TRANSCRIPT: Ep. 248 What Literary Agents are Really Looking For with Michele Martin


Michele Martin: People sit down and want to write a book and they try to scrape their minds for the idea. You took what you’re doing and you put it on the page. You were already doing this, you were already teaching this to people. That’s a very powerful way to create a book with content that’s really finessed already. I mean, maybe too much to say the book spilled out of you, but it was there, the information was there. You know, we tweaked things, but it was there.

Speaker 2: It’s the Inspiration Place podcast with artist Miriam Shulman. Welcome to the Inspiration Place Podcast, an Art World Insider podcast for artists by an artist where each week we go behind the scenes to uncover the perspiration and inspiration behind the art. And now your host, Miriam Schulman.

Miriam Schulman: Well, hello there Artpreneur, it’s Miriam Schulman. You’re curator of inspiration and you’re listening to episode number 248 of The Inspiration Place podcast. Today we’re talking all about what literary agents are really looking for when they take on a client. And to help me do that, I invited my agent and I’ll introduce her in a moment. We’ll bring her on. I have all the questions lined up that I know you’re dying to ask like ‘What about coffee table books?’ for your art, ‘What kind of platform are they really looking for?’ and maybe some other things that you didn’t think about. So, it’s going to be a great interview to be sure.

But before we get there, I just wanted to update you on the success of Artpreneur. It is so sweet and I’m so grateful and I’m so happy to all of you who have ordered the Kindle, or the paperback or the audible or multiple versions of it. Which I’ve heard from many of my fans that they like reading and listening at the same time so thank you, thank you, thank you. And as of this recording, I actually have almost 60 reviews on Amazon. So, one of the things I teach you to do and I practice myself is that whenever you want somebody to do something for you, you always have to know that there has to be something in it for them. Because us human beings, we’re pretty lazy. I know I am and it’d be nice if I could just say ‘Leave Me A Review!’ and people will be ‘Yeah, sure!’ and they log in and they find the place to leave their review and they go do it. And yeah, some people do do that but some people need a little extra nudge.

So, if that’s you, here is the bribe that I have been giving people who leave a review. It’s totally Amazon legal by the way. Alright, so I actually have 52 Art Journal Prompts which is perfect for you if you need to get clearer about your style or your goals or inspire creativity. I call them ‘Art Journal Prompts’ because some of them can be incorporated into an art journal. You don’t have to use art in your journaling. You could just journal it, you could just bullet journal it. These Art Journal Prompts are great if you’ve fallen off of your art journaling or perhaps if you’re looking for small and welcoming routines to keep you in the Artpreneur mindset. Maybe you just wanna push yourself out of your comfort zone in your art. This is what the 52 Art Journal Prompts will give you.

Now, you do need to leave a verified review on Amazon which means you had to have ordered the Kindle or the Audible if you received your paperback from a different source. But I have to tell you, the Audible, I’m like doing a hair flip, totally amazing, it’s #1 in the Art Business category. Number 1. There’s a reason for that because if you like this podcast, you’re absolutely going to love the audible version. I narrated it and instead of me reading quotes from my podcast guests whenever I get to the portion in the book, I actually have clips of them saying their messages in their own words so it is super fun.

If you’ve never left a review on Amazon before, there’s two ways to do it. One is you go to the listing for Artpreneur, you scroll down and you’ll see – this is on the desktop version, not sure how it looks on my phone. But if you scroll down, right where they give the number of reviews and they show you like how many people have a 5-star or a 4-star, there’s a place that says ‘Write A Review’ so you can click that. Fill out the review. Here’s what’s key though, take a screenshot of it because we can’t tell from your review who it is so we don’t know who to send the free gift to. So, before you hit send, take a screenshot of it and send it to We’ll give those details in the show notes, episode #248. So and you can do it that way.

