Chip MacGregor

November 2, 2016

Celebrating Ten Years of this Blog!


So today, November 2, 2016, is the ten year anniversary of the blog. Just writing those words is amazing to me… When I started, I’d just been let go from from my role as an associate publisher at the Time-Warner Book Group, which had been sold to Hachette Livre. It was one of those seasons where I knew I was facing something new and scary — two kids in college, one in high school, new home in Nashville, mortgage payments to make, and suddenly I’m out of a job in my 40’s. I talked with other publishing houses, but I’d worked as an agent for several years before joining Time-Warner, and I knew I wanted to go back to agenting authors. So I talked with friends, and made some moves to set up a new literary agency.

One of the people I talked to was my friend Robert “Dammit” Smith (also known as “The Robert D,” and the guy behind the success of Andy Andrews for the past twenty years). Robert was a big encouragement to me to start the agency, and he had some recommendations… He had been teaming with a bunch of guys who had overlapping gifts, so he suggested I talk with Nick Francis at Project83, who would help me create a company website, and Kevin Burr of Ocular Ink, who would help with the design and logo of everything related to the agency. They helped me launch a great company website. I was also talking with friends I’d made in the industry, including the very wise Michael Hyatt, who told me if I wanted to get the word out there about my new company, I really needed to start a blog.

So I did. It’s been fun to do, and we’ve had good success. Blog posts have been picked up by major media. I’ve had bestselling authors come to visit. Writers Digest magazine named us to their list of “101 Best Websites for Writers” on multiple occasions. Lots of folks in the industry read it. I’ve been able to partner with people like Amanda Luedeke and Sandra BishopErin Buterbaugh and Marie Prys, who all contributed and made the blog better. Indeed, working with those people on this blog has been one of the most fun aspects of the job. We’ve had huge highs (I’ve long considered it a success that we let people know about the shenanigans at Wine Press Publishing), and some lows (I got burned out after posting every day for several years and took an entire year off), but this blog has led to all sorts of friendships and conversations, and I’ve never regretted getting started.

It’s funny to think how my life has changed over the past decade. Ten years ago my kids were in school, and now they’ve gone on to be adults with their own careers — Colin works for a law firm in Seattle and has a daughter of his own; Molly is in the last year of her PhD program, having lived around the world; and Kate has started her own editing company (apples not falling far from trees, apparently). Ten years ago this business was just me, in my spare bedroom, trying to get a new company started — we grew to a company of ten, trained some great agents, and over the past eight years I’ve done more book deals than any other agent in the United States. Ten years ago I was married, living in Franklin, Tennessee, and trying to adjust to country music and red-eye gravy and the NASCAR-like traffic of Nashville — now I’m single, living on the beach in Oregon, and realizing how much I enjoy the quietness of a small resort town in the winter.

The look and feel of the blog has changed, as we moved from TypePad to WordPress, and as we got a new designer to help us give it a fresh look a couple times. I don’t blog every day any more — I started feeling as though I’d said everything I had to say, answered every publishing question at least twice, and didn’t feel compelled to respond to everyone who asked a question any more. But I blog occasionally, enjoy doing a regular series on “ask the agent” questions, try to make sure we get guest bloggers to come on and share their thoughts on occasion, and really enjoy the process of writing stuff and reacting with readers. I used to write books for a living, so this has been my outlet for doing my own writing. My one goal for the future is to use this blog to talk more about the industry as a whole — not just answering questions, but talking a bit more about what’s going on in contemporary publishing, so that those who aren’t on the inside know about the state of the industry.

And I want to mention that, every day, I send up a “thank you” for the people who take the time to read this blog. I appreciate all of you, for reading and responding and participating in a discussion about all of this stuff. Thanks for allowing this one agent to continue having a discussion about books and words, writing and publishing. It’s been fun, and I intend to keep at it. I just wanted to pause and say a sincere thanks to you for reading and commenting.

All best,

Chip MacGregor

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  • Carol J. Garvin says:

    Congratulations on ten years of blogging! I started mine in 2008 and love the creative writing opportunity it has provided. Your blog was one of the reasons I wanted to meet you in person at last year’s Surrey Int’l Writers’ Conference, and that meeting confirmed the honest, knowledgeable and personable man we find on these pages. Here’s to the next decade of posts!

  • Joseph Max Lewis says:

    Congratulations Chip. For what its worth, I really like the idea of “My one goal for the future is to use this blog to talk more about the industry as a whole — not just answering questions, but talking a bit more about what’s going on in contemporary publishing, so that those who aren’t on the inside know about the state of the industry.” Writers don’t always know the questions they should be asking.

