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Friday, November 17, 2017

Does $450M Art Masterpiece Boost The Book Industry?



A painting just sold at auction for $450 million.  Yes, that’s not a misprint.

Even though the highest sale ever for a painting was $300 million --in a private sale two years ago -- a Leonardo DaVinci painting just fetched 50% more than that and two times more than any previously auctioned artwork! Talk about inflation.

What’s even more amazing is the painting originally wasn’t believed to have been created by DaVinci, but in recent years it was declared one of the painting master’s.  Imagine if 450,000,000 dollars was paid for a fraud?

I love and support the arts but enough is enough.  How is one picture worth so much money, so much more than other art, and so much more than the rarest books, prized sports memoraphalia, or celebrity memento?  How is it worth more than the most expensive house, more than a sports arena, more than most businesses?

This art sale is part of a bitcoin economy, where everything is commoditized and sold off like a Madoff Ponzi scheme.  I don’t know that such a high price tag for art is good for society or even artists.  It turns the focus of art to money and a business -- and not on creativity and inspiration.  This kind of art can’t be touched or experienced – it’s under lock and key and treated like the Hope Diamond.

Most art doesn’t fetch anywhere near millions of dollars.  The industry seems to vary wildly.  No one really knows what to charge for any art -- it’s whatever people are willing to pay.  Most artists don’t make a lot of money, but some do manage to get thousands of dollars per piece and if they can work with a gallery or get online buzz, they can manage to afford to practice their craft.

But art, though it’s always been collected, sold, and traded, should be seen for its beauty and not its appeal to get rich.  Art shouldn’t be a lottery ticket.  It should be a conversation piece, a valuable contribution to the community, and a source for inspiration to all who view it.

Maybe I’m just not seeing this correctly.  Perhaps I should be glad that someone values art enough to pay such a huge sum for it.  Perhaps when art sells at that price at the top it lifts all boats at the bottom.  But it just seems like capitalism gone awry.  Instead of pouring all of that money into one piece of art you could open up several art museums that can provide art appreciation to lots of people.  For $450 M you could probably eradicate a disease.

The sale came on the heels of a new study that shows over 50% of the world’s 280 trillion dollars in assets is owned by 1% of the population and 10% of the world’s citizens owns 85% of the globe’s wealth.  

The top of the art world’s a mere toy for the uber rich.


READ THESE!!
The All-New 2018 Toolkit to Promote a Book -- 7th annual edition

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Why is what you know about book marketing all wrong!

Should authors go big – or for a sure thing?

16 ways to increase book sales

Study this exclusive author media training video from T J Walker

What does it really take to land on a best-seller list?

Can you sell 10 copies of your book every day?

How do authors get on TV?


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Biggest Book Finally Gets A Museum!



The Bible is arguably the most widely read book in human history but it wasn’t until November. 17, 2017 that it got its own museum.  Many other books and authors have museums, but none may be as big as The Bible Museum, a 430,000 square-foot museum that is the largest museum building space in all of Washington D.C., and is the most expensive museum dedicated to a single book ($500 million in property, demolition, and construction costs).  

Why did it take so long to have a museum dedicated to the single book that has inspired billions, led to Holy wars, and been the subject of endless debates about religion and God?  It has sparked the story lines of many, many books and movies and has given comfort to Americans since the nation’s founding.

I have not been to the museum but I have heard of its coming for years.  My guess is it will remain well funded for decades to come.  In its Publishers Weekly advertisement, the museum says one would need nine full eight-hour days to take in the entire experience.

It offers more than 500 Biblical texts and artifacts on just one of the floors.  It even has a 1,000-seat lecture hall and a 472-seat preforming arts theater.

Whether you are a religious person, especially a Christian or Jew, scholars, historians, writers, sociologists, and others are sure to find this a fascinating place to visit.

I am happy that a book is getting such attention.  The world offers a lot of museums and theaters of entertainment, but few revolve around books.  We need more museums dedicated to books.