The other way to leave a review is if you go to your ‘Orders’ and if it’s already been delivered to you – you get the Kindle and Audible delivered immediately, by the way. You go over to your orders and you scroll down and find where you ordered the item, there should be a button at the very bottom of that section that says– I forget if it’s ‘Leave A Product Review’ or ‘Write a Product Review’

Don’t sweat the words. Your prize, your bribe is not dependent on what you say. We do want you to leave an honest review. I mean, I have thick skin. You can leave a bad review if you hated the book. And, I guess we’ll still send you the prize. But yeah, so just take a screenshot of the review. It does take a day or two to show up so you don’t have to wait till it shows up to get your prize. As long as you send us the screenshot, we will honor that request. Alright, my friends. Thank you so much for your support. If you haven’t gotten the book yet, what are you waiting for? You’re waiting to see what other people think? There’s like almost 60 reviews on there telling you what they think. But if you want to order it from someplace else or you wanna see all the bonuses that are included when you get that book, head on over to Alright, my friends! Now, on with the show.

Well, hello there, Artpreneur. This is Miriam Shulman. You’re curator of inspiration, your host and author of Artpreneur. And you’re listening to episode number 248. Today’s guest is a literary agent who started in the book publishing in the 1970s as an assistant at Doubleday. She spent the next few decades as an associate publisher or publisher at Random House, Simon Schuster and other major book publishing companies. She became a literary agent by accident about 15 years ago and never looked back. Please welcome to The Inspiration Place, Michele Martin.

Michele Martin: Hi.

Miriam Schulman: Well hey, Michelle. Welcome to the show.

Michele Martin: Thank you. Happy to be here.

Miriam Schulman: You look a lot younger than I thought you were, by the way [inaudible] Wait, what? Did she have an internship in her teens? So I’m so excited to talk to you. What I did not put into the introduction, which is really the most important part of your introduction is Michelle Martin is my book agent and it just gives me chills to even say that. So before we get into all the things that I know my audience wants to to, to ask you is I don’t think you know that when I decided to to get a book publishing contract. And I made a list of agents and I made a list of about six people. And you were one of them, like, right on the top of the list. And I think it was just because a lot of my colleagues who I knew who do similar things, I saw them having such success. So I’m so thrilled and honored that you chose me because apparently, that’s hard. But I didn’t know that.

Michele Martin: It is hard. You should be very pleased. It’s not that easy to get an agent.

Miriam Schulman: Alright. Let’s the very beginning. What are you looking for?

Michele Martin: The real question is what are publishers looking for? Because that’s what I can sell is what they’re looking for. I guess if I wanted to narrow it down to two main things that a book proposal must have, it’s a unique idea and a marketing platform that speaks to that idea. So what those are still very broad? And what does that really mean? It’s very hard to come up with an entirely new idea, but between an author’s voice and their own particular spin, they can talk about something that’s actually been published before, but in a unique way so that it feels fresh. It feels like the reader hasn’t read it before. So number one is obviously an idea that editors have not seen 12 times that week in other proposals. And then the marketing platform, which unfortunately is so much more important than I wish it were mostly because they don’t think it matters as much as publishers say that it matters. You know, if you have a couple of hundred thousand people following you for free online, that doesn’t mean they’re going to get up and go to a bookstore and spend $26 on a book. So be that as it may, there has to be some way for editors to go through the enormous volume of proposals they get, agents like myself get and figure out which are worth looking at. And so the platform simply says lots of people are like, you want this person is doing so that person is probably worth listening to.

Miriam Schulman: Okay. So let’s talk specifically about first of all, what is a platform, because I know that is maybe a term that the artists in my audience don’t necessarily think about or understand what that actually means.

Michele Martin: To me, it is the way in which an individual communicates with an audience. It could be through public speaking, it could be through an email list, it could be through a social media platform, it could be through Instagram Live. Whatever way or a couple of ways an individual author communicates. I have people who have a million followers on TikTok. I have people who have 300,000 people on Instagram. You don’t have to be everywhere all the time. You have to be somewhere, not just where you’re showing a large number of people are following you, but that the engagement is there way more important than the than the basic number 200,000 people on Instagram is the engagement, not just are you talking to them? Are they talking back to you? That’s a real audience.

Miriam Schulman: Right. And especially now that engagement has been going down precipitously. I mean, when I started writing the book Michele, the figure was on Instagram for the average person, a 1% engagement, 1%. So if you have 100,000 people following you, that’s 1000 people.

Michele Martin: Right.

