Author Steve Laube

How Do You Measure Success?

by Steve Laube

A few years ago while talking to some editors they described an author who was never satisfied (not revealing the name of course). It this author’s latest book had sold 50,000 copies the author wondered why the publisher didn’t sell 60,000. And if it sold 60,000 why didn’t it sell 75,000? The author was constantly pushing for “more” and was incapable of celebrating any measure of success.

Recently there has been much ink spilled on whether Indie authors are better of than authors published by traditional publishers. Pundits have laid claim to their own definition of a successful book using number, charts, and revealed earnings. Following this dialogue can be rather exhausting.

I understand the desire to measure whether or not my efforts are successful. It is a natural instinct. If it is any indication, one of our most popular blog posts has been “What are Average Book Sales?” with thousands of readers.

In one way this is a wise question so that expectations can be realistic.

In another way it is unwise in that the cliff called “Comparison” is a precipitous one. I’ve talked to depressed authors who are wounded by numbers. I’ve talked to angry authors who are incensed by a perceived lack of effort by their publisher. I’ve talked to highly frustrated authors who wonder if it is all worth it.

Ultimately I can’t help but think this is all an exercise in determining a definition of success for the individual author. If you can measure it you can define it. That is as long as we know what “it” is.

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Fun Fridays – December 6, 2019

Today’s video is a long one (11 minutes) but is the perfect break from your busy day … to learn how this man folds amazing paper airplanes for world records. You finished your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping. You finished NaNoWriMo (if you are a novelist). You deserve a …

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Never Burn a Bridge!

The sale of Thomas Nelson to HarperCollins and last week’s sale of Heartsong to Harlequin brought to mind a critical piece of advice:

Never Burn a Bridge!

Ours is a small industry and both editors and authors move around with regularity. If you are in a business relationship and let your frustration boil into anger and ignite into rage…and let that go at someone in the publishing company, you may end up burning the bridge. And that person who you vented on might someday become the head of an entire publishing company.

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A Personal Thanks

Since this is the week when those of us in the United State celebrate Thanksgiving, I thought Iā€™d take a moment to say a few words of gratitude. To Tamela and Bob Tamela Hancock Murray and Bob Hostetler are two of the finest literary agents in the business. It is …

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Fun Fridays – November 22, 2019

I totally would have done this to my daughters if I had thought of it. It is also a bit of a metaphor for clarity in our writing. If the reader misunderstands it whose fault is it? The reader? The writer? Or simply blame the editor, that nameless person who …

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What Caught My Eye


Last week we talked about the hook, the sound bite, or the ability to “say it in a sentence.” One reader asked for examples so I thought I’d give you a few.

Below are the short pitches of proposals that have caught my eye over the years from debut authors. Please realize that the sound bite is only one of many factors that goes into a great proposal. Ultimately it is the execution of the concept that makes for a great book. For example, The Help by Kathryn Stockett would not have succeeded as a word-of-mouth bestseller if the writing did not support the story. (No, we did not represent that title, I’m only trying to make a point. :-))

Your challenge will be to see if you can identify which books these sound bites are pitching. Each one has been published. One is obviously non-fiction, the other two are novels. The answers to each of these will be provided later this week in the comments section. along with a link to the title so you can see it in its final form.

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Fun Fridays – November 15, 2019

This video gives mind-blowing facts about linguistics. In particular, how pronunciation has changed over time. Thus, if you are writing a historical novel, be careful in assuming the words you use meant the same in your era and that they they were pronounced like they are today. Made me think …

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Veterans Day – 2019

Today, November 11, 2019, is the 101st anniversary of Veterans Day, celebrated in the United States. Originally known as Armistice Day, it was set to honor the end of World War I, which happened on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. It became …

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