Decoding the right modality for your ideas. Bill Sherman walks us through the Comfortable…
Marketing for Artist | Miriam Schulman
The most creative people aren’t afraid to adapt, learn, and try new things.
An interview with Miriam Schulman about her new that helps artists make a sustainable living from their creativity.
Our guest today is Miriam Schulman, a fine art portrait painter who has had her work displayed in galleries and collected internationally. While this might seem like an unlikely guest for a thought leadership podcast, she is also the author of Artpreneur: The Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Sustainable Living from Your Creativity, host of the Inspiration Place podcast and creator of the popular online art class site, the Inspiration Place.
Lots of people have incredible talent that goes overlooked their whole lives. Miriam shares how that very creativity that feeds their talent can be turned into a survival strategy in marketing. The ability to try new things and be creative can trump a lack of experience in marketing if you are willing to put the work in.
With her book having come out earlier this year Miriam discusses how she is using some of the same advice in the book to market it. In addition, she shares the strategies she used with her book launch team including pre-order bonuses, social network campaigns, and other incentives that helped her get reviews and buzz before the book even hit store shelves.
Whether you are an artist seeking advice on making your passion profitable or a traditional thought leader this conversation has useful advice you can put into action.
Three Key Takeaways:
- Cheaper is not always easier to sell. Regardless of price you audience has to understand how what you are offering will benefit them.
- Friends, family, and co-workers will be happy to share your works, but you can make it easy for them and increase the odds of them sharing by writing a blurb for them.
- Book reviews are an important part of a launch strategy. They create social validation for those who are not familiar with your work.
If you need a strategy to bring your thought leadership to market, Thought Leadership Leverage can assist you! Contact us for more information. In addition, we can help you implement marketing, research, and sales. Let us help you so you can devote yourself to what you do best.
Peter Winick And welcome, welcome, welcome. This is Peter Winnick. I’m the founder and CEO at Thought Leadership Leverage and you’re joining us on the podcast today, which is leveraging thought leadership today. My guest is Miriam Schulman. And this is going to be interesting because Miriam is an artist. She’s got an online class. She’s helped a lot of artists get their work out into the universe. And now she is a published author of a book called Artpreneur. Did I pronounce that right?
Miriam Schulman Yeah.
Peter Winick Did I get there? Okay.
Miriam Schulman Good job. Yeah.
Peter Winick I practiced.
Miriam Schulman Not everybody does. Sometimes they’re doing like they’re throwing in an extra T. Archer. I was like, No.
Peter Winick No, Archer. Yeah, right. So what artpreneur is, is basically teaching, and I’ll give it to you to describe better than I would your, you know, artists and those how to actually do the business side of it because great art, you know, without, without being sold is you know not a good thing is that did I get that.
Miriam Schulman Yeah you know at the heart I get I get asked a lot of questions like, Miriam, you didn’t talk about talent in this book. I like, Well, man, I mean, mindset and marketing are going to trump talent every time and everything. Every single industry, whether you’re a published author, whether you’re a coach, whether whatever you are.
Peter Winick Kardashian. Yeah.
Miriam Schulman Yeah. The thing I mean, we all see like people who are at the top of their field and we’re like, I don’t get it. What is so great about her or somebody else? Like, you know, and it’s all about the marketing. But the thing is, you have to have a really good mindset or you’ll sabotage it all anyway.
Peter Winick Know so I call it sort of the sizzle and the steak, right? So life isn’t fair. I should have been tall, dark and handsome, whatever. So there are some people that can sell garbage, right? There’s some people that are incredibly gifted but don’t have any marketing skills and they starve. And that’s kind of just the way it is.
Miriam Schulman That’s right. We’ve all seen very talented people, again, across every single field.
Peter Winick For hundreds of years. Thousands of years.
Miriam Schulman That’s right. And the people who understood the marketing and marketing is not nothing new. Rubens did it 400 years ago, so it’s nothing new.
Peter Winick So here’s where I want you to stay with you. It’s got to kind of go a little meta for a little bit. So you and I had an interesting conversation the other day, and you were sort of explaining to me how you were eating your own dog food as a newly published author. And how do you how do you market and sell the book? And I was sort of very much intrigued and fascinated by that because you were doing some really cool and interesting things and not a lot of folks think about. So I would say, you know, an author is a form of an artist, whether it’s fiction, nonfiction, whatever. And most authors also think, well, I wrote the greatest, you know, business book ever. Why did it sell seven copies? So give us a little bit of the things that you’ve been doing or share with us some of the things you’ve been doing to get the book out into the universe?
