We thought it would be fun to share with you all how COYER was born – but to make it more fun, Michelle and I (Berls) added our own commentary.
It all started with Berls…
I was a pretty new blogger – had started my blog just a month before – but I was jumping in feet first. I’d just had a blast participating in the Beat the Heat Readathon and wanted to host something of my own. But being the wise woman that I am (hahaha… right!) I knew I couldn’t do it on my own, especially as a new blogger. So I started looking at blogs that I followed, trying to think who might want to do this thing with me. For a variety of reasons, I decided Michelle was the blogger to ask first. So I sent her an email…
Berls’s Email, With Commentary
Oh man, I cringe reading this email. I used to be in sales and, while I didn’t particularly like it, I feel like the principals are dripping all over this email. I was definitely trying to sell this baby. I decided to divide it up according to the most basic steps of a sales pitch (more or less)…
The Hook. This is all about making an emotional connection with your potential buyers. Show them you get them.
How are you? It’s Berls over at Fantasy is More Fun. I wanted to see if you’d be at all interested in co-hosting a reading challenge I’ve been working on putting together. I enjoy your blog and I think you read a slightly different variety of genres than I do (with some cross over), so I thought we might be a good fit. Not to mention that our blog names are embracing a similar idea
Identify the problem and suggest it’s THEIR problem. I swear I had no idea I was doing this…
The idea is to get people reading those free ebooks we download and then forget about. I know I’ve found some of my favorite books/authors that way. Plus, I think authors sell their books for free because they’re hoping people will like them and actually buy others written by them. And as bloggers, we’re in a unique position to help them realize that through our reviews and other promotional activities.
Provide a Solution. Show them you know what your talking about. Here’s where my pitch really got going. I had worked out so many details. It’s amazing how many of those details made it into the 1st COYER! I mean, who knew my hashtag would a year later be something we all recognize as an actual event?
I was thinking everyone could put up sign-up posts and link back to them on our challenge pages (although non-bloggers could also participate, just by tracking progress on goodreads/shelfari, and commenting). At the start of the month they can put up posts with their goal of how many free ebooks they want to read for the month. The post, if they link it back to our monthly post, can put them into a drawing for a monthly giveaway. Every time they post a review of a free ebook and link it back (or non-bloggers, by posting reviews on goodreads/shelfari), they also win an entry. Finally at the end of the month they post how they did and link it back, earning a final entry. I haven’t decided on the giveaway yet – but I was thinking something like the purchase of another eBook from their favorite free eBook author from the month. or just an amazon gift card of like $10. I was also thinking we could maintain a twitter party with some sort of hashtag – maybe #COYER?
Dazzle Them with Your Genius. Give it that personal touch that shows why you’re the person to give them this product. *shaking head in embarrassment*
I also was considering levels/titles for how many Free Ebooks a person reads by end of December, something playing on the cleaning theme… like:
1 to 5 reads – Light Cleaning
5 to 10 reads – Spring Cleaning
10+ reads – Deep Cleaning
Show them the value. How many ways can your product suit their needs. Get creative! At this point, I’m just going to go hide under the desk until your done reading.
Something else I was considering but haven’t thought out fully, was contacting authors who do free promotions and having them do guest posts about their books and advertising their current free books. In fact, I was thinking I would do regular posts about free books that are available in the genres I read.
Address potential fears head on and stop them in their tracks. So this one turned out to be a non-issue. But how was I supposed to know Michelle was a graphic designer by trade?
I also already have a logo designed (my brother is a graphic design student), if you’d like to see it, I can send it over.
Take away the pressure. So I obviously was really hoping at this point that Michelle would say yes, but I still gave her an out. Thank goodness she didn’t take it!
I know this was a long email, but I wanted to let you know everything I was thinking. Don’t worry if you’re not interested
Berls @ Fantasy is More Fun
Okay, joking aside, I did lay it on a little thick – but not because I was trying to make a sale per say. I really really wanted to do this thing, but I was scared she’d turn me away. I was a brand new blogger. What did I know about hosting a challenge?
So, how did Michelle respond?
Then Michelle got this email…
It was Tue, Aug 20, 2013, I just put the kids to bed and finally was able to sit down and look over my email. I usually search for junk mail first when I noticed a subject line “Would you be interested in co-hosting a reading challenge with me?” The first thing I thought was that’s totally spam but something made me click on it. The first sentence of the letter I realized it was from a blogger who wanted me to co-host a challenge with her…ME…the girl who NEVER did a challenge before…EVER…I didn’t even know how they worked and I was going to co-host one but this person was asking me to co-host with her. I read the first paragraph and thought OMG someone actually likes my blog (I was stuck on that for a few minutes lol) this is my ONE follower and she wants to do a challenge with me.
