The Art Biz ep. 9: How Two Artists Self-Published and Are Promoting a Successful Book Together

As an author, I know it’s not easy to write a book. It’s hard enough to do it on your own, but what if you have a partner?

I was intrigued to learn how Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin came together to write their new book Cold Wax Medium: Techniques, Concepts, and Conversations.

Artists Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin. Photo courtesy the artists.
Artists Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin. Photo courtesy the artists.

It’s a gorgeous tome that has quickly become the go-to resource for anyone who wants to know anything about cold wax. (We were talking 2nd printing already!)Cold Wax Book

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Rebecca, in Wisconsin, and Jerry, in the Bay Area, collaborated long distance.
  • How they funded the book’s production.
  • How they divided the writing process.
  • How they are marketing (successfully!) Cold Wax Medium.

I also asked them to share advice for other artists who might be interested in writing a book.

Please enjoy this behind-the-scenes peek at how this book has become a hit.


Music: Keep It Simple by Wildermiss. Used with permission.
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About My Guests

Jerry McLaughlin has been a working visual artist for twenty years and has exhibited at galleries throughout the U.S. His work is in collections around the world.

An expert in all things cold wax, he focuses his major energies on painting, teaching, and writing.

As a teacher, Jerry's strength lies in identifying and addressing his students' individual needs.

Trained as a pediatric intensive care physician, he also holds a certificate in adult education from the University of Washington. Jerry lives in Oakland, California.

Jerry McLaughlin painting
©2015 Jerry McLaughlin, Rockridge Station. Oil, cold wax, and dirt on paper, 16 x 12 inches. Used with permission.
Rebecca Crowell has been a professional artist for thirty years and is widely known for her innovative painting techniques involving cold wax medium and oils.

She teaches these methods both in the US and internationally.

Her work is handled by fine art galleries in Chicago, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Telluride, and Dublin, Ireland and is found in hundreds of private, public, and corporate collections.

Rebecca holds an MFA in Painting and lives in rural west-central Wisconsin.

Rebecca Crowell painting
©Rebecca Crowell, Dark Tower. Oil, cold wax, and mixed media on panel, 60 x 36 inches. Used with permission.

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25 thoughts on “The Art Biz ep. 9: How Two Artists Self-Published and Are Promoting a Successful Book Together”

  1. Rebecca & Jerry – cheers to your guts, vision and the strength of your collaboration! Thank you for sharing your behind the scenes story. While I’m a watercolorist, the engaging texture shown on your cover intrigues me. Ordered your book – a new convert, perhaps!

  2. Thank you for the delightful insights into what you both put into bringing this book to fruition! I will be teaching my first class using oil and cold wax in September and I am using it daily to prepare. It is so well written and the artwork is beautifully photographed and printed. My favorite art book! Thank you!

  3. Dear Jerry and Rebecca,
    I am proud to say I have your beautiful book! I have been looking for a book on cold wax for a very long time.
    Thank you both for your time and talent in producing a wonderful and informative book.

  4. Hi Rebecca and Jerry

    Thank you for your wonderful book. I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of working with cold wax or artists who would like to further their practice with this medium. The interview highlights all the hard work you have both put into making this happen and what a great working relationship you both have.

  5. Thanks so much for this podcast. I have used Amazon’s CreateSpace to publish my book,
    My day job as a librarian, has come into handy in my journey of writing and illustrating books. Amazon’s CreateSpace is adequate for my simple illustrations, but if you’re using fine art pieces and needing quality reproduction, I understand how important off-set printing would be. How interesting that Jerry actually proposed this project to an “expert” with recognition in the Cold Wax medium. I found the idea of using Indigo-go(spelling?) to get funding an interesting option.
    I think this book project is such a good example of finding a “niche” audience that will buy the book. Using a whole community of Cold Wax artists, 100, and their platforms and clients – wow.
    I know that’s my fear of self publishing is the massive amount of books sitting in my parent’s and son’s basements.
    Now to be accepted by a mainline trade publisher, they are expecting you to have a platform, blog audience, etc. So you might as well self-publish if you have to do your own marketing anyway.
    I’m interested in using Ingram as a book distributor. They have been in the library biz for a long time. Though, you would still get stuck with buying a whole bunch of books.
    I found the inclusion of details like fund raising and how they did a contract with each other good to think about.
    How important to hire a professional editor and other professionals when publishing and being a working artist.
    Even if you don’t run into the specifics they did, it gets you thinking about the process, the type of thinking you have to do, when you’re going through a project, any project. One step at a time.

    1. Debbie: You obviously gleaned a lot from this conversation. Fantastic!

      The most important part of self-publishing is making sure you have built a platform on which to market the books. So … start building up that list! 😉

    2. thanks for your thoughts, Debbie. There’s a lot to learn when you launch a project like ours…but somehow step by step it gets done. And I agree with Alyson that the platform is essential.

  6. Hi Rebecca & Jerry,

    I am so thrilled to have your new book! I knew very little about cold wax medium until this book came along. And the art work is truly beautiful. Thank you!

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