Miriam Schulman Yeah, I have. I have some definitely some different things. I listen to your episode with Becky Robinson. Becky Robinson. You got her name, right? Yep. And influence. Yeah. Yeah. And you think you have like this $2,000 coaching program that somebody would will say, Oh, I’d rather get the book cheaper is not easier to sell.
Peter Winick Exactly.
Miriam Schulman That’s what that’s what I talk about in the book but that but it’s like but for some reason I didn’t understand that even when it came to my own book, that just because you have this book that’s $18, does it make it easier to sell? It’s much easier to sell a $2,000 program. So that said, you want to dive into some of these strategies.
Peter Winick Yeah, well, it’s interesting that that it’s not just that cheaper isn’t easier to sell, it’s different. I would argue that the market for people that read book is not the same. I mean, there’s some overlap as the market of people at a moment in time that need the coach, the coaching services if someone’s got expertise that they need because plenty of people could read a book like listen, I’m, you know, X pounds overweight, I’ve got the diet books, I know what I need to do. That’s right. But there’s a reason I have a trainer, you know, So there’s I think they’re just different markets. So talk about what you’re doing as a new author to get your book out into the universe.
Miriam Schulman Okay. So I did every I tried everything and there were some things I tried that didn’t work so well, but we’re going to talk mostly about what did work. So first of all, I did have that preorder page. Here’s your bonuses when you order like blah, blah, blah. We’ve seen that before. You’ve talked about all.
Peter Winick The extra goodies. Yeah, get that. Yeah.
Miriam Schulman When you get all the extra things.
Peter Winick One thing like my house for dinner or whatever.
Miriam Schulman One that I did a little differently is I did see a lot of people having the one night virtual party where they invite the influencers. So I actually did three of them and each one was themed depending on the and the people experts that I invited because that gave it three times that I got to email my list. And the third one I haven’t even done yet. So I’ve done it. Done. You hear them already? So it’s like thinking about like, how can you email about the new offer? So we know this in marketing that it’s like having giving them a different angle. Like maybe they didn’t bite on that first bait that you threw out. So I had each one themed, so people were signing up just for that, like, Oh, I want the, the branding addition where I had Jennifer Cam and India. Jackson Like I had a full branding addition and then I had a different one where I had copywriters. And so you giving people different angles for them to bite on. But I think what worked the best, it was the book launch team. And you said that was something that you haven’t heard about. Was that something that’s new to you?
Peter Winick No, no, no way. I’ve seen the concept of a book launch team. And I think what it comes down to, you had some different nuances to it and is that what I have found is when you tell someone, hey, I’ve got a book coming up, right? New author, everybody, unless they’re a jerk, says, That’s awesome. Let me know how I can help. And then the conversation ends, right? Because your friends and family and colleagues aren’t going to stay up late at night trying to figure out how to market your book. You have to come up with very specific asks that are logical, right? Don’t ask me. Yeah. Hey, we just met. Can you come over and paint my house? I’m probably going to say no, but could I share on social some information about a book that seems interesting to me and I just want to be helpful. And I have a strong network on social. Sure. If you’re not a jerk, I’d love to do that. Like, that’s an easy thing. And then if I’m going to offer to do that, make it really, really, really easy, like provide me with the content that you want to put up. Don’t ask me to write, copy, all that sort of stuff, and people want to root for you. So yeah, talk a little bit about what you’re doing with the launch team.
Miriam Schulman Well, let’s even circle go back a little bit further back. We will get to the launch team. But I even did that for my blurb strategy. So what you were saying is 100% true. Nobody wants to read your book. Nobody wants to write a blurb. They don’t they’re very happy to have their name in the front of your book, though. So we had a very specific blurb strategy where I actually wrote out like 15 different blurbs for them and provided that for them and said, Pick, pick one of these, it’ll be just yours once. Once you pick it, I’ll take it off the list and.
Peter Winick Tweak it and modify it if you’d like.
Miriam Schulman That’s right. That’s right. And the very smart marketers like, you know, Todd Harman and Satsuki, they both put in their brand keywords and they’re like, oh, if you know, you know, whatever it is, they want people to know about them. So it’s the same thing with the launch team. People you they don’t necessarily want to have to write a review. So you have to remember people are lazy even if they love your book and they want to help you. You really have to make it as easy as possible for them. So first of all, at the launch team, we made sure that we were giving them paperback books. If they if they joined the launch team, they had to preorder the book. I went to my audience, people who we thought would want to read the book anyway. So we said, Hey, you’ll get the advance copy before anybody else, and I’ll do some I call it book group or do some exclusive book group training with you. And we give them a bunch of other things, so we invite them in. Most of the people are not going to set up the net galley account.
