St Paul, MN
LAURIE HARPER has witnessed first-hand the myriad changes in book publishing over the last thirty years. She is a published author, former small press publisher, veteran literary agent of 27 years, and now consultant to authors. Each step of the way she has coached authors through the process of writing for publication.
As a small press publisher she managed editorial, production, distribution, sales, marketing, and publicity. “The booksellers were very supportive and helpful, always ready to explain something to me or help me figure something out. And what I learned dealing with distributors and bookstores has helped me negotiate fair contracts for authors and publishers ever since. I understand the realities of what both sides need in the deal.” Having a business background proved helpful, though she says she has sometimes wished for that English Lit degree as well.
As an agent for over twenty-five years, she represented authors across a broad spectrum of genres. She has worked with all the major publishers as well as the independent publishers. “Because I owned a small publishing house, I know the special challenges and rewards of the independent publisher, and I have tremendous appreciation for them. Many times they are the better choice for an author, for that specific book.”
Laurie’s broad publishing experience allows her to be adaptive to the changes in publishing, which she considers an excellent expansion of options for authors. “It seems like the answer to any publishing question begins with ‘That depends…’ because very little in publishing is black and white. But for all the intangibles of the business, there are many predictable processes and outcomes. You’ll get your best outcomes by being knowledgeable and working with a smart team. This is what I love to teach writers.”