A Matter of Taste

I always enjoy reading comments on our blog posts. Recently a reader posted a provocative question:

In this time of great emotional upheaval, instability, and unrest, aren’t we ready for something more solid and inspiring than just different types of romance novels?

Those of you familiar with my career know that I am the author of many romance novels and stories — and Bible trivia books!

And while I represent a variety of authors in fiction and nonfiction, my list is weighted heavily to romantic stories. I do realize that not everyone has the same taste — nor should we.

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Any Regulatory Issues with the Purchase of Thomas Nelson by HarperCollins?


By most accounts the purchase of Nelson by HarperCollins will put the #1 largest Christian Publishing house under the same ownership as the #2 largest Christian Publishing House (Zondervan). The press release mentions that the sale “is subject to customary regulatory clearance.”

It will be interesting to see if the Department of Justice cares about Christian publishing, or even understands it.  Over in the telecommunications industry they are blocking the merger between ATT and T-Mobile, which are #1 and #4 in wireless service.  With the purchase of Nelson, it is combining #1 and #2.  So it should come under some scruitiny.  But it might not because:

The DOJ might not understand the Christian book business. 
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Perspective on the Sale of Thomas Nelson Publishers

In light of yesterday’s announcement of the sale of Thomas Nelson Publishers to HarperCollins I thought I would write a few thoughts.

Without question this is the biggest news story in the Christian publishing industry this year, if not the last few years. Most of us have been caught flat-footed. Partly because Thomas Nelson is such a large company. And partly because they were just purchased by an investment group last year. The other surprise is the buyer. HarperCollins has owned Zondervan since 1988 which is a direct competitor to Nelson. They publish some of the same authors. (And by the way, HarperCollins is owned by NewsCorp…whose owner is Rupert Murdoch.)

Back in 2002 when I was still with Bethany House Publishers we were sold to Baker Books. So I’ve seen some of the inside of a publishing sale. There will be some obvious echoes to our experience, but Zondervan and Nelson are very different from Bethany House and Baker.

Ten Random Thoughts

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More on the Purchase of Thomas Nelson by HarperCollins

One bit of speculation about the sale of Thomas Nelson to HarperCollins comes from PaidContent.org written by Laura Hazard Owen: “Thomas Nelson has been on the forefront of experimentation with digital publishing, and HarperCollins is buying not just the company but also that digital experience….Thomas Nelson has done a bunch of …

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HarperCollins Buys Thomas Nelson Publishers

BREAKING NEWS! Startling industry news. HarperCollins will purchase Thomas Nelson by the end of this calendar year. HarperCollins already owns Zondervan (which they purchased in 1988). The combination will create the largest and most dominant Christian publishing company in the world. Wow. Here is the official press release.

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C.S. Lewis on Writing

by Steve Laube

On June 26, 1956, C.S. Lewis replied to letter from an American girl named Joan with advice on writing:

Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else. Always prefer the plain direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.
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Don’t Quit Your Day Job

I’ve been talking with writers who have another job as well as their writing to see how they juggle doing both. I was a social worker before my daughter was born and started writing soon after, but now that my youngest is off to college I’ve thought about getting back into the work force. I just don’t know how I’d balance the two yet.

The first thing I thought of was that I’d have to do some serious time management to get everything done that I do now plus working. Getting my family used to the idea that I wouldn’t be as available would be the biggest undertaking, and having others do some of the tasks that I’ve always done. In having less time for writing I’d be spending less time with my imaginary friends, meaning my characters of course (If I were writing this to anyone other than fellow authors I’d worry they would question my sanity) along with a number of activities and groups I belong to. I suppose it’s all about prioritizing.

I did a little research about authors who didn’t give up their day jobs, or at least not right away after they were published. Some of these might surprise you.

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News You Can Use – Oct. 25, 2011

What Authors Learned from their Editors – This a flat out brilliant piece. Come back here and tell us in the comments what you learned from your editor. How to Find Free Photos for Your Blog – In case you wondered, we use iStockPhoto.com for the majority of our images. …

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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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