Museums will often display books or feature a temporary display that highlights the works of a major author, but to have a gigantic museum dedicated to featuring a permanent collection of one book is unheard of.

So what will the museum feature?  “It will provide guests with an immersive and personalized experience as they explore the history, narrative and impact of the Bible," ways its website. “Museum of the Bible will be an unparalleled experience, using cutting edge technology to bring the Bible to life.”

It has 1150 items on display from its permanent collection, and another 2000 cure on loan from other institutions and collections.  “These collections allow the Museum of the Bible to convey the global impact and compelling history of the Bible in a unique and powerful way,” the site said.

One might say the Bible has a museum already – thousands of living museums and memorials in the form of churches.  It’s in many homes and cars and its influence extends into culture, law, and ethics.  The Museum of the Bible is new – but the Bible has always had a huge following. No doubt, its museum will be around for a long time, preserving the legacy of the book that has had the greatest influence and impact on Western society than any other book.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Few Book Sales Separate Best-Selling Writers From Obscurity



The New York City Marathon this month featured over 50,000 runners. They ran as hard as they could for 26.2 miles.  Amazingly, only three seconds -- out of 7800 seconds worth of running --separated the winner and the second-place finisher.  In fact, less than a minute separated the top four finishers.  Can you imagine running for several hours and around 137,000 feet – and you lose by just seconds or a few feet?

This type of separation in running is no different than the level of competition in book publishing.

Every day, 3500 books are published in America – or one every 25 seconds or so. Many books compete for a sales ranking on places like Amazon and other best-seller lists. A few may really stick out, but the vast majority are bunched together and just a few sales can make the difference between being considered a winner or a best-seller vs. being viewed as mediocre, or worse, a failure.

When you look at the finish times for the marathoners, many finish within four hours, which is no slouching feat considering how many like me hardly move and couldn’t walk 26.2 miles in a day, let alone run it so quickly.  But for those in the game and competing, there can be a sea of difference in how you place in the standings just by a matter of minutes.

Authors can sprint to success by getting a certain number of registered sales in a short period of time.  According to the best-seller lists on Publishers Weekly, one usually makes it if they sell 3,000 copies in a given week through recorded channels like Amazon, B&N and places that use BookScan.  So it could come down to 100 sales in a week that turns one book into a best-seller and one into obscurity.

Writers like to write and let the book marketing work itself out but today’s writer knows he or she has to write the ending to their book sales.  They have to make that final push at the end of a grueling, competitive race to nudge ahead of the competition.

Authors can’t take anything for granted or leave things to chance.  They have to implement a best-seller strategy and pad it with extra sales to ensure they don’t just fall short of their goal to hit a best-seller list.

What will land you on a best-seller list?  Get pre-orders for your book prior to launching.  Discount the book if necessary.  Call upon friends and family to buy copies from traditional outlets in a specific week – and ask them to ask their friends and family to buy as well.  Offer bonus incentives or trade favors with people who have big social media followings to play your book up.  Advertise on Facebook and generate buzz with a strategic book publicity campaign. 

Whatever you do, you need to know that the field of competition is enormous, hungry, and fierce.  But not everyone has a great book, nor do they apply resources and a good strategy to support it.  You can get a leg up on the competition and surpass perhaps hundreds of thousands of others simply by securing a hundred book sales more than them.

You don’t want to run a marathon and place far behind the winner when only a minute separates you.  It’s time to turn the page and go all Rocky on your fellow writers.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Interview With Author Joseph Brisben



Marvin’s Garden

1.      What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
Billy Wilder's 1950’s "Sunset Boulevard" served as a huge inspiration to me in writing Marvin’s Garden. That is where I found the idea of a dead woman telling her story. More specific elements of the book were taken from my life such as my main character Madge, who is based off a distant cousin of mine who was abused by her husband. The setting, more specially the barn/farm are based of property a few of my friends own in Iowa.

