Authors Supporting Our Troops 2016 #ASOT2016


Bumper Stickers

January 1st 2016 kicks off the third Authors Supporting Our Troops event, and we’re hoping it will be the biggest year yet to collect author-signed books! #ASOT2016 has a modest goal: beat the 3,000 books we shipped in 2014 and the nearly 3,500 books we shipped in 2015.

Let me explain the program again so I don’t have to spend so much time this year telling helpful people what we do and do not need to make this another successful year.

First off, we never really stopped collecting author-signed books. Whereas, in 2014, I had a definite end date in mind, in 2015 I just kept collecting books thanks to the permanent Facebook group. This year I won’t be doing an event page because it becomes too much work and it also becomes redundant once interested parties join the permanent group, where I happily post the pictures of the signed books as they arrive, post pictures of the boxes as they are shipped and update news about where we stand on the event.

So, what are we looking for?

Author-signed books.

YOUR books. If you’re in an anthology and want to sign your story, we’ll take it. If you put out a release, sign it and we’ll take it. We don’t want you sending us your dog-eared copies of Stephen King. We don’t want books you weren’t involved in unless you’re the publisher or collecting other author’s books to ship to us at once.

Books ready for shipping.

Books only. 

While we know troops overseas could use new toothbrushes and soap and Dorito’s, we aren’t collecting them. Neither are we collecting eBooks and e-readers. Print books only. There are many other organizations who collect necessities for the troops, but we aren’t one of them. Our modest goal is to put 3,500+ print books into the hands of soldiers in remote areas of the world like Kuwait and Afghanistan. If a soldier is stationed in Germany or San Diego, they can easily buy a book or have access to TV, games, e-readers, etc. This event is for the men and women of the military who don’t have easy access to read. It’s something for their downtime between hostile situations.

What genre(s) do you accept?

Everything but blatant porn. Nothing taboo or racist, nothing pushing the envelope. Anti-military books might not be so popular. Last year many authors didn’t think their romance books would fit, but they did. Soldiers will read anything if its the only book around. There are also many women in the military. They like to read a good paranormal romance, you know.

ASOT2015Meghan

We ship through USPS.

We have a nice and easy system setup for us through Craig and Suzanne at Change Jar Books in Flagler Beach Florida. It gives them some business and they do all of the hard work by setting the boxes with tags and mailing stickers, etc. Last year so many people tried to be helpful and let us know about alternate ways to send books. None of them were as cheap or easy as the USPS. No carrier ships boxes for free. No carrier can get close to the cost we send them through the mail for and the ease we can ship them.  For a box of books (about 50 books per box) it costs us about $25.00 to ship. Add in the ease to ship for me and there is no alternative that makes sense.

Shipping

Donations are accepted and welcome.

I am not a non-profit and we are not a business. We are a couple of people who want to help soldiers. We don’t go through the USO or have contact with military groups. I’ve never served in the military but my wife Shelly (the other half of the team) has a Godson, James, who is serving. it started because she wanted to send him books. This all comes out of our pocket less donations and sales of t-shirts (more on that below). As an example: 3,000 books shipped means about 60 boxes. At $25.00 each to ship. So about $1,500.00 is needed. That doesn’t include buying the shipping boxes and the stickers to place on the boxes. Any monetary donation is accepted and welcomed. We really do appreciate it.

James graduation from boot camp

ASOT2016 T-shirts.

Yes, we will be doing the shirts again in 2016. The first one will kick off on January 1st 2016. We’ll have several colors this year. We try to keep the price as low as we can so more people will buy them and represent. The small profit from the shirt sales goes towards the shipping cost. Last year over half of the shipping was paid for thanks to the shirt sales. We’ll also do like we did last year and post your picture in the shirt and probably do some prizes and whatnot for those helping us out like give away bumper stickers or a new bookmark we’ll have in 2016.

Can you send books and/or donations now?

Of course. But the real fun will begin on January 1st 2016 when the event is officially open. Just send me an e-mail with ASOT2016 or something similar in the subject line asking about the information. I will not be putting my home address on this post or on Facebook. But I will respond as quickly as I can to any queries. if you have questions, contact me at  armandrosamilia@gmail.com

New Stickers

How else can you help?

By helping spread the word about the event. Even though we hit so many authors the last two years (about 650 or so) that is such a small blip of the writers and publishers out there. If you belong to an organization, let them know about it. Ask your publisher to get in touch. Many of them sent us boxes of books last year, which was great.

