• Blue Forge Group

Hello Monday - November 2020

Watch this episode here:

Topics Covered This Month:

Who is Blue Legacy?

How Blue Legacy is Funded

Blue Legacy Youth Outreach

How & When Royalties are Paid

What Albums Cost to Produce

What Books Cost to Publish

What Games Cost to Produce

What Films Cost to Produce

The 2021 Board of Directors is You

Welcome to Hello Monday, the monthly, company-wide update for the volunteer-run 501(c)3 nonprofit, Blue Legacy. My name is Jennifer DiMarco. I’m a director and author at Blue Legacy and also the CFO. I’m honored to host today’s episode.

Who is Blue Legacy?

Blue Legacy was founded in 1989 to empower underrepresented storytellers, bring diverse people together, and make storytelling accessible across all mediums.

This mission was fueled after a New York publishing house bought the rights to my tenth novel, a Seattle Times bestseller that beat out Jurassic Park for the #1 spot. That publishing house put a white woman on the cover of my novel starring a black woman, and then they treated me like property for two years of national touring. I want to give artisans the voice I was never given.

Blue Legacy has four divisions that each focuses on a different medium: Blue Forge Films, Blue Forge Press, Blue Forge Gaming, and Blue Forge Records. Go to to find out more or jump right to,,, or to find information specific to each division.

If you are one of the 800+ artisans who work with us – an author, musician, game designer, filmmaker or actor – watching Hello Monday keeps you in the loop. But you don’t have to watch: You can listen to the episode or you can read the transcript at the (click Blog). A new episode of Hello Monday, sharing all the events and open calls, posts the first Monday of every month. Want to perform at a concert? Star in a film? Joining a game development team or write for an anthology? This is where we announce projects exactly like that.

In a rush? The topics being covered in each episode are shown in the episode’s thumbnail icon.

How Blue Legacy is Funded

For the past several months, we’ve been engaged in the complicated process of interviewing and selecting artisans to sit on our Board of Directors in 2021. The process is finally complete and we’ll announce our decision at the end of this episode but at the urging of those dedicated and passionate applicants, we’ll be sharing some bottom line numbers today.

Blue Legacy and all its four divisions are funded almost entirely by grants. Grants are not awarded to companies automatically. We must find grants that support our very specific mission, apply for those grants with applications that range from ten to forty pages, and then be skilled enough at those applications – and yes, lucky enough – to be awarded a grant. As CFO, this is huge part of what I do.

No staff member here is paid. Not an hourly wage. Not a flat salary. Not a percentage of what any artisan makes when they sell a book, game, album or film on Amazon or when they buy inventory at 50% off. We’re paid a royalty on our own books, games, albums or films – just like you.

We have worked this way for thirty-one years. To survive, we do things differently: We work with both traditional printers and manufacturers like McNaughton & Gunn and Cushing-Malloy and print-on-demand companies like Lightning Source and Amazon. We source inventory from wherever is fastest, highest quality, and guaranteed to be 100% made in the USA.

We don’t pay for a fancy office space. The company owns and has converted a one-acre property into the Blue Forge Campus with studio spaces, office space and living quarters for the four DiMarcos who volunteer full-time.

Artisans do not pay to publish with us. We are a traditional publisher not a print service. We only publish work that speaks to our overall mission.

Blue Legacy Youth Outreach

Blue Legacy isn’t only about empowering artisans who exist outside the mainstream in terms of economics, gender, race, ability, size or age – though those are the marginalized artisans we focus on. But for the last two years we’ve also hosted and supported young adults who live with disabilities and chronic medical conditions.

Many of these 13 to 25 year olds lapse in and out of group homes and homelessness and during this year – especially during the pandemic – the DiMarco family has worked extra hours and side jobs to supply groceries, OTC medical supplies, warm clothing, and other essential supplies to these at-risk individuals.

In total over the last ten months, $14815 was raised without anyone in the Blue Legacy community opening their wallets. (Though we did receive two $10 bags of bologna, bread and cheese from an artisan who asked to be anonymous.)

Our hope, in 2021, is to build the Purple Door Studio to handle all filming and set-building needs (including relocating the chroma shell) and then convert the Green Door Studio into temporary housing. This would allow us to offer short term safety from the elements for the youth we work with as well as allow us to host out of state and other traveling artisans as needed.

If you’d like to set up a monthly reoccurring donation or just make a one time donation to help this endeavor, please go to

How & When Royalties are Paid

We were asked to answer this question again: When someone buys your book, album, game or film from one of our websites, they pay immediately. We then pay you your royalty on that revenue at the end of that month.

When someone buys your book, album, game or film from Amazon or another distributor or a store, they pay us in 90 days. So if a friend buys your book in January, we get paid for that January sale in April and we pay you in April.

What Albums Cost to Produce

When an artisan sends us music samples and we feel it fits with our mission to empower new voices, we will offer a contract. We print 1000 copies of the album on CD for the first print run. Paying for the album to be manufactured costs, on average, $3800. Then the inventory must be stored and insured against theft or damage for about $250/year.

The CD will be available at Amazon and at You make more than three-time as much when someone buys an album through because Amazon is a distributor and they take 60% of revenue earned. will also sell the digital edition of your album with instant delivery.

