A Tribute to the Man, the Myth, the Agent, Nathan Bransford

It is a sad day today. Today we say goodbye to Nathan Bransford, literary agent. He is leaving us for greener pastures. First of all, I want to wish him the best of luck in his new endeavors. Knowing Nathan, he will be very successful in his new job. I’m excited for him. Secondly, I want to say what a pleasure it has been to work with him and be his client. I’ve known Nathan for a couple of years now, first as blog follower/contributor and finally as an author under his guiding hand. I could not have asked for more in an agent. He not only had enthusiasm for my work, but his deft editing eye has made my first two Deadworld books far better than their original form. If he ever went into freelance editing, I’m sure he would do remarkably well and be worth every penny spent. He communicated with a speed almost unheard of in agenting. I swear he walked around with his email open 24/7. I could not recommend him more highly as an agent.

I do not regret one moment of my time as his client. I have moved on, quickly and efficiently, as one might expect, to his fellow co-worker and agent, Ginger Clark. He had us hooked up within 30 minutes of informing me of his decision. I was agentless for less than an hour. Needless to say, I was impressed and pleased with how this worked out. I believe I’m in equally good hands.

So, in honor of my former, fabulous agent, we’re having a little giveaway today. Nathan has offered, as a going away gift to a lucky winner, a query critique. My new agent, Ginger Clark has offered a new YA book from Steph Bowe, Girl Saves Boy, which isn’t even available in the U.S. yet! Great prizes for two lucky winners. The winners will be chosen at random from the comments section. In the comment section, all you need to do is tell us something about how Nathan and/or his blog affected you as a reader or writer or just your life in general. Unrelated comments won’t count toward the giveaway. I’ll tally the comments around noon on Monday and randomly generate two numbers from the total to pick the winners. Let us know how he affected you and give Nathan the send off he so richly deserves.

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21 responses to “A Tribute to the Man, the Myth, the Agent, Nathan Bransford

  1. Nathan had one of the most intelligent agent blogs out there. He especially had a good handle on the changes due to the electronic age, which is why I ‘m not very surprisedin hindsight that he’s moving on to the CNET position. My own blog owes a lot to him as well — a large proportion of my readers first heard of my blog through his. I’m really looking forward to where his blog goes next.

  2. Pingback: Nathan Bransford Moves On « Why I Write

  3. Nathan’s forum was the first author forum I experienced. Although I moved on to another realm, I continued to enjoy his advice and look forward to continuing to read his blog. His insights into the publishing world were laced with humor and always delivered in a manner that a budding author found them both understandable and approachable. I have every confidence in his success, and am not surprised he’s found a niche at CNET. He is an amazingly talented individual. I wish him luck.

  4. Nathan gave me my first partial request, and I’ve learned so much from his blog over the years.

    We’ve given you a virtual toast over at Disgruntled Bear today, Nathan! Best of luck in your new endeavors. – Kate

  5. Wow…where to begin?

    Nathan was the first agent I stumbled upon in the blogosphere. His blog/FAQ section/contests formed at least 80% of the foundation of my publishing world knowledge. (Possibly more, even.) Not only that, but I found links to some of my favorite blogs from his sidebar—QueryShark and Natalie Whipple, to name two.

    I’m confident my query, first 250 words, first paragraph, first page, and entire novel will be stronger because of his willingness to hold regular contests and critiques. Even though I never won anything and never had a word critiqued by him, I learned SO MUCH just from reading the entries, evaluating them in my head, and comparing what I thought to what he/others said. Even if something worked just fine, he always found a way to challenge the person to make their work even stronger. These things have strengthened my editing eye, my ability to take critique, and my confidence as a writer.

    Thank you, Nathan, for everything—and thank you, Jim, for holding the contest! Even if I don’t win the query critique, I’m grateful for a year’s worth of daily perspective from Nathan (and TONS of archives to peruse…). My query will be stronger because of him, no doubt, critique or no critique.

