Another Day, Another Change

It is a long standing joke that if you think you know what a publisher is looking for, wait for Tuesday. Why? Because in one meeting everything can change. Suddenly they are looking for Texas NASCAR Romance but using an Urban Fantasy setting.

Acquisitions often reflect the editorial and marketing staff of a particular publisher. And that too is another area of change.

Tuesday…

This past Tuesday there was a few changes announced that affected two publishers within the Christian market. The VP of editorial at David C. Cook Publishers, Alex Field, was hired by Waterbrook/Multnomah, a division of Penguin Random House, to become their new VP and Publisher. Both companies are based in Colorado Springs so Alex will only have to take a different freeway exit to get to work!

In addition Penguin Random House announced that their Convergent imprint, an imprint that focuses on what are described as progressive issues within Christianity, is moving from the Springs to New York. And David Kopp, one of the last remaining people from the original Multnomah, will be moving to NY to head that imprint.

Also Stephen Cobb, the president and publishier of Waterbrook/Multnomah announced his retirement next March.

Part of the change means that Ken Peterson, the current VP of editorial at Waterbrook/Multnomah will be leaving the company at the end of the month. Ken is a long time veteran of the industry and well loved by many.

But before you get comfortable, let me list a few other editorial shifts and hirings that have happened this year:

Tim Peterson moved from Bethany House to David C. Cook where he is Associate Publisher.

Kim Bangs, Senior Acquisitions Editor,  moved from Regal Books to Bethany House and Chosen Books when the Baker Publishing Group purchased Regal.

Becky Nesbit will be leaving Howard Books as their VP and Editor-in-Chief at the end of the year.

Don Pape moved from David C. Cook to become Publisher at NavPress.

Dave Zimmerman moved from IVP (InterVarsity Press) to acquisitions editor at NavPress.

Pamela Clements moved from Abingdon to Worthy Publishing as their VP and Associate Publisher of their Inspire imprint.

Dan Rich, Chief Publishing Officer at David C. Cook, announced his retirement next May. (He has been in Christian publishing for the last 40 years.)

Brian Thomasson left NavPress and after a brief turn as an agent became an acquisitions editor for Baker Publishing.

Joel Kneedler left Alive Literary Agency and joined W Publishing, an imprint of Harper Collins Christian Publishing, as Associate Publisher.

There were others editors who lost their jobs due to cut backs or to a shift in emphasis and I’d rather not list their names.

And just this past week I’ve been told of another editor moving to a new publisher, but the announcement is not yet public.

I might be missing a couple others in this recitation, I can always amend the post, but you get the idea. Things are always changing in publishing. As literary agents we keep tabs on all the comings and goings. Our agency has a live document in the cloud where we keep all the information up to date as soon as we hear it. In fact many of our agency video conference calls discuss these changes and how they impact our sales strategies to these publishers. Often one of us knows a particular editor and can bring some clarity to the conversation.

The above mentioned changes affect at least ten different publishers. I don’t think all of the changes happened on a Tuesday, but it sort of feels like it. But as with all past moves, the industry motors on… An editorial change, in my mind, does not spell doom and gloom, it spells o-p-p-o-r-t-u-n-i-t-y. Books will still be published and opportunities abound for writers who are amazing at what they do

24 Responses to Another Day, Another Change

  1. Avatar
    Evan Moffic November 10, 2014 at 5:49 am #

    Great article. The amount of change is incredible. Thanks for keeping us updated.

  2. Avatar
    Rick Barry November 10, 2014 at 6:22 am #

    I’m underscoring your bottom line, Steve. Thanks.

    “…in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9)

  3. Avatar
    Judith Robl November 10, 2014 at 7:08 am #

    The more things change the more they stay the same.

    Life is in a constant state of flux – sort of like an active volcano. There is always heat and ash and lava. You just never know which way the wind blows or the lava flows.

    Thank you for your constant vigilance in reporting the changes and your expertise in leveraging those changes to the benefit of your clients.

  4. Avatar
    Chris November 10, 2014 at 7:09 am #

    Well, this post makes me glad you guys are at the helm. I’m not going out on that bridge until invited. Looks like a new frontier with every change. Thanks for protecting us from the cloaking Klingons.

