Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday's Special Is...Nathan Bransford!

UPDATE! A contest! A real one. Details buried within the comments.

We all know him from his first line contests. And his first paragraph contests. We at the Book Roast would like to start the rumor, here and now, that Agent Nathan Bransford is going to have his first ever first word contest.

That's right. You get one word. Email him your one-word query between now and midnight, February 31, for a chance to win the statue in the photo.

Okay, okay. Seriously, when we asked Nathan if he'd participate in an agent roast, he was more than gracious and forthcoming. Thank you, Nathan!!

Nathan's blog


1) Other than addressing you as “Nate Dawg,” in a query letter, what’s a good way of getting your attention?


That would definitely get my attention.

2) A haiku about your last contest, please:

Entries coming in
Don’t think I’m going to make it
Vacation time please?

3) What’s the first blog you read each day?

Whatever pops into my Google Reader first.

4) A potential client meets you for lunch. She’s wearing her Bransford T-Shirt. As she sits down she pulls out two bottles of Bransford beer from her purse. What do you do?

Secretly text my wife to meet me there. Then we’ll steal the beer, distract the potential client with a fake book contract, and stop a criminal from robbing the register. All in a day’s work, kids. All in a day’s work.

5) Which character on “Gilligan’s Island” is most deserved of a separate series?

Um, let’s see. There’s Gilligan, the Professor and…. Two women, right? Three? Wasn’t there a little guy who said, “Da plane?” Sorry, never really watched it. I think there were some Nick at Night reruns when I was a kid though.

6) Can you surf?

Ha. I’m a farmboy. Don’t know where that rumor got started. Although in my hometown people have been known to water ski in canals behind a pickup truck. I wish I were kidding.

7) How did you celebrate Festivus this year?

Just like any other family. We aired our grievances, which led to a huge fight that involved the Festivus pole and featured many feats of strength.

8) What do you typically eat for lunch?

Peanut butter and jelly, an apple, and saltine crackers. Got me through elementary school, why stop now?

9) Your recipe for perfect hair, please.

All I know is what I do for my own hair: towel dry and let it do what it pleases. It’s pretty much the opposite of perfect though.

10) What are you reading at the moment?

THE BLACK SWAN by Nassim Nicholas Taleb


Please drop by and say hello! Chit-chat. What's your favorite part of Nathan's blog?


Chris Eldin said...

Good morning, everyone!!
I posting this a little early.
Okay, a LOT early!
I COULD NOT wait!!!!!

It's just around 3am Nathan's time, so it may be a while before we see him. Still, let's warm up the party for him!!!

McKoala said...

You crazy thing, you. It's bedtime here, so I'll check in tomorrow for the festivities.

Chris Eldin said...

Hi McKoala,
You party animal, you!!

I have a typo in my first comment, and blogger is locking up when I try to delete. oh well....


Rachel Green said...

How Splendid!
Bransford's blog is daily fodder
insights, please!

peggy said...

good morning world! sounds fun today :)

Stacy said...


Unknown said...

I see. You have to get up prettttttty early in the morning to book roast me.

Looking forward to this! Thanks everyone!

Chris Eldin said...

YAY! A sighting!!

I love Nathan's Friday round-up. Although I skip over the Hills part, heheheeheh!, I look forward to finding out the weekly publishing scoop.

Stacy said...

Hah - me too.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'm new to Nathan's blog. Came in on the insanity of, what, 1400+ entries in his contest. Nathan, you are a really nice masochist.

Anonymous said...

Dear Nathan,

Sorry about those 23 3s. It wasn't personal. Hang in there. Eventually all small market teams get another shot at greatness. Just look at us.

JKB said...

Soooo, you're saying "Hallo Hawtness" is not the best salutation?


I knew a writer that used that line once. Gave her a 0.005 second rejection. Fastest one I've ever seen.

Natalie Whipple said...

Ha, one word contest. We need that. Can I pre-claim "ninjas"?

Charles Gramlich said...

Well, he has the same hair plan as I do. He's a farm boy who can't surf. Me too. He's young. I'm.... OK, never mind.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Nice try, Charles.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Natalie and ninjas? Who'da thunk?

Natalie Whipple said...

I know, Sarah. Seriously. The hidden power of the ninja is greater than I ever guessed.

