News You Can Use

Some Industry News – August 2016

Isn’t it a fact of life that when you go on vacation or try to slow down in summer or during the holidays that something is going to happen? Or do your family cars like to get flat tires or let their batteries die while in your driveway? Such was last week. (We had a car battery decide that it needed a permanent vacation while in the driveway the morning I was trying to go to work.)

In the industry we had a couple pieces of news that may not have crossed your desk.

Howard Books

The first was a shakeup in the staff at Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. They reduced their staff and shifted responsibilities around. Production and Art director positions have shifted from the Nashville office to New York. The main marketing responsibilities have been added to the plate of their VP of publicity (now VP of publicity and marketing) at the Atria imprint. They also dropped their VP and Editor-in-Chief, Ami McConnell and shifted those responsibilities among three in-house senior editors. I’m sorry to see Ami leave as she has been a long time friend in the industry. She is quite talented so hopefully will land elsewhere.

It’s always hard to make decisions like that, especially when it affects people. But market realities and the need to increase margins and sales in a corporate environment make for tough decisions (especially in publicly held corporations).  The important thing is to not attribute changes like this to “the collapse of CBA” or “the demise of print books” or “the Amazon Effect” or “Jupiter has aligned with Neptune.” The economics of publishing is a constant ebb and flow. One publisher can have a great year and the next be in the tank (see what happened to the revenue at Scholastic in the post-Harry Potter days or at Little Brown post-Twilight). I am guessing that Howard Books had ramped up to handle the extraordinary success of the “Duck Dynasty” books. It is hard to sustain that kind of windfall, even when sales outside a specific franchise are just fine.

I’ve exchanged notes with Jonathan Merkh, the VP and Publisher at Howard Books, and the future of the division is secure and the sale and acquisitions of key books will continue unimpeded.

The Christy Awards

The other news was that ECPA (The Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) has taken both ownership and management of the prestigious Christy Awards. This is the premier award for Christian fiction in the industry.

For seventeen years it had been under its own management. By moving it under ECPA’s oversight it ensures the long term viability of the award.

Earlier this month ECPA made some changes to their own Christian Book Award program and had dropped the fiction category. Now the Christy Awards will slide into that spot and give it additional visibility.

I’ve been asked if this is a good thing. I responded with a resounding, “Yes!” I’m very excited to see the awards continue unabated for the foreseeable future.

The full press release can be found by clicking here.

Rumor Control

Six years ago I wrote a blog about rumors and the need to verify before spreading what you hear. In the ensuing half-decade-plus social media, via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, loops, and groups have made it very easy to play versions of the “Telephone Game.

One of those happened last week due to a typo. By the time it came to me I was sent a message that read “The CEO of B&H was fired yesterday.” I was shocked that Lifeway would terminate such an important person in their B&H Publishing Group. So I went to my friendly neighborhood contact inside Lifeway and ask that she verify or correct the rumor.

It wasn’t the CEO of the B&H (Broadman & Holman) Publishing Group…it was the CEO of B&N (Barnes & Noble), the bookstore chain. (News about B&N’s move.)

A typo, B&N versus B&H, made a huge difference. Gratefully the rumor stopped very quickly and was corrected.

Next thing you know I’ll be hearing that the U.S. was disqualified in a relay race in the Olympics again or that a monkey in diapers attacked a Walmart employee.

Oh wait…


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Enclave Publishing Has Been Sold!

Enclave Publishing, the premier publisher of Science Fiction and Fantasy from a Christian perspective has been sold! Many of you know of my love for the Speculative Fiction genre. In January 2014 I purchased Marcher Lord Press from Jeff Gerke. Later that year I re-branded the company as Enclave Publishing. …

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Gilead Publishing is Announced!