Miriam Schulman: And when I went back to edit the book, because, as you know, I got a lot of pushback from the developer that, yeah, I got a lot of pushback from the developmental editor. How come you’re not focusing more on social media? So I built a case inside the book about why social media is less and less important. And when I went back to edit that section of the book, I found that it had actually dropped. So the engagement had dropped from 1% to 0.6% for the average person. Now, there’s a lot of influencers who are trying to teach people how to get more engagement online. So what is the average engagement rate for an influencer? It’s 1.12%, and I wouldn’t be surprised if both of those numbers have dropped since then.

Michele Martin: I’d be hearing that from other people as well.

Miriam Schulman: Right. And then even TikTok, people who have millions of followers. Unfortunately, the way TikTok is set up is you can follow someone on tick tock and then never see their content again. So it’s not an audience onTikTok is not, as you said, necessarily really even knows who you are.

Michele Martin: Exactly. Yeah. And there are lots of issues with TikTok right now. This week, editors seem to be interested in Instagram, but I promise you, in two weeks that will change again. So my attitude is find the platform that is right for you and your business and your desire to get your content out in the world. Work that one. You don’t have to have ten platforms. Just have something.

Miriam Schulman: And just so my listeners know, it was this podcast that I positioned as being my platform of where I’m speaking my message and have people listening to me. So thank you, listeners.

Michele Martin: I would like to say something about podcasts, by the way, because the question everybody asks agents, authors ask agents is what sells books? I don’t know anymore. It’s so hard to know what sells books, but my money is on podcasts. I love when my authors have a successful podcast show. Two reasons. One, long format. It’s not 3 minutes on Good Morning America. It’s sometimes 15, 20 minutes or more. So you can really get into what the book is about. And the other thing is, I don’t listen to every podcast in the world. I listen to the podcast I listen to when they recommend something. I take it seriously because I’m already committed. I’m already a regular follower of theirs. So it’s the trusted host and the long format makes podcasts a really good platform for book sales for authors of all kinds of creatives.

Miriam Schulman: And you’re talking not just about being a podcast host, but being a podcast guest.

Michele Martin: Absolutely. Guest host both.

Miriam Schulman: And then some people. I got this question from a friend of mine who wants to publish her second book, and she does not have a platform right now. She’s looking at podcast or YouTube. Do you–what do you think of YouTube as being the platform?

Michele Martin: I sold a book about six months ago where YouTube was the platform. It’s very successful. The author is making money on YouTube. She doesn’t charge for her content, but her sponsors, she’s literally making a real living with that. So just in terms of how that works for the individual, if it’s successful yet, it could be very lucrative for somebody. It depends upon the content. This is an exercise coach. Youtube is a natural for her, right? So that’s why I’m saying the platform has to match you and your business and what you’re trying to do in the world. Some people are very visual. Instagram is great. Probably a lot of your listeners. Instagram’s a good platform because they’re all, for the most part, visual people. For some people, it’s an email list, you know, with a really great open rate.

Miriam Schulman: Now that would be like Austin Kleon. I don’t think he has a podcast or a YouTube channel, but he has, you know, his mailing list is in the six-figure.

Michele Martin: That’s great.

Miriam Schulman: Right. One question that I get asked about and I don’t know the answer to this. So some of my artists, they want to publish basically coffee table books. What advice would you have for artists who want to do something like that?

Michele Martin: Don’t do that. I’ll tell you. I mean, obviously, I’m being facetious. A visually creative person is inclined to want to do a book that’s visually beautiful. Here’s the problem with coffee table books. First of all, we just don’t publish a lot of them anymore. As an industry. They’re very expensive. They almost always have to be printed outside the United States. So it takes a really long time to get books. God forbid something’s going on at the border or customs. It could get hung up there for months. It’s just not a popular category. There was a time way, way back decades ago when it was, but they’re just prohibitively expensive now. So it depends. There are also creative ways to do something visual. I bought a book long, long time ago by Woody Guthrie’s sister. It wasn’t a coffee table book, but it was an object. It was gorgeous. So there are people who could put a gorgeous package together and bring it in for under $30 or under $35. But once you get into these $60 to $100 books, it’s tough. It’s tough to sell them.