2.      What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
Relationships that involve abuse are very complex and layered. Marvin’s Garden shows the depth with which people need to go to live with or overcome crudity.  In the same right, I believe it highlights that karma will always win out. I did write the book first to please myself and to honor the town of Pond Creek, Oklahoma.

3.      What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
As Art Buchwald said during his 1993 commencement address to the graduating class at the University of Southern California: “I hope they remember having a pleasurable experience,” and, as Martin Luther King once said: “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.”

4.      What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Write every day, follow your heart and your bliss and trust people who will read your work and provide your with beneficial suggestions.

5.      What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
I think the book world in general is doing fine so long as readers would prefer to hold a book in their hands rather than staring at a computer screen. I just finished reading Larry McMurtry's wonderful book about his adventures in trading second-hand books, which gives me hope about the book world. It is true, films and television seem to be satisfying people's cravings for fiction, but I don’t think this is completely eliminate fiction books. 

6.      What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
My largest challenge was in writing it from the point of view of a woman, much less a dead woman.

7.      If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
There is no accounting for some peoples' taste, but I would advise them to buy it and then warn them: Don't read it as you go to sleep because you won't doze off until you finish the book. Marvin’s Garden will take you into the wee small hours of the morning.

Joseph Brisben has been writing fiction off and on for more than four decades. He studied English and American literature at the University of Chicago and at Drake University. In recent years, he participated in the Summer Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Now retired, Brisben has worked as a reporter and copyreader, in college public relations and as an investment counselor.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs

Interview with Author Joe Rhatigan



I Love Books

1.      What inspired you to write a book about loving books? I wrote the words and the illustrators, Olga and Aleksey Ivanov, brought the book (and the books in the book) to life. I struggle with how much information or instruction to give illustrators, and for this book, I gave them very little beyond the manuscript. I had one scene in my head I wanted to see, and that was the boy on the train reading a book while everyone else was staring at a screen of some sort. And wow, did the Ivanovs have fun with that spread. So much of this book’s charm leads right back to Olga and Aleksey. It is one of my great joys to see my words spring to life so masterfully on the page.

2.      How does the story foster an appreciation for reading books? As a book that celebrates books as opportunities for exciting adventures, I Love a Book reads a bit like an extended advertisement. I’m perfectly fine with that. And as much as this book extols the virtues of good books to kids, I hope the adults also get the message. I’ve never met a young kid who didn’t already love books; but I’ve encountered many who just didn’t get much exposure to books.

3.      What can be done to increase literacy rates here? One of the wonderful things about Harry Potter was that for a few years there, kids and adults were talking about the same books. The fact that we were talking about books at all was wonderful. So my advice is to read what your kids are reading. Talk about the books when you can. Relate to the characters and their predicaments. Our Harry Potter dinner table discussions are some of my fondest memories of my children when they were younger. 

4.      How can parents, when children are fairly young, turn their kids into bring prolific readers? Read to children at a young age as often as possible. Read to kids in school as often as possible—even through middle school. Have kids see adults reading as often as possible. Read and memorize poetry with kids. Puts on plays. Immerse yourselves in verse…and prose, and so on. Busy parents might be rolling their eyes right now and I get it. But my wife and I got lucky in that my first daughter as a toddler would only fall asleep if we read her book after book after book. This turned into a nightly routine with our three kids for years. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if my daughter had been a sound sleeper.

5.      What do you love about books? When I find out that someone has read a certain book I cherish, I feel I know that person just a little better. I know the book better as well. That, and the smell. I had a line in I Love a Book about smelling the books, but I ended up taking it out. It was too weird.

6.      Do you prefer paper books to digital? Why or why not? I have a very specific worry when it comes to digital books. Part of becoming a good reader is learning to understand what difficult words mean through context. Very few readers run off to find a dictionary every time they run across a word they don’t know; they figure it out as they read. With e-readers, press your finger on a word and get its definition. It’s an amazing change in the way we read, but I get the feeling it negatively affects the reading process for kids. So, to answer the question, paper books for kids, and then after that, whatever platform gets you reading. I personally go back and forth depending on where I am and what I’m reading.

