Glad to Join the Fun

A Self-Interview with Bob Hostetler

It is an honor and a joy to join Tamela Hancock Murray, Dan Balow, and my long-time agent and longer-time friend, Steve Laube, as a literary agent with The Steve Laube Agency. So, for my first blog post, I took the time to sit down with myself for an in-depth, hard-hitting interview.

Why don’t you start by telling us a little about yourself?

Really? You’ve known me literally all my life, and that’s your first question?

Humor me. For the sake of this blog’s readers.

Both of them? Okay, then. I’m a thirty-year veteran of Christian publishing. I’ve been a writer, magazine editor, freelance book editor, and author of fifty books. I am a frequent speaker at writers conferences and retreats around the world and have encouraged and coached numerous writers to publishing success. I am an Ohio native who has been married for forty years to the lovely Robin, my teenage sweetheart and ministry partner; together we pastored four churches (though not all at once) and were foster parents to ten teen boys (though not all at once). We have two perfect children, Aubrey and Aaron, who have given us five perfect grandchildren.

Why become an agent?

I ask myself.

Yes. Why become an agent?

I see what you did there. I know firsthand how valuable a good agent is, and have been blessed for more than a dozen years to have the best. I also derive great satisfaction from helping other writers conceive and improve and succeed; I have a bookshelf in my office devoted to the books of writers I have taught and coached over the years. So when Steve Laube and I started talking about this possibility, it seemed to make sense.

Will you give up writing books of your own?

No. Why would you even suggest such a thing?

It seemed like a fair question.

I have several projects in the works as we speak.

What are they?

Oh no, you don’t. I’m not going to tell you. You’ve already stolen too many of my best ideas.

Okay, it was worth a shot. What kinds of books will you be looking for as an agent?

That will be the topic of my next blog post. Next Wednesday.

How about a hint?

Okay: bestsellers and blockbusters.

That’s not very helpful.

So read my next blog post.

Oh, I will.

See? My strategy is working already.

Isn’t this a tough time to become an agent?

Well, timing has never been my strong suit. And it is true that books in general and Christian publishing in particular are in a period of substantial change and uncertainty. And yet, that has been the constant state for decades. But I see that as an opportunity, not an obstacle. I think now is a great time to be a writer and an agent. Whatever changes the near future holds, God is going to speak, quality will win out, and I plan to work hard so that I and the authors I represent get to be a part of that process.

Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.

You’re welcome. I tease you a lot but you are one of my favorite authors. It has been an honor.


85 Responses to Glad to Join the Fun

  1. Avatar
    Janine Rosche July 12, 2017 at 4:25 am #

    I just snorted and frightened my husband out of his sleep. This conversation sounds like my own thought life. No, it doesn’t. Yes, it does.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 5:57 am #

      Janine, please apologize to your husband for me.

  2. Avatar
    Cynthia July 12, 2017 at 5:14 am #

    Too cute. And so you. Perfect.

  3. Avatar
    Rebekah Dorris July 12, 2017 at 5:40 am #

    Ha! And see, more than two of us were eager to hear what the new guy would say. Or should I say, new guys. 😀

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 5:59 am #

      Well, okay. More than two. Both of us admit we were wrong.

  4. Avatar
    Callie Daruk July 12, 2017 at 5:41 am #

    Cynthia said it best. How…well…Bob of you. Loved it!

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 6:00 am #

      Thank you, Callie. Cynthia says a lot of things, and only some of them are “best.”

  5. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson July 12, 2017 at 5:43 am #

    What a clever idea to interview yourself! Love it! Welcome to the team…both of you! Ha!

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 6:00 am #

      Thank you, Loretta. I do have a clever idea once in a great while.

  6. Avatar
    Damon J. Gray July 12, 2017 at 5:48 am #

    Great self introduction. Feels almost like a ventriloquist act. I look forward to future nuggets of wisdom from your keyboard.

  7. Avatar
    Henry Styron July 12, 2017 at 5:52 am #

    We like you already. May your time with the agency be blessed and fruitful. And yes, that was hilarious. 🙂

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 6:01 am #

      You like me! You really, really like me! Thank you.

