Clients & Colleagues
Collaboration and Process
Publishing is a collaborative process. Teams of editors, managers, artists, and (of course) writers work very hard to stock your bookshelves - and I've been fortunate enough to work with some of the best and brightest in the business.
I've built my professional relationships on solid foundations of passion and trust, and I'm proud to have worked with so many great people and to have supported so many good books.
Antony Barone Kolenc
Author of The Harwood Mysteries
While attending a writer's conference in Chicago, Joe scouted me out as a prospect for Loyola Press and its desire to expand into the area of middle-school and teen fiction novels.
Joe not only provided me the moral support to believe that my novels could succeed, but he expertly bridged the divide between the publisher and me. I found his kindness and candor to be a breath of fresh air as we discussed contract terms and the direction of the series.
Joe really believed in the series and what it could become. He had the foresight to recognize an opportunity, the expertise to know the best editors and professionals to pull my series together, and the emotional intelligence to connect all the human elements to make it happen. I couldn't be happier with the final product, and consider myself more than blessed to have Joe be part of a major milestone in my life.
My historical fiction series releases next week, thanks to Joe's efforts. I couldn't have done it without him. Any author would be lucky to work with Joe in the future.
Arielle Eckstut & David Henry Sterry
The Book Doctors
Publisher sales rep. Bookseller. Agent. Editor. Joe Durepos has done every single one of these jobs.
We don't know anyone else who can claim this kind of publishing experience. Why does it matter?
Because Joe knows every step of the publishing process from idea through and past publication. With that knowledge comes a unique ability to help writers write books that will sell to publishers and readers alike. The fact that he's a super smart, funny, kind, spiritual human is just icing on the cake!
Author of Busy Lives, Restless Souls
Joe would not accept anything less than my best. He made me work harder than any other person ever has in my life. To be honest, there were times I got frustrated with him because of the ways he challenged me to dig deeper within myself and writing to uncover my voice and claim it.
The hard work it took for the first few years was well worth it in the long run. Joe believed in me when I did not believe in myself. He saw something in me and my writing, and he mentored and encouraged me until he knew I saw it, too.
Working with Joe made me not only believe I am a writer, but he made me a better woman, wife, mother, and lay minister because I believe in the power of my voice now.
Author of Voices of the Saints
Joe Durepos has been my good friend, agent, and coach for a quarter of a century. He encountered me when I was struggling to find a publisher for a little book I wanted to write. He schooled me in developing a proposal that would appeal to editors. In two weeks, he had stirred interest from seven publishers with substantial offers from two of them. And he placed a much bigger book with a publisher I would not have approached on my own. Joe taught me how to shape my ideas into books that would not only accomplish my goals but also appeal to the audience I wanted to reach.
In several instances he showed me how to re-purpose slow-selling books into books that did much better—one became my best-selling book for a decade. I doubt that anyone has a better grasp on the religious book market than Joe. And he maintains a fine-tuned grasp on the book publishing market as a whole. He is very well-known in the publishing world, the friend of editors, publishers, agents and, of course, authors, many of whom he has served well. More than anything I value Joe Durepos as a friend, a man of wisdom and kindness whose friendship has not only helped me to be a better author, but also a better person.
Bestselling Author, The Conversation Piece
Joe Durepos has served as my literary agent for the last 25 years, selling more than a dozen books for me during that period. Two of the books became national bestsellers (The Conversation Piece, 200,000 copies sold; The Christmas Conversation Piece, 120,000 copies sold).
I have never even considered switching to another agent--Joe is one of the best in the business, and he proves it book after book after book!
I also had the distinct pleasure of working with Joe at a publishing company in Chicago. As the acquisitions editor, Joe was professional to the core (and also wonderfully witty!), and every person at the company loved working with him and learning from his vast knowledge of the publishing industry (and trust me--it is VAST!).
Anyone who works with Joe, whether as a client author or as a colleague, soon learns that he is as honest and trustworthy as they come, and that he will be in your corner every step of the way to help you reach your highest potential.
