Hello Monday – April 27, 2020
Welcome to Hello Monday, the weekly, company-wide news show for the volunteer-run 501(c)3 nonprofit, Blue Legacy. We were founded in 1989 to empower underrepresented storytellers, bring light to the shadows, voice to the silence, and make storytelling accessible across all mediums.
Every Monday we share all the changes, announcements, casting calls, job openings and news for our four divisions: Blue Forge Films, Blue Forge Press, Blue Forge Gaming, and Blue Forge Records.
If you are one of the 800+ artisans who work with us – an author, musician, game designer, filmmaker or actor – keeping up with Hello Monday keeps you in the loop. And you don’t have to watch: You can just listen to the episode or you can read the transcript each Monday at www.tiny.cc/hellomondayblog
My name is Brianne DiMarco. I’m an editor, actor and author at Blue Forge and I’m also your host for today’s episode. My thanks to Faith DiMarco, the dedicated editor of Hello Monday as well as an actor, game designer and producer at Blue Forge.
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Digital Feast of Words has Begun. The new online version of the Feast of Words is our biggest undertaking right now. After working for more than a year to secure partnerships with malls to host Feast of Words, we entered the current health crisis and had to shift how we do business. Providing our artisans with free avenues for promotion is essential to what we do.
The digital Feast of Words was covered extensively in the last two episodes of Hello Monday so if you haven’t seen those, definitely go watch because this new information won’t make a lot of sense without that groundwork.
On Friday, April 24, author David McCulloch appeared in the first episode of the digital Feast of Words. That same day, every author, actor, game designer and musician we work with received an email about how they can help by sharing Feast of Words videos. If you didn’t receive this email and you’re a contracted artisan, please check your spam folder then write to us at email@example.com and we’ll tell you who to contact to get included in the artisan database.
Find and share all the episodes so far at www.tiny.cc/feastofwords or from the Blue Forge Facebook page.
Voice-Only Feast of Words Videos. You may be too shy or too overwhelmed to be on camera right now. You might write under a nom de plume, a pen name, and can’t show your face. Whatever the reason, creating a narrated video is absolutely acceptable and very welcome.
We’ve been asking our artisans to make a lot of videos lately. Why? Because worldwide people are seeing less of each other. They want to be greeted by a friendly face and spoken to not with marketing jargon but authentic words. It may be several months before you feel ready to make your Author Introduction video (if you work with Blue Forge Press as discussed last week in Hello Monday) or to make a video for the digital Feast of Words and that’s okay. Take your time. Or reach out to your division manager and talk about creating a video with just your voice over a Feast of Words graphic.
Now we are not creating extra work for ourselves. Like many of you, we haven’t had a day off since this all began and we’ve being pushed harder than ever by the Board of Directors to release content and upgrade pretty much everything – production partners, websites, promotional campaigns, etc. So we’re not talking about editing cinematic trailers for each and every product. We will pair your narration with a stock video that fits the genre of your work.
Your voice recording can be sent in any format and we’ll turn it into a Feast of Words video. It should be five minutes long. Start by introducing yourself and telling us what product you want to talk about today. Then tell us why the product means something to you. Why are you passionate about it? Why should others want to read the book? Then, if you have your own inventory, tell viewers what price you’re going to charge them – including the cost of shipping or if the shipping is free. If you don’t have inventory, tell your viewers that purchase links will display at the end of the video and what it will mean to you if they buy your product.
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Anthologies & Films in Feast of Words. If you contributed a story to an anthology or were part of the team that made a film, you can present that book or dvd in a Feast of Words video. A single product can be presented as many times as we receive videos for it. Every purchase link will be tracked and revenue will be distributed appropriately. Just make sure you watch the April 13 and April 20 episodes of Hello Monday (as well as this one) so you know how to make your video correctly and where to send it to be approved and finalized with the official Feast of Words opener and closer.
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Feast of Words Video Script. If you’re feeling lost and don’t know what to say in your Feast of Words video, you can download a script to help you along at www.tiny.cc/feastofwordsscript
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Facebook Promotion. Last week we mentioned we’d start covering basic promotion on social media, focusing on one platform each week. We had no idea this would make some of our artisans very irritated. You see... we’ve covered social media basics many, many times before in Hello Monday. And in detail!
So if you’re an artisan who doesn’t need this information again, you can stop watching now. This is the last topic and you won’t miss anything else. For those of you who still aren’t seeing actual sales generated on Facebook, then keep watching or reading (if you’re at the Hello Monday blog).
Open a web browsers. Go to www.tinyurl.com/fb101today spelled out how we have it on the screen right now. Carefully read the article about what days and times are best to post on Facebook and learn why not everyone is successful on Facebook.
The answer to successful posts on Facebook is NOT paying for ads. It’s building an audience that wants to engage with you.
Consider Jennifer’s “personal” Facebook page. Pretty much everyone knows that Jennifer runs her page strategically to maximize engagements. In order for people to engage with you on Facebook, they have to (1) feel you are a real person who needs and values them, (2) see that you post different things that interest them, (3) know you’ll reply to their comments which makes them feel important, and (4) trust you’ll stamp out any fights that break out.
