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 http://www.stevelaube.com/writing-that-sings/.
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 www.stevelaube.com/guidelines. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can our readers learn more about the Steve Laube Agency?
Check out the website (www.stevelaube.com), 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!