    Best, Max Lewis

  • Allen says:

    The only blog I follow, when I need info. I go and troll all the old posts. Probably every answer about publishing is right here. Don’t stop or the angels will start throwing the knives @ U.

  • Mike Sheehan says:

    One of my favorite blogs to follow, a great blend of insider information and humor. Best wishes for 10 more years, along with plenty of beach time all year round.

  • Chip, thank you for this post and many congratulations. Perhaps ten years ago God nudged you in the direction you were meant to go. It’s always scary when big changes happen, but often we find in retrospect that they propelled us to where we are now.

    Wow, more book deals than any other agent for eight years… impressive. More than likely there’s a connection between your generosity to authors and this success.

    It’s nice to be appreciated for reading your blog. That gratitude circles right back to you… thank you for writing it. And BTW, the pleasure is ours.

  • Kiki Hamilton says:

    Congratulations on ten years, Chip and doing what you love! I appreciate the humor, honesty and pertinent info on your blog and look forward to ten more years! (so forget about that early retirement thing….. 🙂

  • Patricia Bradley says:

    I’ve been reading your blog since I met you at SPU in 2009, I think. Thanks and congratulations on 10 years!

  • Kristi Woods says:

    Congratulations! I’ve only been following along for the past year, but your posts stand out in the crowd, Chip. Maybe it’s the content. Maybe it’s simply the fact I’m hungry and ready to learn. Regardless, thanks for investing and sharing over the past decade. All the best to you and the team.

  • Patricia Zell says:

    Many more years of success to you! I enjoy reading what you write and value your perspective. God’s blessings!

  • Bethany Jett says:

    YAY!!! Happy anniversary! I love hearing how companies got started. I think it’s the essence of “the American dream” — starting with what you have and making it great. Happy to be part of this family. 🙂

    • chipmacgregor says:

      Thanks, Bethany! I’ll have to tell the whole story of how I got this company going, because it’s fun and involved a bunch of people in the industry. Appreciate you!

  • Happy 10th! I’ve been following since May when I met Amanda at the WD writers conference in Chicago. I’ve learned so much from your posts and others. Reading them is like sitting down and having a good conversation.

    • chipmacgregor says:

      Music to my ears, Amanda. Very nice of you to say that. Are you any relation to Beverly (a fellow Portlander)?

    • If only! It might have helped with my publishing career. 😉

    • chipmacgregor says:

      I just wondered. Beverly Cleary lived right around the corner from my Grandma MacGregor in NE Portland (right off of Klickitat Street, for those who know the Beezus and Ramona stories). :o)

    • I actually need to drop the “Cleary” at some point. Kept it b/c of my children after my divorce, so I couldn’t claim a connection even if there was one. Your story is so much better. I think I need to reread some of those books.

    • chipmacgregor says:

      She has one of my favorite stories, with the first grade teacher telling Ramona to “sit here for the present.” Of course, Ramona sits, waiting to see when the teacher is going to bring her a present! :o)

    • My elder daughter and I were just talking about how literal kids are. (To think she actually believed me when I told her as a child that for her first few years she was raised by wolves.) Btw, I think you should write a book that begins: “She lived right around the corner from my Grandma MacGregor off of Klickitat Street.” Great opening sentence.

  • Renee Yancy says:

    You have accomplished so much in ten years. Congratulations!

  • Edwina Cowgill says:

    Congratulations, Chip! Your blog is one of only two that I follow. I always learn something, or I’m motivated to consider something different, but I never leave your blog without being touched or changed in some way. Thanks for taking the time over the years to write your blog – for helping us to become better writers. Here’s to many more decades!

  • Danika Cooley says:

    Congratulations, Chip. I think I’ve been reading about 6 years now. I’m so grateful for all I’ve learned from you about the business of writing.

  • Marjorie Lewis says:


  • Leah C. Morgan says:

    Congratulations, Chip! One of the first blogs I started following, and one of the few I still do. I hang around for the dependable information and the presentation style. It never feels gimmicky, always reads honest, and is often downright entertaining. Great ten years!

    • chipmacgregor says:

      Thanks very much for being such a faithful reader, Leah. I appreciate it. As for not feeling gimmicky, I want you to know that if you order my books before midnight tonight, you’ll receive a SPECIAL BLESSING FROM ANGELS as well as a set of steak knives…

    • Leah C. Morgan says:

      Great . . . I think I know just what to do with the knives now.

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