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  • Blue Forge Group

Hello Monday – April 2021


Watch or listen to this episode here: https://youtu.be/H6tI5llFsYI


Topics Covered This Month:

Before You Email

Blue Flash Launched

Phone Hours

Office Hours

High-Traffic Events

Housing on Campus

Second Quarter Voting

Division Catalogs

Hardback Books

Publicity Campaigns

Websites


Welcome to Hello Monday, the monthly, company-wide update for the volunteer-run 501(c)3 nonprofit, Blue Legacy. Blue Legacy was founded in 1989 to empower artisans who have been marginalized due to their age, race, gender, ability, size, sexuality or class. Find out more about Blue Legacy at www.MyBlueLegacy.org


The incredible story of who we are and how we fund everything we do – including the average costs we cover to produce a book, album, game or film – can be found in the November 2020 episode of Hello Monday here: https://youtu.be/wFohbMgWae8


My name is Jennifer DiMarco. I’m a filmmaker, author, musician, and game developer at Blue Legacy... and the CFO. I’m honored to host today’s episode.


Before You Email


Fourth gentle reminder, everyone: Please do not write to anyone other than Brianne when writing to blueforgepress@gmail.com. You cannot reach any other DiMarco at that email address. When you add extra names at the top of an email, your message is filtered into spam.


If you need to place an order, email blueforgegroup@gmail.com. No other email account can process an order.


If you have an film issue, write to blueforgefilms@gmail.com.


If you have a book issue, write to blueforgepress@gmail.com.


If you have a game issue, write to blueforgegaming@gmail.com.


If you have an album issue, write to blueforgerecords@gmail.com.


The divisions are essentially their own companies. Do not send emails that span more than one division.


Company-wide, we receive forty to sixty emails daily. Please help us answer you in a faster and more efficient manner. Thank you.


Blue Flash Launched


Congratulations to the twenty-two authors who took a chance and participated in the launch of the Blue Flash imprint of pocket-size books. These titles are no more than 10,000-words in length and are designed to hook readers in a flash. Michelle? I bought this for myself – one of the first times purchased one of our own books for pleasure. Your stories are action-packed, emotionally charged, sexy and funny as heck. Thrilled to have four I S.P.I. volumes already out.


Blue Flash books build your shelf presence. If you’re new to Hello Monday, “shelf presence” doesn’t just mean a shelf in a bookstore or having lots of books on that shelf so readers can find you more easily. Shelf presence means building your presence as an author to show you’re actively creating and readers can count on you for regular installments. You are an established voice – not a one-hit wonder ;)


If you’re interested in joining Blue Flash, write to Brianne at blueforgepress@gmail.com for more information. Put the words Blue Flash in the subject heading of the email if you really want to impress us.


EDIT: Sometimes, I try to record Hello Monday a few days ahead because my schedule is that hectic. But this month, that proved unwise! We’ll have three “breaking news” updates; this is the first one :)


This is the standing display we’ll have at every Feast of Words event to display Blue Flash titles. Authors don’t have to participate at a Feast of Words to have their Blue Flash inventory sold from the display and to make the full profit they’d make if they were there. Just get us your Blue Flash inventory and we’ll sell them for you and send you your revenue the same day.


Phone Hours


Effective immediately, you can speak with a staff person on the phone. Text 360-550-2071 or email blueforgegroup@gmail.com and tell us everything you want to discuss so staff will have the answers you need. Let us know when you’ll be free in the next 48 hours and give us the number to call. We’ll schedule a time with you via text or email and the appropriate staff member will call you.


Office Hours


One of the First Quarter votes was to limit staff to forty hours a week. This passed into policy. However, I don’t think artisans were completely clear on what that means for them so I’m going to clarify now:


I was averaging sixty hours a week and regularly worked eighty. Now that I’m limited to forty hours, please understand that, starting today, no texts or emails will be answered on the weekends and no texts or emails will be answered after midnight.


The only exception here is we host the Feast of Words on Saturdays and any correspondence directly related to the event will still be addressed.


Official office hours are 2pm to midnight Pacific Time with different staff working at different times.


EDIT: Time for our second breaking news segment! On April 1, 2021, we secured a new high-traffic, premium location for Feast of Words events that will allow us to serve hundreds of customers and host events on Saturday and Sunday. This means that staff will now work weekends. So our adjusted office hours, April through September, will be Wednesday through Friday, 2pm to midnight Pacific Time, and Saturday and Sunday at the Feast of Words from noon to 7pm.


High-Traffic Events

We are currently working with high-traffic, big box locations (such as Walmart) to reserve space to host large scale Feast of Words events in highly visible blue canopies – much like people sell fireworks in these huge parking lots. The corporate stores are not currently allowing events of this size until Washington is fully open – not in phased opening. The same is true for the mall management companies. We are filling out all paperwork to be set up as a vendor with these venues but we cannot force their hand on when they allow events to resume. This is a just a heads up for everyone that we are actively engaged in location procurement.

