A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
painting just sold at auction for $450 million.
Yes, that’s not a misprint.
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
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The All-New 2018
Toolkit to Promote a Book -- 7th annual edition
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
The All-New 2018
Toolkit to Promote a Book -- 7th annual edition
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
type of separation in running is no different than the level of competition in
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The All new 2018 toolkit to promote a book -- 7th annual
1.What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking
an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
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?
challenge was in writing it from the point of view of a woman, much less a dead
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
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
The All new 2018
toolkit to promote a book -- 7th annual edition
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
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
The All new 2018
toolkit to promote a book -- 7th annual edition
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
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
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?
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
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
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
3.Don’t worry about pleasing
4.Don’t allow a sudden impulse to
overrule your common sense.
5.Don’t fear taking calculated
6.Don’t dwell on the past.
7.Don’t repeatedly make the same
8.Don’t resent the success of other
9.Don’t give up if you fail at
first, keep adapting and try, try again.
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:
auto-biographies, biographies of the British, American, Canadian, French
and German commanders.
issued from the 10th to the 70th anniversaries
accounts by soldiers and officers.
The published papers
of the principal commanders.
documents, letters, and reports.
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
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
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
The All new 2018 toolkit to promote a book -- 7th annual edition