Tag s | Agents

Who and What I’m Looking For as an Agent

I love books. I have loved reading them since “Dick and Jane,” Dr. Seuss, and My Side of the Mountain. I have loved writing them since the publication of my first book in 1992 (yes, I am that old). And now, as an agent with The Steve Laube Agency, I get to work with authors and represent them and their books to publishers. “So,” you might ask, “what are you looking for?” Oh, okay, since you twisted my arm, here’s what I’m looking for:

Influence

Aspiring writers often imagine, “Once I have a book published, people will listen to me.” That’s exactly backwards. Like every publisher and editor I know, I am looking for people who are already having an impact. They are writing blog posts that a lot of people read, share, and subscribe to. They are connecting and engaging with large numbers of people on social media. They are speaking at events large and small, far and wide. They are not waiting for readers, listeners, and followers to come to them, they are already engaging with people about their genre and topic.

Inspiration

My primary expertise as a writer and speaker has been the Christian market. So, as an agent, I will focus my efforts in representing books, both fiction and nonfiction, for the Christian market (though if a proposal has crossover appeal, the resources are available to me to take it to the general market). In particular, I will be interested in:

Fiction: contemporary, historical, mystery, romance, suspense, thriller. Selected children’s books.

Nonfiction: Nearly all topics written from a Christian perspective – business and leadership, contemporary issues and current events, Christian living, devotionals, humor, marriage and family, parenting, prayer, spiritual growth, teens/young adult, women’s nonfiction.

As a rule, I will not be looking at:

Fiction: fantasy, horror, science fiction, speculative fiction (those are Steve’s strange affliction).

Nonfiction: cookbooks and  poetry.

Investment

I’m not interested in “one-and-done” authors. If you have just one book in you, then I wish you well, but I am not the right person to help you get it published. I’m looking for writers who have already begun investing in the lifelong task of writing what matters and finding fresh and innovative ways to convey an idea and reach an audience. I’m looking for writers who are teachable, who study their craft, and are willing to accept criticism and correction. I’m looking for writers who love words, phrases, and sentences. I’m looking for writers who are reading widely in their genre, who invite thorough critique, and will never use the awareness and appreciation of their strengths as an excuse not to work on their weaknesses. I’m looking for writers who are attending writers’ conferences to educate themselves, network with others, and get better and better at proposals and pitches.

Originality

You thought I was going to insert another “I” word here, right? Tough. Because I am not looking for predictability. I am not looking for the next C. S. Lewis, Max Lucado, Beth Moore, or Francine Rivers. They are all wonderful writers, but I’m looking for ideas and writing so fresh that it could never be confused with another writer. I want to see book proposals that surprise me and delight me. I want to represent writers who can flat write. Who can transport me. And who will do it again and again.

 

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The Challenge for the Debut Author

What are the chances of a debut author getting a contract with a major publisher? What if the author does not have an agent? It’s always hard to get the first contract for any author. It’s a little like “American Idol” with hundreds, if not thousands, of people in line …

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Are Agents Necessary?

Bill asked the question, “How necessary are agents in the modern publishing environment?” It depends. I have to smile when asked that question because asking an agent if agents are necessary it’s a bit obvious what the answer will be… However, there are some things that should go into your …

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Unreliable Statistics

Facts can lie…depending on how that are presented or understood. Today I’ll keep this blog post focused on writers choosing a literary agent, based on one question. When choosing a literary agent, authors need to make assessments. Some authors ask agents questions such as, “How many deals did you make last year?” …

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We Care, But We Must Choose

If you go through my trash, you might think I’m the world’s worst person. Why? Because my discarded mail might lead a casual observer to think that I don’t care about: The paralyzed. The blind. Amputees. Orphans. Israelites. Health needs overseas. Impoverished people living overseas. People suffering with: Lupus Muscular …

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