The Art of the Business

A blog dedicated to artists who are serious about their business.

Biz Books moves to online-only operation June 30, 2010

Filed under: Business of Arts,Business relationships,E-book,Life — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:16 am
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Last week I got a very sad phone call from Cat at Biz Books.

She had made a very difficult decision. She had decided to close Biz’ storefront operation, and to make it be an online store only.

My relationship with Biz Books goes back at least 10 years. One of my very first publicity gigs was for an all-female version of Glengarry Glen Ross, and I remember seeing an ad for Biz in the program, and the producer handing me a card with the name “Bronwen Smith” on it.

A couple years later, Bronwen was cast in a play I was producing and acting in, Five Women Wearing the Same Dress, and today, she is part of my inner circle of friends. I have been jealous of Bron’s job as the manager at Biz since I can remember–what a perfect job for an actor–but now she’ll have to figure out what’s next for her.

Bronwen helps to hype up my book at Biz

I remember their old location in the super dodgy part of E Cordova, with the theatre space right next door, and being so happy for them when they got their new, current location on the corner of Cordova and Cambie.

Cat and Bronwen and the gang at Biz did more for our film and theatre community than just supply us with audition monologues and copies of the plays that the Arts Club was doing this year. Biz was a central hub in our community. There was seldom a time when I’d drop in when there wasn’t someone there I knew, or someone would come by that I knew. They ran workshops, hosted parties (remember Harry Potter releases?), and employed some of the city’s finest actors while they were building a career.

Cat has been incredibly supportive of my own work, hosting a free social media workshop, and selling copies of my book.

While the show will go on on line, I for one will miss dropping into the store to pick up a book, or just to say “hi” to the gang.

Thanks, Cat, Bron, Carrie, Spence, Brian, T, Mel, Shane and Carol.

Here is Cat’s official announcement:

After almost 14 years of being a physical hub for Vancouver’s film, television and theatre communities, we at Biz Books have decided to close our Cordova Street doors and focus on the window to the world that is the internet.

With all of the many changes in filmmaking, television creation and theatre production… not to mention book selling, it has become apparent to us that we need to refocus ourselves on providing you fast, cost effective access to the best and newest resources available and not to be distracted by maintaining a brick and mortar store. Over these past 14 years, the collective efforts of some of Vancouver’s best and brightest actors and writers have come together to build the 10,000 strong Biz Books community. We have loved your visits, support and patronage, and thank you for that and hope that it will follow us to our online store where we plan to continue.

What is changing?

We are closing 302 West Cordova Street on August 15th. We will then be conducting all of our business from our online home at http://www.bizbooks.net

What will continue?

The many things you love about Biz Books will continue on BizBooks.net. Our efforts to bring you the latest and greatest in the areas of film, television and theatre as well as our active role in bringing you the classes, workshops, book launches, author readings, events and contests that you have come to appreciate from our variety of industry partners and presenters.

Where are we going?

We will still be based in the Greater Vancouver area but will not be maintaining a retail space. We will continue to grow our stock levels so that fast local shipping and our presence at many local classes and events will provide you great access to books and software.

Why now?

With all the many changes to Gastown we have been hearing from customers about the challenges they face in coming to see us. Looking towards the future, we do not see those challenges getting any easier or the costs for maintaining a retail space in this neighbourhood (or frankly any in the Lower Mainland) being at a level that any independent bookseller could shoulder, much less one whose customers have had such a challenging few years keeping themselves going.

What about the staff?

Over the years, Biz Books has been so very fortunate to have had the time and talent of so many great people focused on building it. It is with a heavy heart we realize that we will no longer be able to provide regular access to the incredible knowledge of Bronwen Smith, Jennifer Spence, Carrie Ruscheinsky, Teresa Weir, Melanie Walden, Brian Sutton, Carol Hodge and Shane Kolmansberger. We know that they are a huge reason that we have gained the support of so many of you and thank them, with special appreciation to Bronwen for her incredible efforts during her time at Biz (How could we ever sum up her 13 years!?!?), and we wish them all well with their future endeavours. They were the heart of Biz on Cordova Street and they will always be in mine.

We also want to recognize the contribution of the group we lovingly refer to as the “Biz Books Alumni”: Patricia (without whom we would have never opened!), Harlan, Kyle, Cam, Eileen, Jason, Alexa, Gillian, Sydney, Daniel, Melanie, Alana, Jane, Kristin, John, Stacie and Jazmin.

And while we are thanking people… Dave at Webbervision, Ian at Atomic Fez, Rebecca at Rebecca Coleman Marketing and Media Relations, Jasper at NovaCurrent Creative Solutions, David Cowan, our computer genius, my fantastic in-laws Herm & Shirley (for building all of the beautiful wood fixtures that helped to create such a cozy atmosphere here) and our wonderful landlords JP & Barbara… thank you so very much for all of your support over the years and for your kind wishes for us on our new phase.

