Bring the Books (What Steve Laube is Looking For)

“Bring the books, especially the parchments,” is a sentence in 2 Timothy 4:13 that has teased readers for 2,000 years. What books did the Apostle Paul want to read while waiting for trial? Theology? History? How-to? (Maybe a little escape reading? Pun intended.)

Another writer chimed in a while ago by saying “Of making many books there is no end.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12) And if we read the statistics he wasn’t kidding. 200,000+ traditionally published in the United States alone last year.

And yet there is an allure to the stories of great novelists and a fascination in the brilliance of deep thinkers. It is what drew me to the book industry in the first place having been a lifelong reader and a burgeoning collector of my own library.

I can safely say that the allure and fascination remains unabated. I’ve had and continue to have the honor and privilege of working with some of the finest minds and talented writers in our industry. The photo above is from my office showing every book we have represented. Hundreds of amazing books by amazing authors.

Meanwhile I am still searching for the next great story, the next great concept, the next great writer. So, to answer the question, “What are you looking for?” I will attempt to clarify a few things.

Our Door is Always Open

Unsolicited proposals are always welcome. We sift through hundreds of inquiries every year. My only request is that each person try their best to follow our guidelines on our web site. It would astound you how many fail that simple request.

We Primarily Serve the Christian Market

We make no apology for specializing in books written from a Christian worldview. That means we sell books wherever publishers are receptive to books from that perspective. Usually those are Christian publishing companies. But we can sell books to the general market…if that publisher is interested in the content of the book our client has created.

We won’t represent books that are contrary to a Christian worldview. Recently I once received a proposal claiming their novel included “vivid sex, graphic torture, romance, comedy….” Another proposed a non-fiction book that redefined sin as something that is actually unbiblical and should not be taught. And another that claimed that Moses was “the greatest serial killer of all time.” Obviously these authors had not done their homework regarding our agency.

I’m Looking for Fiction

I am a very eclectic reader which reflects my work as an agent. I represent authors who write in the following genres: Women’s fiction, romance, thriller, suspense, romantic suspense, literary, military, historical (all eras), contemporary, science-fiction, fantasy, supernatural, YA… in other words, every genre published in the industry.

I’m looking for unique storylines with a well refined craft. If something is 80% ready I’ll probably reject it. In school a grade score of 80 would be a low “B.” Our industry is looking for the A+.

I’m Looking for Non-Fiction

Those eclectic tastes are also exhibited by the types of non-fiction books and authors represented. Christian Living, biography, apologetics, theology, bible study, reference, health, finance, self-help, psychology, grief, suffering, marriage, family, women’s, men’s, philosophy, church life, devotional, inspirational, social issues, politics, parenting, music, and art. The subjects are vast and the opportunities endless.

I am looking for unique ideas by great writers. But as the market has changed, so has some of the demands on the non-fiction author. Your project has to be more than an extended magazine article. It has to have something special that will make the major publisher jump at the chance to invest in you and your work. It can be your platform. It can be the power of your idea. It can be that your writing is unique and compelling. And if you can bring all three I’m confident we could find you a publishing partner.

A Limit to My Expertise

Please do not send your children’s picture book ideas. Yes, I have represented some, but it is not a marketing in which I claim expertise. I can negotiate the contract, but evaluating whether your material is age-appropriate or if your illustrations are top notch is not where I can serve you best.

Please do not send me your cookbook ideas. I may look like I know how to eat, but it doesn’t mean I know the first thing about cooking.

A Limit to My Exceptions

It is a little aggravating when someone sends me their kids book with the first sentence “I know you say you don’t want Children’s picture books, but I think you will make an exception with mine.” (This happened again, just last month.) Asking for an exception is bold but it is also a waste of time for both the author and for me.

Hard Copy versus E-mail

You can send your proposal to me via email (see our guidelines). But if you send it to me via hard copy with a SASE I guarantee you will get a personal response. The danger of the email inbox is that it gets crowded quickly and your project slowly scrolls off the screen and can very well be forgotten. I try to go through email submissions but hard copy proposals always get reviewed and sit on my desk until I review them myself. I’m aware this is rather old-school, but it works for me. It is your choice of which way you want to send your project to my attention.

However, note that this is unique to me, Steve Laube, at our agency. The other agents are quite comfortable with email submissions.

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Give Thanks to God

There is a verse in scripture which sets out in bold relief the great besetting problem of the human race. It is Romans 1:21: ‘for even though we knew God…we did not give thanks.’ Astonishing! How can we actually know God and not give thanks? Scarcely a day passes in which we are not deluged by at least a hundred instances of God’s goodness to us. Thanksgiving ought to be the most natural of human reflexes, as spontaneous as drawing breath.

Doubtless there are a plethora of reasons why we do not feel thankful. Perhaps business is stressful, or marriage is disappointing, or parenting is unfulfilling, or health is deteriorating, or school is unrewarding. Or maybe we simply take for granted God’s goodness to us.

How important it is, then, to rehearse frequently all that God does for us. Only then will an unending torrent of thanksgiving be unleashed from our hearts. Nowhere is God’s goodness more compellingly set out in His word. Immerse yourself in what follows, luxuriate in the story of God’s grace to you. . . and be thankful!


Who is like the Lord our God? Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who is enthroned above the vault of the earth . . . and who stretches out the heavens like a curtain. How majestic is His name . . . When we consider His heavens, the work of His fingers, the moon and the stars which He has ordained, what are we that He should take thought of us?

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Who Owns Whom in Publishing?

Updated October 14, 2014 Our emphasis in this post is the Christian publishing industry. There are many fine commercial publishers that do not publish Christian books and thus are left out of this discussion. First let us review what are known as The Big Five. These are the five major conglomerates …

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Unsolicited Proposals: aka “The Slush Pile”

All literary agents receive dozens of proposal each week. Some in the mail and some via email. Last week was a slow week, only 30 unsolicited proposals arrived. (Unsolicited means proposals that are not from our existing clients. We get a number of those each week too.)  The variety can …

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Fun Fridays – June 20, 2014

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to come up with a metaphor about the writing life that this video suggests. Place your idea in the comments below. We are counting on your creativity! 100,000 ducks cross the road in Thailand…. It is their version of a Duck …

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Rejection: A Fact of the Writing Life

Rejection is a fact of life. Especially the writing life. As one crusty publishing veteran said: “Welcome to the industry that will break your heart.” Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it? But let me put a little perspective on it. I admire writers. You put your souls …

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Fun Fridays – June 13, 2014

Angelina Jordan, eight years old, Wins the “Norway’s Got Talent” competition with this song in the finals. We featured her a month ago with her original audition and other performances. Ironically my wife and I just saw Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” at Gammage Theatre last week. The actress who sang “Summertime” …

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Endorsements: How Important Are They?

How important are endorsements? (Those “blurbs” on the back of a book that exclaim “A real masterpiece!”) Let me answer with a question. When you are browsing a book title do you look at the endorsements or notice who wrote the foreword or introduction? I suspect you do without realizing …

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Fun Fridays – June 6, 2014

Next time you receive a rejection letter? Next time you receive a bad review? Next time you tell yourself you don’t have what it takes to be a writer? Next time you fail at what you know you are called to do? Watch the below video and remind yourself of …

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