Book-Marketing Expert Advises Authors to Develop a Plan

WRITERS. Book marketing strategist Don McCauley has a clear and simple message to authors: Don’t fall prey to using tools and techniques that do not produce real world results – sales.

He urges you to take the time to create a marketing and publicity strategy that can help you determine which tactics make the most sense for your book and specific target audience.

McCauley says it’s natural to want to do what everyone else is doing. But using a “one-size-fits-all” marketing strategy to promote your book is like taking someone else’s medicine—the results will likely not be good.

Just as each and every book is unique, every target market is specific in regards to age, gender, geographic region, wants, needs and preferred approach. Thus, developing a marketing and publicity strategy for your book requires a thorough analysis of all the systems, processes, functions and procedures within the general marketing plan.

“So many people new to marketing are looking for that elusive idea that works. They all work,” says McCauley. “However, not all of them, or perhaps none of them, will work for a specific book.”

Some authors listen to all the great ideas out there and then try them out, one by one. “This is precisely the wrong approach,” McCauley emphasizes. “Using a ‘try it out’ approach will cost a great deal of money. Not only will money be wasted on experimentation, but there will also be a terrible waste of time.”

“Don’t use a tool or method because someone else said it should be used. Failure usually results from concentrating on tools like Twitter or Facebook, rather than concentrating first on the blueprint – the strategy,” says McCauley. Making a plan can help you focus on those marketing methods that are best for achieving your own very specific goals. In addition to deciding which methods to use, you should plan how, where, and when the chosen methods will be implemented.

Don McCauley is a marketing strategist with over 30 years of experience. He is the co-founder of ‘Book Marketing – The Authors Marketing Powerhouse’, facilitator of the Free Publicity Focus Group, and hosts several of ‘The Authors Show’ radio programs.

He offers book-marketing training to authors and publishers, as well as no-charge, no-obligation marketing and publicity strategy analyses. The strategy analysis reports cover specific topics relevant to marketing and publicizing books in the current Internet marketing environment. McCauley notes that marketing strategies designed to sell books in the past generally do not transfer well to Internet marketing.

On his website, you can find video training, complimentary e-books, and reports with titles such as

  • Using Article Submission as a Marketing Tool
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Your Book Isn’t Selling
  • Top Ten Reasons Your Internet Marketing Plan May Fail
  • Questions You Really Need to Ask Before Entering the Marketplace
  • The Fine Line Between Becoming Famous and Becoming Invisible
  • Creating Trust: Using Words that Sell


WEBSITE: Free Publicity Focus Group

E-Books from Free Publicity Focus Group

Book Explores iPhone Photography and Interactive Publishing

iPad Companion Edition of iPhone ObsessedA new book by photographer/designer Dan Marcolina demonstrates the creative possibilities of both the iPhone camera and interactive books.

Entitled “iPhone Obsessed: Photo-Editing Experiments with Apps,” the book published by Peachpit shows how you can use  47 of the best low-cost apps with the iPhone camera and create artistic photographic effects such as blurs and vignettes, high dynamic range, traditional film effects, and black and white images. The “image recipes” in the book are the result of a year-long series of mobile-imaging experiments Dan conducted with his iPhone and various apps.

Marcolina explains how to combine apps to construct images, talking about which apps he used and why. He also includes some advanced tips for integrating Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.  If you want to use your iPhone to create images that are good enough to hang on your wall, you’ll learn which apps to use and where to get them.

Marcolina has been practicing photography for more than 30 years, and his images have appeared in juried shows and dozens of publications worldwide. But he says his obsession with iPhone imagery has reinvigorated his love for both photography and visual experimentation.

What Makes the Book Interactive
To extend your reading pleasure, the print version of the book integrates 75 Microsoft tags that take you beyond the surface of the printed page. After downloading a free Tag Reader (, you can use your iPhone to scan the tags printed in the book. When you scan each tag, you can watch full-screen video clips on your iPhone of Dan Marcolina giving app overviews and step-by-step tutorial of how he created a particular image.

The tags let you uncover more than four hours of bonus video tutorials, app developer websites, and linkes to the iTunes Store for app purchase. You’ll also view inspirational image galleries and free downloadable resource images.

“Microsoft Tag makes the world around you clickable, and now with the scan of Tag, readers will get a richer, more enhanced experience from the pages of the book,” explains Bill McQuain, Microsoft’s director of Tag Product Management.

The iPad Companion Edition
The book “iPhone Obsessed” is one of the first printed books to be released with an iPad Companion Edition authored with Adobe’s new Digital Publishing Suite. The suite enables publishers to create, distribute, monetize, and optimize publications on a variety of mobile devices including iPad and Android media tablets.

When the iPad companion edition of the  “iPhone Obsessed” book is released later this month, Dan will supplement the book’s core content with 25 brand-new image recipes and 35 app reviews, along with expanded video tutorials on some of the images from the book.