      • Avatar
        Justin Swanton July 14, 2017 at 11:10 am #

        We all love you. Think you’re great. Publish me!

  8. Avatar
    Elaine Tomski July 12, 2017 at 6:03 am #

    That was fun, Bob. Please interview yourself often. May God shine His favor on your agenting efforts. Both of you.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 6:16 am #

      I hope to. But my interviewee doesn’t always cooperate.

  9. Avatar
    Martha Whiteman Rogers July 12, 2017 at 6:13 am #

    Welcome, Bob. Loved the interview. I could “hear” your voice and sense of humor all through it. What a fun thing to do. Loved it. Looking forward to hearing more from you and that “other guy” with you today. 🙂

  10. Avatar
    Judith Robl July 12, 2017 at 6:14 am #

    Welcome to the crew, Bob. I look forward to next Wednesday with bated breath.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 6:17 am #

      That’s a long time to ‘bate your breath. But thank you nonetheless.

  11. Avatar
    Emilie Anne Hendryx July 12, 2017 at 6:28 am #

    Well, isn’t this a coincidence! Hello again Bob – we met at the UNITE convention with Cynthia as we were both leaving 🙂 I’m proud to be represented by this agency (by the lovely Tamela) and so happy to see you’ve joined the agency family!

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 8:12 am #

      Coincidence? I think not. But a pleasure, yes.

  12. Dan Balow
    Dan Balow July 12, 2017 at 6:38 am #

    Have you purchased the obligatory case of Cheez-its for Steve Laube yet? It’s part of a successful passage to employment at SLA.

    Steve has also been talking about getting an “office ferret” to keep him company.

    You could be employee of the month if you follow my suggestions.

    • Avatar
      Brennan McPherson July 12, 2017 at 6:54 am #

      Somehow I get the feeling this might be a trick. . .

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 8:13 am #

      I never do anything halfway. So I’ve shipped a PAIR of ferrets (one male, one female) to Steve. Sprinkled Cheez-its around them for packing material. Hope they get there before the babies are born.

  13. Avatar
    Katie Powner July 12, 2017 at 7:06 am #

    Hi Bob, fellow foster parent here. I appreciate your optimism regarding the current state of publishing as an opportunity, not an obstacle. I agree with you! Although I thought the same thing about the crab grass in my backyard and I was wrong about that one, so…

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 8:15 am #

      Katie, thank you so much. Fertilizer works well on lawns AND manuscripts.

  14. Avatar
    Tracey Dyck July 12, 2017 at 7:07 am #

    One of the best interviews I’ve read! Hilarious!

    I really liked what you said about timing–how no matter the market, God’s truth and quality writing will win out. In the endless reel of trends and stats to keep up with, it’s good to remember that. 🙂

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 8:15 am #

      Thank you, Tracey. My interviewer was the best.

  15. Avatar
    Tamela Hancock Murray July 12, 2017 at 7:09 am #

    Welcome, Bob! Great to have you on board!

    I’m sure you’ll be Employee of the Month in no time. I’ll remind Dan to mail you the plaque since your Cheez-its delivery this month makes it your turn to have it in August. Remember to mail it to me in September, as I have already scheduled delivery of the office ferret (named Inky Minky) for delivery to corporate headquarters on August 15. That makes me a shoo-in for high honors in September!

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 8:16 am #

      I hope Inky Minky gets along with the pair of ferrets I shipped today: Stinky and Helsinki.

      • Avatar
        rochellino July 12, 2017 at 9:53 am #

        Laube, Hostetler, hmmmmm……..Could be a pattern developing here. What goes better with “cheezy” crackers than “cheezy” german music to celebrate the impending arrival of the ferrets (cousins to the tribble).

        Don’t be mad at me, Tamela started it!

        • Avatar
          Tamela Hancock Murray July 13, 2017 at 4:48 am #

          Rochellino, I didn’t get a chance to watch this video until just now. Hilarious! Thanks for sharing.

