Book Business

Book Proposals I’d Love to See (What Tamela Hancock Murray is Looking For)

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By God’s will and pleasure, during my career as a literary agent I have been successful in representing authors writing Christian romance, Christian and general market trade book fiction, and Christian nonfiction.

My interests have changed very little since I joined The Steve Laube Agency, here’s an update for you:

Do you still want to see Christian romance novels?
Indeed I do! I’m happy to say that this is one area of Christian fiction that continues to thrive and enjoy an enthusiastic readership.

I am still passionate about Christian romance novels. I respect and honor the fact that the editors of the romance lines are very specific about their needs and wants. They look for hardworking, dedicated, talented authors who are able to write a fresh story within the romance novel framework. Does this describe you? If so, I’d love to partner with you!

What about other genres of fiction?
As those following the industry are aware, the trade book fiction market has contracted in recent years, but I have never experienced an easy time for authors to break in to trade fiction. As with modeling and acting, more people want those jobs than there are jobs available. This is a perennial fact.

However, I am always seeking a tale well told that I believe deserves a place in CBA. My personal tastes will always veer to heavy romantic elements. To wit, if my husband has a movie on television and I don’t see any women (e.g., cowboys sitting around a fire or a bunch of guys on a boat), I find something else to do until the movie is over.

But as long as there is a heavy romantic element, I’m open to all sorts of stories.

Are you open to general market fiction?
Yes. But the story must be so clean you’d be willing to share it with your most devout friend or relative. Nothing that would dishonor God or disrespect the faith of the church, as defined by The Apostle’s Creed, is welcome here.

Are you still open to nonfiction submissions?
Yes, and I continue to be highly selective. The importance of author platform here is magnified a thousandfold in comparison with fiction. I need to see an author who’s already connecting with his or her audience so I can show publishers the author has gained respect and credibility with current readers and will be a great partner with the publisher in expanding reader base. Nonfiction readers are looking for insight, consolation, help, knowledge, and encouragement. An author needs to come from a position of authority when delivering a book to these readers.

Platform must be accompanied by a great idea told in dynamic writing. Tell me why you have an audience eager to read what you have to say on your topic, and why. I love books that  make me want to read them even when the topic doesn’t apply to me. Now that’s a well-written and engaging book.

And in today’s market, that’s what you need.

Do you have a lot of slots open for new authors?
God has seen fit to allow me a client list that is fantastic beyond my wildest dreams. However, I am humbled and honored by authors who take their valuable time to learn about me and afterwards feel led to submit their ideas to me, especially when CBA is blessed by so many talented literary agents.

Although we are not perfect in our level of response (meaning it’s OK to follow up if you don’t hear from us), my assistant and I do consider submissions from new authors. I am thrilled to work with promising new as well as established authors. You can send proposals via email to ewilson@www.stevelaube.com (please visit the guidelines for specifics).

 

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Still Wanted: Writing that Sings! (What Karen Ball is Looking For)

Anyone who has jumped into the waters of agenting knows they’ll be asked one question, over and over and over:  “What are you looking for?” Well, now that I’ve got a couple of years of this amazing work under my belt, let me build on what I said when I started. Back then, I said I was looking, first and foremost, for books that glorify God, then for writing that sings, that speaks to the heart and spirit, that uplifts and challenges. Well, that’s all the same! But there are a few clarifications I want to make.  First, here’s the not so good news:

What I’m Not Looking For

Children’s & Middle Grade Books: As much as I enjoy reading these books (that’s one of the only perks to never having had children—I get all the kid’s books!), I am not representing them. It’s not that I don’t see the need. It’s simply that I’m not experienced with these kinds of books. My work lo, these many years in publishing, has been with adult books. Now, I have worked with Young Adult fiction and nonfiction, but I already have some great clients in that category and am not, at present, looking for more.

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Five Things that Changed the Publishing World

Over the past twenty-five years ago there have been five things that changed the landscape of the publishing industry forever (the first three below happened in 1995). Amazon.com Dan Balow wrote an excellent piece on this earlier this year. It still is quite astounding when you think about it. In …

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The ISBN turns 50!

Last year I wrote about the ISBN and I heard the yawns. But this past week a milestone was reached and I can’t help myself. The Standard Book Numbering system turned 50 years old. That seemingly simple group of digits has had a lasting impact on our industry. Book nerds …

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Yippee Kay Yay Publishing

There are so many metaphors we can use to describe what goes on in book publishing. Baseball, medicine, astronomy, physics, factory assembly lines, beavers gnawing on trees, hamsters on treadmills and many more each contain appropriate examples of various aspects of writing and publishing a book. I believe one of …

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Bad Research

After many years in another industry, a corporate CEO left to lead a large publishing company. After a month or so on the job, he grew unsettled at how different publishing was from the consumer product industry he was familiar with, especially the highly “intuitive” approach publishing utilized to make …

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A $100,000 Threshold for a Worthy Book?

Recently Brad Martin, the President and CEO of Penguin Random House Canada, was quoted as saying the following: “I’m not interested in a book that is going to generate less than $100,000 in revenue unless the editor or publisher [division] has a compelling vision for the book and/or the author…If …

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Please…Preach to the Choir

  How often have you heard a writer say, “My book isn’t for church people. I mean, I don’t want to preach to the choir, I want to reach those searching for Christ.” Not for nothing, but friends, who do you think is in the choir? Sure, some of the …

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Christian Fiction is Not Dead

Last week’s news of Abingdon Press deciding to no longer acquire new Christian fiction has created another clamor of claims regarding the demise of Christian fiction. The articles, emails, and comments range from glee (“it needs to die”) to consternation (“woe is me of ever getting a book deal”). Fewer Publishers …

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Best Sellers Twenty Years Ago

Twice each year, I take this space on the agency blog and make a trip down memory lane to see what books were selling many years ago. If you understand from where books have come, you can understand where books are going. Below is the New York Times bestseller list …

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