Tag s | Traditional Publishing

Thanking the Publishers

When you’re an agent, you get to see a lot of what publishers do every day.

At the same time, because you don’t actually work in their offices, you don’t know a lot about what they do.

Since I’ve been an agent a long time, I don’t need to write a blog like this to butter up the publishers. They already know me. But because there’s such publisher bashing, I think now’s a good time to consider what publishers do for their authors.

To the publishers, thank you for:

  • Thinking through each and every book project before bringing it to market. This means vetting each manuscript through several meetings, composed of different groups of people who’ll have a say in whether they think the book will be a success. As a result, every author will have a team of publishing professionals behind each book. No one stands alone in a publishing decision. Does this mean each book will be a bestseller? No. But it does help more authors become successful once they are published.
  • Investing many dollars in each book. It’s hard for authors, and even agents, to understand just how much money we’re asking a publisher to invest in an author. Great cover designers, editors, marketing people, accountants, contracts people, administrators, and author relations people don’t come cheaply – nor should they. It must be frustrating for publishers to hear authors complain that not enough money was invested in their particular books. Maybe in some cases, more money could increase sales; maybe not. But even the last book on the list has still had considerable investment.
  • Hiring fabulous editors. As an agent, I can attest to the high quality of editors in CBA. I would hate to be an author going it alone in the publishing wilds, hoping to find an editor on my own. And while not every author and editor are a good fit at every publishing house, the publishing houses I work with consistently hire the best editors in the business. The fact that I rarely if ever read a book review saying, “The author could have used a good editor,” regarding a CBA book is testimony to the fact. Readers of secular book reviews will see such criticism time and time again – justified or not.
  • Caring about their authors. Yes, this is a business. And sometimes authors don’t “feel the love” but the editors themselves really do care about their authors. I’ve seen the tender loving professional care editors give to their authors’ books – and real friendships can develop.
  • Caring about the quality of the books they publish. The editors and publishers I know truly want to glorify the Lord by presenting readers with quality books. Isn’t that what authors want as well? What more can we ask?

Your turn:

What would you like to thank your publisher for, as an author?

As a reader, does anything come to mind?

 

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Switching or Grinding Gears?

Each year in the U.S. more titles are published indie/self-pub than by all traditional publishers combined. Some authors publish only indie or traditional, but some entrepreneurial folks are known as “hybrid” and use whatever model works best for the situation at the moment. Many clients of the Steve Laube Agency …

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How Many People Are Involved in Publishing Your Book?

The above photo is somewhat illustrative of the number of people involved in getting your book to market. Even if you self-publish there are still many functions that you may have not done yourself. Below is not an exhaustive list but a rambling stream of consciousness when thinking about the …

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Who Owns Whom in Publishing?

Updated April 29, 2016 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 that …

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Goodbye to Traditional Publishing?

by Steve Laube

Recently Ann Voss Peterson wrote of her decision to never sign another contract with Harlequin. One major statistic from the article is that she sold 170,000 copies of a book but earned only $20,000.

Multiple clients sent me Peterson’s “Harlequin Fail” article and wanted my opinion. My first thought is that this was typical “the publisher is ripping me off” fodder. But that would be a simplistic and knee-jerk reaction and unfair to both Peterson and Harlequin.

Yes, Harlequin pays a modest royalty that is less than some publishers. Since when is that news? That has always been their business model because it is the only way to create and maintain an aggressive Direct-to-Consumer and Trade publishing program. Their publishing machine is huge and they are a “for profit” company. For Profit. If they are unprofitable, they go away.

If an author is uncomfortable with the terms, then don’t sign the contract (which is Peterson’s decision going forward). I urge each of you to be careful not to sign a contract and then complain about it later. Unless you were completely hoodwinked you agreed to those terms and should abide by them.

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Writers Learn the Waiting Game

Ours is a process industry. Good publishing takes time. Unfortunately time is another word for “waiting.” No one really likes to wait for anything. Our instant society (everything from Twitter to a drive-thru burger) is training us to want things to happen faster. Awhile ago I wrote about how long it takes to get published which gave an honest appraisal of the time involved. Below are some of the things for which a writer must learn to wait.

Waiting for the Agent

We try our best to reply to submissions within 6-8 weeks and are relatively good about that. But if your project passes the first review stage and we are now reviewing your entire manuscript remember that reading a full manuscript is much more demanding than reading a few short proposals.

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A Matter of Taste

I always enjoy reading comments on our blog posts. Recently a reader posted a provocative question:

In this time of great emotional upheaval, instability, and unrest, aren’t we ready for something more solid and inspiring than just different types of romance novels?

Those of you familiar with my career know that I am the author of many romance novels and stories — and Bible trivia books!

And while I represent a variety of authors in fiction and nonfiction, my list is weighted heavily to romantic stories. I do realize that not everyone has the same taste — nor should we.

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Perspective on the Sale of Thomas Nelson Publishers

In light of yesterday’s announcement of the sale of Thomas Nelson Publishers to HarperCollins I thought I would write a few thoughts.

Without question this is the biggest news story in the Christian publishing industry this year, if not the last few years. Most of us have been caught flat-footed. Partly because Thomas Nelson is such a large company. And partly because they were just purchased by an investment group last year. The other surprise is the buyer. HarperCollins has owned Zondervan since 1988 which is a direct competitor to Nelson. They publish some of the same authors. (And by the way, HarperCollins is owned by NewsCorp…whose owner is Rupert Murdoch.)

Back in 2002 when I was still with Bethany House Publishers we were sold to Baker Books. So I’ve seen some of the inside of a publishing sale. There will be some obvious echoes to our experience, but Zondervan and Nelson are very different from Bethany House and Baker.

Ten Random Thoughts

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The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread?

Guest Post by Teddi Deppner

Today debuts our first guest post. I first met Teddi at the Mt. Hermon Writers Conference while she sat through my Major Morning Track, listening patiently to 8 1/2 hours of lecture over four days. She has recently been asking some penetrating questions about technology and the publishing industry so I invited her to create a post and express those thoughts for your discussion.

Teddi Deppner has published hundreds of websites over the last 15+ years in her work as a professional web designer, marketer and consultant. Recently, she has launched on a quest to map out simple, effective strategies to share with creative people using the Internet and social media for their business. Find her latest projects at www.TeddiDeppner.com.

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Thanks to Steve for the opportunity to share some thoughts with his audience. This post, intended primarily to open a lively discussion, was sparked by an article by Craig Mod about “Post-Artifact Book Publishing”.

Craig’s essay presents the idea that books have traditionally been artifacts: the concrete, physical products of an author. He diagrams the process and participants in the creation, publishing and distribution of this artifact and how things are changing now that books have become more than static artifacts.

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