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.
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.