  16. Avatar
    Bryan Mitchell July 12, 2017 at 7:17 am #

    That was a fascinating and intriguing interview is I say so myself. Looks like I subscribed just in time to meet both of you.

  17. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser July 12, 2017 at 7:20 am #

    Enjoyed meeting both of you, Bob.

    And I have several bestsellers and blockbusters just waiting for your perusal.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 8:17 am #

      Great, Andrew! Thank you. Let’s get rich and famous together.

  18. Avatar
    Linda Gilden July 12, 2017 at 7:36 am #

    Would love to see the video version of this great interview! Congratulations, Bob!

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 8:19 am #

      Thanks, Linda. Patty Duke was the videographer. Unfortunately, her cousin Cathy kept butting in.

  19. Avatar
    Rachel McDaniel July 12, 2017 at 7:44 am #

    Great introduction, Bob! And from the great state of Ohio! Go Buckeyes 🙂

  20. Avatar
    Deb Haggerty July 12, 2017 at 7:53 am #

    Congrats on the new position! Glad to know someone else has semi-intelligent conversations with themselves! Elk Lake Publishing will welcome proposals from you.

  21. Avatar
    Karen Saari July 12, 2017 at 7:54 am #

    Great post. Do you get two desks as well? Awesome!

    It doesn’t really matter what the trends are or how the Christian publishing world is going right now – if God wants a book out there, it will be. It’s not rocket science. Its blessings.

    So glad to meet you 🙂

    Karen Saari

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 8:21 am #

      Backatcha, Karen. Unfortunately, however, I only get one desk. And I only get to use it on odd days. Which is appropriate…

  22. Avatar
    Colleen Shine Phillips July 12, 2017 at 8:00 am #

    Welcome to an awesome agency, Bob. It’s going to be fun and enlightening to get to know you. I already love this blog.

  23. Avatar
    Melissa Henderson July 12, 2017 at 8:46 am #

    What a unique and interesting interview!! haha!

  24. Avatar
    Dawn July 12, 2017 at 8:55 am #

    That’s my Bob. Love him or leave him. Both of them.

  25. Avatar
    Laura Christianson July 12, 2017 at 9:23 am #

    Reading your interview was such a fun way to start my workday, Bob! Love your sense of humor. Congratulations on your new position.

  26. Avatar
    Jean Wise July 12, 2017 at 10:25 am #

    You’ve brighten my day with our humor, being an Ohioan, and passion to help writers. Thank you and congrats on the new position.

  27. Avatar
    Rebecca LuElla Miller July 12, 2017 at 10:56 am #

    Thanks for letting us know a little about yourself, Bob. Glad to read your creative intro post. And yes, you have me curious about next Wed’s post.


    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 12:51 pm #

      Oh, it’s going to be great. If I do say so myself. And so do I.

  28. Avatar
    Sandra Allen Lovelace July 12, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    Snickering with congratulations over your obvious career advancement. (Did I phrase that properly, Steve?)
    May God use you for His purposes ’cause then I know you’ll be okay.

  29. Avatar
    Lois Hudson July 12, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

    Thanks for proving agents aren’t grinches. Lively interview. And, with others, I look forward to next week’s blog.

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

      Who said agents aren’t grinches? Oh, wait. Never mind.

  30. Avatar
    Virelle Kidder July 12, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    Such a great interview. You nailed it, Bob. I marvel at the ease your subject felt talking with you. Outstanding technique, but what about the hard questions at the end? I know, next week.
    Many blessings to you and the entire world of fabulous writers Steve Laube represents. You are a good addition! (Not quite as good as me, but still, good.)

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm #

      To be fair, Virelle, who could be as good as you? I can’t think of anyone.

  31. Avatar
    Edward Lane July 12, 2017 at 8:26 pm #

    You gave me a great idea for a movie. “The Two Faces Of Bob.” What do you think?

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 13, 2017 at 6:04 am #

      Great idea. I could play me. But who would play me?