Author, Heroic Leadership and Make Today Matter
I had the pleasure of working with Joe on four books, and I would call him a friend, wise guide, and savvy expert on the publishing market. Over the years, Joe brought ideas to me, fine-tuned ideas I brought to him, gave praise when he thought appropriate, and, importantly, yet also gave critical feedback in a clear way when he thought my work could be improved.
Oh, and let me not forget: a fun guy with a great (and occasionally irreverent) sense of humor. I would recommend him, without hesitation, as an insightful mentor or advisor to other writers.
Gary Jansen, Author of The 15-Minute Prayer Solution and MicroShifts
Joe Durepos is not only a top-notch editor who can draw out the best in his authors, he is also a terrific coach. I credit Joe for revitalizing my career as a writer. In 2015, I hadn’t written a book in five years. To be perfectly honest, I was suffering a terrible bout of writer’s block and insecurity.
Joe did not know this at the time, but he did reach out to me looking to acquire the rights to an old book I had written called Exercising Your Soul. While I thought this was one of my best books, the public didn’t necessarily think so. It was well-reviewed, but sales were dismal.
Joe, however, had a vision for that book. He saw a way of revitalizing Exercising with a new title and new material. That book became The 15-Minute Prayer Solution, which is now a staple in retreat houses around the country. That book led to three more successful books in three years, including Station to Station, Life Everlasting, and MicroShifts.
I went from producing nothing to producing solid writing on an almost daily basis. All of that wouldn’t have happened without Joe’s patience, instruction, kindness, and friendship.
Author, Life’s Greatest Lessons
Joe has been in the wild and wacky world of publishing for many years. I learned early on that he has a wealth of knowledge about many facets of this ever-changing industry. That was almost twenty years ago, so that wealth of knowledge has since increased significantly. He has continued to work, learn, grow, and help many people throughout the years.
When I met Joe, his qualities that stood out were knowledge, experience, work ethic, connections, sincerity, warmth, and integrity. They all remain – and he’s wiser than ever. It’s been my good fortune to know him, work with him, and call him my friend.
Author of Thrift Store Saints
Ten years ago, I was a rookie author when Joe Durepos took me under his valuable direction. I had everything to learn and he gently ushered me through the following processes:
1. Writing: Previously, I had spent my career as a math teacher with only high school level courses in English composition. Joe was patient as we talked about the basic concepts of theme, outline, and character development.
2. Manuscript submission: Joe pointed me toward publications to read on constructing an effective submission package which included a cover letter, outline, sample chapters, author platform, and marketing plan.
3. Publishing process: Publishing involves many more people than I anticipated, and Joe introduced me to the key employees at the publishing house. In addition to the editors, I had the opportunity to talk with the marketing team, the cover designers, the outside publicist, the contract negotiator, and most of the upper management.
4. Coaching: Who knew that an author is expected to be a public speaker and salesperson? Not me. Joe's coaching walked me through basic things like how to introduce my book to a bookstore manager, what to expect at an author book signing event, and how to make myself into a public speaker.
5. The next book: Before my first book had even arrived from the printers, Joe encouraged me to think about the next book and filled me with confidence that a career as an author was within reach. That next book turned into five and Joe has been instrumental in all of them.
Author of A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer
I wrote and compiled six successful books of popular spirituality; Joe was an indispensable part of all of them. In all these projects (several of which he initiated) he shaped the concept into a compelling book that spoke to readers’ needs and interests. Joe enhanced my strengths as a writer—but he went further. He understood my weaknesses too and showed me how to counteract them. He taught me to write more personally, more concretely, more precisely. Under his tutelage I grew to have confidence in my judgment as a writer, in large part because I could trust him to raise the alarm when it faltered.
I was also Joe’s colleague at Loyola Press for many years. I saw him do for many writers what he did for me. He knows many things—the business of publishing, the intricacies of writing a good proposal, the process of negotiation, the complexities of publishing contracts. But his most dazzling talent is the ability to help a writer conceive and execute a book that a hefty cohort of readers need to have. If that’s what you want, Joe is your man.
