News You Can Use

Dan Balow Joins The Steve Laube Agency

by Steve Laube

portraits of Dan Balow taken April 9, 2010I 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.

Starting in 1995, Dan led the marketing team for the immensely successful Left Behind series by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye. Eventually devoting most of his time to the effort, he took on the role of Director of Business Development for the series, expanding his involvement to licensing and product development along with the marketing. At its peak, the series was selling over two million copies of various products per month on its way to over 60 million copies to date.

In 2002, he added the role of director of international publishing for Tyndale and later, Director of Research and Analysis for the company. In recent years he has worked as Publisher for two audio publishing companies and consulted with ministries and publishers on their publishing programs.

Dan has served on the executive board of ECPA (the Evangelical Christian Publisher’s Association), the trade association for Christian publishers. In addition, he is a founding member of the advisory board of the Christy Awards and is involved in training and mentoring Christian publishers around the world. He was a presenter in marketing and digital publishing at the 2012 LittWorld conference in Nairobi and will be presenting similar sessions to publishers in Ghana, West Africa in August 2013. (Here is a link to a video of Dan speaking on the basics of marketing at LittWorld.)

Dan is a graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in Communications, is married to Carol and they have four grown children. He will be working from his office in Wheaton, IL.

We will be adjusting our blog post schedule to give Dan the Tuesday slot each week. The “News You Can Use” will move to Saturdays. So look for me on Monday, Dan Tuesday, Karen Wednesday, Tamela Thursday, Fun Friday, and News on Saturday.

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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 stevelobby.com and point it to www.stevelaube.com 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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News You Can Use – July 2, 2013

Penguin and Random House have officially merged into one entity known as Penguin Random House – Not, as I had thought, “Random Penguin” or “Penguin House.” Here’s the scary stats. They employ 10,000 people worldwide (that is where the earnings from your books go) and will publish 15,000 new books each year. That is nearly two books per hour, all year long. That is a big publisher.

Judge Rules Against Authors in Google Lawsuit – This lawsuit over Google’s attempts to digitize the world’s books has been stuck in court for years. Google offered a multi-million dollar settlement in 2011 which was rejected by the judge. On to the next lawsuit….

NPR Article on the Death of Google Reader – Today, July 1st, Google Reader was shut down. I chose to migrate to The Old Reader so I could continue to use my Feeddler Pro software on my iPad each morning. (It’s where I find most of the stuff for News You Can Use.) I tried at least 10 other RSS reader programs and didn’t like them (including the popular Feedly program).

3 Reasons Why Facebook Can’t Replace Your Author Website – Jane Friedman writes an important article! She is spot on.

4 Things Star Trek Can Teach Us About Writing – One of them is NOT “Live Long and Prosper.”

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News You Can Use – June 25, 2013

Elevator Pitches: If You Build it, They Will Come. – Excellent post from Susan Spann! Do the exercise on your own pitch.

Christian Stores See 8.5% Overall Gain in 2012 – Looks like the growth came from non-book items. That is good news in that it means traffic in the stores has increased and reversed recent trends.

101 Things to Do to Build Your Writing Platform –  My advice? Don’t try all of them at once, your blood pressure can’t handle it. But pick ten and see what you can do with them by the end of Summer.

Helen Keller on Optimism – Amazing. If she could feel this way (she was deaf, dumb, and blind), why are you complaining?

Helen Keller on Optimism – Amazing. If she could feel this way (she was deaf, dumb, and blind), why are you complaining?

“Writing and the Brain” infographic. – You tell me. Does this help you understand how you think as a writer?

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News You Can Use – June 18, 2013

Self-Published eBooks Account for 12% of the Entire Digital Market – Watch the stats for trends.

How People Read Online – Does this mean I have to shorten my blog posts? And if I do will you still skip the last 2/3rds of what I write anyway?

Three Scriptural Cautions Against Self-Publishing – Do you agree or disagree? (and then read the next link below)

Three Reasons to Support Self-Publishing – A rebuttal to the previous link. I appreciate careful discourse and debate that does not devolve into chaos. This point-counterpoint is a wonderful example of how to conduct this type of conversation.

