Girls Write Out
Sunday, July 10, 2011
If you've been in the writing industry for at least 3 or 4 seconds you've heard of Karen Ball. When she recently joined the Steve Laube Agency, I thought some of readers might be interested in knowing that this publishing icon has switched gears. So here's a bio and an interview with the charming Karen Ball:

Karen Ball has been blessed to use her love of words and story during nearly 30 years in publishing. Karen built and led successful fiction lines for Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and, most recently, the B&H Publishing Group. She’s had the honor of discovering several best-selling novelists, including Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, and Liz Curtis Higgs. Karen has also worked with numerous top authors. In addition, Karen is a best-selling, award-winning novelist and a popular speaker. She lives in Oregon with her husband, father, and two four-legged, furry “kids.”

Karen, you've been on the editorial side of the desk for a long time. What made you decide to become an agent?

People have been asking me to do so for a long time, but I always felt my place was behind an editor's desk. But when B&H laid me off in January, my husband and I decided to take a month to think and pray and ask God where I should go from here. I've loved working in-house as an editor, and I enjoy doing freelance editing work, so I knew I didn't want to give up being an editor. But as soon as word got out about my leaving B&H, I had countless phone calls and emails from authors and agencies alike asking me if I'd consider making the move into agenting. And actually, what became clear was that this isn't really a "move." It's an expansion of what I already do. I've always acted as a champion for my writers, and I've always loved to mentor writers on both craft and career. And when Steve Laube, who'd been talking with me about the possibility of joining his agency for some time, asked me if it was the right time, I realized it was. In fact, I realized I was excited at the opportunity.

What skills, talents, and insight do you bring to the table as an agent?
It always seems to me this is a question to ask the people who've worked with me. So I welcome anyone I've worked with to add their two cents' worth! But the most obvious response is that I bring everything I've learned from 30 years in publishing, from working as an editor and from being a published author. I'm familiar with almost every aspect of publishing, and passionate about partnering with authors to take their writing and careers to the next level. I've had the distinction of finding amazing fiction writers for the Christian market, including Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, and Ginny Yttrup. So I know great writing, fiction or nonfiction, when I read it. And I thrive on helping others and championing people and writing I believe in. Plus, I'm an off-the-scale extrovert. That alone sets me apart in this biz!

No kidding! You're one of a kind, Karen. :) With all those editorial--not to mention writing--skills, can we assume you'll be involved in the development of your clients' proposals?
Assume away! I'll be as involved as my authors need me to be. It's about partnering and serving.

What genres are you interested in representing?
Easier to say what I'm not looking for. I'm not well versed in childrens' books or academic nonfiction, so I won't be looking for those kinds of titles. Mostly, I'm interested in powerful writing, in fiction or nonfiction that sings. If you'd like to know more, check out my blog post at

Are you willing to look at proposals from unpublished writers?

Yes, but I don't have a lot of openings for new voices, so I encourage writers to be sure their proposals are as strong as they can be. And it's in their best interests to follow the guidelines at That way I'll have all the information I need right up front.

How might a writer submit a proposal to you?
Once a writer has a proposal put together (following the guidelines mentioned above), email it to my assistant, Michelle Vincent, at

How can our readers learn more about the Steve Laube Agency?
Check out the website (, for starters. But I'd say the best way is to talk to some of our clients. They'll give you the skinny on what we're all about!

Is there anything else you'd like to tell our readers?
Don't let a rejection, from me or from an editor or from anyone else, discourage you! Something may not be a good fit for me, but another agent will love it. It's all about doing the work and being patient. If God has given you a task to write, focus on doing that task to the best of your ability. Refine the craft, study the market, and be obedient to the work. Write, write, write. If it's in God's plans for you to be published, it'll happen. In His time. In His way. You just focus on being the best writer you can be. Because the quality of the writing is what matters most. It's what changes lives.


Thank you, Karen! I wish you all the best in your new venture!

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Denise Hunter  
posted at 7:00 AM  
  Comments (5)
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At 1:42 AM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

Great job, Denise. I've wanted to work with Karen since I first started marketing my work. Maybe someday... What a blessing to have an extrovert for an agent when i'm such an introvert. Ahhh...

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Tracy Ruckman said...

Thanks for a great interview, Denise. I was excited to see the announcement about Karen - I met her at ACFW in Nashville and then again at Mount Hermon several years ago, and she is truly a fireball who knows her stuff! And she has such a lovely heart. I can't wait to see how God uses her as an agent - exciting times!

At 7:56 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

I'm so excited about this new venture for you Karen. It seems such a natural fit for all of your talents, and the writing world is lucky to have you in this capacity! Thanks for the great interview with D!

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Crystal Laine said...

That was my first thought when I heard your news in January--"Karen would make a good agent!" I even mentioned it to another agent. :)

Great advice, too, to writers. Thanks, Denise, for hosting Karen on the GWO blog. God has a plan. And He is good! :)

At 12:06 AM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

Great interview!! With all your talents, you will make an awesome agent, Karen! I'm with Tracy, I can't wait to see how God will work through you!


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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