Jon M. Sweeney
Author, The Pope Who Quit and Publisher of Paraclete Press
Durepos is a creative of the first order. I've known him for twenty years, and have thought of him as a sort of Jedi master of the spirituality marketplace. He also understands ordinary readers, and that that phrase, 'ordinary reader,' is not a put down, but a raising up of the best of what books can do in our lives.
Author of The Complete Elder Care Planner and Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?
As my literary agent, Joe Durepos successfully contracted both of my books with THREE major publishing houses – Hyperion, Random House, and Hachette. His winning formula begins in the book-proposal stage, asking questions of me that never failed to compel me to exceed my expectations.
Whether I was writing the book proposal or the book itself, under Joe’s guidance I became a better writer and importantly, a deeper thinker. When it comes to getting a book published, Joe instinctively knows what to do every step of the way. If you are serious about your goal to write a book and getting it into the marketplace, Joe is the expert to turn that dream into reality.
Author of We Only Fall in Love Three Times
I remember in one of my first conversations with Joe about my forthcoming book, he said that he doesn’t work with anyone that he wouldn’t want to share a meal with.
That stuck with me. Because while there are many people out there who miss the importance of that personal connection, Joe is not one of them.
He was always available to assist me through the process of literary sales; and more than that, it felt like he cared. Like we could share stories of our lives and laugh.
What I’ve found is that if we truly love doing something, like writing, we need to feel that same excitement and familiarity in those that we work with in this process.
I know that I am not everyone’s cup of tea, but Joe was always right there with me and for that not only am I eternally grateful but so appreciative of his support and guidance over the years. As for that meal? We did eventually have one, and I must agree with him completely; I’d never work with someone that I wouldn’t want to share dinner with.
DeChant-Hughes, Public Relations
Joe Durepos is incredibly wise, perceptive, and creative. He has an unparalleled ability to shape ideas into books and other projects that are meaningful and transformative. And that’s not even the best thing about Joe! That would be his generous spirit of collaboration, kindness, and good humor. It has been a joy to work with him on many projects over the years.
Author of Letters to My Son and Neither Wolf Nor Dog
Joe’s other endorsements speak with eloquence about his abilities as an agent — his enthusiasm and his insight and his unsurpassed ability to see the center of an idea and to bring it into meaningful form. But more important to me is the quality of the man.
He and I have worked together on a handshake basis for 25 years — which in itself should tell you something — and in that time I have never once had reason to doubt his word about anything, personal or professional. But more important still is the compassion he has demonstrated in everything he is and does.
I have watched him quietly and lovingly care for an aging mother, shepherd three very different and fascinating children into healthy adulthood, and tend all his relationships with integrity and care. He is, in a profound sense of the word, a good man.
If you are so lucky as to work with Joe, you will get to experience that goodness and compassion firsthand. You will experience it in the way he is able to meet you where you are and find the core of your work, in the way he will help you through the inevitable ups and downs of the writing life and the publishing world, and in the way he will gently mentor you into clarity and purpose in your writing task. I don’t want to gild the lily. He is no boy scout and he has the worst taste in movies I have ever seen.
But, damn, he’s the “author whisperer,” and that’s good enough for me.
Author of Monastery Mornings
Joe’s superpower is his uncanny ability to both inspire and ground a writer in the same conversation. He helps you forge the literary wings of Icarus, but provides clear flight instructions about the sun’s location and how to wear sunscreen!
He cares about his writers, sets realistic goals for them, and delivers. Without his wisdom, skill, and kindness, I would be nowhere close to publishing a book. I am forever grateful he took a chance on a rookie writer like me.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Author of The Invitation
I had a lot of writing-pages and pages-but I couldn't find the structure for a book in it. Joe called me about a prose poem I'd written, asking me if I had thought about writing a book based on this piece. Instantly, I knew he had given me a way to create the book I was trying to write. That book became a best seller, and Joe guided me through the writing and publishing of four more books.
