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Hello Monday – February 2021



Watch or listen to this episode here: https://youtu.be/EUFKsz45Y3w


Topics Covered This Month:

First Quarter Proposal Results

Community Proposal Results

Job Opening at Blue Cinema

Studios for Artisans

Lumber Donations

Premium Editions Get New ISBNs

Open Call for Authors

Download the Style Guide


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


I’ve been encouraged to share a little more each month about altruism. I wasn’t really aware until recently that many of our artisans believe the in-house volunteers are paid – either a salary, a stipend, a cut of everyone else’s work, or an hourly wage. None of these things are true nor have they ever been.


In his book, “On Tyranny,” Timothy Snyder writes that a vital action we must all take to ensure or at least provide the possibility of integrity in social systems, is to pick an organization that we believe in and support it to the best of our abilities. The four DiMarcos choose Blue Legacy. Consciously. Purposefully. Former director of the Peace Corp, Carrie Hessler-Radelet recently said, “One of the most important elements of service is humility on the part of the person who is serving. We don’t enter the community to save people; if anything, we are saved ourselves through service.”


Blue Legacy and all its divisions are service providers for artisans marginalized due to race, economics, age, size, sexuality, religion, ability, or gender. We are not a commercial company. We are not driven by revenue. We are and will continue to be for as long as I am installed here, a volunteer-run, 501(c)3 nonprofit — which is unheard of and constitutes 1% of all functioning 501(c)3; we are, in many ways, the antithesis of that other 1% in America.


My name is Jennifer DiMarco. I’m a filmmaker at Blue Forge Films; an author at Blue Forge Press; a musician at Blue Forge Records, and game developer at Blue Forge Gaming. I am the CFO of Blue Legacy and honored to host today’s episode.


First Quarter Proposal Results


Last month in Hello Monday, we welcomed all artisans to vote on several proposals in a free, anonymous, online ballot during the month of January. In total, 392 artisans voted. Thank you. Truly. The artisans spoke clearly and the Board supported all of you unanimously. The results were:


1. Should Jennifer create a free, online marketing seminar for artisans? 72% of you voted no. The proposal did not pass.


2. Should in-house volunteers be allowed to work more than forty hours per week? 85% of you voted no. The proposal did not pass.


3. Should a shopping cart be added across all four divisions of Blue Legacy? 70% of you voted no. The proposal did not pass.


4. Should partner companies be added to the Blue Legacy website? 94% of you voted yes. The proposal passed. Partner companies who donate regularly to Blue Legacy – who help make printing your books and manufacturing your albums possible – will be added to the Blue Legacy website in a special “Our Partners” section where the community can choose to support them in turn.


There was a fifth topic on the ballot that asked voting artisans if they had any counter-proposals or brand new proposals. Four of these were considered by the Board and we’ll cover the results in a moment.


If you’d like to submit a new proposal to be voted on at the Second Quarter Board meeting in April, please go to www.tiny.cc/blueproposal before March 25, 2021.


Community Proposal Results


Artisans proposed these ideas which the Board voted on:


Community Proposal 1. That in-house volunteers put together a list of links for promotional videos and marketing resources and share it one month as the episode of Hello Monday. This community proposal passed. The March Hello Monday will have a large section dedicated to sharing books, videos, services, and service providers who we recommend. (The rest of the March Hello Monday will be job openings and open calls for musicians and authors.)


Community Proposal 2. That the office and campus completely close on the weekends with the exception of studios being rented. Any free use of studios would have to happen on weekdays. This community proposal passed. Because of zoning, we will always be by-appointment-only but starting in March 2021, the campus will reopen Monday through Friday, from 2pm to midnight Pacific Time. We will also have phone hours from 3pm to 6pm Pacific Time every day and we’ll have a special direct number just for contracted artisans. That number will be shared in the March Hello Monday.


Community Proposal 3. That in-house volunteers report hours for the previous month in Hello Monday for further transparency. This proposal was revised and passed. If you’d like to know the cumulative hours worked by in-house volunteers in the previous month, write to blueforgegroup@gmail.com with a request. You’ll be answered within one business day.


Community Proposal 4. That specific task lists be shared as a downloadable log monthly in Hello Monday. This proposal was not passed due to privacy and security concerns shared by the Board. However, we may revisit this proposal or one like it at the Second Quarter meeting because this information does exist – every task completed every day is documented by our COO and our in-house volunteers. So we may be talking about this again.


Job Opening at Blue Cinema


Blue Cinema, as most of you know, is our online movie theater for streaming and showcasing films, festivals, workshops, recitals – anything people might want to watch together. Attached to the “screening room” is a lobby chat room where audience members can socialize. Blue Cinema can be accessed from www.BlueForgeFilms.com or at www.tiny.cc/bluecinema. There’s even an option to have whatever you’re screening available as a digital download or dvd. In 2021, Blue Cinema is now ad-free and we’re looking to hire a manager to put in charge of soliciting and booking renters. You will be provided with a starting flyer design; a video commercial; a rates and services sheet, and a dedicated company email account. Please write to blueforgegroup@gmail.com if interested.