Normally, we wait until an artisan has sold 1000 CDs or a combination of CDs and digital editions before we add them to Pandora, Spotify, and the fifty or so streaming services we work with. We may change this policy in 2021 and have streaming services added immediately but that will be something the 2021 Board of Directors decides.

Once the first 1000 CDs are sold, we print either 1000 more or, if sales we very fast (as they were for my album, The Prodigal Songs) we double our re-order.

You guys have been asking me how I handle my albums. As a musician with Blue Forge Records, I make the majority of my revenue selling albums directly to my fans. All Blue Legacy artisans are allowed to buy inventory of their own products at 50% off and then resell the products and keep all revenue. Making 50% profit is higher than any standard royalty so I make enough to actually pay my bills. I also hold concerts where I play live and stream the concerts to my fans. Blue Forge Records hosts these events at BlueFlix Cinema, sells tickets for me, etc. and I make 50% of all ticket sales.

Don’t have fans yet? Check out past episodes of Hello Monday about how to build your brand. Don’t want to have copies of your album with you in a backpack at all times? Why not? Ani DeFranco, Mary Lambert, Ed Sheeran. Musicians work their asses off to promote their work. But if having that backpack of albums doesn’t work for you, then build your brand and link people to No financial investment is required from you.

When there isn’t a pandemic going on, we also pay for concert venues to be rented, music videos to be made and promoted, and events to be hosted in malls and other venues where you can meet the public and perform. All those opportunities are shared here in Hello Monday – so if you don’t watch, you don’t know how to join. You pay nothing so the only investment is the time you take to stay informed.

What Books Cost to Publish

The average 300-page 5.5x8.5 inch trade paperback costs $5159 for 1000 copies to be printed, and $300/year to store and insure.

If your book is a 6x9 inch trade paperback, the average cost is $7890 and $350/year to store and insure.

I apply for grants to promote specific types of books or specific types of authors. That’s how any book we’ve published in the last five years has been funded.

Once a book sells out its print run of 1000, we’ll either automatically print another 1000 or, if sales were fast, as they were for pre-orders of my collection Body of Work, we’ll re-order 2500 for the second print run. Re-orders are always paid for by sales of the previous print run. Additional grants are not needed to keep a book in print.

Right now, authors make the same royalty whether someone buys from Amazon or However, in 2021, the Board of Directors may vote to change this and have inventory stored and shipped directly from us which will triple your revenue earned.

Even throughout the pandemic, we set up outdoor, open air Feast of Words events every single weekend where authors could met the public and sell their books. Now that it’s too cold to be outside, we have custom kiosks of books in stores and cafes. We’ve waiting on four Washington malls to open up to independent events again and have helped set up authors to sell books at McChord, street fairs, and other third party events. Want to participate? Make sure to watch Hello Monday so you know when the next event is and can sign up while there’s still space.

Want to stay home and promote online? Start building your brand now.

What Games Cost to Produce

We only produce 100 copies of card games for their first runs and 500 copies of role-playing games and PC games. Average cost of a card game with packaging is $890 with $90/year in storage and insurance. Role-playing games usually cost $3890 for a first print run due to their large format size and PC games can cost anywhere from $9000 to $14,000 for the first run. Storage and insurance is $250/year and $325/year respectively.

Tournaments and gaming events are our primary means for selling games but, once more, I have games published by Blue Forge Gaming and find that posting about my games in online forums or helping fans host their own mini tournaments is the way I move most of my inventory.

What Films Cost to Produce

Blue Forge Films is the one division where I can’t really average the cost of a film. The range is simply too board. However, I do know the average time investment. I was actually asked by the 2020 Board of Directors to log all hours I, personally, worked on various films in 2018 through this year. Imagine if you’re an actor working long days on a film and you log 100 hours – ten ten-hour days!

Writing and revising a script, managing the actors, securing the locations, securing the props, shooting the film, editing the audio, editing the film, creating any effects, composing the soundtrack, creating the cover and promotional images, preparing the digital edition, promoting the premiere, captioning the film, and managing ticket sales averages 1574 hours per film.

And while our producing partners often pay for location rentals and props, no one is paying me for those 1574 hours. I make a royalty. Just like any other artisan.

We print 500 dvds of every applicable film. This costs, on average, $3500 for the print run, $190/year storage and insurance, and $150 for a premiere online or off-line.

The 2021 Board of Directors is You

Philanthropy. What does it mean to you? To me, it means the selfless effort a person makes to improve the lives of others. Especially when those “others” are very, very different from you. These efforts shouldn’t benefit you personally or earn you kudos. You may see philanthropy differently. That’s fine.

Our Board of Directors is made up of two of the four DiMarcos who volunteer here full-time plus three to five artisans who believe in everyone’s right to be heard – as long as those voices don’t promote hate. We have already reached out and have a Board of philanthropists ready to meet four times a year in 2021... but we’re going to change thing up a bit.

Starting in January 2021, Hello Monday will include all the topics the Board of Directors will discuss at their next meeting. All artisans will be encouraged to vote using an anonymous, online ballot. The results of every vote will count toward the final decisions made on every single topic. In this way, every artisan who stays informed will have an active voice in the company itself.

Yes. This will be extra work for us. But personally I feel this is an incredible step. Especially since the ballots will also have space for in-depth comments if artisans have more to say. I fight every single day to ensure that none of my artisans are silenced. I know what that feels like and I’d bet so do you.

* * *

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

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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