Peter Winick Yeah, it’s a pain in the neck, right?
Miriam Schulman It’s impossible. I couldn’t even do it. I was like, I’m so sorry. Right, like so. Or they don’t want the PDF either. So we give them physical copies. And I had a pretty small launch team at 200 people, but in their eyes, actually.
Peter Winick Not that small.
Miriam Schulman No, it’s not back to.
Peter Winick No, I don’t think so, because I think it’s the level of the engagement and the commitment of the launch team. And then I want to go back to what you said. You know, even giving people PDFs, there is something special about somebody you going through. The effort of throwing the book in the mail cost you a couple of dollars and it lands on my desk. Whether it’s guilt like, Oh, there’s her name staring at me, Geez, I need to do it. And you can have a lot more fun with it. When people are taking a picture of themselves with the book in their Starbucks or something like that versus I tend to read most things on Kindle or I get lots and lots of books shipped to me all the time. It’s kind of stupid for me to take a picture, me sitting there reading my Kindle, right? Like, it’s not going to make sense when I get that physical book. It’s a better post.
Miriam Schulman Yeah. And in my audience, you know, people I serve are artists. So I would tell them, Put it in front of your easel, put it with your art supplies, tag me on social, I’ll share it. So there was a lot of fun with that. But the main thing that really motivated people was not the free book, was not the book group. It was I gave out six months of free coaching for the top three book launch members.
Peter Winick And there’s a contest. You gamified it. It’s competitive. Yes, it’s a contest.
Miriam Schulman Yes. And we treated it, that aspect. Of it, almost like an affiliate launch with the leader board. We posted the leader board. We let them know what’s happening and that really lit a fire under everybody. So they really wanted that. And because we did it based on engagement, the more they did, the better chances they had of winning.
Peter Winick So that’s great. So what are the other things that you are doing or plan to do relative to the book? Because, you know, without necessarily throwing the publisher under the bus, you’re a first time published author. You have a big publisher behind you who’s doing the vast majority of marketing pushing for the book.
Miriam Schulman Yeah, well, it’s kind of like what my kids used to complain when they had group projects in school that why are they doing all the work? Actually, my son never complained. He was probably one of the ones not doing the work, but my daughter certainly complained. And that’s how it feels. Like I feel like I’m doing this group project. AT Why? Why is it up to me? So Well.
Peter Winick It’s the first time you’ve done it and you would also.
Miriam Schulman Yeah, I don’t even know what I’m doing.
Peter Winick They publish tens of thousands of these over the years. They should probably know how to do this better than I, but it’s just not how it works.
Miriam Schulman But here’s the thing. Creativity is a survival strategy. You know, the more creative you are, the better. And by the way, Darwin, it was not survival of the fittest. It was survival. The most creative who is willing to adapt. So here’s the thing. It doesn’t matter that I don’t have experience because I’m willing to try something different. Like, I just kept trying.
Peter Winick Well, and I think another twist on that creativity, Miriam, is that I’ve seen lots and lots of really, really, really, really smart people say, Oh, I’m going to do what all my other smart friends did. I’m going to hire the best publicist and the best book, and I’m going to spend six figures and launch the book Crickets. So creativity is also a resource constraint, right? How do I do what I want to do with this book if I don’t have unlimited resources? That’s right. Because quite frankly, even when you have, quote, unlimited resources and do some of the things that everybody else does, they don’t typically work as well as one would think on the back.
Miriam Schulman Yeah. Like I saw other people coming at the same time. And you can see from their Facebook ads account how much they must have been spending on Facebook ads like all the different variations and all the assets. Like I was like, ooh, that’s like a six figure ads budget to get that book on a on a on a list or the or we were joking on our pre-interview the billboard on Times Square. Yeah right and you’re laughing but I saw two people do that and they weren’t I don’t think they were Photoshopped. I think they were real. Like, how much does it cost? They really think they’re there. Book readers are in Times Square looking up and thinking, Oh, that’s a book I want to read.
