Steve

Rumor Control

It can be surprising the amount of incorrect information that gets passed around the author community.

Recently we were told, with certainty, that a particular publisher was dropping one of their categories of fiction. We went directly to the editor in charge of that category and were told “No. That isn’t true. We are still looking at proposals!”

A few months ago an editor told me of their surprise to find out that writers were creating new proposals for a new line of books her publisher was going to publish. The problem is there was no new line at all.

A few years ago an editor asked me, “How are things going? I hear that your agency is barely making ends meet and that you’ve had to take on other type of work to survive.”

I must admit that I was so startled by this rumor that words nearly failed me.

“Where did you hear that?” I exclaimed.

“Oh it was at a recent writers conference and folks were talking, and your name came up.”

At the risk of sounding defensive, let me set the record straight. The Steve Laube Agency is alive and well and is not having to scramble to survive. We are blessed to continually average a new book deal every two business days.

Which brings me to the larger issue about rumors. After questioning that editor a little further it became evident that they had either misheard or misunderstood what was said. I am grateful that the editor asked me directly or I would never have known what was being said. Please don’t think that what I write next is directed at this person. Instead I’m addressing the issue of rumors and gossip in general.

Why is it that some people tend to believe gossip over actual truth? And then why do they spread the “news” to others without verifying the facts? These rumors can take a tragic turn. I know a friend whose career was nearly derailed by a nasty and untrue rumor. It took that person years to recover their reputation.

Social media and the various loops and online groups make it so easy to turn an innocent question into a fact. It has been said, “Some bring oxygen and others expel CO2.”

The publishing community is a small one. And the Christian publishing industry is even smaller. I try, albeit imperfectly, to verify a rumor before ever repeating it. This is the right thing to do. Stop gossip before it starts. It may be that we “like” to hear bad news (why do we slow down to look at the accident on the freeway?). And good news sounds like bragging. In fact the above comment about our agency may come across as braggadocios to some.

Let us endeavor to keep our own counsel. And undergird all matters with a Christ-like spirit. Celebrate each others victories and pray for each others miseries. We all have both. But rumors and gossip have no place in either.

 

[A version of this post was originally published in April 2010.]

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Marketing vs. Publicity

by Steve Laube

Recent I have run into a common misunderstanding. Some writers use the words “marketing” and “publicity” (or P.R. “public relations”) as synonyms when actually one is a subset of the other.

There are marketing departments that have a publicity division or a marketing department that outsources their publicity. The two go hand in hand and should compliment each other.

The best way I can define it is to say that:

Marketing is all about creating multiple impressions.

This can be through ad placement, in-store displays, banner ads, reviews, contests, etc.

Publicity is all about meeting the author.

This is done through radio and television as well as through all forms of social media.

The difference is that author “feels” publicity because they are involved. They do not “feel” marketing, per se.

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Writers Learn to Wait

Ours is a process industry. Good publishing takes time. Unfortunately time is another word for “waiting.” No one really likes to wait for anything. Our instant society (everything from Twitter to a drive-thru burger) is training us to want things to happen faster. Awhile ago I wrote about how long it takes to get published which gave an honest appraisal of the time involved. Below are some of the things for which a writer must learn to wait.

Waiting for the Agent

We try our best to reply to submissions within 6-8 weeks and are relatively good about that. But if your project passes the first review stage and we are now reviewing your entire manuscript remember that reading a full manuscript is much more demanding than reading a few short proposals.

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Give Thanks to God

http://www.gratisography.com/

There is a verse in scripture which sets out in bold relief the great besetting problem of the human race. It is Romans 1:21: ‘for even though we knew God…we did not give thanks.’ Astonishing! How can we actually know God and not give thanks? Scarcely a day passes in which we are not deluged by at least a hundred instances of God’s goodness to us. Thanksgiving ought to be the most natural of human reflexes, as spontaneous as drawing breath.

Doubtless there are a plethora of reasons why we do not feel thankful. Perhaps business is stressful, or marriage is disappointing, or parenting is unfulfilling, or health is deteriorating, or school is unrewarding. Or maybe we simply take for granted God’s goodness to us.

How important it is, then, to rehearse frequently all that God does for us. Only then will an unending torrent of thanksgiving be unleashed from our hearts. Nowhere is God’s goodness more compellingly set out in His word. Immerse yourself in what follows, luxuriate in the story of God’s grace to you. . . and be thankful!

__________

Who is like the Lord our God? Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who is enthroned above the vault of the earth . . . and who stretches out the heavens like a curtain. How majestic is His name . . . When we consider His heavens, the work of His fingers, the moon and the stars which He has ordained, what are we that He should take thought of us?

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Dark Friday

I wrote this piece a few years ago and thought it appropriate to post every year on Dark Friday.

Take Me, Break Me
(a prayer)
by Steve Laube

Take my eyes Lord.

Strike me blind.

* * *

Then heal me Lord
That I may see with Your eyes.

 

Take my hands Lord.
Crush every bone.

* * *

Then heal me Lord
That I may touch with Your tenderness.

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Bring the Books (What Steve Laube is Looking For)

“Bring the books, especially the parchments,” is a sentence in 2 Timothy 4:13 that has teased readers for 2,000 years. What books did the Apostle Paul want to read while waiting for trial? Theology? History? How-to? (Maybe a little escape reading? Pun intended.)

Another writer chimed in a while ago by saying “Of making many books there is no end.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12) And if we read the statistics he wasn’t kidding. 300,000+ published in the United States alone last year.

And yet there is an allure to the stories of great novelists and a fascination in the brilliance of deep thinkers. It is what drew me to the book industry in the first place having been a lifelong reader and a burgeoning collector of my own library.

I can safely say that the allure and fascination remains unabated. I’ve had and continue to have the honor and privilege of working with some of the finest minds and talented writers in our industry. The photo above is from my office showing every book represented by our agency. Hundreds of amazing books by amazing authors.

Meanwhile I am still searching for the next great story, the next great concept, the next great writer. So, to answer the question, “What are you looking for?” I will attempt to clarify a few things.

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Who Owns Whom in Publishing?

Updated September 7, 2017 For a comprehensive list check out The Christian Writers Market Guide. Available in print at your favorite retailer or as an online subscription (updated weekly) at www.ChristianWritersMarketGuide.com. Our emphasis in this post is the Christian publishing industry. There are many fine commercial publishers that do not publish …

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Fun Fridays – June 20, 2014

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to come up with a metaphor about the writing life that this video suggests. Place your idea in the comments below. We are counting on your creativity! 100,000 ducks cross the road in Thailand…. It is their version of a Duck …

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