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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.

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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

E is for Editor

by Steve Laube

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Your editor can be your best friend in the industry (besides your agent, of course). Or your editor can be your worst enemy.

Bad Side First

An editor who doesn’t reply to your email inquiries or return your phone calls is either ignoring you on purpose or is so busy with other pressing matters they can’t get to yours. If you have this problem make sure you didn’t create it in the first place by incessantly poking your editor with minor questions. It is likely many of your questions can be answered by your agent, unless they are related to the specific editing of your manuscript.

An editor who does not understand what you are trying to do with your manuscript and rewrites your work to their own tastes is not a good thing and should be resisted. But be careful, it is rare that the editor is being nefarious and intentionally mean to you. Their job is to improve your manuscript, they may have merely misread the content. If you feel their hand is too heavy then hold firm and gently push back. This is appropriate and not confrontational.

An editor with whom you simply don’t get along can undermine some of the in-house discussions. When I was an editor I talked to the marketing director who would always ask, “Do we have a future with this author?” Why? Because she had extra money designated to spend on authors we were building and that money would help the next book from that author. If my answer to her question was “no” then we moved on to the next author in the lineup. That “no” would come for any number of reasons (sales, poor writing, etc.).

The Good Side

Did the above paragraphs scare you a little? That was intentional. Understand that the “Bad Side” is rare. They make for great campfire horror stories. They do happen but it is not the norm.

Instead a good editor is your champion. They acquired your book, defended it against all odds in-house and are there as your partner to make your book a treasure. Often these editorial relationships last for a long time. I remember reading about a major bestselling author (someone like Stephen King or John Grisham – I don’t remember who) had switched to a new publishing house. It was huge news and the journalist was wondering “why the switch?” It later came out that the author’s editor had been hired by the new publisher and the author followed. I’ve known authors and editors who have become best friends, staying at each other’s homes, and even vacationing with each other’s families.

At one point in my editorial days an author liked working with me so much he tried to get a “key man” clause written into the contract. This would mean that if I left the company he could opt out of the contract! My boss wouldn’t go for it saying with a laugh, “Steve? This clause would give you more job security than I have!”

Having a go-to person for all thing editorial is one of the great benefits of having a great editor on your side. How does this differ from your agent? The easiest answer is to say that if you have a great relationship with your editor (note the “if”) then that person is for all things creative related to your book. The agent then becomes all things business related to your book. That is a simplistic dividing line but you get the idea.

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Meaningful Feedback

Picture made entirely of words by Ann Murray

My family recently attended an annual one-man art exhibition by my uncle, Eldridge Bagley, at the Glave Kocen Gallery in Richmond, Virginia.

Because my daughter, Ann, enjoys photography, I encouraged her to ask the gallery director his opinion of her work. He liked several of her photos,and guided her on which types of images would sell in Richmond versus which would be more appealing to buyers in D.C. He also mentioned that in the future, her work might be included in a juried exhibition held at their gallery. This means she will receive feedback from other knowledgeable professionals.

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When You’ve Done Everything Right

I love cherries. If I could only have one fruit, that would be it. But not just any cherry. When we first moved into our home here in Southern Oregon, we planted a cherry tree. At the time, I knew what kind of tree it was. But the little tag identifying it has long since vanished. All I know is that our cherries are a rich, dark red on the outside, like a Bing cherry. But unlike a Bing, the meat inside is a light red, and the taste is a blend of sweet and tart. I’ve canned these cherries as pie filling, brandy cherry sauce, preserves, any a number of other wonderful concoctions. And they all taste marvelous. That blend of sweet and tart is perfect.

It took us a couple of years to learn what to do with that tree to get it to produce healthy cherries. One year, there was no fruit at all. We’d done everything right, but…nada. I was heartbroken. The next year, a modest production of cherries. But no sooner were they ready to harvest then the birds flocked in. They had that tree stripped in a day. One day, and all my beautiful cherries were gone. That’s the year I learned about putting netting over the tree. The next year, cherries galore. All of them infested with little white worms. That’s the year I found out about spraying the right substances at the right time. The next two years, it was as though the tree was making up for lost time. Cherries, cherries everywhere! And then last year, when we had record rains, the cherries were ready to pick almost a month early. Not only that, but they were huge and even more flavorful than ever before. And we picked close to 25 gallons. Yup, you read that right. Twenty-Five gallons. I still have probably a third of what I put up from last year’s cherries.

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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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