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Hello Monday – March 2021


Watch or listen to this episode here: https://youtu.be/Yp4ImVsgl1I


Topics Covered This Month:

Who We Are & Aren’t

Book Trailers

Blue Village Acting Troupe

Job Opening: Blue Pencil Editors

Sign Up for Book Fairs

What are Pre-Pubs?

What are Care Packages?

What Have Critics Said?

Resources for Publicity

Story Time: First Right of Refusal


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.


Who We Are & Aren’t


Common sense means something different to each of us. Sometimes I share something here in Hello Monday and artisans write to me and say, “Duh! We knew that.” But if three or more people were asking about a topic in the previous month? That means it isn’t common knowledge to everyone.


Blue Legacy is the parent company of the films, press, gaming and records divisions here. Blue Legacy is run by a revolving Board of Directors and the four DiMarcos – Brianne, Faith, Maxwell and myself. My parents, sister, grandmother, uncles, aunts and cousins have nothing to do with Blue Legacy or any of its divisions. They never have and they never will. My extended family has nothing to do with Blue Legacy and we have nothing to do with their various businesses. Never talk to another DiMarco – or even a random artisan signed with us – if you want accurate information about Blue Legacy.


Always go to the source.


Book Trailers


Many years ago when we were just a book and game publisher, we often created trailers for our books that resulted in a few hundred copies in sales. These videos were created with symbolic, powerful imagery and the author reading one two-minute selection from their book. We’re starting to do this again this month and we’ll also be promoting every trailer so its seen by 500 “avid readers” at minimum.


If you’d like us to create a trailer for your book, here’s what you need to do:


1. Select which book. If you publish a series with us, it needs to be the first book in the series.

2. Carefully select a one-and-a-half- to two-minute selection from the book that will really grab readers. Know your work. Know what’s good. Know your own brand. Do not ask us to select the section for you.

3. Practice reading your selection. Practice more. Emote. Be expressive.

4. Press record on your phone and record a video or audio file of you reading.

5. Send the recording to Brianne at blueforgepress@gmail.com and she’ll create the trailer for you within fourteen days.


Blue Village Acting Troupe


Blue Forge Films will no longer be working with producers to make films or series. All film, web and television projects will now be produced through Blue Village. If you’re interested in us producing a series for you – filming it, editing it, scoring it, promoting it, etc. – then please write to blueforgefilms@gmail.com and we can talk details and get you signed up to the Blue Village acting troupe. The cost is $24/year for actors and $100/month for producers and actors who want a monthly royalty.

Job Opening: Blue Pencil Editors

We have an opening for two more Blue Pencil editors. These are editors who check a manuscript for spelling, grammar, formatting and word-use errors. You are provided with a style guide to follow and sent one 10,000-word story per week. We ask that Blue Pencil editors commit to four stories per month. You will receive a 5% royalty on any story you proof accurately. Write to blueforgepress@gmail.com if you’re interested.


Sign Up for Book Fairs

The Feast of Words is returning in March. Since Washington is in Phase 2 of reopening safely, we will have events Saturday and Sunday, two artisans per day, plus a table run by a DiMarco featuring children’s books and games for all ages. Right now, we’re hosting events outside Book ’Em Bookstore in Port Orchard, Washington. If you haven’t signed up already and are interested, please write to blueforgegroup@gmail.com. All artisans who work with any division are welcome but you must have your own inventory and be able to run your own credit cards.

What are Pre-Pubs?


Many of you asked what pre-publication editions were after I mentioned them last month. A pre-pub is an edited copy of your book that’s laid out and usually bound with a blank or plain cover. It is clearly marked on the cover that the copy is for review purposes only. These editions are printed and sent to reviewers at magazines, literary journals, book blogs, and newspapers four to eight months prior to release. The editions are sent with a press release that talk about why the book is relevant to readers and why readers might want to hear about it.


Should a reviewer like the book and run a review, they run the review close to when the book will be released – a date included on the press release.


Literally thousands of books are pre-pubbed every month. The competition is fierce and the vast majority of books do not garner reviews or only get small mentions. However, pre-pubbing is something we do for about 60% of our books. If you turned in your manuscript on time and we’re not immediately publishing it? This is because we’ve pre-pubbed it to help drum up interest.


What are Care Packages?


Care packages got a lot of questions last month as well. Care packages are when we take five to ten books in the same genre and mail them to a bookstore for free. We encourage them to sell the books to their customers to test if our books sell well at their venue. Like pre-pubbing, this is something we do to promote our titles. If you have a venue interested in a care package, please have them reach out to blueforgepress@gmail.com. We do not give artisans care packages. We work directly with stores only.


What Have Critics Said?


I mentioned reviewers earlier today and last month. Several of you wrote and asked if you could hear the positive reviews you’ve received for your book, film, album or game. If you’ve received a positive review, I have sent it to you. If you want to hear any of your critical reviews, please write to me at blueforgegroup@gmail.com.


Resources for Publicity


We have seven links for authors this month about promoting their books and building their brand. Go to www.MyBlueLegacy.org and click Hello Monday to see the transcript of this episode. The links to promotional resources are clickable in the transcript. Ignore any article that tells you to pay someone. Ignore parts of articles that talk about what to do prior to publication. There are articles from years ago and brand new ones but they all have value. Take the gems. Throw out the rest.


Some of you are sure to notice that all of this is just taller, older people telling you what I’ve been saying for more than thirty-two years in this business. But maybe some of you need to hear these things from men or from someone you see as an authority figure. That’s fine. I will keep sharing this information until I see everyone building their brands appropriately.


10 Low- or No-Budget Ways to Promote Your Book

https://www.draft2digital.com/blog/10-low-or-no-budget-ways-to-promote-your-book/


19 Ways To Promote A Book (By A 4x NY Times Bestseller)

https://scribemedia.com/how-to-promote-book/


How to Promote a Book: 8 Lessons from Bestsellers

https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2017/05/18/how-to-promote-a-book


How to Market Your First Book: 9 Tips You Need to Know

https://nybookeditors.com/2018/05/9-tips-for-marketing-your-first-book/


5 Ways to Get Your Book More Visibility on Amazon

https://nonfictionauthorsassociation.com/5-ways-to-get-your-book-more-visibility-on-amazon/


How to Promote Your Book: 8 Budget-Friendly Steps to Boost Sales

https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-promote-your-book/


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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, today, can be the first day in the best creative month of your life.


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Story Time: First Right of Refusal


Seventeen of you asked to hear the story I mentioned last month but that story isn’t required knowledge for artisans so I’ll share it here as a type of post script. Every paragraph in our contract is there for a reason. Most of those reasons are because of my experiences with corporate publishers.


When my first nationally published novel was contracted by a New York press, they also secured first right of refusal on any other novels I wrote in any genre. This means they got to see anything I wrote that was novel length before I was allowed to send it to any other publisher. I had to wait for them to accept the book or reject it, actually, before I could even send it to someone else.


But it didn’t stop there. If they passed on the book and I sent it elsewhere and got an offer, they were allowed to match that offer and change their minds and publish the book.


Talk about burning a bridge with that second publisher, right? They want the book but you have to tell them another publisher wants it after all... now that someone else wants it. Sounds like something right out of high school.


So in our contracts, if you’re writing an on-going series with us, you have to send us new books in that series. If we pass on any of them, you can take them elsewhere and we’re out of the picture. And if you write a book in a new series or a stand-alone book? You don’t even have to send that to us.


Can you choose to send us anything you write? Absolutely. But you don’t have to. I’m very big on artisans having the choices I never had.


© 2020 Blue Legacy

Port Orchard, Washington

EIN 83-4307421

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