7.      Any advice to struggling writers? Like any art form, I believe the best work comes from struggle. The words and sentences that come easily are usually the ones I have to edit out sooner or later. And, write about what scares you, enthralls you, confuses you. And make sure you have an editor who isn’t related to you. Do you have a social media presence? Beyond your writing, that’s what many acquiring editors are looking for these days. And read … a lot.

8.      Where do you see the book industry heading? I feel like for every bit of good news in the industry, there’s a bit of bad news to go with it. Indie bookstores are back! Book World Inc. is closing all 45 locations! Philip Pullman is back! George W. W. Martin still hasn’t finished Game of Thrones! I’ve been in the book business for 20 years, and never before has the writing on the wall been quite as inscrutable as it is now. It’s not 2008, but it’s also not the 1990s. So I’m hopeful, but anxious. Thrilled and grateful beyond words to be doing what I love, but I’m not quitting my part-time job at Whole Foods (now part of the Amazon.com family!) any time soon. 

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs

Interview With Author And Historian Ed Gordon



Divided on D-Day:
How Conflicts and Rivalries Jeopardized the Allied Victory at Normandy?



1. We are closing in on the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, known as D-Day. Ed, what is so lacking in the D-Day literature out there that you felt obligated to write Divided on D-Day: How Conflicts and Rivalries Jeopardized the Allied Victory at Normandy (Prometheus Books)?
Divided on D-Day is an analysis of the quality of leadership and the relationships among its principal commanders. It also offers a comprehensive narrative of the planning for the operation, the D-Day landings, and the following three-month Normandy campaign. It focuses on the story-behind-the-story of how the command decisions were made that proved crucial at key points during Operation OVERLORD.

Divided on D-Day provides the behind-the-scenes stories of crucial command decisions, or a lack of them, that led the invasion to: first come close to failure, then experience a long period of stalemate on the ground, and eventually win the long, bloody struggle for victory. By raising questions about the Allied commanders’ key strategic and tactical decisions, the authors seek to provide new insights into some of the most vexing controversies that have long surrounded the Normandy invasion.

The roster of political leaders and principal commanders include: Prime Minister Winston Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Field Marshall Sir Bernard Montgomery, General George C. Marshall, Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, General George Patton, General Omar Bradley, General Charles De Gaulle, Air Chief Marshal Sir Tafford Leigh-Mallory, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, Air Chief Marshall Sir Arthur Harris, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, Admiral Ernest King, Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, and many other Allied and German commanders.

2. Why do you believe a lack of cooperation and bad decisions lengthened the war, increased casualties, and allowed the later Soviet domination of Eastern Europe?
The Normandy campaign has been largely represented as a triumphant Allied success story. Though it was victorious, the Normandy campaign was far from perfect. The working relationships among the Allied OVERLORD commanders were often marred by disagreements over tactics, strategy, and national agendas exacerbated by rivalries and personality conflicts. The book chronicles a number of key points at which poor decisions or failure to enforce commands needlessly lengthened the Allied campaign.

3. What did you uncover while researching your book?
Our research enabled us to reach some important conclusions about a number of significant issues and controversies that have continued to surround the Normandy campaign, including:
  • Why did it take so long for the Allies to launch an invasion in northwestern Europe?
  • What caused the Allied failure to implement their beachhead breakout strategy?
  • Why was Caen, a top D-Day objective, not captured by the British?
  • How could Rommel’s OMAHA Beach orders have defeated the allied D-Day invasion?
  • Why did Eisenhower refrain from issuing direct orders to his commanders?
  • What decisions forced the Americans to fight in the bocage/hedgerow hell?
  • Who issued the “phantom order” stopping Patton from closing the Falaise pocket?
  • Why did Eisenhower stop Patton’s drive to outflank Germany’s West Wall?
  • Why did Montgomery delay opening the vital supply port of Antwerp for nearly two months?
  • How could the MARKET GARDEN/Arnhem disaster and the Battle of the Bulge been avoided?
  • What decisions could the Allies have made to end the war in 1944 or early 1945?