About Marcolina Design and Marcolina Slate LLC
Portrait of Dan MarcolinaDan Marcolina’s Philadelphia-based firm Marcolina Design is well-known for their expertise in integrating print, web, and video work. Dan recently launched Marcolina Slate LLC to produce “touchable design for mobile devices.” Applying lessons learned from designing print, interactive, and video, Marcolina Slate LLC will produce unique publication solutions for iPad and Android Slate devices, immersive books, engaging advertising, memorable advertising, and living catalogs.

About Peachpit
Peachpit has been publishing books on the latest in photography, graphic design, web development, digital video, and Mac computing since 1986. Many photographers and designers know Peachpit as the publishing partner for Kelby Training and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.


iPhoneObsessed Book Overview

Microsoft Tag Reader Demo Video


Mystified By the Art Market? Read Seven Days In the Art World

Book Cover Seven Days in the Art WorldTo understand how the markets for creative work are changing, it’s important to understand what the markets were like a few years ago, before technology really starting speeding things up and the economy sent things spiraling down again.

So I read Sarah Thornton’s book “Seven Days in the Art World” to learn what was happening in 2008, when the contemporary art market was booming and prices at auction were going through the roof. Thornton’s book is interesting for several reasons. Although she has a BA in Art History, Thornton also has a PhD in cultural sociology. She observes the “art world” more from the detached, objective perspective of a culture researcher.

The book was compiled from hundreds of hours of “participant observation” and 250 in-depth interviews with high-profile artists, dealers, curators, critics, collectors, and auction-house experts. The seven days refer to insights she gained from observing interactions and activities at seven different sites:

  • a Christie’s art auction in Manhattan
  • a peer-critique by art students at the California Institute of the Arts
  • the Basel Art Fair in Switzerland
  • the Tate Britain Museum during the selection of the Turner Prize winner
  • the offices of Artforum magazine in New York;
  • the studios of artist Takashi Murakami in Tokyo; and
  • the pavilions of some of the nations represented at the Venice Biennale.

Each of the seven chapters reads like a Vanity Fair magazine feature story because she reports conversations and observations as they happen. Her approach lets you see how selling and buying art differs from selling other high-value products. (Sometimes, it doesn’t.)  Thornton admits that “The art world is so diverse, opaque, and downright secretive, it is difficult to generalize about it and impossible to be truly comprehensive.”

In the book’s introduction, Thornton says when she studied art history, she was exposed to recently made art but “I never had a clear idea of how it circulated, how it came to be considered worthy of critical attention or gained exposure, how it was marketed, sold, or collected.” As the work of living artists have become more in demand, she believes it is worth understanding the valuation processes art undergoes between the studio and its arrival in the permanent collection of a museum (or the trash and anywhere in between).

She differentiates between the “art market” (the dealers, auction houses, and collectors who buy and sell art) and the much broader “art world” which also includes the artists themselves, critics, and curators.

To me, Chapter 1 was the most fascinating because she observes an auction at Christie’s at which some pieces sold for millions of dollars. Here’s a quick overview of observations gleaned from the book about the roles of key players in the art market.

People collect art for different reasons. Some truly understand how art can enrich their lives. Others may simply want to diversify their investment portfolios or buy entry in a glamorous lifestyle. Collectors who buy art as investment or because “it’s cool” tend to have changing tastes and aren’t as concerned with the lasting appeal of the art. So they rotate their collections like people buy and sell stock. Collectors who buy for the love of the art tend to form emotional attachments, and only sell due to misfortunes such as death, divorce, or debt. Some collectors hire consultants to advise them.

Auction Houses
Auctions aim to bring the highest prices possible, and provide the illusion of liquidity. Although auction houses want buyers to be confident that they will be able to resell the high-value art they purchase today, that may not always be true. During the boom years, art auctions became something of a high-society spectator sport in which super-successful alpha males mostly competed with other alpha males.

Artists are discouraged from attending auctions because many buying considerations have little to do with the artistic merit.  Feel-good paintings with blues or reds tend to sell better than glum paintings with browns or grays. Paintings by male artists tend to attract higher prices because the male collectors tend to better relate to some of the themes. Any works larger than the size of a Park Avenue elevator eliminates a portion of the market.

Primary Dealers
Their role is to represent artists and mount exhibitions of work fresh out of the studio. A primary dealer can try to increase the value of an artist’s work by offering it first to collectors with sterling reputations. The hands through which an artwork passes can help it accrue value.

Secondary Dealers
These dealers don’t work a lot with the artists, but they do work with the auction houses. They have sufficient capital to buy market-tested art without any immediate pressure to resell it. They take control of the object and can hold on to it as long as necessary. So if a certain style of art goes out of favor, they can wait to sell it when that type of art is back in style.

Artists are discouraged from learning about business and art marketing, because this knowledge can affect the purity of the art-making process. However, the artists who sell well at auction tend to be artist-entrepreneurs. As one commentator in  Thornton’s book suggested, perhaps the successful businessmen who buy at auctions admire the boldness and risk-taking of artist-entrepreneurs. The collectors see themselves reflected in the artist-entrepreneurs.

