News You Can Use – Nov. 6, 2012

Fund Raiser to Help with Relief – Bid on a 50-page critique of your novel by a published novelist between Nov. 9 and Nov. 16. Participating blogger authors include Susan Meissner, Ginny Yttrup, Donita K. Paul, Gayle Roper, Kristen Heitzmann, Hannah Alexander, Rachel Hauck and more! Money from the highest bidder of the week for each author will go to Samaritan’s Purse to help the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Trying to Explain Publishing, or Understand it, Often Remains a Great Challenge – Mike Shatzkin at his usual brilliance. Take the time to read and absorb this post.

Rupert Murdoch Criticizes Merger of Random House and Penguin – He attempted a last minute one-billion dollar bid for Penguin and was shut out.

Disney Buys Lucas Films – Darth Vader and Mickey Mouse can now be friends. It only cost $4 billion. Which they will make back on the first of the new Star Wars movies they will make.

11 Book Sequels You Probably Didn’t Know Existed– A fascinating list of the follow up books to famous titles like Mary Poppins, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Catch-22 and more. What is the obvious lesson here?

A Musician Leverages the Power of Free – Wonder if the same principles would work consistently for the writer?

Your “About” Page Matters! – Joel Frielander hits a home run with this highly practical advice.

Peter Warren Scores Eight Touchdowns in a Single Game – This high school senior scored a total of 52 points in the game shattering the single game scoring record for the state of Minnesota. By the way, he is the son of our client Susan May Warren. She deserves to be a proud mama!

Leave a Comment

Five Reasons Why You May Never Get Published

by Steve Laube


There are many factors that go into the acquisition, development, and sale of a new book. But the majority of ideas never get to that point. I thought it might be helpful to review some of the most common issues we’ve run into.

1. You Won’t Do the Work
Writing a novel, a non-fiction work, or even a short article isn’t a casual enterprise. It takes hard work to do it well. Malcolm Gladwell, in his book Outliers, has made popular the notion that it takes 10,000 hours of work before finding success. While it isn’t an exact formula there is truth to this assertion. Do the math.

If you work at your writing craft for 2o hours a week for 50 weeks it will equal one thousand (1,000) hours x 10 and the calculation reveals nearly ten years of hard work to feel like you have a chance.

Unfortunately we run into writers who have dashed off something during a lunch break and think it is worth millions.

Read More

Choosing and Courting Your First Choice Agent

You’ve done your homework, including:

visiting agency web sites talking to author friends about their agents interacting casually with agents on social media reading agents’ blogs attending writers conferences as your time and budget allow

This is part of the process in helping you choose the agent you most feel you want to work with.

When deciding, think about:

agency’s reputation agent’s reputation authors the agent represents (demonstrated success with work similar to yours) personality (this is where social media helps)

Reputable agents welcome being researched because we stand on our record. Of course, every agent and agency who has been in business more than a day and a half has a few detractors. Most of the time, detractors are made either because the client and agent were a mismatch from the start and/or because of an unhappy situation complicated by misunderstanding. Good agents conduct themselves in an ethical manner and your research should reveal that the overarching agreement in the writing community is that their clients are well served.

Read More

What Is Your Legacy?

It was one of my first writers’ conferences, some 25 years ago. I knew what being there meant: that my job was to meet the needs of the writers who were attending. To help them on their journey, to give them what encouragement and counsel I could.

But on the first day there, I was approached by a slight woman whose halo of white hair framed a face that seemed wreathed in a perpetual, gentle smile. The crinkles at the corners of her eyes testified to years of laughter and delight. Her voice held the same grace and kindness as her smile, and when she asked me about myself, it was clear she really wanted to know. About me. Not what I could do for her. Not if I would critique her work. Not if I would acquire and publish her book.

She wanted to know about…me. My family. My passions. Even my beloved doggies. This was my introduction to the wondrous Ethel Herr. And it was the beginning of a friendship filled with laughter and thoughtful conversations about life and faith and the craft of writing. A friendship that has enriched my heart and spirit. Ethel spoke truth and wisdom to me through the years. And she listened when I really needed someone to do so. She never condemned or criticized, but oh! What a master at bringing conviction where it was needed—and doing so with a depth of love you couldn’t miss. Love for me. Love for God.

Always, always, a profound love for God.