Miriam Schulman: Yeah, I read an article recently. I forget it was either The Journal or The Times, and it was about how more publishers are going to paperback, which is how book is—Would you like to speak more about that?

Michele Martin: I’m not against paperback, so there seems to be this little hanging on feeling for authors that there’s some cachet to a hardcover. There are a lot of reasons why that’s just not true in terms of this being a business. First of all, they’re harder to hold, they’re harder to carry, they’re more expensive. They’re harder to keep imprint for the publisher if the book takes off. You could wind up being out of stock while they’re waiting for reprint. There are big supply chain problems in our industry because books are paper, and paper is very tough. The supply chain is tough. I’m not against a paperback original. The reason people used to not like it is because typically you couldn’t get a review of a paperback original. They mostly only reviewed hardcovers. A. That’s no longer true, and B., nobody’s reviewing books anyway. I mean, there aren’t really like the big book sections for the major newspapers anymore. They really most of them are gone. So it is about your audience. Those are decisions about your audience, not your art. What can your audience—what is your audience looking for? What’s the competition doing for your book?


Miriam Schulman: Because I do have to confess, when I found out my book was going to be in paperback, it was kind of like finding out like your movies, going straight to video. Like that was the feeling I had.

Michele Martin: Never crossed my mind your book would be a hardcover. Never crossed my mind. I could have told you the day we went out on submission. It was going to be a paperback original.

Miriam Schulman: But did you guess it was going to be in color?

Michele Martin: No, I did not, and I’m delighted at what they did. I think they really— I think your publisher did an amazing job. I mean, you know how I feel about this book. I think it’s gorgeous. Was I shocked? No, I’m not shocked. I’m just pleased that they were willing to do that, because that does add something, there’s no question. But the format, it absolutely should be paperback.

Miriam Schulman: So one thing we have to discuss is the cover.

Michele Martin: I love the cover.

Miriam Schulman: And I love it, too. I love the cover so much, but I didn’t love the cover choices in the beginning. And one of my friend who I mentioned earlier, who wants to publish is like ‘Your cover is so pretty and I’m so worried I’m going to have a bad cover’. I was like, Well, I guess you could put, you know, ideas of what you want in the proposal. And she said, Well, my agent said that that’s a turnoff. I said, Actually, my agent said the same thing.

Michele Martin: It’s it’s a very bad idea. But let me give your listeners a few pieces of advice. Most authors hate the first round of covers. Most agents hate the first round of covers. The best thing you can do, it’s a matter of timing. Don’t have the cover conversation. You know, don’t be talking about marriage when you haven’t even gone on the first date. Let somebody buy the book. You will be invited to be part of the conversation. I guarantee you they’re not putting the cover on the book that you don’t love. So they’re going to work and do everything they can so that you’re happy. What you can do when it’s time to talk about the cover. Go on Amazon, look at some books. Say I like that typeface, I like that color, I like that feel. Not that they’re going to duplicate it, but you’re going to allow the artist who’s creating your book. And make no mistake about it, it is an artist who’s working on your cover. You’re going to be speaking to them in their language, right? You’re showing them visuals. So that’s very helpful. It’s very rare when it doesn’t go at least a few rounds before an author starts to get happy.

And an author needs to look in order. I say to authors all the time, a cover is not art. It’s a tiny little billboard. You have to think of it as marketing copy, not as art. I mean, it’s easy to say it’s hard to do that. And obviously, you want some visual element that grabs somebody’s attention online or in a bookstore if somebody can find one. But it’s about communicating information. And so I’m working on a cover right now for a book. It’s a sort of complicated book. And my only response to all the covers is ‘leave a lot of white space for the subtitle’. You’ve got to be able to read the subtitle or nobody will know what this book is. I don’t even care what the art looks like. It has to be super-readable. You know, they were trying to be cool and abstract and you can’t read the subtitle. You have to be able to read the subtitle. So if you think of it more as a little billboard, it’ll get you a little bit away from that emotional. It’s got to be gorgeous. It doesn’t got to be gorgeous. It’s got to communicate really fast.

