I hope you’ve all been learning some new information about the highly-sought-after agent, Chip MacGregor. I know I have! Today, we’ll go a bit deeper, and then he’ll tell us what we can look forward to at the fast-approaching Write to Inspire conference. Make sure you’re registered today! You won’t want to miss it!
LN: Your personal bio states, “Chip’s greatest desire is to help authors create great books that make a difference in the world.” What are some of your favorite make-a-difference books that you helped to create?
CM: It’s a long list. I was Brennan Manning’s agent for several years, and I’ve always been proud of helping him with his books. I helped concept Lisa Beamer’s book, and represented that one when it rose to #1 on the NYT list. There have been several novelists who have really made a difference: Lisa Samson, Gina Holmes, Susan Meissner, Elizabeth Musser, Ann Tatlock, Mindy Clark, Leslie Gould – that’s just a sampling. On the nonfiction side, I represented all of Michelle McKinney Hammond’s books, did a bunch with Jill and Stuart Briscoe, a long list of MOPS books, great books with people like Keri Wyatt Kent and Don McCullough. I also helped several excellent writers get started – Holley Gerth, Ira Wagler, Mike Hingson, Susy Flory, Jenny B. Jones, Mary DeMuth, etc. I’m proud of the authors I’ve worked with.
LN: Some marriage counselors claim to have the ability to predict whether a marriage will last or end in divorce. Are great agents the same with writers? Are you able to predict whether a newbie-writer will be a success? If so, what do you see in them to make you think they’ll make it?
CM: Love this question. You see, I’m paid to SELL a writer’s work. In fact, that’s the only way I get paid. So if I don’t think I can sell a project, I won’t take it on for representation, no matter how much I like the author. So yes, I tend to look for people I like and believe in, and who I think I can sell. I often will predict success based on the bigness of the story, the quality of the writing, the need in the marketplace, and the author’s ability to support the work. Do I make mistakes? Sure I do. But I also get a lot of them right. And over the last 25 years I’ve been right a lot more frequently than I’ve been wrong, which is why I’m successful at this business. I think most of the longtime successful agents have an ability to recognize great talent. I probably have a limited set of talents, but “recognizing a good author” is one of the things I do well.
LN: In your opinion, what quality is most important for writers to possess? What quality is most important for your clients to possess?
CM: This one is easy. The one quality most important for writers to possess is VOICE. A writer with strong voice, who sounds unique and not like everyone else, will stand out in a crowd. I’m a sucker for great voice. And I feel it’s voice that will help an author break out in a competitive publishing market. When I see strong voice (which is simply “personality on the page”), I tend to be interested in the author, even if it’s in a genre I don’t normally represent. Because great voice tends to get published. It’s a rare quality, and it takes time to develop, but no question – voice in your writing is the one quality that impresses me most.
LN: What can our writers expect to learn from you at the Write to Inspire conference this July?
CM: Everything you need to know about creating a great book proposal. The ten keys to refining your proposal. How to pitch and submit your proposal. And we’ll have a chance to talk trends, careers, the craziness of the industry, etc. I’m really looking forward to being there and spending time with the group.
LN: Once again, thank you to Chip for being so willing to share with all of us! We are eagerly awaiting the Write to Inspire conference. And thank you to all of you for allowing me to share these interviews with you. I hope they’ve been helpful! I’ll see you in July!
From her earliest years, Lacie Nezbeth knew two things—she longed to be a stay at home mom, and stories, in any form, captivated her. Today, those two passions have culminated into a fairy tale life that continually points her to God’s overflowing goodness. Her love of history, traveling and research made her decision to write Historical Romances an obvious and fitting choice. When Lacie isn’t working on one of her stories or tackling the unending mountain of laundry produced by her three small kids, she can be found chauffeuring her children to their various activities, talking to herself in the grocery store or plotting ways to get her entire family on another Caribbean cruise.