THE CRAFT OF WRITING – PART 3
THE CRAFT OF WRITING – PART 3
IT TAKES A NEIGHBORHOOD or What my neighbors taught me about The Christian Writers Market Guide
by Kay DiBianca
Do you remember the neighborhood you grew up in? My family lived on an unpaved street with only eight houses on the block. There was little traffic to worry about, so we children were free to roam about, and all the neighbors watched out for us.
The Grays lived next door. When I played with their children, Mrs. Gray would always invite me in and treat me to a slice of toast lathered with apple butter. She said she wanted us to have plenty of energy.
Across the street lived the Poolers. Mrs. Pooler spent a lot of time tending her flowers in front of the house. One day when there was no one around to play with, I decided to see how many times I could run up and down the street until I wore myself out. After a few circuits on a hot, dusty afternoon, Mrs. Pooler noticed my huffing, red-faced effort as I passed her, and she invited me in for a cool glass of lemonade and a little advice on pacing.
On down the block lived the Stanfields. I used to babysit their daughter when she was small. The Stanfields were very organized and always left me a thorough list with all the information I would need while they were out: where they were going, how to reach them, what time Debbie should be in bed, etc. They were never late returning home, and they always paid me well.
Judge and Mrs. Tomasson lived on the corner. They didn’t have children, but their backyard was filled with trees, and they let us play there whenever we wanted. We became Robin Hoods or Tarzans and lived out our exciting adventures in their woods.
This semi-fictionalized account of my neighborhood is pretty accurate. The kind people who lived there nourished me, advised me, provided a safe environment for me to play in, and became role models without knowing it. I understand now how fortunate I was to have grown up there.
I was also fortunate when I finished the draft of my novel, The Watch on the Fencepost, to have picked up a copy of The Christian Writers Market Guide. I found myself in the midst of a neighborhood of publishers, agents, editors, and other services, all in support of Christian authors. The book overflows with useful information.
For example, I was looking for an editor/mentor. The Market Guide lists each editor’s name, address, contact information, services provided, types of manuscripts, charges, and credentials / experience. That was just the information I needed to narrow my search. After phone conversations with seven or eight possible choices, I found the person who would provide the kind of leadership and editorial services I was looking for.
The section on book publishers likewise has subsections to outline the publisher’s name, contact information, submissions guidelines, and other critical data. I found my publisher within the pages of The Christian Writers Market Guide also.
If you’re looking for services within the Christian writing community, check out The Christian Writers Market Guide. You’re in the right neighborhood!
I am honored to welcome Steve Laube, president and founder of The Steve Laube Agency, a veteran of the bookselling industry with nearly 40 years of experience.
Steve is the President of The Christian Writers Institute and publishes the annual Christian Writers Market Guide (also available online) and Book Proposal Tips and Tricks.
In addition, he is the owner and President of Enclave Publishing one of the premier publishers of Christian fantasy and science fiction.
Welcome, Steve, and thank you for joining us!
When did you get interested in the publishing industry?
I began as a part-time shelf duster at a local Christian bookstore located next to the campus where I was in college. Very quickly I was bitten by the “retail bug.” I loved working among the books and Bibles and helping customers find the right one for their needs.
When did you decide to publish the Christian Writers Market Guide?
The Guide has been around for a long time. First created by Sally Stuart. Then in 2012 Jerry Jenkins took over. In 2016 I heard that Jerry was looking to sell the rights to it. I stepped in and took over. In 2017 we released our first annual edition, completely redesigned. Plus we put the contents online so that it could be accessible year-round with current information (updated every couple weeks throughout the year).
Can you describe some of the sections in the Christian Writers Market Guide?
The main sections include Book Publishers, Independent Publishers, Periodical Publishers, Specialty Markets, and Support for Writers.
What benefits can a writer gain from using the guide?
Many writers make the mistake that the only worthy writing is writing a book. They miss the golden opportunity to write for magazines, both online and print. The reach of a periodical is significant compared to the reach of a book. For example, writing for The Upper Room means your devotional will be distributed to five million people around the world.
The support for writers section is chock full of listings for freelance editors, writers conferences (by location), writers groups, publicity firms, and literary agents.
Sure, one can dig around the internet and find similar information….if you know what you are looking for. The difference is our material is curated. The internet is not necessarily curated but is driven by “search engine optmization” which means a smart programmer can get their company in front of you, whether or not it is the best one for your needs.
How do you manage to juggle a busy schedule of heading up an agency with attending conferences and advising writers?
I’m not afraid of hard work. Been doing this a long time.
What one piece of advice would you give to new authors?