What branch of the military do you send to?

We’ve shipped to all of them. If a soldier is in a remote area, we want to reach out and hand him/her a book. We find one contact soldier in the unit and ask them to hand out the books when two boxes arrive. We also hope they can take time to send us pictures of the troops holding some books. That is one of the best parts to me. The smiles on their faces holding an author-signed book. Be aware in 2015 almost no pictures we able to be published on social media because of the security needed to keep our troops safe, but I will get e-mails from time to time thanking us for what we are doing.

ASOTBlackHoodie

How do you get the soldier’s addresses?

From you. Like we said, we don’t work with a company or the military. We rely on family and friends of soldiers overseas to get in touch with them to make sure they’re interested in handing out the books. Then we need their COMPLETE address (including their name and APO/FPO) to ship to them. That’s it. The goal is 35 soldiers in 2016 or more.

What’s the Facebook address to stay in touch and see all the pictures?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ASOT2014/ and also friend me on Facebook so I can tag you in any pictures we post anywhere on Facebook, too!

We’re hoping the Authors Supporting Our Troops 2016 blows away all estimates. Here’s hoping 3,500 books gets passed by thanks to the generosity of authors.

Armand Rosamilia

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7 Mail Days Into #ASOT2015


ASOTbumpersticker

This is going to be a short but fun post from me. After the first 7 official mailing days of Authors Supporting Our Troops 2015 I can relate the following:

1. The incoming and outgoing boxes are heavy and I’m out of shape

2. We’ve received 286 books from 35 boxes mailed from authors, making it an average of 8.2 books per box

3. So far, Texas leads the way with 5 authors sending books, with Florida and Kentucky tied for second place with 3 each. Five different States are tied for third with 2 each. (I’m not going to kill myself with these numbers or worry about different authors in each box or anything else that makes this complicated… this is for fun to let everyone know who is helping out)

4. At the end of the month I’ll tally up which State had the most authors sending in boxes (multiple shipments from the same author won’t count) and I’ll send everyone from that State a free #ASOT2015 bumper sticker. How’s that sound? We’ll do it every month until May, so there will be four chances to win and I’ll reset it each month and then maybe do a bigger last win at the end for a grand total… I’m just tossing ideas out right now, so don’t mind me.

5. I am amazed and humbled by all the support so far for the event. We’ll have a ton of books to send to soldiers, but it means we’ll also need help with the shipping costs via donations and buying t-shirts this year again. And, we’ll need quite a few soldiers in remote areas of the world to send the books to, as well… 

Questions/comments? E-mail me at  armandrosamilia@gmail.com 

Authors-Supporting-Troops-500x365

Authors Supporting Our Troops – Soldiers Needed


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I am amazed at all of the authors asking the information about donating signed books to the Authors Supporting Our Troops event, as well as non-authors wanting to donate money to help with the massive shipping costs. You can find out everything you need to know Here.

With the goal of 3,000 author-signed books shipped in 2015, the only part of the equation I’m a little worried about is actual soldiers to send books to. 

This is where you hopefully come in and help…

Are you a family member of someone in the military (any branch) or friends with someone who is currently overseas in a remote area? We’d love to make contact with you and send over a couple of boxes of books so they can share them with their unit. I’m not interested in a company that does this or a random person, i want to actually touch people you know… 

The greatest thing for me is seeing the pictures of the soldiers opening the boxes and taking out the books. It makes all the hours spent receiving, opening, taking pictures of, sorting and packaging the thousands of books worth it for us. 

All I need is the soldier’s name and address and the basic dates of when they’ll be stationed overseas and where. That’s it. Contact me at  armandrosamilia@gmail.com and we can talk. 

*   *   *   *   *

For the rest of today I’m going to run a mini-contest… I want to build up the followers on the Authors Supporting Our Troops Facebook page, so I’d love some help…

Anyone sharing the group on your Facebook page and letting people know what we’re trying to accomplish will get a free ‪#‎ASOT2014‬ sticker (shown) mailed to them. Also, random envelopes will contain other cool stuff (maybe bookmarks, coupon codes for free audiobooks and/or eBooks,etc.) and a lucky random winner will also get signed print books from me as well… how does that sound?

If you share the link to the group and say something about it, all you have to do is then PM me your physical address and I’ll begin sending out the thank-you envelopes until I run out of stickers (I think we have about 50 left, so hurry up!)