For example, Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst both maintained media profiles that helped increase the audiences for their work. They used production strategies to ensure that a sufficient supply of their art would be available to meet the demands.

When Damien Hirst became the first artist to openly consign work to an auction house, he not only earned international press coverage, but also the admiration of the auction-house personnel who liked his strong work ethic and keen business sense. In general selling work at auction can be risky for an artist’s career, because the prices can fluctuate dramatically from year to year as tastes (and economic conditions) change.

Collectors like meeting the artists whose work they own. But auction houses regard artists as being hard to work with. During the boom, there was a shortage of older works and a spike In demand for fresh, young art.  Although auction houses tried not to interfere with the work of dealers, the amount of time between when a work left a studio and hit the resale market became shorter.  

What’s Next?
Reading “Seven Days in the Art World” provides a big-picture overview of the art world as it existed in 2008. It can provide a baseline for observing what has happened since the economy tanked, and speculating what might happen next as the base of art collectors continues to expand, both globally and within younger generations.

For example, some training programs have been developed to encourage artists to become more entrepreneurial so they make a living and pay off the student loans from attending art school.  And online galleries, art fairs, and social networking are starting to affect the way art is discovered and collectors interact with dealers and artists.

These are some of the questions we’ll continue to examine on this blog. If you have expertise, ideas, or insights that could help artists benefit from some of these ongoing changes in the art market, we would love to hear from you!



Editorial Excellence Can Help Marketers Escape Content Chaos

Content Rules Book CoverWRITERS. A new book entitled “Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business” could ultimately open up some fresh opportunities for freelance writers and other creative professionals.

The book was written by two experts in content marketing:  Ann Handley, chief content officer of and C.C. Handley, founder of

The basic premise of “Content Rules” is that publishing useful content is a good way for companies to build relationships with their customers.  As the book’s promo copy explains, “Today, you have an unprecedented opportunity to create a treasury of free, easy-to-use, almost infinitely customizable content that tells the story of your product and your business, and positions you as an expert people will want to do business with.”

However, because so many companies are jumping on the content-publishing bandwagon, content is rapidly becoming a commodity.

As consumers, we can all see some of the “content chaos” arising from the wider adoption of content marketing. Sure, some of this content can be very helpful. But so much of it seems semi-coherent, superficial, and self-serving. Few companies seem to take the time to consider what type of content their customers would find most enlightening.

In a webinar introducing their book, Handley and Chapman describe the phenomenon this way: “Content marketing is like sex in high school: Everyone claims they are doing it, but few are doing it well.”

They believe content marketing is worth the commitment, noting that “Killer content can earn attention, create trust, establish credibility and authority, and convert visitors and browsers into buyers.”

The book reinforces a fact that many stressed-out, overworked marketing pros have just begun to fully recognize:  Producing a steady stream of consistently good content can be more difficult and time-consuming than it looks.

According to a recent survey cited by Handley and Chapman in Content Rules, the biggest content marketing challenges are:

  • Producing engaging content (36%)
  • Producing enough content (21%)
  • Budget to produce content (20%)
  • Lack of C-level buy-in (11%)
  • Producing a variety of content (9%)

Thus, experienced writers and other creative professionals can offer to alleviate some of the burden. But this tactic will only work if you can suggest how you can help advance the most commonly identified organizational goals for content marketing:

  • Brand awareness (78%)
  • Consumer retention/awareness (69%)
  • Lead generation (63%)
  • Website traffic (55%)
  • Thought leadership (52%)
  • Sales (51%)
  • Lead nurturing (37%)

You might want to read the book, so you can see the type of advice Handley and Chapman are giving to marketing pros.  For example, they discuss the art of storytelling and science to journalism to develop content that people will care about. They also talk about the need to find an authentic voice and create the type of bold content that prospects and customers will want to share with others.   Readers of Content Rules can learn how to:

  • Define content-strategy goals.
  • Get to the meat of the message by using practical, common-sense language.
  • Integrate searchable words without sounding contrived.
  • Create a publishing schedule for creating different kinds and types of content at once.

To see content-marketing at its best, check out and subscribe to their Marketing Profs Today daily newletters. Even if you’re not a marketing pro yourself, you can get some practical tips that can either help you market yourself as a creative pro, or better understand what marketing professionals are trying to accomplish with various forms of communications.

In the online Marketing Profs University, you can listen to the free webinar that Handley and Chapman presented on Dec. 3, 2010.

Content Rules: How to Create the Right Kind of Content

You can replay the broadcast, listen to a podcast, or download the webinar slides and a list of answers to questions raised after the webinar.

The book is available for $11.99 as a Google eBook. Or, you can order a 242-page hardcopy version from,, or


“Content Rules”: Google e-book format

Hardcopy book