His love of stories combined with an intuitive sense of the market is invaluable to writers. His support and corny jokes (truly!) can keep you going. I would highly recommend Joe as guide and mentor in the writing and publishing process.
Author, Client, and Senior Vice President, Investment Properties, CBRE
Joe has offered me a service that would be invaluable to any aspiring writer. If my experience is indicative, first Joe will put you to the test: challenge your writer assumptions and goals; try to poke holes in your writer dreams; and gauge your resolve to do what’s necessary to produce quality work.
I can’t thank him enough for this! Joe has challenged me, encouraged me and offered numerous strategic and formational texts and notable works by other writers to help build my literary sensibilities and knowledge of the craft. And while I have many reasons to be thankful to Joe, the one thing that stood out in the time we worked together is that he never once gave me a line of bull!
I consider him a loyal friend, and a straight shooter who has given me hope and generously shared his wisdom about the writing business. This is a guy who knows how to get a writer on the right track.
Publisher of Ave Maria Press
Hard to believe, but I’ve had the pleasure of working with Joe in the book publishing business for more than twenty-five years. I benefited from his expertise when he was a bookseller, I competed with him for books when we were both acquiring editors, and I celebrated when he bought books from my literary agency.
In every role he’s embraced in his career, Joe has been a savvy, generous, talented, wise, and enthusiastic publishing professional. And on top of that, he’s a warm and witty human being. It’s no surprise that a generation of colleagues in the industry are lucky to call him friend.
Author, former co-worker, friend
I know Joe.
Joe knows books.
Joe knows readers.
I've watched Joe repeatedly help authors discover and clarify what they hope to say and then develop it into a book that reaches readers.
If you're ready to do the work, call Joe.
Owner, Anderson's Bookshops
I've known Joe for over 45 years and I'm not sure I've known anybody quite so in love with the "book" part of the "book business". He was one of my best publishers’ sales reps a long time ago. Then he helped me build Anderson's Bookshops into a must-stop Indie destination for readers and authors.
I watched him build his literary agency into something special, and then saw him become a successful acquisitions editor at one of the top religion publishers in the country. Everything Joe has done in the book business he has succeeded at, and I know why, because for him it's always been about the book.
William A. Barry, S.J.
Author of A Friendship Like No Other
Out of the blue, a few years ago, I got a call from Joe Durepos. He introduced himself as the acquisitions editor at Loyola Press. He said that Loyola Press wanted to begin publishing trade books on Jesuit spirituality and was interested in publishing my work. I told Joe that I was finishing the book that became A Friendship Like No Other and was thinking of trying one of the big national publishing companies.
Joe immediately told me that Loyola Press would like to look at the book when I was finished writing and that Loyola could do as good a job of editing and publishing and selling the book as any of the big companies. He added that Loyola Press was a Jesuit publishing company. With those last words, he had me hooked. Little did I know all the good things that would follow that decision. First of all, I got a trustworthy friend who more than once provided an encouraging word when my creative juices were pretty weak.
Secondly, he brought me into a publishing company with a very competent staff of excellent editors who, along with Joe, improved the quality of the books I’ve since written and published with Loyola Press.
Joe began by telling me the truth and has never wavered on that point since. I was sorry to hear that he had retired from Loyola Press, but am very happy that he has decided to continue helping authors bring books to the public.
If you are one of those authors wondering if he is as good as people say, let me tell you, loud and clear, HE IS. TRUST HIM.
Joe is a master at content development. He can take the barest threads of a concept, positioning it in the cultural milieu so that it will speak to readers where they live their lives, and then develop it into a robust theme. I worked with Joe for over ten years and was always impressed with how effortlessly he articulated the central thesis of any given project and related it to lived human experience.
Nor is it only with content development that Joe is able to zero in on the essentials. He can read day-to-day and business situations accurately and exploit all the opportunities and possibilities that they present. He knows the Catholic and spirituality publishing market inside and out and can pinpoint any project within it.
What I admire most about Joe, however, is his gift for taking all the messy, chaotic noise of this crazy world and helping one extract meaning from it.