As always, thank you for the support! And we’re always looking for more soldiers in remote areas to send boxes of books to as well!

Authors Supporting Our Troops 2015 #ASOT2015


ASOTlanded4

Hard to believe we are only three months away from the official kickoff to the second year of Authors Supporting Our Troops. I figured now would be a good time to get everyone up to speed and explain the program again so I don’t have to spend so much time this year telling helpful people what we do and do not need to make this another successful year.

First off, we never really stopped collecting author-signed books, we just haven’t posted too much about it once the official end date of May 15th came and went. We collected 2,500 books from authors and publishers in the four months we promoted it. I think that is awesome.

Since then we’ve managed about 75 more books and sent out another shipment overseas to a soldier. the goal for 2015 is to break 3,000 books collected and shipped. We can only do that with your help.

So, what are we looking for?

ASOTtroops

Author-signed books.

YOUR books. If you’re in an anthology and want to sign your story, we’ll take it. If you put out a release, sign it and we’ll take it. We don’t want you sending us your dog-eared copies of Stephen King. We don’t want books you weren’t involved in unless you’re the publisher or collecting other author’s books to ship to us at once.

ASOTBlackRed

Books only. 

While we know troops overseas could use new toothbrushes and soap and Dorito’s, we aren’t collecting them. Neither are we collecting eBooks and e-readers. Print books only. There are many other organizations who collect necessities for the troops, but we aren’t one of them. Our modest goal is to put 3,000+ print books into the hands of soldiers in remote areas of the world like Kuwait and Afghanistan. If a soldier is stationed in Germany or San Diego, they can easily buy a book or have access to TV, games, e-readers, etc. This event is for the men and women of the military who don’t have easy access to read. It’s something for their downtime between hostile situations.

A fraction of this year's book donations.

What genre(s) do you accept?

Everything but blatant porn. Nothing taboo or racist, nothing pushing the envelope. Anti-military books might not be so popular. Last year many authors didn’t think their romance books would fit, but they did. Soldiers will read anything if its the only book around. There are also many women in the military. They like to read a good paranormal romance, you know.

ASOTCraig

We ship through USPS.

We have a nice and easy system setup for us through Craig and Suzanne at Change Jar Books in Flagler Beach Florida. It gives them some business and they do all of the hard work by setting the boxes with tags and mailing stickers, etc. Last year so many people tried to be helpful and let us know about alternate ways to send books. None of them were as cheap or easy as the USPS. No carrier ships boxes for free. No carrier can get close to the cost we send them through the mail for and the ease we can ship them.  For a box of books (about 50 books per box) it costs us about $25.00 to ship. Add in the ease to ship for me and there is no alternative that makes sense.

ASOT2014

Donations are accepted and welcome.

I am not a non-profit and we are not a business. We are a couple of people who want to help soldiers. We don’t go through the USO or have contact with military groups. I’ve never served in the military but Special Gal (the other half of the team) has a Godson, James, who is serving. it started because she wanted to send him books. This all comes out of our pocket less donations and sales of t-shirts (more on that below). As an example: 3,000 books shipped means about 60 boxes. At $25.00 each to ship. So about $1,500.00 is needed. That doesn’t include buying the shipping boxes and the stickers to place on the boxes. Any monetary donation is accepted and welcomed. We really do appreciate it.

James graduation from boot camp

ASOT2015 T-shirts.

Yes, we will be doing the shirts again in 2015. The first one or two will kick off on January 1st 2015 when the event officially begins. We’ll have several colors this year. We try to keep the price as low as we can so more people will buy them and represent. The small profit from the shirt sales goes towards the shipping cost. Last year over half of the shipping was paid for thanks to the shirt sales. We’ll also do like we did last year and post your picture in the shirt and probably do some prizes and whatnot for those helping us out.

ASOTbox4

Can you send books and/or donations now?

Of course. But the real fun will begin on January 1st 2015 when the event is officially open. Just send me an e-mail with ASOT2015 or something similar in the subject line asking about the information. I will not be putting my home address on this post or on Facebook. But I will respond as quickly as I can to any queries. if you have questions, contact me at  armandrosamilia@gmail.com

Troop6

How else can you help?

