Author Steve Laube

Print: A Thing of the Past?

by Karen Ball

Remember the musical Oklahoma? Gordon MacRae singing to, of all people, Rod Steiger: “Poor Jud is daid, poor Jud Fry is daid…”

Well, the way folks have been talking lately, I’m waiting for the new musical, “Digital World,” where a Gordon MacRae-esque editor will stand next to a book and sing out, “Poor print is daid, poor print books is daid, they’re lookin’ oh, so tattered and passé…”

Seriously, I keep hearing the rumblings:

Digital is taking over.

No one is buying print books.

Brick-and-mortar bookstores are closing every day.

The future of publishing is uncertain.

What does this mean for authors?

How will this change our contracts?

And on and on it goes. When the person sitting next to me on a flight several months found out I was in publishing, she asked me about this very thing. We had an interesting conversation about it all. Of course, I heard some of these same doom-and-gloom thoughts from her.

I just smiled, and pointed to her lap. “What are you reading there?”

She held up her book–not her Kindle, mind you, her book--and we talked about the author. Halfway into a sentence, she stopped, looked at the book, then at me.

And then she smiled.

“Now, look around us,” I said. “How many Kindles do you see?”

She hopped up and, on pretext of heading to the oh-so-spacious bathroom on the plane, took an informal poll. Upon her return, her smile was even broader. “Two. On this whole plane, only two.”

“How many books did you see?”

Smile shifts to grin. “Too many to count.”

“So is print dead?”

She settled back in her seat, hands caressing the cover of the book in her lap. “I don’t even think it’s sick!”

Our own Steve Laube brings a voice of much-needed reason to the whole discussion in an earlier blog post. Be sure you read the comments, too. Good stuff.

Yes, publishing is changing. Yes, e-books are on the rise. But no, print’s not dead. In fact, as my friend on the plane finally concluded, it’s not even sick. It’s just…changing. What gets published, and how it’s published are morphing even as I type. But we authors and editors and agents and most especially publishers need not fear those changes. Instead, let’s work to understand them, what’s behind them, and how we use them well to benefit all.

 

 

 

 

 

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News You Can Use

by Steve Laube

Thirty Three Twitter Feeds to Follow – The folks at Poets & Writers put together a helpful list of publishing and writing oriented twitter feeds to follow.

Kindle Spam Clogging Amazon – What a mess. Fake compiled books are being uploaded on the Kindle digital platform and sold to unsuspecting people. Another argument for Curation.

Google Books Creates Affiliate Program – Click this to apply to become a sales affiliate for Google Books. Similar to the Amazon program. At least it gives you an alternative if your state has been shut out by Amazon’s war with State Departments of Revenue.

Turn Off Your Phone – Donald Miller seeks out the secret to productivity. Simple but effective.

How Many of Your Facebook Friends do You Know? – Tech Crunch summarizes a Pew Research Study. They claim, “Facebook users have about 229 Friends, with about 22% of their total Friends list being comprised of people they know from high school, 12% extended family, 10% coworkers, 9% college friends, 8% immediate family, 7% people from extracurricular groups and 2% being neighbors.” I guess I’m not normal.

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The Fear of Rejection

Randy Ingermanson recently interviewed author Mary DeMuth in his “Advanced Fiction Writing E-Zine” and the topic of rejection surfaced. I thought it was very insightful and, with permission, am posting their conversation.

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My friend Mary DeMuth recently published an e-book with the title The 11 Secrets of Getting Published.

Given that the price is only $2.99, I assumed the book would be about 50 pages with a few simple tips on breaking into publishing.

When Mary sent me a copy, I was astounded to find that it ran to 229 pages of solid information on breaking in. Developing your craft. Learning discipline.

Learning to accept critiques. Writing a query and a proposal. And tons more. Mary packed this book.

The chapter that hit home for me was titled, “Overcome Fear and Rejection.” You’d think I’d be good at that after 23 years of this writing game, but I still hate rejection and I still battle fear.am posting their conversation.

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The Myth of the Unearned Advance

by Steve Laube

A common myth permeating the industry is that a book is not profitable if the author’s advance does not earn out. I would like to attempt to dispel this myth.

First let’s define the term “Advance.” When a book contract is created between a publisher and an author, the author is usually paid an advance. This is like getting an advance against your allowance when you were a kid. It isn’t an amount that is in addition to any future earnings from the sale of the book. Instead, like that allowance, it is money paid in advance against all future royalties, and it must therefore be covered by royalty revenue (i.e. earned out) before any new royalty earnings are paid.

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The Passing of a Friend

My friend Bill Reynolds, known as “Mr. Bible,” has passed away. In his career as a Bible salesman he sold over one million copies! He was one of the first sales reps to ever sell to me when I first started in the industry as a bookseller with The Berean Christian Stores. He was always cheerful and took a sincere interest in my life and development as a Christian, a father, and a bookseller. I will always treasure our friendship.

After reading of his passing, a number of memories flooded back.

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More Great News for the Agency!

In the final step of our current expansion we are excited to announce that Karen Ball is joining The Steve Laube Agency as a new literary agent for the firm.

Karen is one of the most widely respected editors in the publishing business. For nearly 30 years she has built  and led successful fiction lines for Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and, most recently, the B&H Publishing Group. She’s had the honor of discovering several of the best-selling CBA novelists, including Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Sharon Ewell Foster, Liz Curtis Higgs, and, most recently, Ginny Yttrup (a Steve Laube Agency client), whose debut novel Publisher’s Weekly declared “a masterpiece!”

Karen has also worked with numerous top novelists, including Angela Hunt, Robin Jones Gunn, Robin Lee Hatcher, Brandilyn Collins, and many others. In addition, Karen is a best-selling, award-winning novelist and a popular speaker. She will work out of her office in Oregon where she lives with her husband, father, and two four-legged, furry “kids.”

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A New Agent Joins Us!

We are thrilled to announce that Tamela Hancock Murray is joining The Steve Laube Agency as a new literary agent for the firm. For the last ten years she has been with the Hartline Literary Agency representing a number of successful authors.

She interned on Capitol Hill and at the U.S. Department of State before graduating with honors in Journalism from Lynchburg College in Virginia. Tamela brings significant writing expertise to the agency as an  author of twenty novels, novellas, and nonfiction works. When she’s not working as an agent Tamela spends time with her husband and their two daughters.

She will be working out of her office in Virginia, giving the agency a specific East Coast connection.

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A Defense of Traditional Publishing: Part Five

INFRASTRUCTURE

The more I write on this series the more “boring” it seems to become. Why? Because I’m not revealing anything particularly new or uncovering the secret to getting published. However, the goal has been to talk about things that the traditional can do quite well. And this series ultimately is a journey through the innards of the publishing business.

Today we discuss infrastructure. I’m talking about the yawn-worthy topics of accounting, licensing, legal protection, and metadata.

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A Defense of Traditional Publishing: Part Four

DESIGN

Napoleon Bonaparte, is supposed to have said, “Un bon croquis vaut mieux qu’un long discours,” translated “A good sketch is better than a long speech.” That has morphed into the modern phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words,” which is a fundamental truth when talking of book covers.

Another cliché states, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but we do it all the time. We are a visual people and our eyes are drawn to images that capture our imagination. In my opinion, the title and the cover vie for preeminence as the most important part of the presentation of a book to a potential reader.

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