We are planning a sale to start on July 2nd (we will of course be closed for Canada Day July 1st!) so stay tuned for more details on that and also, please use your gift cards before August 14th or bring them by to have them converted for use on our online store – again before August 14th!

And now the invitation part….

Our last day of operation on Cordova Street will be Saturday, August 14th and we are planning on it being a celebration so we invite you to come by for our BizBooks.net Going-Online Party!

Thanks for 14 great years on Cordova Street and we’ll see you out and about at events in the community and of course, at BizBooks.net!

Cat

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My Christmas Gift to You December 18, 2009

Filed under: Business relationships,E-book — Rebecca Coleman @ 7:16 am
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Well, gentle reader, as the year comes to a close, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you.

I am a gal that takes her business very seriously, and that means not taking for granted the folks who read my blog, bought my book, and hired me to to PR this year. So, thanks!! I’m very humbled at how well my blog has grown this year, and I really appreciate all your comments, pingbacks, and retweets.

This will be my last post for a while. I am taking a couple of weeks off of work while Michael is on vacation to (hopefully) get some rest and relaxation.

But from now until Christmas, I am offering $5 off the price of my e-book: Guide to Getting Started with Social Media For Artists and Arts Organizations. It normally sells for $19.95, but from now until Christmas, you can get it for $14.95. Maybe you’ve been thinking about buying it, but haven’t yet, or would like to get another copy for a friend (a copy just went to Australia the other day–it’s getting around!). Here’s your chance!

Click here to read the reviews.

Click here to order.

I wish you a very happy Christmas, and a wonderful and prosperous New Year!

 

Updates October 30, 2009

Filed under: E-book,interview,Life,Workshops — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:06 am
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Today is an aggregate post, a bunch of links and news items about what I’ve been up to and what’s coming up.

First off, I have just finished a major rewrite of my Guide to Getting Started with Social Media for Artists and Arts Organizations.my guide!
The rewrites include:

  • A fully re-worked chapter on Facebook
  • A new chapter on You Tube
  • Updated screenshots
  • More exercises, which makes it feel more like a workbook.

For those of you who have already bought a copy, thanks. And I’ll be sending you the updates in the next little while. For those of you who are interested, you can purchase a copy by clicking here. It will also be available, in hard-copy, workbook format, later today at Biz Books, 302 W. Cordova St.

I did a couple of interviews last week, too.

One with another Rebecca (Krause-Hardie) who does stuff that is surprisingly similiar to what I do, only in the States.

One with Toronto’s Ian MacKenzie, for his company’s marketing blog, The Big Orange Slide.

One final reminder that Simon and I will be on a panel this weekend entitled The Power of Social Media. We’ll be joined by Angela Crocker and Ryan Mooney, and the discussion will be moderated by Sean Allen. This takes place Saturday, Oct 31, at the Making a Scene Theatre confrence at Granville Island, from 1:30-3 pm.

Finally, stay tuned to my blog next week for an interview I just did with that wonderful Canadian playwright, Daniel MacIvor.

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E-book update October 9, 2009

Filed under: Arts Marketing,E-book — Rebecca Coleman @ 9:26 am

In June of this year, I launched my e-book, Guide to Getting Started with Social Media for Artists and Arts Organizations.Rebecca_ebook_12

There have been a couple of exciting new developments that I wanted to let you know about.

First off, the book is now available to download in alternative formats through Smashwords. Smashwords is an e-book publisher, and allow me to sell my book, not just in traditional .pdf format, but in other formats as well, like for Kindle, SonyReader, Epub (Iphone) or PalmDocs. You can see it here.

Secondly, the guide will soon be available in hard-copy format to purchase through Biz Books.

There’s some new stuff in the works, as well. I’m in the process of rewriting the Facebook chapter, and I plan to add a chapter on using video and Tumblr in the next few months.

So, stay tuned!

 

Why social media? August 24, 2009

Filed under: Business relationships,E-book,Touchpoints — Rebecca Coleman @ 11:42 am
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(the following is an excerpt from my e-book: Guide to Getting Started with Social Media for Artists and Arts Organizations)

Marketing is creating relationships built on trust.

The days of heavy‐handed, high‐pressure sales tactics are gone. The advent of Television, mass print,
and the internet made it easy for advertisers to get their products under our noses. But after many years
of being bombarded with literally thousands of ads per day, we have developed the ability to tune it out.

I see us returning to the day of the door‐to‐door salesman. In the ‘50’s, housewives often bought wares
from a familiar salesman that came around at regular intervals. There was a trust between the buyer
and the seller that was built on personality, and getting to know each other (for the seller, getting to
truly know his housewives’ needs).