Miriam Schulman: And my subtitle, the word Creativity was very important, and we considered some titles where the word creativity was written creatively. But we had to keep in mind that most people are going to be looking at the cover as a thumbnail, possibly on their phones, on Amazon and making a decision in a split second. And that word creativity had to be really easy to read.

Michele Martin: I saw exactly the point that I’m making. You don’t want to be clever, you want to be clear.

Miriam Schulman: And then there was some discussion about using my art on the cover, and I know that was something that you wanted, and I want to tell you why I didn’t want my art on the cover or I tell the listeners, I may have already told you. So it was very important to me that this be an inclusive book. And yes, it’s about my stories, but it’s really about the listener. So I wanted to open it up even from the cover so that everyone could see themselves in this book. When you put my art on the cover, it becomes too much about me. So I wanted it to be kind of an abstract piece just with beautiful colors that created a mood, a creative mood, a beautiful mood, but not that was specific to Miriam Schulman so that people could feel themselves in this inside this book.

Michele Martin: That’s fair enough. And that goes along with the this may be a little less true for your listeners, but a lot of authors very strongly consider wanting themselves on the cover. That is almost always a mistake, because whoever you are, you’re excluding somebody. Once your pictures on if you’re a girl, you’re excluding boys. If you’re white, you’re excluding people who aren’t white. I mean, it’s oh, so yeah, if you’re a big celebrity and people know your face, it can be helpful. But it’s generally not a good idea.

Miriam Schulman: Like if your Prince Harry.

Michele Martin: That’s a really good cover.

Miriam Schulman: That’s a really good cover. Okay. So let’s talk about then. What types of things do you pass on? Let’s say they have a great platform. What? What are we like, an instant no for you?

Michele Martin: Well, if somebody has a really great platform and I don’t like the book they came up with, I’ll try to get them to write something else.

Miriam Schulman: Oh, interesting.

Michele Martin: Yeah. So, you know, because I said this before, and as we’re talking, it’ll make more and more sense. The platform has to speak to the book. You know, if you’re known as a chef online and you’re doing a fashion book, not going to work. So, you know, so if they’ve got an audience and these people are coming to them for X and they decided to write about something else, I try to move them back closer to what they’re—for the first book, closer to the topic they already have some followership about.

Miriam Schulman: Okay. All right. Before we hit record, I think you mentioned about checking off. I checked off some boxes for you. Why don’t we go through what some of those boxes are. We already mentioned platform. Next thing is idea.

Michele Martin: It’s definitely the idea, but. But not just an idea. The execution. I mean, one of the things that I love about your book, it’s chockablock with actionable prescriptive do-this ideas. I was zooming with my sisters two days ago. I have two sisters and I was talking to them about the book and both of them asked me for the book. Neither of them are traditionally creative per se, but I told them what was in it and they’re like, I want to see how to do that. There was just so much information about how to turn your thing into a business. I mean, this is a conversation we had a lot in the beginning with who’s the artist this book is for. That’s how we wind up with the word creatives. Yeah, you do that trailer, which is perfect. Could be dancing, it could be singing, it could be knitting. I knit. It’s your creative endeavor and then how to make a living doing that.

Miriam Schulman: So my husband’s finally read the book. I think he might have skipped a chapter. But he read the book and he, as he was reading it, was interesting because he was saying, Oh, this a plot. He was saying two things that I thought were interesting. One, he was saying, Oh, this applies to my world, and he’s in real estate development, like I said. Well, of course it does, because all I’m doing is taking traditional business and traditional marketing skills and translating it for the creative to understand. But and the other thing he said is, Oh, you’ve been doing this for years, You’ve been talking about this for years. I remember you saying this. I remember you doing so it was interesting having him as like part of the audience.

Michele Martin: That’s a really interesting point you’re bringing up, and I bet this doesn’t happen a lot. People sit down and want to write a book and they try to scrape their minds for the idea. You took what you’re doing and you put it on the page. You were already doing this, you were already teaching this to people. That’s a very powerful way to create a book with content that’s really finessed already. I mean, maybe too much to say the book spilled out of you, but it was there, the information was there. You know, we tweaked things, but it was there.

Miriam Schulman: It was a matter of just downloading it to the page.

Michele Martin: [inaudible] you didn’t sit around one night saying, What should I write a book about? That book had to get written. Yeah, because that’s what you’ve been telling people.

