Jul

24

2013

Attract Attention…(Part Four)

by Karen Ball

Stressed people waiting for a job interview

So we’ve considered three of the four BPs of attracting the attention of an agent or editor. BP number one was “Be Professional.” Number two was “Be Passionate.” The third BP was “Be Plugged In.  I’ve loved the discussion for each one, and look forward to reading what you think of this last BP. Especially since I think this is the hardest one for us. We writers are so focused on learning and growing, on doing what we’ve learned to do as we study the craft and market. We’re designed for doing. But this last BP is a reminder that sometimes, the only—and best–thing we can do, is…

BP#4: Be Patient

We know it’s hard on you, and we understand if you get frustrated. But the reality in today’s publishing climate is that things can take longer than ever before. Yes, we know how important timely responses are. But with all the shifts in the market, our focus has to rest more and more on those clients and authors we already have contracted. Which means reviewing proposals has had to take a backseat. We dislike that too, especially when we’ve got a huge backlog. And we’re doing all we can to get to the proposals and respond. But you can probably expect a few months minimum for evaluation from agents or editors (sometimes longer for editors). Even if you have a connection with the agent or editor, it may take that long for your editor to get to it. It doesn’t mean we don’t love you or your work. It just means we’re doing what we have to as things continue to shift.

Here are a few tips from agents and editors to help you as you wait:

  • When to email the agent/editor as you wait:
    • If another agent/editor expresses interest, as in “Please send me the full manuscript” or “Let’s set up a phone call,” it’s a good idea to let the other agents/editors know. For one thing, that can often jump your proposal to the front of the line. For another, it’s just courteous to let them know of any activity.
    • If you’ve waited 2-3 months with no response, a brief email of inquiry is OK. Sometimes company spam filters snag emails before they reach us, so a “Just checking” email lets us know to go back and be sure what you sent actually arrived.
    • If the agent/editor gave you a date for a response, and you’ve gone past it by more than a week, a brief email of inquiry is OK. Just be straightforward: “Really appreciate you looking at my proposal. Wondering if you have a revised response date for me?”
  • Keep working on your platform. The more you improve it, the more you expand your reach and readership, the better it is for everyone.
  • Keep working on your projects. Don’t let the proposal you sent out become your only focus. Keep refining your craft on the project you sent out, and keep working on your other projects as well. That way, if you receive a no thanks on your proposal, you’re ready to send out the next project. It’s all about perseverance.

So there you have it. Follow these ideas and tips from agents and editors, and you’re far more likely to attract an agent’s or editor’s attention—in a good way!

Jul

23

2013

What Am I Looking For?

by Dan Balow

puzzle

I started in Christian publishing in 1983 working in the telemarketing department for David C. Cook Publishers when they were located in Elgin, Illinois.   As a young guy working for a company that had been around for over 100 years, I was in awe.

Starting to work for Steve Laube and with professionals like Karen Ball and Tamela Hancock Murray, I am stunned once again.  We combine for over 100 years of experience in Christian publishing…but at least it is spread around to four people!

My years working in the industry not only have taught me the nuts and bolts of publishing, but also how to treat people.  We are people with specific strengths, gifted by God and passionate about communicating God’s grace and truth to the world.  I am excited to begin the journey.

What am I looking for?

Fiction and non-fiction with a core of great story.  Story is not limited to fiction, just as teaching lessons isn’t limited to non-fiction.   My early days were spent in advertising learning that the best advertising was engaging and interesting…not just information.  So, I have spent a lifetime being affected by stories…and feel that books need to have that element.

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Jul

22

2013

Dan Balow Joins The Steve Laube Agency

by Steve Laube

portraits of Dan Balow taken April 9, 2010I am very excited to announce that Dan Balow has joined our agency as the Director of Publishing Development and Literary Agent. This gives us four members of our team, me, Tamela Hancock Murray, Karen Ball, and Dan.

I’ve been looking for ways to increase the services our agency provides to current and potential clients. I have known Dan for 15 years and by adding him to our agency we can expand our role in helping to maximize our client’s sales, work with ministries and organizations to develop their publishing efforts, and expand our reach internationally. Dan’s strengths are his understanding of book marketing, what it takes to be successful in the current publishing environment and how all the pieces of the publishing “puzzle” fit together. Our team has expertise in all facets of the industry, writer, bookseller, editor, marketer, agent, executive management, and publisher.

Dan is a 30 year veteran of the Christian publishing industry. He was the director of marketing for Tyndale House Publishers working with authors Francine Rivers, James Dobson, Josh McDowell, Charles Colson and many others.

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Jul

19

2013

Fun Fridays – July 19, 2013

This is a fun cover of a popular song. The unfortunate thing is that the chorus is one of those that sticks in your head…all day. But to make it worse the lyrics of the chorus could be the anthem song for either publishers or bookstores. Listen yourself to see if you agree (you can skip the part where the arranger begins talking at the end):

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Jul

18

2013

Travel: The Businessman versus the Businesswoman

by Tamela Hancock Murray

Man with red bags at the airport

I thought I’d have a little fun today with the differences we experience in our house when getting ready for a business trip.

