We are looking for that author who has the ability to communicate their stories or ideas on paper (a great writer). Someone who has a sense of the market and knows where they can fit best. A person who is passionate about their calling and who are in this for the long haul.
I cannot quantify the amount of new clients we sign. It varies from year to year. We have finite resources, but I'm still looking for the "next best." But I don't hide who we represent. A quick look at our web site (www.stevelaube.com) will show the amazing authors we are privileged to be working with.
How much impact does winning a contest have on your consideration of new authors? Should they mention this in their query letter?
However, if the contest is of some substance where the competition has a wide reach, then, by all means, mention it.
Query letters are notoriously difficult to write succinctly. Adding one more thing to the barrage of information may only muddy your effectiveness....unless the award is of significance.
How much impact does meeting a new author at a conference have? Does this give them an edge when submitting into the slush pile?
That said, I'm a firm believer in writer's conferences. It is one of the few places you can learn from the best and network with other writers who can become lifelong friends.
The conference is also a safe place to fail. Even fail spectacularly! That is one of the best ways to learn. I know of a writer who recently said to me, "Steve, I remember the first conference where you saw my first horrible manuscript. The for the next six years, at subsequent conferences, you saw every new idea I created. Then one magical afternoon you read my work, tapped its pages, and said, 'This is the one.' And that manuscript became my first published book."
Is it important to you to see that a prospective author/client has publicity contacts in place? What things are most helpful? Blogs, Myspace, Facebook, website, etc.
At the very least, have a web site (use your name as the URL if you can).
If a book you represent is contracted for a movie, do you handle that or do you sub-contract with a film agent?
So far I've handled this myself. But I have consulted with an entertainment attorney if I had any questions. This is such a rare occurrence in our business. Everyone thinks their novel would make a great movie. But so few are optioned by a producer and even fewer are actually produced. In the Christian market where I focus my efforts you will note that nearly every "major" film based on a book was a book written by a bestselling author. Popularity begets popularity.
You have been a bookseller, editor and now an agent. What are some of your favorite experiences in this business?
I love the world of ideas. I always have. To see an idea get planted and then grow into something special in book form is enormously gratifying. Off the cuff I can name some favorites...
To see a first time, never before published, author like Cindy Woodsmall hit the NY Times bestseller list with her novels.
To discover new talent like Dave Meurer, Tricia Rhodes, Rene Gutteridge, Rebecca Barlow Jordan, Donna Partow, and Laura Jensen Walker at a writers conference and see their careers flourish.
Listening to Randy Ingermanson and John Olson pitch their idea for a cool science fiction story about a manned mission to Mars. Then having that book win the Christy Award!
Pulling a manuscript out of the slush pile at Bethany House and publishing Ellie Kay. Now to see her on national media ("Nightline," etc.) helping people with their personal finances.
Publishing Karen Hancock's first novel and then watching her win the Christy Award for the best Fantasy novel four years in a row.
The privilege of editing, acquiring, or representing extraordinary and talented writers like Calvin Miller, Norm Geisler, H. Norman Wright, Bill Bright, David Gregory, Antony Flew, Martha Bolton, Larry Christenson, John Rosemond, William Backus, Michael Reagan, John Michael Talbot, dc Talk, Stephen Miller, Judith Pella, Gilbert Morris, Kathy Tyers, Cec Murphey, Tracey Bateman, Lisa Bergren, Allison Bottke, Leslie Vernick, Jack Cavanaugh, William Lane Craig, Karol Ladd, Susan May Warren, and so many others. I risk leaving out so many friends in this paragraph!
To be the editor behind the last two revisions of the classic Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin. The first revision with general editor Hank Hanegraaff. The second revision with Ravi Zacharias. And then as an agent working with the Walter Martin estate to create an incredible new reference book on the occult called The Kingdom of the Occult (published by Thomas Nelson).
In my bookselling days I remember the few who would come back a few weeks later and thank me for recommending a certain title. One young fellow said that the first book we sold him set him on a path which has him ministering as a pastor.
Thank you for that trip down memory lane! It is humbling to recite the list. The Lord has been overly generous.
Thank you for joining us today in Seekerville. Mr. Laube won’t be blogging with us due to prior commitments, but if you ask questions, I will forward them to him this afternoon and post his answers on the blog this evening (Arizona time). Be sure and check out his website. There is an extensive interview that answers any question you can think of in this business.
Since Mr. Laube is a fellow Phoenician and its in the triple digits here, we're offering ice cold cappuccinos to give us a boost. I've also put out a spread of blueberry blintzes and a dish of tropical fruit-mangoes, papaya, berries and chunks of pineapple.