Miriam Schulman: Okay, so let’s talk. We have the boxes are the platform, the idea. What would be the next thing that you look at?

Michele Martin: Voice. Can’t be boring because nobody wants to read boring. The rule of thumb in publishing is show. Don’t tell. Storytelling. You want to teach somebody something, tell them what you’re teaching them. Give them an anecdote, sum it up at the end. But you’ve got to have some storytelling in there. There has to be narrative. So a nonfiction book that’s narratively driven just means there’s a lot of stories in there to move you because otherwise, it feels like a textbook and they’re hard to read, cover to cover. They’re boring.

Miriam Schulman: Yeah, that might have been a chapter that my husband skipped. Like the editing. They cut a few stories out.

Michele Martin: Yeah, no, and some–listen. Some chapters sing, and some chapters are a little bit drier. But on the whole, you want a book where people get lost in the book, even if it’s a book teaching you how to do something. You can get lost in it. So voice really helps. Your voice on the page is very similar to your voice on the podcast. That’s great because then there’s an authenticity that comes through. The people I represent generally can do that because they are speaking to an audience, so they do have a voice. And that voice generally does come through when they’re writing a book. But that’s not true with everybody.

Miriam Schulman: Alright. So we’ve got platform, idea, voice. Is there a fourth box now?

Michele Martin: I mean, you know, I just want to say this again, and probably we could tuck it into one of those threes. A unique idea. And what I mean by unique is not you’re going to create something that’s never been done. You probably not. But you have to be able to convince an editor that book is not already on the bookshelf because bookstores. It’s not true for Amazon, obviously, because it’s cyber. But bookstores, even Amazon, with their warehouses, they can’t take every book. So if they’ve got two books on creativity, they may want to book on prescription drugs because they don’t have that. So there has to be a reason. This is the way I look at it. This is not literally true, but your book has to be clearly new enough that they’re willing to kick another book off the shelf to put yours on it. That’s an exaggeration, but only by a little bit. Am I being clear on what that point is? It’s just that they really have to say this is different. This is new. I think that this is going to connect with the reader. I don’t think I’ve got six versions of this on the shelf already.

Miriam Schulman: Okay. So one of the ways that we communicated or I communicated that to you is with the comps. Is that is that how you would say what convinced you that this was a good idea but new enough, but not so new that people don’t want it?

Michele Martin: I want to go back to comps because I have something important to say. But to that particular question, what convinced me? There was so much actionable information and you were already talking to people about it. So those two things, unique idea and marketing platform, those were there immediately. You know, the proposal needed work. Every proposal needs work. Bestselling authors need work. But it was there. It was clearly there. You had the platform that I was going to be able to sell. You had the idea. We just had to talk a little bit to really open it up beyond fine art, more fine art and the Etsy crowd and keep creatives because why limit it? It is apropos all of those people. But let me say something about comps, because comps are a little bit different than I think most authors understand them to be. So comps is a competitive title section in the in the book proposal, you take three or four books and you say to the editor, You don’t know me, you don’t know my book, you don’t know my audience. If you want to imagine what I’m doing here, it’s going to be like X. All right, so how do you pick those X’s? If you picked Eat, Pray, Love, the editor will ignore it because they don’t want you to compare your book to a 5 million copy book.

They want to know, what can they expect of your book financially in the first seven weeks, eight weeks, 12 weeks on sale? So you want to give them a realistic competitive book that addresses the same audience you want to reach. Did well enough that there’s hope of a sale, but it’s not so gigantic that it would be ridiculous to compare your book to it. And this is something I say to authors all the time. When publishers put together a financial offer for an author, they modeled their numbers on another book. They say, I think it’s going to act like X. If you do the right job with your comps, you will pick that book. If you don’t, they will pick that book. We don’t want them picking the book. We want to pick it. Yeah, we want them to model the book we give them. So the more real you are with your comps, if you give them Eat, Pray, love, they will not use it. I don’t even care if your book really is Eat, Pray, Love. They won’t use it.

Miriam Schulman: And for me, that book was Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins, which actually was published by the same imprint that that did buy the book. And they probably had those numbers, those exact numbers of how it sold. Is that would you agree with.

