Social Media

More Favorite Blog Comments

If you read this blog regularly (or, even better, subscribe to it), you already know something about the wealth of free information that appears in this space every weekday, week after week, month after month, by the agents of The Steve Laube Agency. Posts like this one—okay, like the ones by Steve and Tamela—are a major contributing factor to this site being named as one of the “101 Best Websites for Writers” in the May/June 2020 Writer’s Digest.

Though I do occasionally (and usually accidentally) offer a nugget of wisdom in my posts, the comments frequently add so much value that I thought I’d mention a few of my favorite comments on my blog posts so far this year.

Some of my favorite comments are those that (because the post appeared on The Steve Laube Agency site) begin, “Great point, Steve,” or “Thank you, Steve.” It makes me smile every time.

For example, my February 5 post on “How to Hear ‘No’” prompted this response from Lori Hatcher:

This is the best post on No I’ve ever read. It landed on the right reader, at the right time, with the right content, and written with skill (see what I did there).

What she “did there” was to structure her comment after the main points of my post. I see what you did there, Lori.

Regular commenter Andrew Budek-Schmeisser, whose sonnets are a recurring delight, added this sonnet to my March 11 post, “Our Favorite Typos”:

It was a dark and stormy knight,
but our hero had his manner gown,
and Satan laughed in shear delight
his hair cut like a circus clown.
Ideas of March had come and gone,
and Julia Caesar had been darned,
but the hole had all gone wong,
thus Chinamen were much alarmed
by chipsticks’ proliferation
(utensils all now turned to spinsters?)
and their nation’s denmarkation
brought Hamlet to their chili winters,
while in the parlour, looming fair,
heroine combed her lone straight hair.

Responding to my April 8 post about writing the comparisons section of a book proposal, author and editor Terry Whalin commented,

Great post about the comparison section. Another reason to include it is because it is critical for some acquisitions editors to fill out their internal paperwork.

When I acquired books at Howard Books (an imprint of S & S–one of the big five), we had to have the comparison titles, ISBNs, etc. to fill out our internal paperwork to get a contract. If the author didn’t include it–or did a poor job–and we still wanted to offer a contract, then we had to do that comparison work. Without it, the author is possibly begging for a rejection letter instead of a contract–another reason to do this section with excellence and give it a little extra polish.

And Shirlee Abbott commented on that same post:

I see my comparison section as a Venn diagram–those overlapping circles of similarity I learned in some long-past math class. It shows how my book is like this book, that one and another one. The part of my book’s circle uncovered by the others is what makes mine unique. If the comps completely cover my content–well, it’s time for a do-over.

My April 22 post on “Don’t Make These Post-Rejection Mistakes” elicited this comment from Claire O’Sullivan:

I have learned to make every rejection a positive — to show me that 1. my manuscript doesn’t work for the agency, 2. my manuscript is not polished enough i.e. plot, etc., and 3. that someone took the time to read the manuscript and give enough consideration to it that the agent / publisher / editor to give feedback, no matter how small or in-depth. I wrote an agent who gave me advice, it was the best rejection I’d ever received. That rejection spurred me on to further massage that manuscript. Whether or not my work makes it small or big time, I have done what I am called to do: write and accept criticism.

And, finally, Lila Diller, replying to my May 27 post on preventing or coping with writer’s block, said:

I have narrowed down my writer’s block to two causes:

1- I am running on empty in my creativity. To combat this, I do something else creative, like painting, scrapbooking, photographing, sewing, or even baking.

2- I haven’t spent enough time planning and visualizing my story. If I don’t know where it needs to go, especially if I don’t know the end, I won’t have any idea of how to get there. To combat this, I’ve been spending a lot more time on prewriting and plotting.

Those are just a half dozen examples. I could easily list many more, as regular readers of this blog could easily attest. Even better, I love that this site’s readers frequently offer thanks, encouragement, support, even prayers, to me and to one another, making these “pages” much more than a website or blog. It’s a community, and it’s a lovely thing to see.


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Responding to Criticism

When someone tells me she’s not sure she wants me to read her manuscript, I know she’s not ready for publication. Such sentiment shows a lack of confidence and a fear of both rejection and criticism. Even though readers usually treat writers with respect, a critical word can puncture the heart.

Imagine the wounds delivered on Internet sites such as Amazon from readers who lack that respect. A major complaint I hear from distraught authors is that people download free Christian novels and then post hostile reviews. A cursory bit of research reveals some say they felt duped because they didn’t realize they were downloading a Christian novel. It is likely they just grabbed it because it was free and did not look at other reviews or the book’s description. These readers aren’t victims of duplicity, they were, at the very least, lazy and then blamed others when the book wasn’t to their taste. Unfortunately the temptation is for the author to strike back with a serrated reply.

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Lessons Learned As a Literary Agent

Dan is leaving the agency at the end of this month to focus his attention on the work of Gilead Publishing, the company he started in 2016. Here are some parting thoughts. _____ I’ve been a literary agent for about 2,000 of the 13,000 total days spent working with and …

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Eternal Words

Every time I read or hear a report of a prominent person’s life complicated by something they tweeted, posted or recorded a decade earlier, I hope the stories are a cautionary tale for anyone desiring to be a media communicator or public figure. We used to be able to put …

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The Automatic Writer

My coffee maker is on a timer. My thermostat is programmed to different temperatures at night and by day. My computer screen even dims to a softer hue as the day progresses. I try to automate everything I can, believing that the fewer tasks I have to remember every day, …

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Finding Time to Write

How do you find time to write? You don’t. Non-writers try to find time to write; writers make time to write. A couple lifetimes ago, after having been a pastor for seven years, I took a desk job—the first time in my adult life when my job wasn’t 24/7. But …

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Getting Started in Social Media

Actually, the title was a bit of click-bait to entice aspiring authors and platform builders to open this post. Sorry. Getting started in social media is not a problem. It’s as simple as 1-2-3 and grade school children around the world do it every day. If you are having trouble …

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In Defense of Social Media

Today I am going to stick up for the poor, downtrodden multibillion dollar global public corporations behind social media. Blamed for everything from the breakdown of the family to the dissolution of meaningful personal relationships, they are supposedly the reason society is on a virtual brink of collapse. But for …

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