Peter Winick Yeah. No, I mean, the use cases is kind of silly. I mean, there used to be they’re doing it less and less that a lot of these big PR agencies would sell a first time author. We’re going to do an AM radio tour, so we guarantee to get you on 50 AM radio shows for a fee, obviously. And the fee might it pretty, pretty significant. Then I’m like, let’s think about the use case of that. I don’t even know if there’s AM radio in my car. I don’t even leave the house anymore. It’s mostly sports or that one guy in every neighborhood with tinfoil on his head that listens to the AM radio that walks around. You know that guy, right? Everybody’s got that guy.
Miriam Schulman The ham radio guy?
Peter Winick Yeah, the ham radio due to the table. And but like, so what is the use case of AM radio? Listening to a book will increase the propensity of you buying that book. It’s kind of zero, right? So yeah, it’s not a really logical strategy.
Peter Winick If you’re enjoying this episode of Thought leadership leverage, please make sure to subscribe. If you’d like to help spread the word about our podcast, please leave a five-star review at ratethispodcast.com/ltl and share it with your friends. We’re available on Apple Podcasts and on all major listening apps as well as that thoughtleadershipleverage.com forward slash podcast.
Miriam Schulman Okay. So let’s talk about reviews. So I know that when you had Becky on, she was saying it took her three months to get to 100 reviews. So I am 30 days out and I have 85 reviews and my and I will get to 100 within a few weeks. So you want to hear how I’m doing it?
Peter Winick Yeah, That’s phenomenal.
Miriam Schulman All right. Okay. So it’s you can’t.
Peter Winick You can’t have more than three with the same last name. That’s my general rule of thumb.
Miriam Schulman Right? With the same.
Peter Winick Last name is the author.
Miriam Schulman That’s right. There are no Schulman’s there.
Peter Winick Yeah, Schulmans need not apply. [laughter].
Miriam Schulman Okay. Okay. Yeah. No, no. So what I. So the first thing I did is, of course, you know, of course there’s the book launch team and they had to leave a review to be qualified as one of the top three. Like that was kind of it’s.
Peter Winick A pre req if you haven’t even done that.
Miriam Schulman You’re right. That’s right. And okay. And even to join the book launch team, one of the Facebook questions was do you promise to leave a review? And if they said no, it’s like, well, goodbye. Sorry. But the other thing we did was so not everybody is into gamification or winning or they they’re not going to trial because they don’t think they’re going to be one of the top three. So we were we said to our entire email list is if they left a review and sent us a screenshot that we would give them this e-book we had that we previously were selling for $48. So it was something my audience really wanted. So that led to a lot of reviews. And now the next thing I have will be a gift card for a print on demand thing. So for that one, I want them to leave a video review. So that one I haven’t started yet, but that’s going to take me to over 100. So you had.
Peter Winick 100, you know, and people have different opinions because the algorithms change what the magic number is, 5100, whatever. The magic number is not five and it’s not 500. But that 50 to 100 range is probably the sweet spot. And I commend you. It takes a lot. I mean, sometimes you look and there’s a very well-known author, it’s their fifth or sixth book or whatever, and you go out there like, wow, they only got 17 reviews. Right? And then you said, well, why are reviews so important? And the reason the reviews are so important is it’s social validation. So with all due respect, I go to Amazon and for some reason it kicks up your name. I don’t know who the hell you are, right? So how do I know that I don’t even care about the 2025 bucks for the book? Am I going to waste 5 hours of my time? Because I really that’s the most valuable thing to me. So when I start to look at the reviews, that’s where I’m getting that social proof that says, Wow, okay, three, five, seven. That might be baloney. That might have rigged the system. It might be, you know, the phony Yelp reviews or whatever. They get to 85. I’m going to go like, wow, I’m just going to probably just look at that number and skim two or three.
Miriam Schulman And then there aren’t 85.
Peter Winick Shulman’s Yeah, I will. They probably ought to look.
Miriam Schulman I don’t know.
Peter Winick Right back check. Okay, fact check. We’re going to we’re going to fix that and post and get a fact check or check.
Miriam Schulman My maiden name.
Peter Winick Checker made it. Okay, There we go. There we go. Yeah, but I think that’s, you know, so the gamification engagement, you know, and I think you’re really nurturing a community. And I think the other pieces this isn’t all about you. People love to have people that they admire, respect, care for, etc., win and succeed. So they’re rooting for you, right? So what did it cost them? A customer A few dollars. Buy book, a little bit of time here, there and everywhere. They’re probably watching and tracking your success. Not quite as much as you are, but they’re part of the team. Right. And they feel good about helping you get to where you want to go.