  32. Avatar
    Marie Wells Coutu July 12, 2017 at 8:39 pm #

    I had to share this with my DH who, to be honest, usually doesn’t get writerly humor. But he did laugh. Congratulations! On the new position as well!

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 13, 2017 at 6:05 am #

      Please tell your Designated Hitter I appreciate the laughter. And thank you.

  33. Avatar
    Kristi Woods July 13, 2017 at 5:56 am #

    Loved the intro! I’m also new to these parts, but welcome.

  34. Avatar
    Joey Rudder July 13, 2017 at 6:30 am #

    What a great post! I found myself laughing and nodding…nodding?! Yes, like I was sitting between the “two” of you and agreeing with what you both said. Haha.

    Maybe it’s an Ohio thing? (I’m waving to you from my little corner of Ohio right now.)

    All kidding aside, I like how you wrote, “Whatever changes the near future holds, God is going to speak, quality will win out, and I plan to work hard so that I and the authors I represent get to be a part of that process.”

    Amen! I’m excited to see what God has in store for all of us!!

    God bless you, Bob. Looking forward to your next post. 🙂

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 13, 2017 at 9:41 am #

      I think it is an Ohio thing, Joey. Buckeyes are fun-loving, agreeable, insightful people. Except that one guy. You know who.

  35. Avatar
    Kathlyn Egbert July 13, 2017 at 8:15 am #

    I’m new to these parts, but recognize the deep under the laugh…a man after my own heart! yay 🙂 Kudos, Steve, y muchas bendiciones, Bob !


  36. Avatar
    Elena Corey July 13, 2017 at 9:22 am #

    To folks who maintain a serious-somber focus, very much like mine, your delightful sense of fun is a cheering sign.
    Your influence on our worldly culture can help folks see that living for Christ is a joy. Your very welcome words show up as incredibly more wow-ful than many thoughty dissertations. Thank you

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 13, 2017 at 9:44 am #

      Thank you, Elena. I like the thinky way you write.

  37. Avatar
    Jean Brunson July 13, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

    Congratulations. I met you several years ago at a writers’ conference in Collierville, TN. outside of Memphis. I was the only one who signed up for the 15 minutes with the speaker. You stayed much longer than 15 minutes with me. You convinced me to change the title of my book, which I did. I think I still have the marked up copy of the query letter I would have sent if not for you. The book, What Lies in the Shadows, is finally finished. It took this long for the non-fiction story to end. Thank you for your help.

  38. Avatar
    Carolyn Curtis July 13, 2017 at 6:40 pm #

    Bob, scary thought: Your sense of humor could overturn Steve’s reputation as a grouch. (Although we authors know the truth: Steve is really not a grouch. But don’t spread that around.)

    A warm welcome to a wonderful agency!

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 17, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

      Thank you, Carolyn. But Steve’s curmudgeonly mien is secure, I’m sure.

  39. Avatar
    Nancy Bailey July 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm #

    Hi there. I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but I loved your blog post. I am new to Steve Laube’s blogs, and his staff, but I can still welcome you. Nancy

    • Bob Hostetler
      Bob Hostetler July 17, 2017 at 6:09 pm #

      Nancy, thank you. As you can see above, lots of fine people read this blog. You’ll fit right in.

  40. Avatar
    Sharon Cowen July 18, 2017 at 11:23 am #

    Dear Bob and Bob,

    I’m looking forward to meeting at least one of you at Taylor University.

    How do you feel about Hoosiers? In my defense, my mom was a Buckeye, I grew up two miles from the Ohio line at Route 2, Berne, Indiana, which might ring a Mennonite/Amish bell.)

    Perhaps Steve Laube will share any ferret offspring with your grandchildren–an apt return on your investment.
    Tomorrow is Wednesday. Please give an update or post a photo of any new arrivals.


    Sharon Cowen

  41. Avatar
    Sharon Cowen July 18, 2017 at 1:52 pm #


    I roll in revision: “….In my defense, my mom was a Buckeye. I grew up two miles from the Ohio line and six miles east of Berne, Indiana, in a Mennonite/Amish community.”

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