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Friday, October 26, 2018

Interview With New Yorker Cartoonist & New York Times Bestselling Author Bob Eckstein




1.      What is your newest book about?

I have two new books. There’s The Illustrated History of the Snowman by Globe Pequot. A version of this book came out ten years ago but I finally got a chance to make the book I had always hoped, a lush fully illustrated with hundreds of amazing images from around the world. It’s the most beautiful book I’ve ever worked on. It includes updates from the past ten years of snowman news, new paintings from me and my 800+ snowman collection, which is the world’s best. And it’s an adult non-fiction book to be clear.

The second item is a gift boxset of my bookstore paintings, called World’s Greatest Postcards:100 Postcards based on my bestselling book, Footnotes From the World's Greatest Bookstores. There’s 50 different bookstores, some which didn’t make it in the book and some new stores I’ve recently been to that I wanted to help out. There’s a pair of postcards of each: one to mail and one you can keep for yourself. I’s just a continuation of celebrating independent bookstores. I’ve been told in Tennessee it’s the postcard of choice to recruit voters by mail.

World's Greatest Bookstores: 100 Postcards certainly reveals a true love and passion for indie bookstores. How do we promote today’s bookstore to millions of people who don’t visit?
We have to raise awareness to everyone as to what is at stake here. In most cases these shops are the cultural hub of Main Street, a venue for like-minded people to meet and engage. Not just shopping for books but venues for music or readings. For some artists this is their first platform. And online shopping is not supporting the local infra structure. I could go on and give a hundred reasons why it’s important and the only argument I hear back is Amazon is cheaper and more convenient. It’s a tough battle but one worth fighting.

2.      Are bookstores still in danger – or has the amazon/e-book threat subsided?

It’s case by case depending on how progressive the bookstore has adapted but in general  terms, and from my personal experience (with many dozens of bookstore owners), it’s still a war. The e-book has leveled off for it’s own reasons. That’s a complicated animal that I’ll let others explain–I’m into tactile books and I have made my geared for that market specifically. So I’m no expert on e-books.

3. Bob, as a NYT best-selling author, can you tell struggling writers how you became successful?

This answer can be a book but the best advice I can give, and it’s solid advice, is today a writer must educate themselves. And it’s really never been easier. There’s webinars, writer’s conferences, Writer’s Digest and so many blogs and websites on the subject, teaching one the nuts & bolts of the business. The answer to every question is out there.

4. Where do you see the book industry heading?

I realize it’s very popular to provide an upbeat answer to this question and proclaim literature will never be compromised, but I see challenges ahead. In this country anyway. I mean right now most of the non-fiction bestseller list is about Trump and I’m not convinced we are living in a time when being educated is a premium. And that often feels like it’s for political reasons. 

There are more books then ever coming out (due to self-publishing) and a higher percentage of books ignored. Not enough demand, too much supply. That’s because the stores support new authors, especially the chain stores that feed the houses that will encourage them to take chances and they’re suffering. And so there’s trickle down effect that changes the quality of work being seen. Instead what is happening is publishers have to take less risks in this business resulting in more dumbed down titles instead of artistically challenging work. That’s generalizing, I know. There’s a lot of small press championing what’s important but in all fairness one only has to walk into the bigger stores or examine the bestseller lists to see the point I’m trying to make. The answer? I know I sound like Ol’ Man Eckstein, but getting kids unglued from their X-Boxes is a big start. that kid Harry Potter helped a lot.

Otherwise, I predict, work and writers are going to go where the money is. More screenwriting and Trump books.

Bob Eckstein is a New Yorker cartoonist and New York Times bestselling author. His new book, The Illustrated History of the Snowman and postcard boxset of his bookstore paintings both just came out. To enjoy more of his artwork go to www.bobeckstein.com or follow him at @BobEckstein. 

Please feel free to join me on LinkedIn --https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianfeinblum/.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

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