    Thanks again, and best of luck to you both,
    🙂 Kayla Olson

  6. I love Nathan’s blog. I remember spending entire weekends reading contest entries so that I could vote on my favorites. I remember referring to his simple query construction to get myself started on my own query. I remember the thrill I felt when he requested a partial from me. And, even though he passed, I still felt honored to have had him read my words.

    I wish him the best of luck in his new career. He seems like a really nice guy and deserves the best.

  7. I was turned on to Nathan’s blog by a friend and try to return to it daily. He has offered so much information and ideas for those of us who are trying to break into the writing business. I love the quirkiness of his posts and his little ad-ins which bring life to his material. Good luck to him and I will continue to follow his tweets and blog.

  8. What a great blog! Nathan will be missed across the community but you are right, you are in great hands already! Congratulations Nathan on your move “up” in the world… and congratulations J.N. on your new superstar agent!

  9. Every time I’m not in the mood to write, I read a few blogs to pick up the spirit. Nathan’s blog was always the first on my list. Here’s to hoping he has a great future in the social media biz, and (selfishly) that it’ll come with a new perspective on the writing game that he might share once in awhile 🙂

  10. I’ll admit to feeling a bit of sadness when finding out he was leaving, though I wish him the best of luck.

    I’m not a frequent blog commenter (on any blog) as it’s too easy for me to get caught up in the conversation and forget about, you know, writing.

    The biggest thing I learned from Nathan’s blog came from his post on the one sentence pitch, in which he mentioned the elements you needed to have: Opening Conflict, Character, Obstacle, and Quest. I’ve fiddled with this, and ultimately it’s become a great story generating tool that’s lead to a lot of real breakthroughs.

    Best of luck to Nathan.

    I am curious though as to how the transition to a new agent is handled when your old one retires. Did Nathan give you a reference to another agent, or hand you off to someone else at his agency? How exactly does that work?

  11. Thank you, Jim and everyone! Jim, it was such a pleasure working with you and I can’t wait until DEADWORLD comes out. You’re going to have such a bright future and I know you and Ginger will make a great team. Thanks again to everyone for their very kind words.

  12. Jim,
    Thanks for throwing out an opportunity to send Nathan off with some love. HIs agenting presence will be missed, big-time.

    I found Nathan’s blog last spring, just as I finished my first MS. And what find!!! Page critique Fridays, helpful posts about queries, timely posts about publishing, great links to other agents/publisher/writer blogs & websites . . .I could go on and on. Nathan’s blog was an invaluable resource; it was a crazy on-line “how to” on agenting, publishing and writing. Plus, it was just fun. Because if I had to pick what I loved most about Nathan’s blog and what made me check back on a regular basis, it was Nathan’s “voice.” He seems seemed like someone I’d like to sit down a share a cold beer with and talk about . . . well, whatever. Writing, space monkeys, corn dogs, you name it. And for that, Nathan, I wish you all the best on your new path! CNET’s gain is agenting’s loss. Thanks for everything, and I look forward to checking your blog and seeing where your new road leads you.

    Jim – thanks for letting us send Nathan some love. Congrats on landing Ginger as an agent, and getting Deadworld published. I’ll be looking out for it. Sounds great.
    Lynne

  13. Hello Jim. I clicked your name on your comment on Nathan’s blog and got your Blogger profile. I clicked the blog link there and got a Blogspot with a single 2007 post, referring me to your dotcom blog. I clicked that link and got a page advertising Toyotas. I already have a Toyota. Then I googled you and got your WordPress and Livejournal blogs. But it was worth the trip!

    Regarding Nathan, I hardly know where to start. Or stop. I started reading his blog only a little over a year ago, and learned and relearned as much in that time as in decades of studying publishing. Nathan’s post and links and the comments were always interesting and took up much of my time over more than a year, time and energy I consider very well-spent.

