Communication

Diligence Is Rewarded

The ease of today’s communication brings a casual layer to the task of writing. Careful composition is a casualty of the need for speed. “Throw-away” emails and posts are the new “quick call.” However, it should never leak into the business of writing, either in craft or in professional communication.

The other day I received an email query. There was a very large file attached and the body of the email read, “Here is my book. Please take a look.” No signature line and no subject line. Only these two sentences. At least it rhymed. This was not a friend, a client, or someone I had ever met. The casual, even flippant, nature of the note all but said, “I’m not serious about the craft or business of writing.”

The best writers are those who take their ideas and their words and run them through a gauntlet of critique and reformation. They pour their words into a garlic press and slice and dice them into bits that can flavor their entire book.

This takes time. This takes hard work. And it is a process that seems endless.

You writers out there know what I’m talking about. It is the middle part of the project that is the worst. It becomes a slog instead of a joy. You no longer like the story, you no longer think your book idea is a good one after all. If you are writing a novel, you might be wishing for the demise of your main character; it would be so much easier to have that character croak so you could write “the end” and be done with it.

But diligence has its reward. A finely crafted book can bring hope to those who are hurting. A well-told story can take a reader to a place they’ve never been before. As one writer said, “A book is a place where you can consider an explosive idea without fear of it going off in your face.”

Those words you struggle to express will be a gift for someone who is struggling to express their own.

So as you wrestle with your writing demons, remember the word “diligence.” Write it on a Post-it note and place where you will see it regularly.

Samuel Johnson wrote, “What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.”

Second Peter 1:5-7 says, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

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When the Gloves Come Off

Fist Slams Table in Anger

The publishing experience is rarely done in isolation. This means working with other people. And if their performances or efforts do not meet your expectations, conflict can occur. Over the years I’ve seen more conflict than you can imagine–of all types and variety. But the majority of issues boil down …

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Misunderstanding the Written Word

Back on June 8, I wrote “Barriers to Effective Communication,” attempting to look at some things that get in the way in relationships, business, and writing. I’ve continued to reflect on this topic, particularly with regard to the written word. Not only in books and articles, but also in our …

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Barriers to Effective Communication

By Steve Laube

It has been said that ninety percent of all problems in the universe are failures in communication. And the other ten percent are failures to understand the failure in communication. In the publishing business, or any business for that matter, this is so true. There are a couple common barriers to effective communication, assumption and expectation.

But I Assumed

Often one party assumes knowledge that the other person does not know. Or someone without knowledge fails to admit their lack and try to fake their way through the situation for fear of being found ignorant. Simple to fix. Just ask if you don’t know and alternatively make sure the other person knows what you are talking about. I learn something new nearly every single day and hope to continue that streak for the rest of my life.

But even  worse, and more common, is assuming the other party is mad at you for some reason. The fear of that “assumed anger” prevents an open dialogue or at least delays it.

Much of our business comes down to relationships and fear or anger prevent them from being healthy.

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How Can You Manage So Many Clients?

by Steve Laube

I am frequently asked this question. It is perfectly understandable as many agencies carry a sizeable list of clients. A prospective client or even an existing one wonders, “Will this agent or agency have time for me?”

We post a list of our clients on the web site because we are honored to work with so many gifted people. Not every agency makes their client list public. It is neither right nor wrong, it is merely a preference. As of this morning we have over 150 clients on our roster.

Proper management of a client base is all about communication and work flow. The best metaphor I’ve been able to use to describe how a literary agency works is “We are like a major airline that is always overbooked but never flies full. But if everyone show up at the gate at the same time, we would be in serious trouble.”

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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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Why I Left My (Insurance) Agent

The number-one complaint I hear from authors about their agents is that they don’t communicate with them. My understanding of this was renewed when I was on the side of needing an insurance agent to respond to me. I needed an adjustment to my policy that will mean I’ll pay …

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Creative Boundaries

Creative people usually don’t like being told what to create or what not to create. Similarly, explorers and researchers don’t like being told, “Don’t look there,” or “Explore over here.” By nature, they follow their training and instincts from place to place and thought to thought. As a writer, while …

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Your Money is Your Business or Keep a Lid on How Much Money You Make

How much should author friends reveal to each other about contracts or other business dealings when they have business with the same publisher?

I think it is a huge mistake to reveal the amount of your advances to other authors. This is similar to finding out the salary of the co-worker in the office cubicle next to yours. When I was a retail store manager we had major problems when salaries were revealed, a near fist-fight between two people who had been friends.

Money is viewed as a measure of worth; i.e. a measure of the worthiness of your work.

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