Be ready to share experiences. Not opinions.
Be ready to ask questions. Not tell people how to live.
Now that you have a foundation to stand on, an understanding of basic human nature and what the expectations are, you’ll need just one thing to find and engage your fans on Facebook:
A Facebook page. It can be a personal page or a professional page. It really depends on how transparently you live your life. If you want all your fans to see everything you post on Facebook, its fine to have just a regular personal page. If you want some privacy, then build yourself a professional page.
Marketing on social media is hard work and very time consuming. Schedule a time every day to handle your social media. For instance, start by giving yourself one hour that seems to be a prime time for the community you’re trying to reach. Figure that out by experimenting with posts yourself or by reading the article we gave you the link to. As your brand grows, you may have to spend more time. But that’s why the old adage is true: You only write a book once but you’ll promote it forever.
To gain friends and widen your audience on Facebook, you’ll have to visit other pages on Facebook and engage with people in a friendly and welcoming way. No one decides to become a fan because you offended them, yelled at them, or told them how to live their life. Search Facebook groups and look for people who you think would be good readers for your book or good fans for your other product. Send them a friend request.
We highly recommend posting every day but only if you can do it without being repetitive. Here is a sample Week 1 of posting on Facebook. We’ve made up an artisan, Jack Corral, who is an author of mystery novels at Blue Forge Press.
Monday – Jack posts his author photo and writes: “This is the author photo on my book, Home Away Ranch. That’s the shirt that I wore to my wedding. Did you or someone you know wear something nontraditional when getting married?” Jack can then check back and reply to any comments or reply to comments the next day.
Tuesday – Jack posts photos of the childhood ranch that inspired the ranch in his book. He writes: “This is the ranch that inspired the Home Away Ranch in my mystery novel. My grandfather was an incredible rancher. I would spend all summer there; I miss the smell of leather saddles. @DougJohnson and @MilaJohnson? Remember that summer we vacationed in Arizona? Those horses were HUGE!” Jack has tagged two people he knows. This means his post will show to them and people they know, thus spreading the influence of the post.
Wednesday – Jack searches Facebook for clubs or groups that talk about ranch life. He copies the link to one of them and posts it with these words: “www.facebook.com/ranchlifeLOL is an awesome Facebook group that posts funny memes and humorous stories several times a day. The folks who run it really keep it clean and friendly, too. Great find.”
Thursday – Jack goes to the Blue Forge Facebook page and clicks Share on the most recent Feast of Words video or on a Feast of Words video by an author he likes. The “Share” option will post a picture and link to the video on Jack’s Facebook page. He writes this when prompted to write something with the share: “I’ve met this amazing author several times at events. @MaxwellDiMarco really cares about showing people with autism realistically and not as stereotypes. Here he is talking about the cookbook he’s selling to support his at-risk youth group. Check it out, friends!” Then Jack clicks “Tag” instead of “Post” and he types in the names of ten of his friends that he knows will enjoy Maxwell’s video. Jack tags different people who maybe don’t even know each other. This creates very wide reach for the post.
Friday – Jack has been building awareness of his page all week long. Now it’s Friday and he wants to post something big! He takes a close up photo of his dog’s nose and posts that photo with the words: “Something BIG is coming tomorrow. Stay tuned, friends!” Jack then tags ten friends who he knows have not purchased his book.
Saturday – Jack posts the cover of his book with this: “Ebook give away! Buy a paperback copy of Home Away Ranch at Amazon and my publisher, @JenniferDiMarco, will send you the ebook version for free so you can start reading before it even arrives. PLUS... if you post a review of the book, I’ll name a character after you in Sweet Home Cabin, the second book in the Detective Picklenaut series.” Then Jack clicks “Post.” Next, he scrolls down and comments on his own post. He does this quickly so he’s the first comment. In the first comment he posts the link to his book on Amazon. Jack doesn’t put the link in his post (only in a comment) because posts with external links are not shown to as many people as posts with just words and pictures.
Sunday – Jack posts a photo of an ant at the top of a long rose growing in his yard. He writes: “This little guy worked hard to get past all those thorns. This is sometimes how I feel as an author! But I wouldn’t change it for the world. You know what I mean?”
If you think this sample week sounds easy, you’re going to be a success on social media. But keep this in mind: You need to keep this up... even when no one seems to be paying attention. You have to keep going. Look at what types of posts work and which don’t. Then keep doing both types and see if that changes over a month. Next, narrow it down to the types of posts with the most engagements and then develop new posts of those types. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Until fans are posting on every single post you make.
If you think this sounds hard, that’s fine, too. Lots of people find this hard. As a matter of fact, when people push Jennifer to focus on her own writing career, she shakes her head because she knows that means none of us will have her help – she’ll have no time. Who will write the scripts for Hello Monday is Jennifer is managing and growing her fan base?
Just start out with one hour a day. Because promoting your work is how people find your story and that should be your true end goal. Not just to create... but to have your story heard.
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That’s all the news for this week. If you have questions or would like us to cover something next Monday, please don’t hesitate to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment below.
And remember: Monday doesn’t have to be a day you dread. Monday can be the first day in the best creative week of your life.