Innovating Through Artistry

Posts Tagged ‘Susan Schulman’

…and what do you think?

In Creative Support, Emotional Intelligence, ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Evolution, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, Leadership, Marketing, Money, Music, Risk, Writing on December 2, 2008 at 12:41 am

This last week or so I have been hiding. Under the festivities of the holiday. Under the weight of my thoughts. Behind the screen of my computer– uncertain of what to do next.

I am again at a turning point on the journey with my book-or is it now books? And again, I feel a bit lost at sea and uncertain as to what is the best thing to do next. (Oh the joys of being a sensitive, intuitive entrepreneur in the arts. At times all this intuition I have can leave me feeling a bit like I am short circuiting.)

My book, Build a Blue Bike has not sold. The economy is in the tanks (in case you had not noticed) and publishers are merging, folding and buying only those books that seem like sure-fire slam-dunks. After all, Build a Blue Bike is a book that is an entreprenuerial risk. The artist as entrepreneur? Huh? Do artists even care about how to evolve into this blend of artist and entrepreneur?

So one of the strategies I created to help demonstrate the value of this book and its worthiness was to build The Entrepreneurial Artists Resource Guide as proof that there are a lot of people, programs, products and interest in this seemingly esoteric topic. The guide offers great information and also proves to publishers that there are a growing number of artists out there marketing to other artists on how to become more entrepreneurial, quite successfully.

So the issue now lies in the long journey I have been on with my agent Susan Schulman. Agents sell books to publishers. That is their job. Susan has told me that she sells everything she takes- eventually. It has been a year, almost to the day and we have had lots of positive rejections from big houses- but only ten in total. (A positive rejection means that the editors who buy books for these publishing houses thought the material was worthy, interesting and valuable but that it was not a fit for them in the end.) Other agents who I have queried about my situation have told me that “it can be 30 or 40 responses before a book gets sold, so toughen up!”

The latest thought is to combine Build a Blue Bike with The Entrepreneurial Artists Resource Guide, which Susan thinks will sell. To do this means re-writing a very lengthy book proposal to resend to publishers. Of course there is always the option to simply self publish. There are some incredibly successful self published authors. A couple I personally know are Peggy McColl and Bob Baker.

As a true entrepreneur part of me says to hell with waiting around for a publisher to recognize the value of my material– if an agent like Susan Schulman did, that is proof enough and I should just move along and self publish. And another part of me says, I need the credibility of a named publisher, if I can get it, to help me shape the future of the arts in universities and corporations. Certainly part of the problem has been the economy in getting my material sold.

What do you think? Should I wait and see if I can get it picked up by a big publisher under this new format? Or should I go ahead and self publish? Sometimes publishers come back to you after you self- publish and ask to publish the book. Tama Kieves book, This Time I Dance, was picked up by Tarcher/Penguin-Putnam in exactly this way.

Entrepreneurship and artistry are a complicated blend of business like actions, intuition and creativity. Intuition is the lever that brings both together and at the moment mine feels a bit overloaded with too much information.

The Journey of Selling a Book

In ENTREPRENEUR THE ARTS, Entrepreneurial Tool Box, The Idea, Writing on April 23, 2008 at 12:09 am

As many of you know, from reading my blog, I have climbed several tall mountains and swam the distance between two continents writing, developing, editing and securing an agent for my book. And yet, I still must do more to demonstrate to six remaining publishers that my book Build a Blue Bike: Ride Your Artistic Blues to Creative and Financial Freedom, is one they MUST decide to BUY and publish.

For those of you who are little unclear about the publishing process, let me remind you: If you wish to publish a book you write, you can seek out small publishers directly to see if they are interested, or of course, you can simply decide to self publish. However, if you wish to land a household name big publishing house to pick up your work, who has the marketing muscle and distribution savvy to get your book into Borders (never mind that they might file for bankruptcy for the moment), then you must be represented by an agent. Only agents can talk to household name publishers, which means you have to be one of the roughly 3% of book proposal submissions they accept to represent.

I have managed to jump through that hoop, and I have a great agent, Susan Schulman. I know she will do a fine job selling my book once our economy perks back up. It might as well require a new president who values the arts, one with democratic stripes, to get it sold. So in the meantime, I have been working hard to add a new leg or arm to my strategy to continue to strengthen my possibilities of getting my work finally published.

My newest strategy has been to take an online marketing course by Peggy McColl and Randy Gilbert. These two individuals are considered to be the gurus of online marketing and are wildly successful at it both with their own books and with helping others. Of course, my purpose in taking this class is to build my knowledge of how to get my book to sell well through various distribution channels I can develop once it is published. However, since it has not been sold yet, and therefore is not yet in print, I have been working hard trying to come up with a strategy to be able to use what I am learning from this class now.

With the blessings of Susan Schulman, my agent, I am in the process of creating an E-Book, which will be called Starving Artist Not!: Changing History One Artist at A Time. This E-Book will be a resource guide of artistic entrepreneurs across the country that offer classes, workshops, mentoring programs or any other artist entrepreneurial service for sale. This resource guide will allow those of you interested in arts entrepreneurship, but not sure who to turn to or where to start, to have a deep resource filled with ideas, contacts and useful information.

I am currently in the process of building it and welcome comments, as well as the names of any artists you know that I should include!

There are days I wake up and wonder if all of this work is worth it.

But that thought rarely lasts more then a moment, because I know my journey is worth the tough climb. I know I am and will continue to make a difference with the vision I have to teach artists to become more entrepreneurial and resourceful.

I am just grateful that pursuing your passions, like falling in love, offers us blindness or a kind of naiveté to problems or difficulties we will surely encounter, and that under any other circumstance we would likely see. This offers each one of us a form of self protection- an insulation from reality that we need to act in the first place.

But when you really love something or someone you will climb every mountain and swim every ocean needed to make it work if your feelings are real– no matter how hard it is or how much work it takes.

So which ocean shall I swim and which mountain next must I climb?

Got the Right Agent, Lost A Title

In Entrepreneurial Evolution, The Idea, Writing on June 22, 2007 at 11:51 pm

Well, it has been an exciting 24 hours. Susan Schulman, who has represented Julia Cameron, Artist Way and Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class- both NY Times Best Sellers- is going to become my agent.

I am THRILLED to have gotten this far as a new writer and even more excited to be working with someone who is truly passionate about the arts and will get my book sold and published at the right house. I have spent the last 12 months working on this book, investing my time, money and giving my soul to it, with absolutely no assurance that anyone would be interested or that I could even become a convincing writer. I got my good news yesterday morning, on the longest day of the year.

It is all good except for one small problem. Susan really likes my book, but unfortunately, she does not like the title. I suppose it’s better to have a good book without a title than the other way around, but this dang book has been so hard to title and I had hoped I had it figured out.

Marketing comes easily to me but this book has refused to be titled. I have spent countless hours brainstorming about what it should be called and every time I think I am close to a name, it wiggles away from me leaving me empty handed. It almost feels like a willful child, refusing to be called by name. Even after having spent a really good chunk of change with Sam Horn,, to help me title it Starving Artist Not!, the first name that has stuck for more than 24 hours, (I think it has been called Starving Artist Not! for 2 months now), it appears, this willful child has managed to grow up still with no name!

According to Susan, the problem with Starving Artist Not!, is that a publisher might view it as slang and then assume the whole book is written in slang; which of course it is not. Frankly, that had not ever occurred to me until now, but that could stop the right publisher from even bothering to read it.

So for those of you who have signed up to be a reader ( I Need 50 Readers post), I am going to be asking for your opinion on what my book title should be!