Today is Thursday May 15th 2014, the cutoff date for the Authors Supporting Our Troops event started in mid-January. I had to set this date because, while the four months going have been awesome and the support overwhelming, it was beginning to overwhelm not only me but Special Gal and two rooms of the house.
When I began this venture (thanks to author Joe McKinney, who did a smaller version last year), I was hoping for 500 books to ship overseas. I got about five times that amount, and every day brought another box of books and more excitement as I opened the box, cataloged and photographed and posted the books on Facebook.
It also let me see how very cool and generous people could be as well. Authors and non-authors alike donated money to help with the shipping costs, many people purchased special shirts we made for the event, a great school did a fundraiser (thanks, Margie Colton!), Change Jar Books collected money and donated quite a bit (thanks Suzanne and Craig!), many many articles were written about the event online and in local papers, and the boxes of books didn’t seem like they’d ever stop coming. The mailman had less of a smile for me each day when he rang the doorbell. I’m sure he’ll be the happiest to know the event is technically over.
I say technically because tomorrow, when another box shows up, I won’t reject it or throw it in the trash. I still have quite a few boxes left to ship out overseas to troops in need, and mail 4 or 5 of them out each week (each box contains about 50 books). I still have over 25 boxes left to ship over the next few weeks, and as long as books keep coming in I will keep boxing them up and finding another soldier who wants them.
So, how’d we do?
Not counting the 59 books I added to the boxes myself, we ended with 2,446 books from 310 authors… that’s an average of 7.9 books per author, which is amazing in itself. I am going to add an additional 54 of my own books to hit an even 2,500 books for the event. And fill the rest of the boxes I have here, too.
Now, here is some of the fun breakdowns I did today for this… not very scientific and if I forgot something… too bad. This is just me having some fun with the ending of the #ASOT2014 event. I’ll also make some 2015 goals so I can see if we break them in 2015
1. We sold 293 #ASOT2014 shirts in 7 different color variations. Obvious goal for 2015 will be 300 shirts and at least 10 colors
2. Books came in from 45 of the 50 States (I won’t list the 5 that didn’t send a book) – in 2015 I hope to hit all 50
3. 13 boxes came in from non-US places, which was pretty cool – in 2015 I hope we break 15
4. The top States we got books from (by number of authors, not books – that would take too long to do and I’m too lazy):
Florida – 37
California – 29
Texas – 17
New York – 17
North Carolina – 15
Massachusetts – 12
New Jersey – 12
Virginia – 12
Illinois – 10
Pennsylvania – 9
Oregon – 8
Connecticut – 7
and so on and so forth…
Where do we go from here?
I’m excited to keep collecting books all year, so feel free to keep sending them. There is a permanent Facebook group to keep track as more books come in and more information is present. Officially, on January 1st 2015, we will begin the event again until May 1st 2015 with the goal of breaking this year’s numbers. Several publishers have already been in contact about offering up many of their titles and Rocky Wood, President of the Horror Writer’s Association, asked me personally to contact him before the event so that the HWA could get 100% behind this from the start in 2015. Another reason I am honored to be a voting member of the HWA.
It has been fun, it has been exhausting, and I’ve been yelled at many times in the past four months by Special Gal every time I drool at the cover of a book I want to keep.
I couldn’t have done this without so many generous authors, and I’d love to thank each and every one of you for helping the troops who can’t get e-readers, laptops, video games, etc. easily and are in horrible parts of a hostile country, get a few hours of respite with a good book.
I’m proud to have started what I hope will be a yearly event until every one of our soldiers returns home… carrying one of our books in his pack because it got him or her through a rough night.