Studios for Artisans


We covered this in the January Hello Monday but we got a lot of questions about it last month as well so let me touch on it again: Starting March 1, 2021, the campus will reopen and the Black Door Studio and the Green Door Studio will be available. Both can be used (with our equipment or yours) to record audio. Both can be used (with your own equipment) to film in. Both must be reserved ahead of time at www.MyBlueLegacy.org.


Lumber Donations


We are currently engaged in the final repairs of the property and in the building of a new outdoor meeting and performance space for our artisans. We are accepting donations of 4”x4”x8’ or longer pressure-treated posts, 2”x4”x8’ or longer pressure-treated sticks, or six- to eight-inch cedar planks of any length.


Donations are tax deductible and we welcome all help – literal deliveries of any of this lumber or gift cards to Lowes or Home Depot (our local big box hardware stores) or any local lumberyard in Kitsap County. Thank you, everyone, for asking. You always make my week.


Premium Editions Get New ISBNs


Senior Editor of Blue Forge Press and Chief Operations Officer of Blue Legacy, Brianne DiMarco will be launching a “Featured” line of Blue Forge Press titles that she feels best illustrate what we do and what we’re looking for. She will focus on books in lengthy, on-going series first. (Just having a series with us does not guarantee inclusion in the imprint and some stand-alone books will be considered.)


These “Editor’s Choice” editions of previously released books will feature new ISBNs and will be pre-pubbed to critics. (All books are sent to reviewers but they are not pre-pubbed which delays the public release of a book six to ten months.) They will ship from the standard vendors and distributors and directly from Blue Forge Press for a higher return (just like autographed titles). Brianne will select titles throughout 2021 and will notify authors if and when they’re impacted.


I, personally, applaud Brianne for taking this step to fully claim the vision she has for the press and to remind all of us that Blue Forge Press is not a “dumping ground.” I hope this choice will help stem the tide of us receiving rough drafts and will encourage authors to care more deeply about the messages and characters they’re putting out into the world.


Open Call for Authors


Once again, we’re opening up the call for co-authors for the Chris Anne Wolfe fairytale/mythology retelling series. Chris Anne was one of our first authors more than twenty years ago who left us with a legacy of her work – a dozen finished novels and several dozen summaries of other novels. Chris Anne was one of the bestselling lesbian feminist authors of all time and continues to sell hundreds of copies of her works every single month.


We have a list of the retellings she wrote summaries for and if you feel passionately about any of them, we can talk to you about the process of co-authoring. Not only does it pay a royalty but it also pays in a ton of exposure to all of Chris Anne’s readers out there.


If you’re interested, please write to blueforgegroup@gmail.com with the words: Wolfe Retellings in the subject field of your email. Chris Anne stipulated that she would like these retellings written by women writers (of any sexuality, race or age) so, for this legacy open call, we’ll respect that – just like we would respect a legacy stipulation you made on your own brand.


Download the Style Guide


If you’re part of one of our active projects like writing for An Anarchy of Angels, you should have already received the new Blue Forge Press Style Guide. This guide gives examples of the Blue Forge Press in-house style and also universal guidelines from the Chicago Manual of Style. Everything in the style guide is done by your editor... but it shouldn’t be. It should be done by you.


Imagine if you’re in my shoes: Blessed to be educated at a school focused on the arts, I was taught that you NEVER turn in your first draft (do you really think we can’t tell?) and you ALWAYS make sure your manuscript is as clean as possible. I took classes with authors who worked out their entire novel in their head as well as ones who wrote forty to sixty page outlines scene by scene... but none of them ever typed it all out once and then turned it in. So I have an assumption of professionalism when it comes to authors.


Let’s keep imagining: So now we have this person (me, I’m the person) who considers being an author a real career. A full-time career. I take my work very, very seriously. And then I see my Senior Editor utterly slammed editing someone’s “Best Stories of the Year” that are turned in late, barely meet the word count requirement and yet are still so riddled with elementary errors that it’s taking multiple editors, multiple reads to even understand what the author is trying to say – let alone catch all their grammar, capitalization, tense and word use errors.


Now what if that Senior Editor was also your wife? Would it break your heart? Would you want to fire these authors who “phone in” stories?


One of our new blue pencil editors said to me recently after finishing a particularly rough manuscript, “I knew it was bad but I had no idea how bad.” And that manuscript? She was the THIRD blue pencil editor to tackle it. So she got the manuscript after three other editors had tried to make sense of it and still felt so strongly.


Instead of relying on others to make our work professional and high quality, let’s all download the Style Guide and be better. We’ll add to the Style Guide and let you know when it’s been updated so you can download it again.


Blue Forge Press is growing fast so we’re raising the bar. Download the Style Guide from www.tiny.cc/BFPstyleguide


* * *


That’s all the news for this month. If you have questions or would like us to cover something next month, please post a comment below or write to BlueForgeGroup@gmail.com. And, as always, remember: Monday doesn’t have to be a day you dread. Monday can be the first day in the best creative month of your life.



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