    I didn’t join Nathan’s forums (quickly nicknamed the Bransforums!) until May of this year, but have made over 300 posts there so far, sometimes half a dozen a day! I found Nathan and his moderator Bryan Russell ruled with a light hand, but well. Nathan patiently tackled members questions, answering with the authority of a publishing professional, but not looking down on people, encouraging us to make up our own minds, advising rather than commanding.

    In the series of AGENT FOR A DAY and YOU TELL ME posts on his blog, Nathan encouraged writers to see publishing through an agent’s eyes, challenging the old ‘Us versus Them’ way of seeing publishing. He rightly protected client confidentiality, but was one of the most approachable of publishing professionals. He also emphasized his perspective as reader and writer, as well as literary agent.

    I am delighted Nathan’s blog and forums will continue. Commenting so often there let me see my writing in a social setting, bouncing off other commenters, and realizing I am even more humor-orientated than I thought. I’ve found and perused hundreds of publishing and writing websites and blogs, but Nathan’s is still my first port of call and jumping off point.

  14. Don’t put my name in for the prizes. Just wanted to say that Ginger is so awesome for representing my fellow Melburnians: Steph Bowe & Rhiannon Hart 🙂

  15. Congratulations for being “agentless” for less than hour. I’m sure Ginger will take good care of you and I KNOW you benefited from Nathan’s wisdom.

    I’ve learned so much from Nathan’s blog and love how down-to-earth he seems to be. I wish him all the best in his new endeavor. I’d love to win the critique, especially since I was going to send mine to him after he had time to sort through all of the ones that came in while was away.

  16. I learned a lot from Nathan’s blog. He has a good sense of humor. Reading his blog always brings me a smile. Although I don’t know Nathan personally, somehow the announcement puts some sadness in my heart. I wish him the best of luck.

  17. I am sooo bummed. I’ve been following Nathan’s blog for about a year now and had him at the top of my list of agents to query. It looks like I waited too long. I just wasn’t sure my query was ready for him yet. Now it will never be. *sniff, sniff*

  18. Nathan’s blog has guided me and improved my writing in countless ways – from his advice on maintaining a “character & world-building bible” (so I would remember details about my characters and not look foolish by allowing two people to hook up in book three that I had said were first cousins in book one), to remembering not to take myself too seriously and accept critiques, remembering that every story can be improved upon. Most importantly, he made me feel as though I was never alone, regardless of what writers angst I was suffering through. I hope Nathan’s every dream comes true, wherever his career takes him. And I’m sure he will succeed. After all, anyone with the ability to fix space after it goes Kapow, should be able to tackle whatever he sets his mind to down here on Earth!

  19. Nathan’s site was one of the first sites I looked at after starting my MS, and the only site I have visited religiously ever since. It is easy to see why he has become a one-stop-shop for both aspiring and published writers. He has a wealth of knowledge, is diplomatic, and is funny as hell. He opened my eyes to the publishing industry and gave invaluable advice on how to better myself as a writer, and, thanks to him and his awesome forums, I have made some great friends. So, so, so glad he’ll be sticking around to blog and chat to us despite his leaving the literary world. Thanks, Nathan!!!

  20. Nathan’s blog is absolutely priceless. Since, I started following his blog not long ago, I have devoured years of information about the industry, writing queries and synopses, and other writerly related things. He is in my top 5 of most helpful agents (though now he will be a former top 5) because of his blog. If it hadn’t been for his thorough articles, my query letter would probably be absolute crap (not to say it isn’t, but it would be worse), I would know next to nothing about the publishing industry, and I wouldn’t have some of the best encouraging words to back me up in my aspirations.

    (Also, if it hadn’t been for his blog, I never would have found out about you and Deadworld, so that counts for something too!)

    Thanks to Nathan and Ginger for being full of awesome and giving away prizes made of equal awesomeness!

    I’m glad that the agent transition went smoothly!