Kiersten White said...

Well, the hidden power of YOUR ninjas, Natalie.

Hi, Nathan. I'm a groupie, obviously. Love the insights into the publishing world. You also serve to remind me that I'm not actually missing anything by not having a television...

I, too, am of the wash hair let dry school of styling. See? Who knew we had so much in common.

Anonymous said...

Can we get a caption for that photo?

Whirlochre said...

My favourite thing about Nathan's blog is his abundant generosity.

And his choice of posts.

And his hair.

Seriously — he picks on some good things to discuss, and manages to stay on top of the avalanche of comments. Then he runs clearly time-consuming contests.

Sandra Cormier said...

Hey! Welcome to the BBQ. If I entered a first word contest, I'd start with "Hambergasm."

I gotta drive to Oakville this afternoon, but I'll drop by later to see who's getting in trouble.

Hey, AW, that looks like my typewriter.

ORION said...

I too like the weekly publishing scoop and the referrals to trendy things I know nothing about adding to my feeling that I'm a loser...

Sherrie Petersen said...

I lurk around Nathan's blog. His personality makes the blog fun to read and I feel like I might actually learn something there, too :)

Ada [The Duchess] said...

Haha, I'd steal the beer too.

Can we really win that statue? Looks like it'd be a good hanger for all of the purses and scarves (taking up ample 'yet to be bought') clothing space in my closet. Haha!

Jennifer Macaire said...

You didn't watch Gilligan's Isle? *shakes head*
Otherwise a perfect agent, lol!

Phoenix Sullivan said...

One-word contest entry: "Trash"

May I have my prize now?

Lame, I know. Seriously, though, someone had to write it, right?

I think what I like most about Nathan is how respectful he is of everyone who disagrees with him.

(Thanks for being so respectful with me, Nathan! Though I mostly do agree with you -- playing devil's advocate is simply an addiction).

I do have a Q: Are you seeing many publishers moving to shorter books (under 100K, for example) or adding ebooks to the mix as a cost-saving measure?

Chris Eldin said...

LOL Phoenix!!! You are bad.

Okay. A contest. Thanks to Aspiring Writer for the idea!! And only for those who are clicking into the comments.

A $25 gift certificate to Amazon for the best caption for Nathan's photo. Now until midnight, eastern US time.
I will be the judge. The sole judge. MWAHAHAHAHAH!

Let the captions begin!!

laughingwolf said...

welcome, nathan :D

my fave: all the freebies i can afford!

as for a word: nazdarovja

most folk say, "WHA...?" ...or words to that effect :O lol

laughingwolf said...


caption: hey, i may not be as hairy, but damn... i don't need to diet! ;)

[kung hey fat choi, come tuesday] :D

Brian Jay Jones said...

Caption: Please to be enjoying your nice hosts for this year's ceremonies, from right to left, King Pao and Chicken."

One word query: Bermicide

Chris Eldin said...

Keep 'em coming!!

Rachel Green said...

Your Query: (1) How smart an agent thinks it (2) How smart you think it.

One word Query: Jasfoup

Unknown said...


And for the second verse of 'I'm a Little Teapot'...

one word query: Guess

(And I knowIknow, you can't abide queries that start with a question, lol)

Anonymous said...

Love Nathan's blog!

Here's my entry for the captions contest:
Hehehe. See this guy? He used the word "trash" on my Blog. Turned him to stone, I did.

Danielle said...

CAPTION: Thankfully the statue wasn't doing a ninja pose, I might've pulled a muscle!

ssas said...

"put your right foot in, put your right foot out, do the hokey pokey and shake it all about..."

Kiersten White said...

Caption Contest: "I hear you, man. This business ages you fast. Still, you could always shave."

Josephine Damian said...

Well, since I'm too late to use "trash" as my one-word entry, I'll have to settle for "rhetorical".

Nathan, what's that on your red T-shirt? Can't quite make out the word/image.

Unknown said...


"The Unicorns," one of my favorite bands (now defunct and semi-reborn as "Islands")

jjdebenedictis said...

What's your favorite part of Nathan's blog?

When he saved my manuscript's butt.

Had a book. Had 25 rejections, including one from Nathan. Asked if he'd critique my query+pages on his blog. He did.