It is very exciting when some good news happens in our industry. We’ve talked so much about bankruptcies and industry challenges that we also need to celebrate when the good stuff comes along. Today is the official first day of a newly formed Christian publishing company called Gilead Publishing. The CEO …

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Healthy Brain Food

In this social media-saturated world where everyone seems to have an opinion about everything, it is very important to quickly determine those voices you pay attention to and those you tune out. When it comes to the book publishing business, I narrow down who I pay attention to simply because …

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National Constitution Week

by Steve Laube

September 17-23 is National Constitution Week in the United States.
September 17th is National Constitution Day.

“It was officially enacted on August 2, 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower from a congressional resolution petitioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The purpose of the observance week was to promote study and education about the constitution which was originally adopted by the American Congress of the Confederation on September 17, 1787.” (Quoted from the Apples for the Teacher web site.)

If it has been a while since you read it, consider fixing that this coming week. Click here for an easy to read online version.
Click here for a very good audio edition read by David Currie who was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School at the time. Also available for free download.

For even more information and to view four video lectures on the Constitution visit Justin Taylor’s incredibly informative blog “U.S. Constitution 101.”

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Dan Balow Joins The Steve Laube Agency

by Steve Laube

I am very excited to announce that Dan Balow has joined our agency as the Director of Publishing Development and Literary Agent. This gives us four members of our team, me, Tamela Hancock Murray, Karen Ball, and Dan.

I’ve been looking for ways to increase the services our agency provides to current and potential clients. I have known Dan for 15 years and by adding him to our agency we can expand our role in helping to maximize our client’s sales, work with ministries and organizations to develop their publishing efforts, and expand our reach internationally. Dan’s strengths are his understanding of book marketing, what it takes to be successful in the current publishing environment and how all the pieces of the publishing “puzzle” fit together. Our team has expertise in all facets of the industry, writer, bookseller, editor, marketer, agent, executive management, and publisher.

Dan is a 30 year veteran of the Christian publishing industry. He was the director of marketing for Tyndale House Publishers working with authors Francine Rivers, James Dobson, Josh McDowell, Charles Colson and many others.

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News You Can Use – July 16, 2013

Yesterday I posted on the issue of “Foreign Rights.” Talk about a clunker of a topic! One quarter of the normal readership thought it worthwhile to click through and read. Fascinating analytics. So let me ask those who read this “News” section, what topics would you like to see addressed in the future?

JK Rowling Snookered a Lot of Editors – She submitted her latest novel under a pen name. This article interviews some of the editors who said, “No thanks.” It goes to show the power of a brand name. And shows that an “okay” manuscript and story won’t break through if you are unknown.

Taglines Hook Your Reader – Mary Connealy writes a great article that every writer needs to read.

Prediction on E-book Sales – Ebooks will outsell paper books in the year 2017. Agree or Disagree. See the data at the link.

53 Years of To Kill a Mockingbird – Enjoy a celebration of a classic.

As Long as Reading Survives, so will Bookshops – Philip Hensher explores an interesting topic.

56 Unique Lorem Ipsum Generators – Completely silly stuff. But very fun if you need to use sample text to test out a graphic design.

Prediction on E-book Sales – Ebooks will outsell paper books in the year 2017. Agree or Disagree. See the data at the link.

53 Years of To Kill a Mockingbird – Enjoy a celebration of a classic.

As Long as Reading Survives, so will Bookshops – Philip Hensher explores an interesting topic.

56 Unique Lorem Ipsum Generators – Completely silly stuff. But very fun if you need to use sample text to test out a graphic design.

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News You Can Use – July 9, 2013

Does Your Title Pass the “Radio Test” – This means, if your book title or web site address is read out loud on the radio, will the listener know how to spell it when they go to find it? For example, my last name is spelled Laube and pronounced Lobby. That does not pass the “radio test.” So I now own and point it to just in case someone misspells my name.

The Deception of Bestseller Lists – A great article by Dianna Booher.

Everything You Need to Know About the Great E-book Price War – How the antitrust lawsuit by the Department of Justice against Apple and the biggest book publishers will affect our industry.

A fun must-read poem for all writers “If You Give a Writer a Pen” by Laura Kolar

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