While I’m not advocating you start trying to sell your artwork door‐to‐door, I am encouraging you to
jump  into  social  media  because  it  is  a  very  powerful  form  of  relationship  marketing.  Relationship
marketing works because if you get someone on your side, they will bring others to you. Think about
products that you use in your own life. If you really love something, and are finding that it makes your
life easier, won’t you tell others about it? You become, in essence, an ambassador for that product. And
if you tell a friend and convert them, and then they tell someone… well, you get the idea. Social media
makes this process painless, easy, and, immediate.

Any marketer worth their salt will tell you that word‐of‐mouth is always your number one form of
advertising. And the joy of social networking is that you have the ability to reach new, and perhaps
untapped, markets, all from the comfort of your own computer.

I recently came across this great YouTube video, created by the fine folks over at 22 Squared, which illustrates this point perfectly.

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Please don’t call me a “social media expert” August 17, 2009

I recently did an interview with Corwin Christie for the Technology in the Arts blog. As you know, in June, I launched my e-book: Getting Started With Social Media for Artists and Arts Organizations. Since then, the good little marketer that I am, I’ve been exploring every avenue to promote it, so I was totally jazzed when Corwin found me and asked to do an interview with me.

I have to say, those were some some tough questions, but I like a challenge. You can read the final post here.

The back says "because this t-shirt says so"

The back says "because this t-shirt says so"

In the introduction to the post, Corwin rightly goes on to reflects on the term “social media expert”, which is a term that I have always felt uncomfortable applied to myself.

Really, anyone with a Twitter account can call themselves a social media expert. I mean, there’s nothing to stop them. There is no professional association of social media experts, no university or college certifications. Our world is so new, we are literally making it up as we go along.

What alarms me about the term “social media expert” is, people who are just jumping on the social media bandwagon may come across a self-professed “social media expert” and purchase services from them: a course, some consulting, or yes, an e-book. And it’s really buyer beware. Just because you call yourself a social media expert, doesn’t mean you are Gary Vanderchuck or Guy Kawasaki.

So, here’s  a couple of ways to tell if someone is really an expert or not.

1.    What are the numbers? Check out their profiles on Facebook and Twitter. How many friends do they have? What is their Twitter follower-to-followee ratio? Do they have a Facebook Fan page? And if so, how many fans? This point is about sheer quantity.
2.    Do they offer value? Check out their posts on Facebook and Twitter. Are they all personal? Are they all links to cute YouTube puppy videos? Or are they links of value, linking to their own blog, or someone elses’ about the latest and greatest in social media?
3.    Do they have a website? Is their website entirely dedicated to selling, or are there some freebies or useful information? Is there an about page so that you can get to know a little about them?
4.    Do they have a blog? How long have they been blogging for? Does their blog have an about page? A blogroll?

These are all useful criteria for judging expert status.

Personally, I’m uncomfortable with the term. I prefer to think of myself as someone who is learning about this stuff, but I’m just a little ahead of the curve. And maybe a couple of people along the way can benefit from my experience.

For a bit of fun (and some solid info) on the topic, check this out.

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E-book reviews July 20, 2009

Filed under: E-book,Uncategorized — Rebecca Coleman @ 6:55 am
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On June 21, I launched my first e-book: Guide to Getting Started with Social Media for Artists and Arts Organizations.Rebecca_ebook_12

I wanted to share with you some of the things that other people are saying about it.

From Simon Ogden, The Next Stage:

It’s a simple and well-organized handbook to help you cut through the noise and weirdness of the jungle that is the new way to market. This is a jungle that all businesses, from huge multi-level corporations on down to our little indie theatre troupes have to learn to navigate now. This book is a wonderful resource, and you’re in good hands with Bex as your tour guide.

From Maryann Devine, smArts and Culture:

Here’s what I really like about Rebecca’s book:

She doesn’t assume that you’re a marketing expert. Before she tells you how to create your social media plan, she clues you in on some marketing basics. Like lots of other nonprofit cultural staffers, you may not be the marketing director, but you may still be charged with promoting arts programming. Rebecca gets this, and gives you a bit of a primer.

She doesn’t assume you’re a social media expert. After an overview of social networking, Rebecca takes you step-by-step through the process of setting up a blog, Facebook page, twitter account, and more.

She doesn’t leave you hanging when the book is through. Instead of just handing out advice and saying “The End,” Rebecca includes detailed worksheets that walk you through the process of social media planning, and instruct you on setting up and maintaining specific social networking channels.

From Erin Raimondo, One Degree:

The originality here lies in the well thought out worksheet section. While most ebooks on the topic have suggestions, Getting Started literally gets you started, even for those no background whatsoever in marketing. A great little starter kit!

The book is available at two prices: $19.95 for just the book alone, and $29.95 for the book plus an individualized, half-hour consultation with me (which is a value of $25 on its own!). Both versions include an MP3 version and unlimited free updates. Oh–and a money-back guarantee.

There are two purchasing options:

  1. Book alone: $19.95
  2. Book plus an individual, 1/2 hr consultation via email, telephone, or Skype (a $25 value!): $29.95

Click here to buy.

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