Did You Forget to Pay Royalties for Singing “Happy Birthday”? – A fascinating article which tells of a company who is suing to get “Happy Birthday” declared public domain. Ever wonder why restaurants all have their own song for celebrating birthdays? They don’t want to receive an invoice from the copyright holder who makes $5,000,000 a year in royalties.

3 mistakes to avoid when following up on a pitch – This article can be applied to pitching editors and agents too.

10 Blogging Tactics To Maximize Long-Term Results – Excellent advice from Heidi Cohen. I get this kind of question a lot from authors trying to use their blog to market their books.

The Overwhelming Force of “Gradual” – Seth Godin talks about building low and slow for maximum success.

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News You Can Use – June 11, 2013

How to Launch a Bestselling Book – Michael Hyatt reveals some tremendous tips to have your book make a big splash. One of our clients followed some of these ideas along with some of their own. They sold out every online bookseller in the country withing four days (Amazon, B&N, Ingram, Books-a-Million, Lifeway, ChristianBook, Mardel, etc.) It can work if you have the right platform established ahead of time.

7 Minutes to a New You – Simple exercises you can do in your office to increase your health.

8 Myths About Audiobooks – Have you ever made any of these assumptions? Well done article.

The Art of Book Stacking – I have to admit to being a little geeky about this post. These are the kind of towers I used to build when I was in the bookstore business. I still remember the six foot mountain we built out of a new Frank Peretti novel using nearly 500 copies. The key is to make is so the customer can still buy a copy and not feel like they are playing a game of Jenga.

Twitter is Changing the English Language – Do you agree or is this an overstatement?

Man Writes the Entire Bible in Longhand – Took him four years. If you’d like to do this kind of thing yourself on a smaller scale, check out the Journibles from Reformation Heritage Books. This is a very cool way to devotionally hand-write books of the Bible like using a journal. Try out the booklet on Psalm 119 to see if it works for you (only $4.00).

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News You Can Use – June 4, 2013

Special Days in June to Market You Book – Edie Melson does it again! Did you know this week is “Fishing Week”?

Publishers Should Invest In Authors, Not Just In Books – from Forbes magazine online. What do you think of what she is saying?

The Seven Deadly Myths of Digital Publishing – I found myself nodding in agreement while reading this article by Bill McCoy the executive director of the International Digital Publishing Forum.

Are You Ready to Contact an Agent? Take This Short Quiz and Find Out – A clever way to ask yourself some key questions in your pursuit.

 – This is an ongoing debate within the publishing community. What is the value of a book? $2.99? $5.99? $0.00? $9.99? The implication have enormous economic consequences.
Note how one self-published author uses Pulsing and Pacing in her ebook pricing strategy.

21 Platform Building Insights from Authors and Experts Who Excel at It – Wow.Far too much good advice to absorb in one sitting!

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News You Can Use – May 28, 2013

Create a Great Title for Your Book – A well done article that could help your Muse

Five Things Indie Authors Do Very Well – Dr. Alison Baverstock makes some solid observations.

Cover Letters and Book Proposals – Looking for some help with these? This article provides the basics.

Proofread Like a Pro – Never hire me as your poorfreader. Need I say more?

Are E-Book Sales Declining…in Canada? – Don’t forget that Publishing is a global concern.

Why American Kids Have ADHD and French Kids Don’t – Fascinating. Do you agree or disagree?

Enjoy these definitions of “Biblio” (via tumblr)

From A Passion for Books by Harold Rabinowitz, Rob Kaplan

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News You Can Use – May 21, 2013

Happy 8th Birthday to YouTube – Yesterday was the day. Who could have ever imagined? (It also happened to be my daughter’s birthday. Happy Birthday Fiona.)

Stephen King Delays E-Book! – In an effort to support physical bookstores he has delayed the ebook edition of his newest release.

The Anatomy of a One-Sheet – Barbara NcNichol provides a simple explanation that you can use to help promote your book idea for speaking and to the media.

A Free Membership to CopyBlogger – Access to 13 major articles and a 20 part video series on how to write good copy. This is where sales are made, in the back cover copy, in the one-sheet copy, and on your web site.

5 Reasons Why Libraries Will Fail – First published in 1864.

Tsundoku – Your word for the day. Expand your vocabulary with this one illustrated below… Books purchased but left unread. Even Goodreads has an entire bookshelf of popular tsundoku titles.

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