Michele Martin: 100%, you know, just to go against what I just said. But it’s an interesting spin. I’m working on a proposal I’ll be sending out the first week in February. And the most important comp is a very successful business book. But we’re using it because what we’re saying is what that book did not do to serve this niche, my author’s book will do. In that case, it’s a legitimate comparison. This book was for the business owner, but my author’s clientele has a slightly different business construction and we are going to take that book to the next step for those people. And there are millions of those people with that kind of business. Businesses where you don’t sell goods but you sell services advice, people like you putting your art aside.

Miriam Schulman: Now, one thing that you had me do, which I do think made a big difference, was you were questioning the size of the market. And as somebody who’s an artist and my listeners were surrounded by artists, this is it’s like all we see is the art world. And it never even occurred to me that people don’t realize, like, how many of us there really are. And so one thing I did between the first time I spoke to you and when you finally accepted my proposal was I went and got hard data on the size of this market, of the art market, of the Etsy market, of how many people shop at Michael’s. And really so I could we could communicate to the publisher the potential for the size of the audience for this book.

Michele Martin: It’s so important this book I was just talking about with the business author, that’s what I just asked him to get me. How many people are you serving? Not you personally, but in that category of business owners give me numbers because my the editor may not know that. I’m not going to know it. You should know it. And that will be very helpful because that’s your potential book buying market.

Miriam Schulman: And that research is actually so easy to do with Google.

Michele Martin: Yeah, Yeah. No, absolutely.

Miriam Schulman: Numbers are all out there.

Michele Martin: And you know, intuitively, when we started talking about Etsy and Michael’s and places like that, you know, intuitively it’s a big number. But when you see the number, people get impacted. When you see big numbers like that, you know, it gets exciting. Well, look how many people might take this book, might buy this book.

Miriam Schulman: All right. So I hope we got you excited about Artpreneur. So this is an original book that’s never been out there before. I want to get it into the hands of as many artists as possible. So you, your friend, your sister, think about giving them a gift. You can pick up the book and we don’t care what format you get. But if you go to, there’s a lot of bonuses there for you to check out. That’s worth way more than the Kindle, the audiobook or the paper book. Oh, and we didn’t talk about the audiobook. Okay.

Michele Martin: So super important.

Miriam Schulman: We’ll talk about this for a minute because I don’t know if you know what’s going on right now, but I’m getting signed release forms from my podcast guest and we have like one one release form left to get signed. There’s about like 20 other voices that are included in this audiobook other than mine.

Michele Martin: Wonderful.

Miriam Schulman: Going to be amazing. I’m so excited. So if you like listening to the podcast, you’re going to be blown away by this audiobook.

Michele Martin: And the audio market is a very strong part of the book publishing market. A lot of people buy the audio and the book. Audio is a really successful format.

Miriam Schulman: Yeah, so the audiobook is going to be very entertaining. But you should also get let’s say this because I make whatever it is six what I make per paperback, $0.60 per book or something.

Michele Martin: It’s not.

Miriam Schulman: Shockingly low. I want you to have it. It’s inside the book. There are charts like Overcoming Objection, charts that you’re going to want to have a physical version of that, whether that is the Kindle version or the paperback.

All right, Michele, thank you so much for being with me here today. Do you have any last words for the listeners before we call this podcast complete?

Michele Martin: Absolutely. So most people think about writing a book. Most people want to write a book. So my really high-level advice when you’re thinking about it. Don’t forget, the book is always about your reader, not about you. There’s an inclination to want to do memoir and fine to use your personal story as the narrative driver, but the book is always about the reader. So try to keep that in mind.

Miriam Schulman: Amen. That’s what I’m always telling my artists about everything they do. It’s not about us.

Michele Martin: Absolutely. Yeah. Applies everywhere.

Miriam Schulman: All right, my friend. Thank you so much for being with me here.

Michele Martin: Thanks for inviting me.

Miriam Schulman: All right. I’ll see you the same time, same place next week. Until next time, Stay inspired.

Speaker 2: Thank you for listening to the Inspiration Place podcast. Connect with us on Facebook at on Instagram @schulmanart and of course, on



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