The Steve Laube Agencyis committed to providing top quality guidance to authors and speakers. Our years of experience and success brings a unique service to our clients. We focus primarily in the Christian marketplace and have put together an outstanding gallery of authors and speakers whose books continue to make an impact throughout the world.
Authors we represent
How to send your proposal
learn about the publishing industry

Our Service Philosophy

CONTENT

To help the author develop and create the best book possible. Material that has both commercial appeal and long-term value.

CAREER

To help the author determine the next best step in their writing career. Giving counsel regarding the subtleties of the marketplace as well as the realities of the publishing community.

CONTRACT

To help the author secure the best possible contract. One that partners with the best strategic publisher and one that is mutually beneficial for all parties involved.

Recent Posts

Implications of the Department of Justice Lawsuit Against Five Major Publishers

by Steve Laube

As you have heard by now the Department of Justice (DOJ) has leveled a lawsuit against Apple and five major publishers accusing them of conspiring to fix prices. There has been a lot written on the topic with varying degrees of understanding and a wide disparity of conclusions.

Authors are asking what this all means to them. And many are confused about the math involved. A great, and lengthy summary has been brilliantly composed at Shelf-Awareness. Read that article if you do not understand the details of the situation. It is important that every writer grasp the implications because it could affect how books are sold moving forward.

Already, three of the five publisher have agreed to settle without admitting guilt (HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon and Schuster). And that settlement will take at least 60 days to finalize. This leave MacMillan and Penguin who have vowed to fight the suit. Such a fight could last years.

By the way, Random House was not named in the suit because they did not change their pricing policies until much later and thus cannot be accused of colluding.

At is core, the issue revolves around who gets to set the prices of books, the publisher or the retailer? When the retailer controls the sales price a company like Amazon has, in the past, used their clout to cut prices severely, even to the point of losing money on the sale of the books they sell. Since Amazon is so large and diversified in their products a books-only company like Barnes & Noble or Books-a-Million is at a disadvantage. The DOJ doesn’t care if the retailer of the publisher controls the prices, but they did take offense that five publishers and a major vendor agreed to the same terms at the same time. It has the appearance of collusion.

Years ago when I was in the bookstore business we were constantly being challenged by bargain pricing done at the warehouse clubs on selected titles. They would buy a book that retailed for $20 and with their buying power purchase the book for $10 net from the publisher. Then they would retail the book to the public for $10.88. There were stores in our area that had little purchasing clout and the best price they could get for the same book was at $12.00 net. To match the warehouse club price they would lose money on each sale.  You see the problem?

However

However, many authors do not understand that this “Agency Model,” the lawsuit, and its implications have had little effect on the rest of the publishing industry. While the Big Six comprise a huge portion of the market, they are not the entire market.

Read my previous blog about “Who Owns Whom in Christian Publishing.” The Agency model of selling books to Amazon and iBooks has not applied to the majority of Christian publishers. See that post starting half way down where there is a long list of publishers not owned by any of the Big Six.

Each publisher has had to negotiate their own agreement with Amazon to sell their ebooks and paper books. Unfortunately we are not privy to what those terms are. And Amazon and the publisher work together to set prices in most cases. If they are unable to come to an agreement Amazon has used their weight to pull titles from their site. IPG (Independent Publisher’s Group) in late February refused to renegotiate terms with Amazon. Overnight thousands of IPG books disappeared from the Amazon site. And to this day they have not yet been reinstated. (Read this article for full information.)

But that is an unrelated incident, other than being instructive as to the clout of Amazon. As for what will happen? Kristine Kathryn Rusch quite ably said in her very informative blog, “No one knows.”

Any Questions?

After you have assimilated the information linked above, do you have any questions? I will try to answer as best I can in the comment section below. Or use the green “Ask Us a Question” button to the right to send a private question.

 

Leave a Comment

Fun Fridays – April 13, 2012

The Rejection Letter Generator Become used to receiving rejection letters from agents and editors. Test your own mettle. Develop immunity to snarky comments! Go to this site and fill one of the seven forms. The Rejection Generator Project I guarantee you will be rejected within seconds. So much better than …

Read More

Finding the Right Critique Partner

by Tamela Hancock Murray

Recently I talked with a supervisor in a field unrelated to the publishing industry, who mentioned an employee. “I shudder to think of the advice he’s giving out. He has a general understanding of the subject matter, but not the skill set.” It struck me how applicable this statement can be regarding people who offer to critique manuscripts. In a previous post, I addressed the number of critique partners to consider. In this article, I’ll discuss quality, because not all critique partners will help you in the same manner.

A friend offering to critique your work is a gift because she is expressing interest intense enough to offer her time to read and comment upon it. But what if it is someone who is only an acquaintance? Some writers may think, “But what if the person actually wants to steal it and pass off my work as her own and sell it to a publisher?” Of course that is a risk, so be wise and make sure you know that the person is a legitimate writer and/or reader. Some organizations such as American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) offer critique groups to their members, so those writers are screened by virtue of membership. Consider sending an email to a mutual writer friend, go on Facebook and Twitter, or take any number of steps to make sure the person is a proven or at least an aspiring peer in the business.

Read More

Are You a Storybird?

I’m always hearing about authors who get stuck. Whose creativity has hit a wall. Who have hit a point in the story that they’ve lost interest.

Or there are the down times. When emotions have them hogtied. They’re too sad or depressed or frustrated or overwhelmed to write.

Well, I don’t have a cure for all of those things, but I do have something that can help. It’s called Storybird, and it’s wonderful.

On Storybird, you can choose the most wonderful art, and then write a story. Short or long, funny or serious, it doesn’t matter. Just write what’s on your mind, what the art inspires.

I just wrote a Storybird because I was upset with myself for letting a friend down. In fact, that friend was Steve Laube. I forgot to send him my blog post for the agency site. And I knew he was disappointed in me. Thing is, I’ve forgotten to send the blog post before, too many times. Fibro has shot my short-term memory full of holes. So when I get stressed or overwhelmed, I tend to forget things. Even important things. I don’t like it. In fact, I hate it. But I can’t change it. So I’ve learned to work around it, using notes and alarms on my computer, and enlisting the help of friends and family. But when it affects something important, like making sure I do what I’m supposed to for Steve, I feel terrible.

So when that happened, I went to Storybird. And I wrote a story. For me. For Steve. For all of us who struggle with changes we don’t like. And it helped. A lot.

Read More

News You Can Use – April 10, 2012

Pew Research Findings on E-Reading – If you want a sense of what’s happening, read this article. Then once you’ve digested it, read Mike Shatzkin’s evaluation of the data. Together the articles may take an hour to absorb.

The Perfect Elevator Pitch for a New Job – Interesting article with applications for a writer creating the perfect pitch for their book idea

Five Best Bluetooth Headsets – A link for you techies out there. If you have a favorite vote in the comment section.

Judging a Book by its Cover – A 17 minute lecture from the TED conference by a book cover designer (Chip Kidd has been a designer at Alfred A. Knopf since 1986). At turns amusing and enlightening. If you are an author and want to get inside the head of a designer in an entertaining way, consider watching.

Five Great Movies about Writing – Have to admit never seeing any of these. Am I an uncultured sloth? Don’t answer that question. Instead add your two cents in the comments below.

Infographic on how the Internet is ruining our brain:

Read More