By helping spread the word about the event. Even though we hit so many authors the last time around (about 325 or so) that is such a small blip of the writers and publishers out there. If you belong to an organization, let them know about it. I belong to the Horror Writers Association and President Rocky Wood stopped me at a convention and wanted to make sure the HWA was involved with getting me books. You can’t ask for a better comment than that. Ask your publisher to get in touch. Many of them sent us boxes of books last year, which was great.

ASOTlanded3

What branch of the military do you send to?

We’ve shipped to all of them. If a soldier is in a remote area, we want to reach out and hand him a book. We find one contact soldier in the unit and ask them to hand out the books when two boxes arrive. We also hope they can take time to send us pictures of the troops holding some books. That is one of the best parts to me. The smiles on their faces holding an author-signed book.

1381445_10203518780470249_1789161967_n

How do you get the soldier’s addresses?

From you. Like we said, we don’t work with a company or the military. We rely on family and friends of soldiers overseas to get in touch with them to make sure they’re interested in handing out the books. Then we need their COMPLETE address (including their name and FPO) to ship to them. That’s it. The goal is 30 soldiers in 2015 or more.

Troop2

What’s the Facebook address to stay in touch and see all the pictures?

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ASOT2014/ and also friend me on Facebook so I can tag you in any pictures we post anywhere on Facebook, too!

We’re hoping the Authors Supporting Our Troops 2015 blows away all estimates. Last year the original goal was to break 500 books. We did that easily. Here’s hoping 3,000 books gets passed by thanks to the generosity of authors.

Armand Rosamilia

Authors Supporting Our Troops comes to a (technical) end #ASOT2014


The t-shirt design comes in a variety of colors.

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. 

A fraction of this year's book donations.

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. 

ASOTlanded4

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. 

ASOTCraig

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. 

ASOTlanded3

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. 

ASOTBlackRed

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. 

Armand

ASOTtroops

Authors Supporting Our Troops


Armand with Joe McKinney

When you meet your idols sometimes they don’t live up to the hype. Sometimes they are grumpy and ornery and couldn’t care less about you. Such is definitely not the case when it comes to Joe McKinney. I met the man at World Horror Convention in New Orleans last year and he was even better in person than in my mind. Yes, I did the Fanboy thing at first but he ended up being a great guy with a genuine love of what he was doing and everything around him. 

Why am I telling you this? Because when he asked me (and many other authors) to help him as he collected books from us to ship overseas to some of our troops, I jumped at the chance. And so did so many others. He was able to put quite a few books into the hands of our military overseas. I never forgot about it, and decided to do my own event this year, especially when I found out from Joe he didn’t have the same contact overseas. 

But I did. 

My girlfriend Shelly (Special Gal to those in the know) had a great contact she’s known for years, someone she considers her family. I’ve been lucky enough to meet him and he is quite impressive. He’ll be coming back to the States in late March and then shipping overseas, at which point he’ll be my contact for this book drive. But let Shelly give you more detail about him:

Shelly: “I met James about 8 years ago when he was 17, while working in a youth department of the church I was attending.  He was a quiet young man living in a rough situation. I starting getting to know him and over the years he has become like a son to me. We got him through high school and he started working and then he started thinking about the military. I support him 110% and he has turned into a wonderful young man who celebrated his 25th birthday this past December. He refers to me as his godmom and I couldn’t be prouder of him if he were mine.”

He is currently a Private First Class serving at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany but will deploy to Kuwait in April.

James graduation from boot camp

Here is the main idea behind everything…

I’ll be collecting fellow author’s books to send to our troops stationed in Kuwait in April. Interested in donating some of your books? The men and women of the Armed Forces love receiving signed books from authors to read and pass around while they’re over there! If you’re an author and want to help, join this Facebook page and then get in touch with Armand for the address to send your copies. Let’s do something positive for someone else! 

I want to thank everyone who’ve already committed to helping with the event and are sending me packages so i can gather the books and box them for the troops. 

Quite a few non-authors have asked how they can help… get in touch with me, I will gladly collect donations to offset the shipping costs from me as well as purchase more books from authors I know at cost so there will be more books in the boxes to ship. 

At this time I am only interested in author-signed books to ship overseas. I think the troops will love the read and also knowing the actual author sent the books or the actual publisher. I’m not looking for your used books to donate or perishables or anything other than print books. This is not an eBook event, and not a forum for your political statements. It is simply to help those in the trenches who might want to read a book they can’t get their hands on right now. 

Come and help out as an author or as a supporter!

https://www.facebook.com/events/647179418679623/?source=1