Steve Laube is a literary agent and president of The Steve Laube Agency (www.stevelaube.com) in the USA. At Write Canada 2014, Steve will be leading classes and workshops focused on the publishing industry. He will also be looking for new authors to represent.
Steve, when you compare the Christian publishing industry in Canada and the United States, what differences and similarities do you observe?
The biggest difference is the lack of Christian bookstores in Canada. Therefore, distribution is more difficult.
Second is the lack of multiple large Christian publishers based in Canada. This limits options for the author. There are some, but they are not like Tyndale or Harvest House for example.
These two things play into the reality that many Canadian authors must self-publish in order to get their words in print. In Canada it was born of necessity. In the U.S. it came from the ease by which publishing can be accomplished by any writer.
Your company, The Steve Laube Agency, handles hundreds of book proposals annually, but only a fraction of these are from Canadian authors. Why is this?
It has nothing to do with geographic location. It is circumstantial.
The main reason is likely due to the fact there are more evangelical Christians in the U.S. than in Canada. You might be surprised by how many non-U.S. authors we have. But it is less than 5 percent of the total clients we serve. (By the way, I have a client from Australia and I work with an author as part of Marcher Lord Press who works for the US State Department in Kiev, Ukraine.)
Another reason is the limited exposure we have to authors from Canada. We can only go by the proposals we receive and the people we meet and talk to at conferences. That is one of the reasons I am so looking forward to coming to this conference. My experience at Write Canada in 2012 was great. Hoping this time will be just a delightful.
At the conference you will also be doing a class (open only to those in the Career Track) on the topic of “Be Careful What You Sign.” What are the most important things a writer should look for before signing a contract?
A contract is a binding agreement between two parties. I continue to be amazed as to what authors have signed in a contract…and then later complain about. Everything from a lack of a mechanism for a book to be out of print (because ebooks never go OP) to an aggressive grab for rights by the publisher. I have a contract where the publisher had them controlling “Theme Park Rights.” No kidding. Come to the class and find out more.
One of your workshops is titled “What’s New in Publishing.” In a nutshell, what is new in publishing?
The industry is a labyrinth. But one in which the walls move each week. Navigating the maze is a fulltime job. There have been mega-shifts in technology which affect writers. But also significant societal changes that affect how we are able to communicate properly to the reading public. I look forward to exploring those themes during our class on the topic.