Got over dying of embarrassment. Rewrote my opening scene. Sent out five queries. Got a great agent!

Nathan Bransford is a wonderful, awesome, fantabulous, kind, very smart human being, and he's my second-favourite literary agent in the world. :)

Caption for the photo:

When he met the coach his wife had hired, Nathan realized just how tragic his line dancing skills must be.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll confess. I don't read Nathan's blog because it's too popular. Yes, I win the "dumbest reason not to read a blog" award, but I can't mush through the comments from the groupies.

Having said that (before Chris censors me), it's nothing about Nathan himself. I continue to be amazed at the abundance of time and thoughtfulness he bestows on his readers.

Captions? Hmm.

Just before hitting Milan's ALA Runway, Nathan thinks, "I still don't believe this guy managed Gisele Bundchen"

Anonymous said...

I posted my caption entry earlier today. My one-word query:

dan radke said...

One word contest entry: That.

Caption - They just don't make awesome samurais of death like they used to.

Rick Daley said...


Here is my one-word query:

Here is my caption:
This red shirt farm boy no have cool ghoul belt buckle like I do.

Jude Hardin said...


I have this great idea for a book. No, really...

Chris Eldin said...

LOL! Great captions!!!! Keep 'em coming!!

we are 9 hours ahead, so I'll be in and out for a bit...but you guys are self-sustaining party animals!!!

Anonymous said...

My caption: Imagine Nathan's surprise when, on his first visit to the Shaolin Temple, he discovered the twin from whom he'd been separated at birth.

One-word entry: Run!

Anonymous said...

I think I know Nathan's celebrity look-a-like.

Rob Drydek (skateboard dude)


Anonymous said...

One word entry: Pristine.

What I like on Nathan's blog: It's short, sweet, funny and to the point.

Caption: Showing vs. telling


Anonymous said...

Because he may burn out from agenting soon (no thanks to 2000+ contest entries every month), Nathan is working on poses with his coach to aid him in his next career as a male model.

Ada [The Duchess] said...

"Stealing the beer, picking up proper clients, and ripping my picture from the beer bottles before we drink them. With the help of my trust sidekick (Mr. Medicine man), it's all in a day's work.

McKoala said...

I'm a little bit like Aerin. No, not in a separated at birth kind of a way, in a 'can't get through the comment trail at Nathan's blog' kind of a way. So I'm a reader and a fan, but you don't see me saying much over there.

none said...

I used to read Nathan's blog when it was on MySpace and nobody knew. Now it's only on blogger and EVERYBODY knows!

Eh, Gilligan's Island gets mentioned a lot, yet I've never seen a single episode. Why is it so significant? Tell!

McKoala said...

And I'm going to caption, even though I'm a lazy host signed in under the wrong name and thus ineligible (wow, what a great sentence, I'm a writer, me):

Nathan: 'No, THIS is how you do the birdie dance...'

PurpleClover said...


"Mr. Tumnus turned the Chinese Guardian in, to The White Witch, for his own Turkish Delights."

t c sherf said...

Wow, yeah, sometimes I definitely don't have the time to wade through all those comments, but I never miss a post! Thanks, Nathan!

One word Query: Shakespearing

Caption (this one's for Nathan):
Tyra says, "Two beautiful models stand before me. But only one statuesque stud can win the coveted title of America's Top Model and $100,000 in hair conditioning beauty products."

Chris Eldin said...

Good evening everyone!
About ten more minutes left!!!

Thank you for playing!

And special thanks to Nathan for being a fun and nice person, as well as a terrific agent and teacher!!

I'll post the winning caption with the photo in a few hours.

Nighty all, for those of you left!


Other Lisa said...

Dang. Just as well I missed the caption contest, because nothing I can come up with does that photo justice.

Re: Nathan's blog: the good advice, the kindness towards writers trying to break into a tough business and the humor. I can have three favorite things, right?

Anonymous said...

one word: Twins?
Caption: Look ma, I found my long lost brother!

Chris Eldin said...

Hi Lisa and Rose,

Thanks for stopping by! With each of the authors we roast at the Book Roast, there's a chance to win a free book....
Hope you dive in!

Julie Weathers said...

Blast. I missed Nathan.

sexy said...