  5. Avatar
    Clint Hall November 10, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    Are these types of major organizational changes generally more likely to happen at the end of the year so that the new structures are in place come January?

    • Avatar
      Steve Laube November 10, 2014 at 9:11 am #

      Clint,
      No calendar considerations whatsoever.

      Steve

  6. Avatar
    Bob Hostetler November 10, 2014 at 7:33 am #

    And not ONE of these jobs was offered to ME.

    • Avatar
      Rick Barry November 10, 2014 at 7:38 am #

      They all realized you’re simply too busy, Bob!

  7. Avatar
    Bob Hostetler November 10, 2014 at 7:36 am #

    Attached please find my Texas-NASCAR-Romance-on-Ulraith proposal.

    • Avatar
      Steve Laube November 10, 2014 at 9:15 am #

      Bob,

      Thank you for your proposal. It does not meet our editorial needs at this time.

      If it were set on Glankor then we would happily represent it. However your setting was too integrated into the story to change it now. Maybe another agency would be better suited. An agency without good taste.

      HAH!!!

      [[for those of you in the studio audience, Bob is a long time client…and a longer time friend. He is forever creating brilliant proposals and accompanying it with a note to the effect “Now go make me a million dollars.”]]

      Steve

      • Avatar
        Bob Hostetler November 10, 2014 at 9:18 am #

        And yet, the million dollars seems no closer to reality than my mind.

      • Avatar
        Rick Barry November 10, 2014 at 9:21 am #

        AND Bob is a dynamite speaker on the topic of writing. He draws a good crowd each time we invite him to ACFW-Indiana Chapter!

        (Free plug, Bob. No need to pay me this time.)

  8. Avatar
    Sally Bradley November 10, 2014 at 7:46 am #

    Does anyone know where Ken Peterson and Becky Nesbit are headed next?

  9. Avatar
    virelle Kidder November 10, 2014 at 8:26 am #

    My head is spinning! Did all these heads of companies eat the same thing for breakfast? I wonder, honestly, if this signals a fuzzier line between Christian and general market publishing. Seems like there will be more openness to Christian books outside of CBA. I like that, even though it means a tightrope for all of us. My desire is to publish in the ABA market as a Christian writer, to reach those Jim Russell calls “the lambs on the hillside.”

    • Avatar
      Steve Laube November 10, 2014 at 8:57 am #

      Virelle,

      There isn’t any link here between Christian or general marketing publishing and any market “lines.” This is merely the changes in editorial that is part of every day business. Some leave for better opportunities. Some have the change thrust upon them.

      Steve

      • Avatar
        Rick Barry November 10, 2014 at 9:01 am #

        I caught that allusion to Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Nicely done, Steve.

        • Avatar
          Steve Laube November 10, 2014 at 9:09 am #

          Rick,
          I think thou dost giveth me too much credit.

          Steve

  10. Avatar
    Patti Jo Moore November 10, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    Wow! Lots of changes – – which makes me appreciate even more the work you agents do (keeping up with ALL these changes and moves).
    Thank you for updating all of us, Steve.
    And waving at Rick Barry—that verse from Galatians is one of my very favorites. 🙂

    • Avatar
      Rick Barry November 10, 2014 at 8:32 am #

      Caught that wave, Patti Jo! See you next conference!

  11. Avatar
    Bob Hostetler November 10, 2014 at 9:15 am #

    Virelle, my goal is much like yours. Except mine is to publish for all those readers who don’t know any better.

    • Avatar
      Steve Laube November 10, 2014 at 9:17 am #

      Bob is in desperate need of a deadline…

      Steve

  12. Avatar
    Amber Schamel November 10, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    Yet another reason to have a savvy agent on your team.

    Thanks for the update.

    Amber Schamel

  13. Avatar
    Chip MacGregor November 13, 2014 at 11:14 am #

    Dear Mr Lobby,

    Thanks for your resume’, sent to us at MacGruder Literary. Yes, there have certainly been a lot of changes in Christian publishing lately, and I’m sorry to hear your staff is trying to force you out. But at this time there is no room for you at MacLit, unless you’re interested in our opening for a mailroom intern. And… we didn’t think you were qualified. We wish you the best,

    Skip MacGruder

  14. Avatar
    laurabennet November 13, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

    The banter alone was worth reading this. Still chuckling…

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