So I read the entire letter 3 times and I started to think maybe her day job was selling stuff door to door because she’s laying it on thick but was pretty good at it because I was totally sold… I loved the idea but could I host something with someone I never meet? She could be a lunatic…but I just had to say yes…I didn’t want to pass this up it could be fun and a great way to meet people but I was really nervous sending her the email back.
I left the email as is so you can read it the way I wrote it. IT’S AWFUL…. I did it from my iPad and I pretty much was a nervous wreck because I honestly didn’t know what to say and I didn’t want to sound stupid (even though I did). Reading this now I realize I don’t know why she asked me but now I realize its for my design skills not my writing LOL
Michelle’s Emails, With Berls’s Commentary
I sent my email at 2:54 PM that day and, as you can probably imagine, I practically ran to my computer every time I got a new email chime. Drove my poor brother crazy (I was staying at his place last summer) stressing over her response. And then it finally came at 4:42 PM. Followed IMMEDIATELY by another email. I mean, the second email is also time stamped 4:42 PM. These two emails sent me through my own – admittedly jacked up version of – five stages of grief.
I have never co-hosted before this sounds interesting. Can it be free downloads and netgalley reads? I have so many to get to for netgalley.I like the levels that give people that have review tours to do a chance to at least “clean” a couple
if they can’t do a lot.
Denial. I made myself believe this was a yes. It wasn’t exactly…
As a matter of fact I have never done a challenge before either. I just want to make sure I can give enough of my time. What would I have to do? Would I have to post stuff often? Besides the reviews I write.
Anger. At myself that is. I didn’t have a clue what was involved and couldn’t answer her questions. I was a fraud and now she would know.
I am a graphic designer so I can make up some stuff as well. I have been one for 17 years WOW thats a long time, Never thought about it LOL
Bargaining. I was both excited and devastated by this news. My brother was a new graphic design student and I liked having him design things for me. But 17 years of experience would produce better work. But I had just bugged my brother to make me a logo.
Thankfully it all worked out. Michelle complimented his work – which made him feel better, I think – and even incorporated his Kindle design into the logo she ended up making for us (it’s still up there on our header!). We all loved it, my brother included. Her skills have turned out to be a godsend for me too! I write, she designs
I will read through the email a couple more times just to make sure I have no other questions.I just want to make sure I have the time to be able to do what Is required of me as a host before I say yes. I would love to do it with you but I want to be able to give it my FULL attention.Talk to you soon
Depression. Wait, what? I had wrongly fooled myself into think she was in and now I was like, “oh no! She’s saying no! I suck.”
Ok I thought of something what if we did a Linky? Where the bloggers put their names in and then we start on a certain day (do you know what I mean?)… I think non-bloggers will get too confusing. Then each blogger can feature the books they read and review on their blogs, maybe letting the author know so they can get promotion from it and may offer excerpts or trailers or something. Then we can keep track better of which bloggers post and post reviews. What you said about them posting and us doing it once a month and a giveaway. Non-bloggers don’t really have a chance to post for an author just a review.This is your baby so I don’t want to step on toes I just thought of these LOL. That tends to happen when I read stuff over and think about it ideas come to mind
Acceptance. Well Michelle’s at least. This was the second email she sent and to me it read a lot like an acceptance. Sure she didn’t actually say she was in…. EVER! Hmmm… Michelle, you are in, right?!
We ended up trading 68 emails between August 20th and September 5th when we announced COYER to the blogosphere. That’s when we finally exchanged phone numbers because we had a lot to talk about. Starting with how we’d both scheduled our posts to go live at the wrong time! It was supposed to go live at 5PM but we both accidentally set up our posts for 5AM instead. Who makes that exact same mistake? Yeah, we were meant to be!
Then came Stormi…
As COYER grew and became more fun and COMPLICATED Michelle and I (Berls) realized that we really needed some help to keep our baby afloat. So With Winter COYER 2014-2015 we asked Stormi to be our “Social Media Guru.” She basically ran the Social Media side of things. It was a trial run to see how we all worked together. It went fabulously. Poor Stormi still gets a bit lost when Michelle and I take off running with one of our crazy ideas… which is why ever COYER is so different… but she fully supports those crazy ideas and helps tame them some too! Every since Summer 2015’s Scavenger Hunt Stormi has been a full-fledged co-host and we couldn’t run this baby without her! Thanks for joining us Stormi.