Friday, January 24, 2014

INTERVIEW WITH STEVE LAUBE - MARCHER LORD PRESS



Steve Laube, a literary agent and president of The Steve Laube Agency (www.stevelaube.com), has been in the book industry for over 33 years, first as a bookstore manager where he was awarded the National Store of the Year by CBA. He then spent over a decade with Bethany House Publishers and was named the Editor of the Year. He later became an agent where he has represented nearly 1,000 new books and was named Agent of the Year by ACFW. He was also inducted into the Grand Canyon University Hall-of-Fame by their College of Theology. In addition, he is the president and owner of Marcher Lord Press (marcherlordpress.com). His office is in Phoenix, Arizona.


Interview with Steve Laube – Marcher Lord Press 

SS: Welcome to the Suspense Sisters, Steve. There’s a lot of buzz about your recent acquisition of Marcher Lord Press. What led you to take this step?


Jeff Gerke, who I have known for many years, had asked me for some advice about his company. In the course of the conversation I wondered if he had considered selling MLP. That led to a series of questions and my interest was piqued.

I’ve long been an advocate of the Speculative genre. So the idea of taking over MLP felt like a God-directed opportunity.

SS: Will this new venture change your focus in any way? Will it affect your literary agency?

Nothing changes. Our agency is humming along and I continue to serve my clients and our other agents like before.

Most folks don’t remember that I owned another publishing company for 10 years (ACW Press - a self-publishing/packaging company). As part of that I also had a royalty-paying division called Write Now Publications that published books on writing for writers (Ethel Herr’s Introduction to Christian Writing and Terry Whalin’s Book Proposals That Sell are two examples.) Thus I’ve had experience in the publishing side of the business while also running the agency. That company was sold in 2006.

SS: Some people have expressed concerns about a conflict of interest. What do you say to them?

Marcher Lord Press is a separate company from the agency. As such it is run in such a way that The Steve Laube Agency along with other agencies and authors must submit proposals to MLP for consideration.

The contract terms will be the same for all authors. Makes things simple.

Working with any publisher is a matter of mutual trust and integrity. If there are issues or questions raised we will address them at that time.

SS: What are your plans for March Lord Press? How will it change? How will it stay the same?

Most changes are behind the scenes in the business infrastructure. On the surface very little will change. We will still publish great stories by great authors.

SS: We understand that not all of the authors previously with MLP will be retained. How did you make these decisions? 

I will repeat here what I wrote on my blog about the fact that we did not buy the titles in the Hinterlands imprint nor did we buy the rights to Amish Vampires in Space:

These are actually two different issues and should be treated separately. I chose not to purchase those assets and agreed to have those publication rights sold elsewhere or revert to their respective authors.

Hinterlands was created in 2012 as an imprint of MLP to publish science-fiction and fantasy stories with mature content and themes (i.e. PG-13 or R-rated language, sexuality, and violence). That imprint and all those titles have been sold by Jeff Gerke to a third party and will likely reappear under a new publishing name in the near future.

Amish Vampires in Space was not part of Hinterlands and is a well written book (no surprise considering Kerry Neitz is the author). Jeff Gerke, Kerry Neitz, and I discussed this prior to my purchasing MLP. While we have differing opinions on its publication, ultimately it would not have been a book I would have published had I been the publisher. The title has reverted to Kerry and the book is still available for sale in most major online outlets.

SS. Will MLP still produce print and eBooks? 

Yes. It always has done both and will continue.

SS: What kinds of submissions will you be looking for? Will submissions need to be agented? 

We accept agented and unagented submissions.

As for content?  Fresh and exciting books that fit in the speculative genre. While that is a niche, it is one with endless opportunities for creative writing. Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Supernatural/Paranormal are all parts of what we will continue to publish.

SS: Will you be looking to fill other positions? Editors, etc.?

Not at this time. We have the editorial side well in hand.

SS: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers? 

I earnestly desire your prayers and support. My long-standing passion for this genre has never wavered. It has been a privilege over the years to work as an editor and as an agent with some of the best this genre has had to offer in Karen Hancock, Kathy Tyers, Chuck Black, Patrick Carr, Randy Ingermanson & John Olson, Lisa Bergren, Tosca Lee, Bryan Davis, Sharon Hinck, Jared Wilson, and others. My hope is to continue those efforts as a publisher and build upon what Jeff Gerke created these past few years.

SS: Thanks for being our guest on the Suspense Sisters. We’ll be watching for exciting news from Marcher Lord Press!

 

18 comments:

  1. So great to have you with us, Steve! I love fantasy and science fiction, and in fact, that's how I met you years ago--pitching a fantasy in a world that wasn't friendly to the genre. I'm sure you received all the speculative pitches, right?

    This move definitely looks like a perfect fit. I pray for God's great favor on this endeavor.

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  2. Thanks Beth!

    It has been interesting from the agent side of things that I averaged between two and four fantasy or science fiction proposals being sent to me through the "slush pile" for years. It began to slow somewhat after Marcher Lord Press was founded...which made sense.

    Now that MLP pile is back on my desk. I inherited 60 unevaluated proposals and full manuscripts when I took over the company. Nights and weekends have been fun.

    Steve

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    1. Steve - But you're actively seeking proposals and manuscripts now? (You don't really need to do anything else on the weekends, do you? LOL!)

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    2. The short answer is yes. That door will always remain open. Check the Marcher Lord site for the submission process.

      I inherited 60 un-evaluated proposals and manuscripts on January 1st so am a little buried right now.

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  3. Interesting info, Steve. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Steve this is very interesting. I had not heard about the acquisition. Sounds like you are going to be a very busy person until everything gets off the ground so to speak. My question is where do you go from here? I do realize that you want things to stay the same, but at the same time I know changes will occur.
    Thank you for sharing. Very interesting and enlightening interview. Luck in your continued success.
    Blessings
    Katrina

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    Replies
    1. Where from here?
      Maintain the existing foundation and then grow the company from that. Much like any small business.

      Most changes will be behind the scenes. The visible pieces will be the new acquisitions which will start coming out in late '14 and early '15.

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  5. What type of writing are you looking for? This has been an interesting interview and a new area for me to learn about.

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    1. Visit www.marcherlordpress.com to see the type of books that have been published in the past. It should give you a flavor for the type of books we are seeking in the future.

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  6. Very interesting artical. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  7. My daughter, a teenager, LOVES speculative fiction and I appreciate having Christian speculative fiction choices that I can be comfortable with her reading. Looking forward to seeing all there is to come.

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  8. Thanks for sharing, Steve, so glad this genre holds your passion and diligence! Definitely praying for you and the company as things progress :) I bless God for companies like yours that publish these authors and their incredible stories!

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  9. Being how speculative fiction itself is often a tough genre to promote to the masses, how do you see MLP promoting their Christian speculative fiction titles (which, in my mind at least, would be even more difficult to promote)?

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    1. Working on getting exposure via the bookstore market is the first leg on that journey. It takes a lot of key partnerships and infrastructure to accomplish.

      Hoping our writing coummunities, like this one can help with the word-of-mouth as to the quality of books we have and the great alternative they provide to some of the material the general market offers.

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  10. Thanks so much for sharing, Steve. My family, especially my boys, love speculative fiction, so I really pray this genre will continue to grow in the Christian market!

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  11. Thank you for the insights, Steve! I was wondering about that 'Amish Vampires in Outerspace' title!

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  12. Congratulations on your acquisition, and best wishes to you in the future!

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  13. Very interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

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