Miriam Schulman That’s right. People want to celebrate your wins.
Peter Winick Yeah. Cool. As we start to wrap, any other insights or thoughts? So it’s you. Two years ago before you went on this book Journey, what would The Myriam of Today say to the museum two years ago?
Miriam Schulman Writing a book will change you. It will change you. So it was very difficult writing a book. You know, it’s kind of like when you have kids, Peter. Yes. So you remember before you had kids and other parents were telling you it’s hard and you’re like, yeah, whatever. And then you have your first baby and you’re like.
Peter Winick Yeah. Oh, that’s.
Miriam Schulman Right. Well, writing a book is the same thing. And I know you’re wondering, like, is it worth the hit on your time and your resources? Come back to me in six months and we’ll talk about that again. Your business will take a hit. I mean, I. I don’t know about you.
Peter Winick Cost wise. Yeah, right.
Miriam Schulman I only have 4 hours of genius time in my day, so if that’s going towards the book, then the business is going to get less of that pie. I mean, it literally. It’s not like a notion that I can just dip into any time.
Peter Winick So I think that’s a critical point, though, because when people do an analysis of was the book successful, they’re dishonest, not intentionally with the accounting. They’re going, well, this is how much time I spent whatever. And I’m like, okay, but if your business was doing X and it went down 40% that year because your time was allocated elsewhere, you have to factor that in. So you have to make that up to get to zero. That’s right. Yes, that’s right. That’s right. Don’t you know, there isn’t, you know, you know, gap for accounting, but it’s just logical to say, wow, 40% of your time was worth. X dollars that you washed away in the book.
Miriam Schulman That’s right. And I’ve talked to a few other authors who are in the thought leadership space who have all and we’ve just shared with each other that, yes, our businesses took a hit when we wrote our book. So this is something that you have to be prepared to do. And it wasn’t just like how much you’re investing. Well, that’s part of it as well. There’s definitely an amount of financial investment as well. So I wrote the book myself, but that meant I got a book coach to help me edit the book. Yeah, the other people might have it ghostwritten. So there is an investment of money, there is an investment in time.
Peter Winick But it also depends on your business. If you’re in a traditional coaching consulting business where it’s dollars for time, however you slice it, it’s going to take a bigger hit than if you have a more diversified portfolio in terms of your business, subscription, base, licensing, etc.. Those things will take will be far less impacted by what you’re doing on that particular.
Miriam Schulman That’s true. I mean, my business is small enough that it is still The Miriam Show, so I don’t have a big enough team where it’s, you know, everything is still coming. I have a team. But the big like I said, the genius type of thought leadership. Yeah, yeah. It is coming through me. So for me it my business did take a hit last year. This year it’s back on track. Good. I mean, not that I was in the red last year, but. But the black was. Yeah, less.
Peter Winick Little.
Miriam Schulman But it was just less than I’d like. So, you know, we’ll see it in a year and it should, you know, the return on the investment I’m making, I’m doing a book. This is the thought, a thought leadership podcast. This is what it’s about for me, though, I want to make a bigger impact. And not everyone’s going to buy my course. Not everyone’s going to listen to podcasts. Some people want the book. So having like that trifecta of you have the podcast and you have a do you have a business that supports your thought leadership and you have a book. I saw that as that was my trifecta.
Peter Winick And the last thing I’d say is that don’t you know the period of time that you’re measuring success over? You know, the book world operates in these 90 day sprints? I would argue that the value of the book is a 5 to 7 year Amazon schedule. You’re going to get dividends from this book in three years. We’re not spending any time on it.
Miriam Schulman You’re like, That’s right.
Peter Winick Wow, here’s a dip. Like, wow. Here’s five people that reached out to me this year because of the book I wrote three years ago, and I’m not even really marketing it anymore. So you have to look at it, you know, sort of longitudinally over an extended period of time. In the short term, it’s a loser in the midterm. It should at least be break even or a winner. And in the long term, it should be a big one. Anyway, this has been awesome. Thank you for sharing your story and your and your time with us today. I appreciate it.
Miriam Schulman Well, thanks, Peter. I enjoyed being here.
Peter Winick To learn more about thought leadership leverage, please visit our Web site at Thoughteadershipleverage.com to reach me directly. Feel free to email me at Peter at thought leadership leverage dot com and please subscribe to leveraging thought leadership on iTunes or your favorite podcast app to get your weekly episode automatically.