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  • Blue Forge Group

Hello Monday: September 2020


Watch this episode here https://youtu.be/VD-8iqo0F8c (available after 7am PST 9/7/20)

Topics Covered This Month:

Feast of Words Ends

The Blue Spot

Blue Kiosks

Marketing Seminar

Not Answering Email

New Board Members

Welcome to Hello Monday, the monthly, company-wide show for the volunteer-run 501(c)3 nonprofit, Blue Legacy. We were founded in 1989 to empower underrepresented storytellers, bring diverse people together, and make storytelling accessible across all mediums.

The first Monday of every month we share all the announcements, casting calls, job openings and news for our four divisions that each focus on a different medium: Blue Forge Films, Blue Forge Press, Blue Forge Gaming, and Blue Forge Records.

If you are one of the 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 at the www.MyBlueLegacy.org (just click Blog).

My name is Jennifer DiMarco and I’m primarily a director and author at Blue Legacy and also the CFO. I’m also your host for today’s episode.

We have six topics today:

* * *

Feast of Words Ends Thank you to all the artisans who participated in the weekly Feast of Words events. September is the last month we’ll be hosting Feast of Words because it’s an outdoor event and October through February in Washington State are a bit too cold and unpredictable. We’ll be returning to outdoor, weekly Feast of Words events in March 2021. If you’d like to reserve a Saturday in March, please email blueforgegroup@gmail.com.

We are currently in talks with two of the Washington malls about indoor events this year. These will be limited to one artisan per table and only four artisans at a time. We do not have additional details right now, but if you’re interested in this type of event, please reach out to blueforgegroup@gmail.com and I’ll share information directly with you as it’s finalized.

The bottom line is: The outdoor Feast of Words events made artisans $531 over two months and cost Blue Forge Press $1000 in venue fees, posters, stuffers for the store, and local ads. An additional $500 will be spent in September.

Until March 2021, we’ll be concentrating our efforts on establishing other means for artisans to make sales. Which leads to our next three topics:

* * *

The Blue Spot If you’ve ever gone to Etsy.com you know that it’s a unique website that presents similar to a street fair with thousands of different artisans selling everything from handmade jewelry to artwork, handmade crafts, customized signs, etc. The common factor is most everything is handmade.

Our artisans are rarely just one type of artist. And this is why we’ll be launching The Blue Spot – an Etsy-like online store front where our artisans can sell custom and handmade items. There will be categories of items and artisans will pay nothing to list items. Blue Legacy can store and ship for you or we can help you get set up to do so yourself. Either way, you’ll be paid for every item before you ship it.

One of the especially unique elements of The Blue Spot will be custom stories. These are monthly story subscriptions where authors can offer to craft a short story in a subscribers chosen genre and with a main character selected by the buyer as well. Personally, my fans have been asking for something like this for literally ten years and I’m thrilled to offer it.

If you’re interested in selling through The Blue Spot, please write to blueforgegroup@gmail.com and tell us what items you would want to sell. We’ll be launching in November.

* * *

Blue Kiosks We spoke several months ago about the Blue Kiosks but we’re finally able to move on this idea in October with our fleet of kiosks being built this month.

Blue Kiosks come in two sizes: Counter Top Displays and Floor Displays. They are brilliant blue shelves with a gear-shaped topper that sit in a store, cafe, community center or pretty much anywhere else where people can buy books, dvds, games or albums. Every kiosk is sponsored by a business or individual so there are ads on both sides of the display that feature specific products or services. I sponsored four kiosks personally. To sponsor a kiosk costs $100 for one year of having two ads on a display. We can design the ad or you can.

So far we have nine venues willing to host a kiosk in and around Port Orchard. We’ll be building a fleet of thirty kiosks in total. Though we may add more in the future. If you’re interested in sponsoring a kiosk, please write to me at blueforgegroup@gmail.com. I’ve mentioned this program in passing to a number of artisans so please be aware that ten kiosks are already sponsored for the first two years.

You’re probably wondering: How can I get my books, games, dvd or albums in a kiosk so they’re in stores? And what cut would I get on those sales?

The venue makes 30% of sales. Artisans make 70%. So that’s a 20% profit. We do not take a portion of sales. To have your products sold in a Blue Kiosk, all you have to do is write to me at blueforgegroup@gmail.com and schedule a time to drop off inventory. We suggest dropping off no more than two to four copies per title and all of them must be autographed. We will service the kiosks at no charge and collect funds.

In October’s episode of Hello Monday we’ll show off the two types of kiosks and have a downloadable flyer that you can show venues in your area so we can grow the fleet’s distribution.

* * *

Marketing Seminar At the request of our artisans, we’ll be creating a seminar on promotion and marketing with twelve focused topics. These will be videos and they will be free to access. Here’s our list to far:

Promoting, Building a Fan Base and Brand-Building on:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Amazon

Other Social Media Platforms

How and Why to Write a Blogs

ARCs and Review Copies

Care Packages

Press Packages

Contests and Grants

Side Jobs for Artisans (with Blue Legacy)

Side Jobs for Artisans (with Third Parties)

What specific topics would you like us to cover? Email me at blueforgegroup@gmail.com.

* * *

Not Answering Email We mentioned this last month but I’m going to keep repeating it until everyone has caught on: If you send us an email to any division and have not heard back within 24 hours, text 360-550-2071 and make sure the email was received! In the last three weeks, eight different artisans found emails they’d sent us were still sitting in their email outboxes! And sometimes, your emails are sent... but wind up in our spam folder. Don’t wait. It’s isn’t rude to text and check in. We’re asking you to do so if you haven’t heard from a division in 24 hours.

* * *

New Board Members This month we announce the new Board members for the year of 2021. Board members are going to be assigned one year at a time so many artisans have a chance to help guide the company.

I hoped to announce our choices today... but in the last week certain issues have come to light and I now know some of the specific problems that the 2021 Board will face. This changed some of our feelings about who should sit on the Board so we’ll be announcing in October’s Hello Monday instead. But I can share this:

Brianne and Faith will be stepping down from the Board in 2021. They will both continue to work for the company but only Maxwell and I will sit on the Board in 2021. With us will be three other people. We are only considering artisans who already work with us. If you’d like to submit an application and haven’t already, you can reach the application at www.MyBlueLegacy.org. Just click About for the application link.

* * *

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.

As these unprecedented months continue, please keep in mind that everyone manages long-term stress in a different way. Some of us need to slow down and hibernate. Some of us need to work extra hours and create as much as possible. Don’t attack each other for what your peers are doing or not doing. Compassion is a priceless virtue.

And, as always, remember: Monday doesn’t have to be a day you dread. Let September be a month we all spend... apart... but together in all the ways that matter most.

© 2020 Blue Legacy

EIN 83-4307421

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