Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 1325 - Cheer Chick Charlie

Time for an update on all things Charlie

I actually don't talk too much about Cheer Chick Charlie on this blog. Well, I do. But not in proportion to the space she takes up in my life I don't give her much air time.  Anyway, I thought you might be interested in an update.  And I'd be keen to get your views. Actually, more than your views ... I need your opinion and advice.  Will you join me in a quick round table chat?



Book Five

The next book has been with the printers and is now back to me for final edits in its print ready format. Within the next week we will be pressing the print button. That bit always scares me as once you say "go" there is no turning back. After that I will have another 2000 books ready for sale. The Charlie books are novels for 7-11 year olds to entertain kids but also written to help them with their confidence. Book Five is called "Bigger, Stronger, Braver" and will be available in June.

The best advice I was ever given (after my book one debacle) was to read the book out loud for a thorough edit.  That way you hear the words instead of rely on what your eyes think they should be seeing.

I do have an editor of course, and sub-editors, but we still err.  And the buck still stops here.

Do you have any editing advice before I hit that print button?


The Charlie Doll

After taking samples of the Charlie doll to the New York Toy Fair we have finally received our first batch of dolls for sale.  That is super exciting as they only arrived yesterday. We are now on track to sell them to anyone who needs a little cheerleader in their life.  She comes with her poms and uniform, as well as a spare set of clothes (training t-shirt and shorts).

What do you think of our Charlie? 
(Loaded question I know given we've already created and sourced her.)
Cheer Chick Charlie doll - $29.95
Currently $22.95 on the Facebook store (limited time)
App

The App is still going along nicely.  I actually have a meeting this morning with one of the graphic designers to create an alternative cheerleading uniform for Charlie to wear so kids can choose if she is in her basic cheerleader uniform, or whether she is going to wear something a little more "razzle dazzle" for their routine. The aim of the App is to get kids off the couch and having a bit of a dance in their own lounge rooms. They create basic cheer routines with an animated Charlie (of various lengths, with different music choices, and with different backgrounds), then they copy Charlie as she "teaches" them the new routine.  They get to be a cheerleader in their own home! They win ribbons, medals and trophies based on the complexity of the routine which they can then store in their "trophy room".  It's kind of cool.  We'll be selling it for $1.99 in the iTunes store as of July.

Do you think charging $1.99 is a reasonable price for the Charlie app?


The Website and social media

I continue to update the website every month with new "competitions and fun stuff".  We also put a new Cheer Chick video on there every month via our You Tube Channel.  Oh, and there's also the Charlie's Diary and Charlie's Lunch Box. The diary allows kids to read some of Charlie's thoughts between the books, and the lunch box helps kids create their own healthy snacks.  I also have our books and products for sale of course, as well as space to advertise our Cheerleader Parties and soon I will put our Fundraising Scheme on there.

I would love your feedback on the website. I am wondering if perhaps we have 'outgrown" it already? Where do you think the improvements can be made? 

Oh, and of course I have the Charlie Facebook page, Pinterest account, Twitter and You Tube.

Could I be doing something different with my social media?

Fundraising

We have launched our fundraising leg (which can also equate to an affiliates program) where to raise money for a cause, group, school, club etc you can take the Cheer Chick Charlie books as an alternative to chocolates.  Books are sold for $9.95 of which the "affiliate" receives $3.00 per book. We take all the risk by sending the books at our expense to the person/club etc (based on their estimate as to how many they can sell) and all they have to do is tell us how many they have sold and we invoice them for $6.95 per book.  The only cost to them is posting back any unsold items.

I haven't put this on the website yet, but I do have information sheets available for interested parties.

Do you reckon this is a reasonable program?

Could I do something different?

Do you know anyone who might be interested?


First four books available for Fundraising/Affiliate program

China

I am on constant Skype chat with agents in China right now trying to source stuff for our new line.  I am trying to do a school range (note books, pencils, rulers etc) as well as a party ware range (cups, plates, napkins, balloons) all with the Charlie theme.  It's an interesting exercise especially when minimum orders are 1000, 2000 or 5000.

