As promised, here's the second half of my interview with Nathan Bransford. A former literary agent, Nathan's hugely popular blog has helped thousands of writers around the world to improve their writing and understand the world of publishing better.
His debut novel, JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW (Dial Books for Young Readers) came out last month.
Click here for questions 1-10
11. How important is an online presence to you?
Extremely important. I really enjoy connecting with other writers on the Internet and learn a huge amount from the authors I connect with and from the writing community around my blog. I’m glad every day it’s something I’ve chosen to devote time to.
12. What’s your take on e-publishing?
I’m a big fan of e-books and definitely think they’re the future. I don’t think print books and bookstores will go away entirely, but I do believe the ease of access and (eventual) affordability of e-books will win the day. E-readers are still a bit out of reach of many readers, but they keep coming down in price and pretty soon I think they’ll be ubiquitous.
13. Who’s your favorite fictional character (and why)?
Probably Jay Gatsby from THE GREAT GATSBY. I think F. Scott Fitzgerald really channeled what it’s like being a writer into that character. Gatsby is living in a world of his own fictions and he has worked so hard at creating them he can’t help but believe in them. There’s an intersection of striving and fiction in the writing life – you are dreaming that other people will connect with your fiction and elevate your writing and life and you work so unbelievably hard to channel yourself into that endeavor, but even when you achieve a level of success the result can’t possibly keep pace with your wild dreams. Gatsby got so close to his dream and having what he wanted, but reality couldn’t keep pace with his imagination and it brought him down.
14. What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
I think the best is creating something out of nothing. It’s really awesome to look back on a book you’ve finished and think wow, that came out of my head.
I think the worst is the doubt that can inevitably creep in. It’s tough to battle the am-I-crazies when you don’t know if your book will work or what it will amount to, especially considering the amount of time it takes to finish it.
15. Your blog is immensely popular. What did you do to make it so successful?
I’m not positive, but I think one thing that has helped is that from the beginning I tried to make it as little about me spouting off on whatever I was thinking that day and more about having a dialogue with fellow writers and trying as best I could to foster a sense of community. My blog is really only as good as the people who are participating in it and reading and commenting, and I’m extremely lucky to have had such amazing commenters, who help make the blog what it is.
16. Now you’ve had your own book published, how does it compare to what you expected?
I actually tried as best I could to not to have expectations because you just never know how it’s going to go. Some books rocket out of the gate, some books build over time, some just kind of get dropped into the ocean. So I’m happy with how things are going!
17. Do you miss being an agent?
I’m extremely happy in my new job but there are definitely parts of being an agent I miss, especially working with my clients.
18. Would you care to share some writerly advice for the Wall of Wisdom over at FindAWritingGroup.com?
I’ll go with #10 from my 10 Commandments of Happy Writers:
Keep writing. Didn’t find an agent? Keep writing. Book didn’t sell? Keep writing. Book sold? Keep writing. OMG an asteroid is going to crash into Earth and enshroud the planet in ten feet of ash? Keep writing. People will need something to read in the resulting permanent winter.
19. What do you know now that you wish you'd known when you first started writing?
That no matter what happens it’s always worth it.
20. One last question: Who do you think would win in a fight, astronauts or cavemen?
Astronauts. I think it would be pretty tough to beat up someone in a space suit.
Nathan Bransford is the author of JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, a middle grade novel about three kids who blast off into space, break the universe, and have to find their way back home, which was published by Dial Books for Young Readers in May 2011. He was formerly a literary agent with Curtis Brown Ltd., but is now a publishing civilian working in the tech industry. He lives in San Francisco.