So when I heard yesterday that Ethel passed from this world into eternity, I wept. And I smiled. Because there must be one HECK of a party going on in eternity! What but rejoicing and celebration could usher dear Ethel to the throne of the God she loved and served so very well? What but joy could accompany her as she hears the words we echo over and over: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Read More

News You Can Use – October 30, 2012

Random House Merges with Penguin Putnam – To be called Penguin Random House. Bertelsmann (the parent company of Random House) will own 53%, and Pearson (the parent company of Penguin) 47%. This is major news if it goes through to create the Big Five (no longer the Big Six). It will have little impact on the Christian market since Penguin was highly selective in their Christian book acquisitions and never created a full blow imprint (although they did try for a while with something called Penguin Praise).
Read the Bertelsmann Press Release.
Read the Pearson Press Release.

Faulkner Quote in a Movie Sparks a Copyright Lawsuit – “Sony Pictures Classics and a group of unnamed movie exhibitors have been sued by the owners of the rights to the literary works of the late William Faulkner because a quote from one of his books was used by Woody Allen in the hit 2011 movie Midnight In Paris.” (?????)

5 Facts About Publishing That Could Change Your Writing Career – Jeff Goins strikes to the heart with some solid advice.

An Industry in Turmoil – Christine Bronstein tells of the demise of Borders and the reasons behind her decision to self-publish.

How to Get a Job in Publishing – I’m grateful for this article by Brooklyn Arden. To get the full picture read her earlier article “How Do I Become a Book Editor?” Now you have a place you can send those who ask you these questions!

Debating Ten Ways to Save the Publishing Industry – Read the original posts mentioned in this article to see a couple smart people debate solutions. Colin Robinson ends with:

“The point I’m making is that, though publishing must radically reform the way it publishes in order to take more chances with what it publishes, systemic change will never replace the need for intelligent, creative work in selecting and developing books. That’s why publishing remains an often joyful occupation.”

Read More

Historical Prices – Research Tip

by Steve Laube

I made $1.80 an hour stuffing envelopes for my first job with a paycheck. I thought I was rich. For a teenager in those days I was because in today’s money I would have been making nearly $10 per hour!

When writing a novel or referring to days gone by it is helpful to put things in perspective by doing a little research. First find out what that item cost in that year. I did a quick search for “gas prices in 1962 and found the answer in seconds.” Then go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website for an inflation calculator. Here is the address: This site calculates the average Consumer Price Index for a given calendar year using the  rate of inflation and other economic factors and enables you to compare wages, prices, and other various things. This index value has been calculated every year since 1913.

A couple examples:

Read More

Write That Novel!

This question is from a writer who follows my Facebook business page. I have permission to use her question as a blog post:

I like to write, but am racked with doubt so I quit. How do you motivate your writers to finish?

I would say to set a goal. Look at your schedule. How many words do you think you can write in a day? If you write 1000 words a day, you will have the first draft of a novel in three months. A thousand words adds up to four pages. That’s it! Most people can write four pages a day. But if you truly can’t, go for 500 words, or two pages, a day. Writing a novel in six months is still a respectable pace. Write something, even if you know you’ll have to edit and revise. In fact, I worry about any writer who doesn’t revise — oh wait. I don’t know any. The point is, get something on paper so you will have material to work with. Some writers tell me they enjoy editing more than the initial writing.

If you want to move even faster and write within a community, note that November is National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo has the goal of encouraging writers to complete a novel in a month. Here is a link to a site written at the end of last year’s event with a lot of tools to help you participate.

Read More

News You Can Use – October 23, 2012

Will the New Healthcare Rules Put Tyndale Out of Business? – Read this extraordinary interview with Mark Taylor the President of Tyndale House Publishers. Imagine having to make such a decision after the Obama administration declared that Tyndale, a privately-held publisher of Bibles and Christian books, is not a religious employer. Please vote on November 6th.

Nicolas Cage to Star in “Left Behind” Reboot? – Rumor has it that the Left Behind films are being rewritten and reproduced. This new film release may be the forerunner of an actual apocalypse.

Read the Way You Write – Great article by Susan J. Morris. Love her first line “Great writing is often borne of an almost absurd level of appreciation and dedication to reading.”

Create a “Coughing” Ring-Tone and Never be Embarrassed by Your Phone Again – Intriguing suggestion from LifeHacker.

Newsweek Become Digital-Only Magazine – Is anyone really surprised? I thought that magazine had become irrelevant a few years ago. Note the statistic that their subscription rate is 1/2 of what it was ten years ago. At that rate it is awfully hard to fill the advertising revenue stream. The magazine was sold for $1 (one dollar) in 2010 and merged with The Daily Beast.

Amazon Creates Whispercast Service for Kindle – Allowing schools and businesses a way to use the device to share books and documents. Think of the variety of uses that could be made. Innovation in this industry never ceases to amaze me.

Read More