January 18, 2013 by Nathaniel Tower
Recently I discovered a promising new prospect in artist promotion, Magic MasterMinds. After exploring the site, I decided to sit down (virtually) with one of its creators, Monica Paul. Here’s what Monica had to say about this fascinating new project.
What are the highlights in your own creative career?
I am a marketer, for 20 years I have worked in this area. The first ten years working as a regional manager with IT companies, for the last 10 years in my own firm – Marcomtec Group – giving regional/global Marketing and PR consultancy and services to all kind of companies; mostly US corporations wanting to grow to the Latin America region. Writing is one of my hobbies, I actually write for some Latin American publications and also in the Ulitzer; I write articles related to IT and the new digital marketing topics. I write a lot of content for my clients, either articles, brochures, and website’s content. However, writing fiction stories is my hobby and one of my passions since I was a little girl. Additionally, I love art; and I love all the beautiful things that Mother Nature gives us every day.
What made you start Magic MasterMinds?
Some time ago I joined the Zoetrope, a writing workshop where I met D.J. Swykert, an experienced author who gave me a very objective review of one of my stories, he was amazed when I told him that actually, English isn’t my first language; however, I write in English. We started a lovely friendship; he showed me his last book “Children of the Enemy”. On the other hand, one of my best friends from the childhood is Odette Farrell, a painter who has been very successful en UK, where she lives now, and Europe. I asked them if they would help me allowing me to start a website, an art showcase in the internet; both accepted and I started developing Magic Masterminds, in a beginning as an artist’s showcase. But then, some other ideas popped up. Then I started the promotion as a digital marketing exercise. This ‘exercise’ has been successful, so Cezarija Abartis, Young Dinero, and Kas have also joined Magic Masterminds.
What are your goals for the project?
I used some of the Marcomtec’s Digital Marketing engine to promote DJ’s book; it was in the Omnilit website. After some weeks promoting it, “Children of the Enemy” showed up in the Top Ten best seller list, and stayed there for the following weeks. We were doing something right… After all, I have experience as a business woman, I am a marketer, and I have strong experience working with technology. So, I started a formal business plan. Magic Masterminds is now going through some transitions, it will have a strong integration with Marcomtec to give artists and authors a powerful technological platform to sell and promote their work.
What can an author or artist expect from Magic MasterMinds?
This is very good question and a specific tab in our business plan, benefits. An artist or author can expect a powerful technological platform integrated with a set of services that will help them to showcase and sell their work. Some of these services will be charged, some others will be available for the artist to be used under a commission per sale basis. This means that they won’t have to invest to put their work in the showcase. We will have a continuous digital marketing and PR working to promote the website, our artist, and authors.
How do you plan to promote the site?
Magic Masterminds will use the Marcomtec’s digital marketing and PR engine. This means we will apply all the expertise and resources to have a continuous marketing campaign using social media, PR, and other digital marketing tools to promote every artist and author their pieces of art, books, etc.; and of course Magic Masterminds itself.
How selective will you be when choosing artists and authors?
We invite all authors; obviously there is an ethic code and rules to follow. We are very respectful of the intellectual property and ethical conduct. Also there will be some professional policies to make sure we keep the best quality standards. Regarding painters, photographers, musicians, etc.; we will take them as particular cases. Odette’s paintings, for example, are not massive products, they need a different treatment, this will work more like a showcase and according to individual agreements other marketing tools may be used.
We will have also a policy to support new artist and authors, the only condition will be to be in compliance with quality standards – being new does not mean low quality – and of course the normal administrative and legal procedures that every company would ask.
How has the response to the site been so far?
I can proudly tell you that in general we have had very good comments about the website, some ask about the purpose or if it is going to be only a showcase; so far, I have yet not given details about Magic Masterminds development. This has been on purpose, we have kept it a little bit secretly, the reason is simple: We are still working in a master business plan, we have many ideas and each idea is getting its place strategically in a time line.
What do you think about e-publishing? Self-publishing? Agents?
I think they are ways for authors to take their writing to the readers. Agents are people who use their expertise to put their clients’ books with the optimal publisher. I can tell you that Magic Masterminds will have opened doors to Agents and we will work hard to earn a respectful place in their agenda.
Regarding e-publishing, it is a trend. For 2011, BookStats estimated that trade publisher e-book revenues were $1.97 billion, comprising almost 16% of trade sales. Compared with the $838 million in 2010; accounting for 6.7% of trade sales. In 2012 a growth of 16% for the entire trade business, compared to 2011 shows an important growing trend. A 30% growth is expected for 2013.
Worldwide media tablet sales to end users were around 118.9 million units in 2012, a 98 percent increase from 2011 sales of 60 million units, according to Gartner, Inc. For 2013, the tablet market growth is expected to hit a growth over 50%.
Even though, many people – me included, I love the smell of a new book – still go to the bookstore; the increase in sales of e-books will give a lot of opportunities to all the e-books in the market.
Regarding self-publishing, I think that many Indie Authors need support, as a marketer, I can tell you all the implications of launching a product to the market, and even when the latest technology tools makes the self-publishing very easy, it still needs the promotion to become profitable product. I would invite all the Indie Authors to allow us to help them promoting their books.
What makes you optimistic about the market for art?
This is an interesting question… Regarding the books, I have already given you some hard data that clearly shows a trend and a business opportunity. Painting, and other arts are different, my optimism comes from each individual; Odette Farrell for instance has already been a successful painter in more than one country, she has never touched the American market, but there is a constant along her career that shows also a trend. Art is an investment, so it needs a different approach, like I said above, each case is taken individually.
What’s one question you wish I would have asked?
Your interview is very complete. I still can’t give a formal launching date for the complete Magic Masterminds, but this will happen this year, it is more likely that it will be growing and adding services one step at a time. Like I said, there are many ideas, maybe too many ideas that hopefully will go materializing along time in a midterm.
Of course I will become myself an independent author and I will launch my own book in Magic Masterminds.
We also have a small magazine that is a space for authors to publish their work, we have a Reading Club there, the Forum isn’t available now, same migration reason, but it will come up again soon. We also have many ideas surrounding this little online magazine.
I promise to keep you posted. We will have the websites up and fully operational next week. Today, Sunday 13, I am waiting to have the domains control to be able to start working, they said today so I hope tomorrow we will be able to start.
Thank you very much and please feel free to ask everything you want dear Nathaniel.
Monica Paul (with a painting by Odette Farrell)