The Ninja Book Box – Subscription Box Blog Tour
- I was actually looking for a box to subscribe to myself! I’m a very eclectic reader, and all of the boxes I could afford (i.e that were based in the UK or Europe) seemed to cater specifically to YA or be just ‘a book a month’ type subscriptions. I really wanted to excitement of opening a whole box of goodies and discovering a new book, so I started thinking about making it myself. I’ve also been trying to buy and read mostly independently published titles this year, in a bid to find out what other excellent books are out there beyond the ones that get pushed at me by advertising and blogger hype, and as I was thinking of making this box it just came to me that it would be a great idea to combine the two things and make it an indie book box. I had a quick look around and confirmed that although these types of boxes do exist they’re not the same, and they’re all in the USA, which unfortunately often makes the cost of postage prohibitive to Europeans ordering them, so I thought I’d set up my own and see!
- I decided to make the box quarterly honestly just for practical reasons. I have two young kids, a day job and various other projects and commitments, so in order for me to do the best possible job of making the box brilliant and filling it with awesome stuff plus having the time to do the reading and find the titles to include, monthly would have been too much! Also because we’re working with small publishers the cost of goods is higher than would probably be the case with bigger companies, meaning the box has to be that little bit more expensive, so quarterly seemed like it would be most accessible to the most people.
- The process has been very much one of learning on the job! Although I’ve worked in retail for a decade and have loved books my whole life and blogged about them for over five years, I had very little practical knowledge of how to run a subscription box business when I started out. Fortunately I’m a quick learner and I learn best when I’m thrown in the deep end, so it’s worked out pretty well so far! I started off by creating the Kickstarter project and thought I’d just see if it got funded and go from there. Now I’m pretty much just waiting for the funding from that to come in so I can place firm orders for all the excellent stuff I’ve ordered for the first box! The internet is such a goldmine of information, but I have had to curb my wild imagination several times while sourcing things to include in the box – since we’re working with small businesses and designers I’m very inspired to think up crazy, exclusive products to include and have to be calmed down on a regular basis. There’s a lot of boring stuff involved (sourcing the actual boxes themselves was not fun. Ditto finding out how much postage will cost to all the countries!) but most of it has been so much fun,and it’s been amazing to work with small publishers who are so enthusiastic about the project.
- Process is quite a strong word I think, it implies some kind of order when actually my method is fairly random. I’ve been doing an indie feature on my blog for the last year so I started off just browsing the catalogues and backlist of the publishers I’d already featured and choosing a couple from each publisher who published genres that my initial market research had indicated people wanted to read more of (historical, mystery, graphic novels and science fiction) and then broadened it out to other genres – the box is going to be genreless after all, meaning the book could come from absolutely any genre! I read many many titles that were really good but not quite what I wanted for the first box before finally selecting the first book, which absolutely blew me away. I’ve also been making a list of UK based indie publishers on twitter, so I’m using that as a reference as well. It’s both easier and harder that the box won’t focus on just new releases – it means there’s less worry about people having duplicates of a newly released, hyped book, and also keeps the element of discovery of new things that’s so central to the box possible, but it also means that there’s such a massive array of choice from each publisher that I’m inevitably missing things! Thankfully several of the publishers I’ve got in touch with have been super helpful recommending titles they feel should have got more love, so watch out for some underappreciated goodness!
- The hardest thing I’ve had to do so far is to calm my anxiety! I’m a natural worrier and at every stage so far I’ve found something to panic about. Gradually I’m learning to relax and let it go – I know the idea of the box is great, and I know that I have the capability to make it a thing people will love, but sometimes it’s hard to remember that! The least hard thing has been talking to all the suppliers and working with people who’s products I am so excited to share with others! I really love that I’m supporting small businesses with this project, it really makes me feel like I’m making a difference to people’s… maybe not lives, but income I guess!
And that’s all for the interview! Sounds awesome, eh? Well I’ve got more! First off there’s a Kickstarter campaign running to start up the box and it’d be awesome if you can donate (or at least tell your friends about it!) Second off, you can win the first month’s box! To enter the Rafflecopter, click here! That’s it!
Thank you to Bex for letting me interview you and thank YOU for reading this post! I can’t wait to see what the first box looks like, don’t forget to donate/share and I wish you luck in the giveaway! Before you leave though, follow the rest of the tour! Have a great day/night and tata for now!