My husband preparing for travel:

1.) Make sure hair is freshly cut.

2.) The night before, pack bags. Wife has already ironed shirts and will be folding them to pack.

Me preparing for travel:

1.) Wash all clothes down to the last item so family will have clean laundry while I am away.

2.) Iron husband’s shirts so he will have them for work.

3.) Pack husband’s lunches for the week.

4.) Make special trip to grocery store to buy food to prepare for absence.

5.) Prepare dinners so all they will need is to be reheated. Be sure to include detailed instructions on reheating so as not to receive a phone call asking questions during a meeting. This week’s menu: Vegetarian pizza, tuna rollup, barbeque chicken, baked tacos.

6.) Trip to salon.

7.) Errands that cannot wait.

Your turn:

How about you? Does this sound like your house?

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Jul

17

2013

Attract Attention…(Part Three)

by Karen Ball

 cords

BP number one was “Be Professional.” Number two was “Be Passionate.” The third BP is one I like a lot: Be Plugged In. You need to be the expert on not just your book, but on the readers, the competition, and the craft. Doing that will enable you to equip your team! So…

  1. Know your audience

It’s rare to find a book–or an author–that will be read by everyone. You book should have an “ideal” reader, and the more you keep that person in mind, the stronger your book will be. Get to know your reader. Develop a description of him or her. Find out the following about your reader:

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Jul

16

2013

News You Can Use – July 16, 2013

Yesterday I posted on the issue of “Foreign Rights.” Talk about a clunker of a topic! One quarter of the normal readership thought it worthwhile to click through and read. Fascinating analytics. So let me ask those who read this “News” section, what topics would you like to see addressed in the future?

JK Rowling Snookered a Lot of Editors – She submitted her latest novel under a pen name. This article interviews some of the editors who said, “No thanks.” It goes to show the power of a brand name. And shows that an “okay” manuscript and story won’t break through if you are unknown.

Taglines Hook Your Reader – Mary Connealy writes a great article that every writer needs to read.

Prediction on E-book Sales – Ebooks will outsell paper books in the year 2017. Agree or Disagree. See the data at the link.

53 Years of To Kill a Mockingbird – Enjoy a celebration of a classic.

As Long as Reading Survives, so will Bookshops – Philip Hensher explores an interesting topic.

56 Unique Lorem Ipsum Generators – Completely silly stuff. But very fun if you need to use sample text to test out a graphic design.

Prediction on E-book Sales – Ebooks will outsell paper books in the year 2017. Agree or Disagree. See the data at the link.

53 Years of To Kill a Mockingbird – Enjoy a celebration of a classic.

As Long as Reading Survives, so will Bookshops – Philip Hensher explores an interesting topic.

56 Unique Lorem Ipsum Generators – Completely silly stuff. But very fun if you need to use sample text to test out a graphic design.

[ Read More → ]

Jul

15

2013

F is for Foreign Rights

by Steve Laube

open-book banner

Publishing is a global concern. The new Penguin Random House (co-owned by Bertlesmann from Germany and Pearson from the UK) is the largest publisher in the world. The fourth largest publisher is based in the Netherlands. (See this link for a list of the top 50 largest publishers worldwide.) There are thousands of publishers outside the U.S. most of which publish in their native language. Therefore, in most contracts, the foreign rights or translation rights are negotiated.

Some publishers have a dedicated rights division which handles the licensing of your book into other languages. Your contract defines how any income is to be split between you and your publisher. (It is usually a 50/50 split.) Often we have negotiated with the publisher who is doing the English language edition to also manage foreign language licensed. However our agency has also handled the licensing for book published in Korean, Dutch, German, and Slovakian. It is quite fun to look on our shelves and find our client’s books also printed in Russian, Polish, Czechoslovakian, Indonesian, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

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Jul

12

2013

Fun Fridays – July 12, 2013

Watch this 4 minute video and then save it. You may need to show it to someone in 20 years who is unsure.

“How to Read a Book” – a delightful reminder of why we work so hard to do what we do in this business.

This video is the work of Hilary Commer, and she made it for her Intro to Visual Media class at Abilene Christian University.

[

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Jul

11

2013

Another Productive ICRS!

Tamela Hancock Murray

People in a modern architectural interior. Tint blue

Two weeks ago I enjoyed the privilege of attending ICRS (International Christian Retail Show) as part of The Steve Laube Agency, marking my third ICRS with Steve.

As usual, our schedule was packed but seeing our colleagues is why we attend, so a full agenda is welcome. Year after year, reports say ICRS is getting smaller, and indeed we did miss seeing some of our editor friends. However, we were able to maintain great connections with over 35 interesting and productive meetings. Authors are looking for good news and I can say there is plenty. Editors are still actively acquiring all types of fiction and nonfiction. Standards are high, but then again, they always have been. Talented writers who are willing to work hard will find opportunities in today’s market.

I can’t call feasting at several dinners and banquets “hardship” duty. I had a great time at the AWSA awards lunch, the Speak Up! breakfast, and the Baker Publishing Group dinner, and was especially thrilled to be at Susie May Warren’s table on Monday night when she won her Christy Award!

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