To quote a line from the movie “Galaxy Quest”: Never give up. Never Surrender. Seriously. This is an industry that demands excellence. Few writers are born as a perfect writer. Instead most writers are marked by a dogged determination to improve their craft, learn the industry, build relationships, and create great ideas.
Other than The Christian Writers Market Guide, what book on the craft of writing would you recommend to our readers?
For fiction, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King is a go-to book for all novelists.
For all writing Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer is tremendous book on style, grammar, and all the little things that can make writing communicate clearly.
What do you do when you want to get away from all your responsibilities in the publishing world?
I read. <grin>
I’m serious. It is how I relax. We don’t have a TV plugged in inside our home. My wife and I prefer to read as our relaxation.
Where can we find out more about you and your agency?
We can be found at www.stevelaube.com. Please subscribe to our blog. We post every day of the week. I take Monday. We have a podcast “The Christian Publishing Show” on Tuesday. Bob Hostetler is Wednesday. Tamela Hancock Murray is Thursday. And we do something fun each Friday. There are over 2,000 posts in our archives available to anyone at anytime.
In addition don’t forget to check out The Christian Writers Institute (www.christianwritersinstitute.com) which is designed as resource for every writer to expand their learning opportunities…at a reasonable price (some classes are only $4).
Thank you, Steve, for sharing your expertise with us.
Thank you for having me.
I am a regular visitor to the Steve Laube blog at https://stevelaube.com/blog/. The blog post yesterday (July 8, 2019) featured a list of podcasts for authors. A great resource for us all. I understand “The Christian Writers Market Guide” will be updated to contain a new section on podcasts.
The Christian Writer’s Market Guide is such a big help, especially to the slightly lost, confused, and overwhelmed beginner. It works like a safety net and trusted guide as we learn our way around the world of writing and publication. I don’t remember who first told me about it, but so glad they did. I keep an online subscription and it is super easy to use. So glad you had Steve Laube on as your guest… he is a great industry resource himself! Thanks Kay!
So glad to hear the book helps you. Exactly why we put it together each year!
I am also a fan of the Christian Writer’s Market Guide. It is chockablock with information every Christian writer needs to know (or, more realistically, needs to be able to find when needed). I think of the CWMG as a member of the quartet of great books writer’s who want to get published should have. The others are the Writer’s Market, the Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, and The Chicago Manual of Style. Right now (or should I say, “Write now!”) I am fortunate to have all four of the books sitting on my desk, chanting, “Read me, read me…”
Steve, you and the members of your staff have made many important contributions to the literary field. Thanks and keep it up!
The perfect solution to insomnia, The Chicago Manual of Style. Needs more action and romance.
I’ve been waiting all day to get to my computer with a cup of coffee and read Kay’s interview with THE Steve Laube. At last, here I am….hopefully not too late if Steve is in Phoenix.
Thank you so much, Kay, for hosting this. I so look forward to your Craft of Writing interviews. Thank you, Steve, for making yourself so accessible to Christians writers everywhere. If there were a pastor at large for writers, I think you would be that guy. Teaching, exhorting, encouraging. Telling us what we need to hear instead of what we want to hear. I, too, have gained from The Christian Writers Market Guide.
I read the Steve Laube Blog every week, often catching up on Fridays when the week winds down. I enjoy every post of wisdom you and your team bring, each from a different and valuable perspective. Again, this kind of accessibility is priceless.
Thank you again!
Thank you for your kind words.
We are all in the “business” of changing the world with our words.
Oh, yes, The Christian Writers Market Guide is an invaluable tool to have! I highly recommend also Steve’s webinar course on writing a proposal. That in itself is beyond helpful! And the blog! The blog has SO MUCH information day by day.
Thank you, Kay, for hosting Steve on your blog, and thank you, Steve, for being here and sharing.
Thank you Barbara.
Over at http://www.christianwritersinstitute.com we are running a 1/2 off special right now on a newly updated course on “How to Craft Amazing Blog Posts.” Make sure to check it out.
Just use coupon code “july2019” at checkout
I’m not sure I can craft amazing blog posts, but I sure have had amazing guests! Thank you, Steve, for the great interview and for joining in the conversation here. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege for me.
And I think I’ll sign up for that “Amazing Blog Posts” course.
I read this yesterday but didn’t have time to respond or participate. So glad Steve Laube visited our little world! It’s always nice to hear from people who understand the frequently confusing world of publishing. This will sound ditzy but I didn’t know about his website, so I visited late last night and wow! What a lot of information. Signed up for a course immediately. Thanks, Kay, for bringing in this caliber of visitors to share their expertise.