EDIT: Our third and final breaking news segment. We have secured a new location for Feast of Words in Port Orchard. We’ll have an entire open field right off a major thoroughfare with dedicated parking, room for up to six individual author canopies, private bathroom, nearby food and drinks, and a safe, outdoor, open-air venue that’s accessible to all.


The rules for participating are: You must wear a mask. (Not a face shield.) You must bring a chair. You cannot leave the grassy area or walk up to the drive-through coffee stand next to us. If you walk up to the coffee stand or loiter on the concrete driveway, you must be banned from the location. Brianne and I will arrive at 11am on event days. Do not arrive until 11:30 so we can tell you where to park and have signs up already. If you like to be early, 11:30 means you’ll still be early. Let’s follow the rules set by the owner and put safety first.


If you are an artisan with us and you want a free table at a Feast of Words event, we’re booking about a month in advance. Write to blueforgegroup@gmail.com to reserve a table and get more details.


Housing on Campus


We’re adding two “tiny home” artisan retreat cabins on campus. These rustic, private cabins will each have built-in desks, beds and sitting areas with basic cooking amenities. The cabins will share bathroom and shower facilities (one person use at a time – not stalls or group showers). Garbage, water, electricity, and Internet are all included. Cabins will be rented month-to-month for $550 or $500/month for year-long leases. Cabins are rated for one occupant each.


We currently have a waiting list for the cabins. They are only available to active, contracted artisans. If you’d like your name added to the waiting list, please write to blueforgegroup@gmail.com with the words Blue Retreat in the subject heading.


Second Quarter Voting


The year is passing quickly and it’s time for artisans to weigh in once again on policies the Board of Directors will be addressing later this month at our second quarter meeting. We need to hear from you so we know how you want us to move forward.


We’ve made voting easier this quarter since more than a dozen artisans struggled with the online ballot. Now, just send your votes to blueforgegroup@gmail.com with the words Second Quarter Vote in the subject heading.


Second Quarter voting is open until midnight Pacific Time on April 15, 2021. Votes received after then cannot be counted.


If you’re watching or listening to this episode of Hello Monday, now might be a good time to go to www.MyBlueLegacy.org and click Hello Monday so you can copy and paste from the transcript.


2Q Topic 1: Division Catalogs. If we released division-wide catalogs with ordering information for individuals and wholesale vendors and made them available as a PDFs (free) and in print ($3), would you find this helpful? We would have one catalog for each division and a fifth catalog for just children’s products (for audience ages 5 to 17).

--Yes.

--No.


2Q Topic 2: Hardback Books. Should Blue Forge Press start publishing hardbacks? An average hardback (around 200 pages) would retail for $24.99 and wholesale for $12.49. The hardbacks would be available through online vendors like Amazon and through distributors. We would print in ultra short runs of 100 copies.

--Yes.

--No.

2Q Topic 3: Publicity Campaigns. We recently received a grant to bring in a publicity consultant. The consultant is actually a fantastic firm that thoroughly reviews a product and then creates a plan to market that product. They do one plan for the publisher and one plan for the artisan. We did something similar to this about twenty years ago and I was pleased with most of the campaigns. Artisans would pay nothing for this but the firm can only create two plans per month and each plan costs Blue Legacy $250... so I don’t want plans created for artisans who won’t actively use the campaigns. Campaigns are created for a series (if there is one) or a single stand-alone book. How should we decide which artisans receive campaigns and when?

--Let the firm look at all the titles and decide which ones are the most viable and prioritize which titles they design campaigns for.

--Gather names of interested artisans then hold a lottery in the next Hello Monday.

--Look at which artisans are already actively engaged in promotion and offer them campaigns first.

--Grant campaigns to artisans with the most titles.

--Grant campaigns to artisans with the highest sales.

--Grant campaigns to the artisans with the lowest sales.

--Give artisans the opportunity to pay for their own campaign ($250) and skip the queue.

--Other. (Please explain in detail when you email your vote.)


2Q Topic 4: Websites. For the last several years, we’ve maintained websites for all our divisions plus a site for Blue Legacy as the parent company and Seriously Cereal as our leading children’s property. Every artisan has a dedicated page where all their products can be ordered. As an artisan, how often do you visit or recommend that others visit any of the websites?

--Daily.

--Weekly.

--Monthly.

--A few times a year.

--Never. I should start doing that.

--Never. I see no need for websites.

--I didn’t even know there were websites.


For anyone answering “I didn’t even know there were websites.” the URLs for the websites are:

www.MyBlueLegacy.org

www.SeriouslyCereal.org

www.BlueForgePress.com

www.BlueForgeFilms.com

www.BlueForgeRecords.com

www.BlueForgeGaming.com

© 2020 Blue Legacy

Port Orchard, Washington

EIN 83-4307421

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