2016: A Year in Review

It is time to take a look at our past year and reflect on all the things that have happened. It is a recitation of good things and not so good things. But all were under the sovereignty of God and as such we give all glory to Him. (If you’d like to look at previous annual reports they can be found here: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2009.)

The Agency Continues to Have Success
We (the four of us) continue to thrive despite numerous shifts in the industry. We were able to secure contracts for 130 forthcoming books. (This was the same number of books contracted in 2015!) It is exciting to note that in that mix were contracts for thirteen debut authors.

I spoke at seven events during the year. As an agency the four of us covered the country from Florida to Oregon attending nearly 20 different writers conferences.

We were proud to have three Carol Award winners – Lynette Eason, Lynn Huggins Blackburn, and Dina Slieman (out of seven finalists), and four Christy Award finalists.

Our team of agents currently represent 128 novelists and 113 non-fiction authors. It is an honor and a privilege to work with so many great people.

The Industry is Always Changing
The industry is constantly in flux. Some businesses thrive while others struggle. From year to year the “top dog” changes. The ebb and flow can be quite a challenge. There were publishers who announced changes in the types of books they would be acquiring or who are refocusing their publishing efforts in unanticipated directions, which caught some authors by surprise in the middle of multi-book contracts. Navigating those changes is a big part of what an agent does for their clients. We have to update our editorial contact lists on a regular basis to make sure the right person is receiving the right proposal.

In some general industry news, the Christy Awards will be managed by ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) which will assure its viability for years to come.

STL (Send the Light) Distributors closed their doors. I didn’t write about it earlier because it didn’t have a direct impact on writers, but it did create a gap in the supply chain for retailers. The void was filled quickly but it meant that publishers had to pivot and adjust their own sales channels to accommodate the new demands.

There were a number of significant authors who passed away during the year. The list includes: Charles Ryrie, Gilbert Morris, Gary Smalley, Tim LaHaye, Emily Barnes, Larry Richards, C. Peter Wagner, Sandie Bricker, and Thomas Oden. Each fulfilled their call to be a writer and their works touched the lives of millions of readers. (I apologize if I missed anyone. Please add their names in the comments below.)

Enclave Publishing Sold
After more than two years of owning and running Enclave Publishing I was approached by Gilead Publishing and agreed to sell the company to them. Enclave is now an imprint of Gilead Publishing. They asked me to remain as the Publisher for the imprint which means I continue to oversee the acquisitions and editorial process for those books.

Twelve new titles released in 2016. We were honored to win two Excellence in Editing awards for Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin and A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes. Both of those books, along with Rebel by R. J. Anderson, were Christy Award finalists. In addition, Heir of Hope by Morgan Busse was a Carol Award finalist.

It is no secret that Gilead Publishing ran into some funding issues in the fourth quarter of the year (their major investor reneged on the promised and contracted investment). They are working diligently to secure new funding as soon as possible.

The Christian Writers Institute and The Christian Writers Market Guide
After a lot of work I was able to launch The Christian Writers Institute in October. It had been a long time idea to create an online resource for writers to learn about this profession from some of the best teachers in the industry. There are currently nearly 100 classes available with more in the works.

At the same time I purchased the rights to the venerable Christian Writers Market Guide from Jerry Jenkins and set about compiling the new edition for 2017. The paperback and ebook are now available from your favorite retailer. Or you can subscribe to the information online and have access to up-to-date content all the time, on any device.

What’s Next?
I think a nap is in order. Agreed?

I am always on the lookout for great new ideas in both fiction and non-fiction. The world is in desperate need of the good news of the Gospel. The time is ripe for voices who can help proclaim the way to Truth (with a capital T) and righteousness. May you continue to thrive in your ministry of words.

11 Responses to 2016: A Year in Review

  1. Avatar
    Carrie Turansky January 2, 2017 at 6:54 am #

    Wow, that’s quite a year for you and your agency! Thanks for representing us so well! I think you do deserve a long nap or a restful vacation. Blessings to you in the new year!

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    Henry Styron January 2, 2017 at 7:28 am #

    Thanks for the update, Steve. You and your team have indeed had a busy year. May God bless and prosper you and yours in 2017. And maybe a nap or two wouldn’t be a bad idea….

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    Carol McLeod January 2, 2017 at 9:16 am #

    Thanks for the update. Interesting, indeed. How wonderful to know that you continue to stand for Truth and promote the Truth found only in the Gospel message. Praying for you and for all that you put your hand to in 2017. May it be a year of increase and blessing!

  4. Avatar
    Bob January 2, 2017 at 9:33 am #

    Thank you for your faithfulness in posting and the insights you provide. You are an encouragement to those of us “strivers” who seek to be published with works that glorify God.

  5. Avatar
    Norma Brumbaugh January 2, 2017 at 9:34 am #

    You’re out there making a positive difference in the world. Thank you for all you and your agency does. To God be the glory.

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    Sheri Dean Parmelee January 2, 2017 at 10:35 am #

    Steve, congrats to the agency, and to you, for a super year. You forgot to add your own blog and how it touches the lives of so many writers.
    I didn’t realize that Emilie Barnes had passed- I read everything she wrote when I was a young mom in need of organizational suggestions.
    Have a great 2017 and I will see you here! I plan on keeping this blog as “new” so that I can read your favorite blogs at my leisure.

  7. Avatar
    Joseph Bentz January 2, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

    Thank you for all you do not only for your own clients but also for the Christian publishing industry overall.

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    Amanda Cleary Eastep January 2, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

    That is an eventful year! Best to you as you continue in new ventures and in the work God calls you to. I have learned so much since I started reading your blog a few months ago. THANK YOU and Happy New Year!

  9. Avatar
    Michael Emmanuel January 2, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

    Wow. It’s safe to say the agency’s schedule for last year is like building four houses and supervising everything from plumbing to purchasing wood and nail to fixing heaters…

    I’m encouraged that there’s always ‘a hunt, a lookout.’ Thank you, sir, for a blessing that you are. And to The Steve Laube agency too.

    Prayers for Gilead Publishing.

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    cheryl January 2, 2017 at 7:19 pm #

    Steve, I am exhausted for you.
    As a new writer, I’m very excited about having so many wonderful resources and teachers all in one place. The Christian Writers Institute is a great plan! Thank you for all the hard work you and your team have done this last year to help keep writers informed. enlightened and encouraged. You deserve that long nap on a warm beach someplace in the Pacific.

  11. Avatar
    Diana Derringer January 3, 2017 at 7:58 am #

    Thank you for the update and your ongoing work in Christian publishing.

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