4. What lessons should the reader take away from your book?
Although the Allied campaign was ultimately successful in defeating Nazi Germany, the cost of the victory was extremely high as poor leadership and decision-making extended the war from six to nine months with 500,000 additional casualties. Tales of failure are often better teaching tools than success stories.

From these leaders’ mistakes lessons can be drawn that everyone can use. If we examine the root causes of their mistakes, what leadership practices can we integrate into our future actions? Here are a number of practices that strong leaders avoid:
1.      Don’t give away your power.
2.      Don’t focus on things you can’t control.
3.      Don’t worry about pleasing everyone.
4.      Don’t allow a sudden impulse to overrule your common sense.
5.      Don’t fear taking calculated risks.
6.      Don’t dwell on the past.
7.      Don’t repeatedly make the same mistakes.
8.      Don’t resent the success of other people.
9.      Don’t give up if you fail at first, keep adapting and try, try again.
10.  Don’t expect immediate success.

5. How does your book supply a fresh examination of the war in Europe?
Over 250 sources were consulted for Divided on D-Day. Over the past decades a vast quantity of literature has chronicled the events and the controversies of D-Day. This barrage of sources includes:
  • Memoirs, auto-biographies, biographies of the British, American, Canadian, French and German commanders.
  • National official histories.
  • D-Day histories issued from the 10th to the 70th anniversaries
  • First person accounts by soldiers and officers.
  • The published papers of the principal commanders.
  • Unpublished archival documents, letters, and reports.
  • Numerous articles, reports, and scholarly papers

These materials have helped to define the identities of the participant commanders and the aspirations of the Allied nations. However great the triumph, it in itself does not provide conclusive evidence on the quality of the command decisions. This literature also includes myths that have little or no basis in the historic record. Fortunately, the perspective of time helped the authors sharpen their historical assessments.

6. As a historian and author of 21 books, does it always surprise you how little Americans seem to know about history?
The teaching of history in elementary and highs schools has largely been an afterthought. History lessons were often reduced to the rote memorization of names and dates. However until recently most college students were required to take U.S. or Western civilization survey courses as part of a core curriculum.

Today in K-12 education, history has been reduced to a social science thematic format of such topics as cities, war, economies, great leaders, technology, etc. This topical approach fails to give students a chronological perspective on how civilization has developed over the past 7,000 years. This is even worse than the rote memorization of the past. In higher education, history requirements for undergraduates have frequently been eliminated. The study of history offers important lessons from the past. There is an old adage, “He or she who does not know history is doomed to relive it.” Be forewarned!

7. How did you come to have David Ramsay as your co-author?
Nearly 15 years ago, I gave a presentation, “The Secrets of D-Day,” at the Palm Springs Air Museum in California. David Ramsay was in the audience, and afterwards he introduced himself and commented on his own professional interest in the controversies surrounding Operation OVERLORD. He also disclosed his unique perspectives on his campaign as his father, Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay, was in charge of the D-Day fleet. Thus began a discussion on the potential for co-authoring a new book offering a combined Anglo-American analysis of the Normandy invasion and the subsequent campaign.

Edward E. Gordon, Ph.D., is a professional historian, researcher, writer, and speaker.  For a twenty-year period he taught history courses at DePaul University Chicago and also business subjects at Loyola University Chicago and Northwestern.  Dr. Gordon is a member of the American Historical Association and was a participant in the Distinguished Lecturer Program of the Organization of American Historians.  He is the author or co-author of 21 books and has written over 300 articles in journals and trade publications. For more info, see www.imperialcorp.com

READ THESE!!
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs