVERY query was amazing, it is tough to read through 50 letters in one day. Many days agents might read more than that! Double ugh.

Nathan Bransford is a great help to the writing world via his blog and great advice, but I'm sure many agents are raising a glass to him and toasting his genius (and brave) agent for a day idea. Maybe it will calm down the agent bashing and rejection whining for awhile. I get the privelege of attending the Pikes Peak Writers Conference next week where hopefully, I'll rub elbows with the infamous Nathan and possibly buy him a bourbon. He deserves a stiff drink, along with every other agent who dares to tackle the world of query letters each day.


  1. I heard about his contest, but like you, I have a full-time job and couldn't participate. I struggle as it is just to find enough time to write. I did manage to edit a few pages of my WIP.

  2. I certainly don't envy that job of going through query letters and having to try to look at each one with an open mind, especially if you've just read a less than stellar book proposal.

  3. I glanced through about half of the queries and was overwhelmed just by that simple action. What amazed me was the poor quality of so many of the queries, because these are obviously the people who follow his blog.
    Overall it was a very interesting and revealing project, and I'm glad he did it!

  4. Yeah, buy him one from me too. ;)

    And, as always, you are more than welcome for the help! :D


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