#3 Artist Memoirs, Museums, and Marketing

Authors who want their memoir or autobiography to be read by more than their relatives and a few friends need to consider how they will market their book and which brick-and-mortar venues they’d like to see carry it. Museum bookshops are one obvious venue for an artist’s memoir. In the next two weeks I plan to visit museum bookshops in Amsterdam, Bruges, Brussels, and Paris to learn firsthand what sorts of books they carry.

(Yes, I could—and I will!—look at museum bookshops’ online offerings, but that is not the same as a trip to Paris!)

I’m working with sculptor John DeAndrea on his memoir. Mr. DeAndrea’s work is exhibited in museums and is owned by private collectors around the world. Most recently, he has two pieces in the Hyperrealism Sculpture retrospective that runs March 10 – July 1, 2018, at the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam. I left Monday morning, March 5, for Amsterdam. The trip seemed to take forever, but I eventually arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on March 6. I’ll attend the Kunsthal opening on March 10.

From Rotterdam I’ll take the train to Belgium and visit Bruges, where I plan to complement my museum research with tourist food: chocolate, waffles, and frites (French fries) with mayonnaise. Belgians are reputed to enjoy good health, so I assume they save these treats for the tourists.

After a much-too-short visit to Brussels, I’ll head to Paris to conclude my trip.

Like any author, Mr. DeAndrea will need to decide between hybrid publishing or a traditional publisher for his book. If in-person visits and an online review suggest that museum bookshops favor traditional publishers, that may be his best option.

As you consider how and where you’d like to market your book, places you’ve seen similar books may be a good starting point. Trade fairs, garden shows, boat dealerships, business conventions: Where are your likely readers?

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