Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

The Art of the CMA

So I wrote a book.  I’m self-publishing it. I’m getting some final feedback on the copy/content and finishing up the images, but in the next few weeks, we will be sending it to the printer.  So, I’m looking for some feedback.

But first, let me tell you a story.  I began writing the book almost two years ago.  One of my favorite artists is John Coltrane.  My son’s name is Cole, which was a compromise I made with my wife. Which should give you an idea of how much of a geek I am.

John Coltrane used to live in Long Island, NY.   MLS of Long Island (MLSLI) holds a tech fair every year in October and his house isn’t far from the hotel I stay in.  So each year I’ve driven by it.  There’s a plaque outside the house that memorializes it. It’s not Graceland or Paisley Park. It’s was just the humble home of a great artist.

For inspiration, I wrote the first words of my book outside that house.  Since then I’ve struggled, started, and stopped multiple times.  Then, last year I was attending a trade show on content marketing in Cleveland and ran into an old colleague/friend of mine, Charles Warnock.  I hired Charles years ago to run marketing at eNeighborhoods and now had a consulting business called Content Marketing Factory. We have been keeping in touch but had a chance to catch up with a couple of drinks at the conference.  Charles mentioned he was co-authoring a book on enterprise innovation and digital transformation. Immediately I told him I was working on a book too, and was having trouble completing it and staying focused.  He was excited by the idea of the book.  So I struck a deal with Charles and he has been invaluable in helping me get the book completed.

So I’ve been working with the graphic designers on my team to create the cover of the book. I’ve decided on a layout and now I’ve narrowed it down to 3 different versions of that layout. So I’m looking for feedback on these three final designs. That’s where you come in.

The name of my book is “The Art of the CMA”. I’ll write more about the concept and content of the book in a later blog post.

Design #1


This the basic layout.  I’m using Neutra (pronounced noy-tra) as the main font.  It’s named for a famous Architect, Richard Neutra. Neutra is used in a lot of signage. It’s the same font I used for our building signage at W+R Studios building and the original W&R Studios buttery soft t-shirts.  I like the fact that the font is tied to dwellings.  The public library in Huntington Beach was designed by him, right before he died and his son took over the project.

The green I use is the same green as Cloud CMA.  But I only mention Cloud CMA once in the book.

The sub-headline “Winning Listings by Mastering Real Estate’s Best Marketing Tool” isn’t final, but I haven’t come up with anything better.

And of course, the illustration is of a house, with a dollar sign symbolizing the value.

Design #2


In this version, we have added multiple colors to the line color of the illustration.  Like an artist’s palette.  The feedback I’ve heard so far is that it looks too close to a company logo during “Pride” month. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

Design #3


Here the artist’s palette vibe and color are more prominent and we changed the color of some of the copy.

So there you have it.  I’ve created a quick poll that you can fill out below. Or write something in the comments or just send me an email. I’m beyond excited about this project and happy to have all of you share in its creation.

  1. Greg, I LOVE IT… I can’t wait to read it. And, I love all 3 covers..

    Question, when designing the cover, have you ever thought of having a question mark facing the dollar sign (using the same outlined dollar sign)?

    Just thinking out loud… what’s your house worth?

  2. I like the simplicity of #1, but I feel that #3 will definitely grab more visual attention, and the different colors give a sense of depth and layering which is intriguing. Congrats by the way!

  3. The polar opposite of your mantra “never go big on the first night” leads me to vote for #3. How many books you gonna write big guy? Go big or go home! #3!!!!!!!

  4. I like 1, and I like 2. 3 is too noisy for me in too small of a space.

    If pushed, I’d BARELY go with 2.

  5. I will be the contrarian here. I like number 3. I’ll go with my Steve Jobs instinct on marketing. Number 3 shows the complexity of a CMA. A CMA is a combination of experience, art, logic, rationalization, and local knowledge. I’m sure there is something I missed in that amalgam. No algorithm can take the place of an agent. Not yet and for some time to come.

  6. Delicious story, truly. As someone who has named his kids after artists, it moves me. I’d go with 1 unless the extra colors have a meaning described within the book. The simple 1-color design also happens to nicely lend itself to this being a series of “The Art of…” books, should the muse continue to move you. Next one in blue (The Art of Loyalty), then red (The Art of Honesty), then black (The Art of Marketing), then purple (The Art of Prince, duh), and so on. If you’re going to use color, use it with meaning and purpose, like John Nieto did, or else it distracts. Big congratulations on the achievement.

  7. It feels like you dance around the obvious. If you’re going, go large. 1966. Ascension. Not my cup of tea, but the album cover… Simple and eye catching simultaneously.

    I guess cover two is closest.

    I look forward to reading your book and the obvious sequel “On Pricing Analysis” and of course your memoirs. Get going on that. 🙂

  8. #2 I like the colors and the multiple meanings behind it. But the one I would first use is a CMA isn’t black & white, there are multiple factors that go into it to determine the value.

  9. #3 just pops. There’s a lot of content out there, and what’s gonna grab the reader’s eye?

    My attention is immediately drawn to the house, and to the $ in it. Isn’t that what CMAs are all about? There’s substance. I’m with David C…go big or go home, baby!

    (PS – if the color scheme has prompted debate, you can always play with the color palette.)

  10. Hey Greg,

    Awesome to hear it’s coming to life. Just a thought on #3.

    What if you puzzle pieces where actually a bunch of Neutra Font numbers in different colors overlayed on each other (a reference to $ & #’s for a CMA & puzzle) similar to a Keith Haring print.

    Look forward to reading it!

  11. #3 is ART –
    It makes you think about the creative ART aspect, and judging by the Coletrain references, this aspect will feature prominently throughout the book as the title implies. The pop (as others have said) would make it stand out from other biz books.

  12. @MikeBarnett That is a great idea, We did a lot of other designs before this but nothing related to the “$” sign and the “?” sign. Seems pretty obvious, and I surprised we didn’t riff of that concept.

  13. @MarcDavison Well you are the contrarian in this group. #2 is the 3 least chosen, but I have such a great respect for your taste, it causes me to pause a bit.

  14. @RolandEstrada I love the way you articulated the reason for your choice. I guess the apple logo was multi-color when it came out, but they certainly are very monochromatic now.

  15. @G.Sax Thanks. What I’m hearing from folks in the #3 camp is that they like that it pops and draws attention. That appeals to me as a marketer, where someone sees the book on the table, it draws their attention, and they pick it up. The software guy in me prefers #1, just simple. It’s gong to be a tough decision.

  16. @PaulStusiak. Oh god, “Ascension”. That’s a very challenging listen. The cover is very simple, but how to do you reckon that with the cover of “coltrane’s sound”?

  17. @JessieBeaudoin I believe we did have a version that the color was more like a jigsaw. Not sure why that didn’t make the cut. I think maybe we had seen it somewhere else.

  18. Congrats on your book Greg!! My vote is #3! It visually supports the wording “Art of the CMA”. It pops. It’s very approachable and enticing. If it was on a coffee table I’d be interested enough to pick it up. I agree with Roland, it symbolizes the complexity of a CMA. Just one very small suggestion … with the extra artwork, the concept of a house could be mistaken for an envelope. Maybe consider a small tweak to solidify the house design? Love it either way! #3.

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  20. I like #3 and agree with some of the others above. It reminds me of a puzzle which is what a CMA can be. You need to get all the pieces and then put them together so they make sense. 🙂

  21. #3 for me. I think the various colors represent all the people and personalities that a CMA is presented to.

    #1 is too plain for my “art” taste.

    Congratulations on this accomplishment Greg!

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