What products do you think would go well in the school and party range?


The Charlie logo which would go on our school supplies and party ware.

Advertising

We haven't started our big advertising campaign yet.  We are still working through the options. One that is high up on our radar is Foxtel advertising via Disney or Nickelodeon channel.

Does TV advertising impact on you or your kids?

Where do you get your information when it comes to "new things to buy"? 



There is so much more that is going on of course. There are the cheerleader parties (hire a cheerleader to come to your child's birthday party instead of a clown or fairy), our push for TV, our scoping of the USA, the face-to-face entertainment with our Charlie mascot character.  Too much to bore you with.

I really would value your advice on any or all of the above.  As you can imagine this is a huge undertaking and there comes a point where I just can't "see" the obvious things anymore. I am too deeply entrenched.

I am hoping you might be able to participate in a round table type discussion ...

Grab your cuppa and come on over.

Serious gratitude right here.  I would TOTALLY value your opinions. In fact, I need them ...

15 comments :

  1. $1.99 is fine for the app - I LOVE the fundraising idea. It's great. And the Doll is super cute. Also good way to bring younger kids into the books as they transition into reading...

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  2. The App sounds great and the price is fine, especially for something that actually gets them up and moving, making their own routines. This is particularly interesting as my Miss 6.5 is getting right into dancing and shows about dancing.

    The fundraising sounds great too.

    One thing I'd mention about the educational/party items from China is something I feel strongly about. Please ensure they are as good quality as possible, with everything practical and nothing disposable/immediately breakable. We need to be careful about this stuff, I aim to keep only stuff which is usable and not bad for the environment. Good luck! #teamIBOT

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  3. Wow that is so exciting, a new book to publish. I think the school fundraising is a great odea, you want people to be talking about your book.Can you do author visits to schools? I used to love this when I was a little book worm. Good luck with the new release.

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  4. No advice re before sending it to the printers except proof read, proof read and proof read again - there is nothing worse than finding spelling / grammatical errors after printing !
    I love Charlie - I think she looks really cute.
    I would pay $1.99 for an app although am more likely to go for an app that is 99c - guess it depends how much you have spent on getting the app developed and how many you think you may sell.
    I think the website is great for the audience you are targeting.
    The fund raising idea is a good one - please be careful about sending them out on consignment - my folks have had some horror stories with products sent on consignment - maybe ask for a deposit up front ?
    I think the school supplies is a great idea but would maybe hold off on the party ware range to see how well the school supplies do - but this may just be me wearing my conservative hat !!!
    Good luck - Charlie looks like a great product which I hope will bring heaps of strength to children.
    Have the best day !
    Me

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  5. Wow so much going on there.

    If you need another set of eyes I am always finding the errors in printed books - i just have that kind of eye that can't miss the typos or loss of continuity, grammar etc.

    Love the doll and the app!

    I also encourage you to be careful with China - lots of poor quality, recalls etc that can hurt people and damage your brand in the long run

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  6. Leeane when I ordered those clothes and poms the other week, I was so close to ordering charlie herself because she is so darn cute!!! Might still have to yet.

    I'm beginning to understand some of that book printing fear, but I have also seen a little girl fall completely in love with Charlie and beg me for the next book, so I figure even if a couple of typos get missed, you're still doing so well. Off to check out the website now

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  7. You are one busy little bee.

    I am totally in awe that you can have all this happening and churning along. It gives me great hope that I will get past my health issues and jump head on into something with full gusto as you have.

    Well done and enjoy :)
    Becc @ Take Charge Now

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  8. I love that this is you passion and I love Charlie, so here I go trying my best to answer some of the questions:

    *I think the doll is super cute - best idea to have a spare set of clothes for her
    *1.99 for the app is fine, but I am more inclined to "not even think about it" when an app is 0.99 - perhaps you could have a free app code in your new book, so everyone who buys the book gets a one-off free download?
    *I checked out Charlie's website and to be very honest - I think it needs a revamp, too purple, the name doesn't stand out, looks very informative and not interactive - is the site aimed at parents or children? if it is kids, then it needs to change its appeal to them
    *love the fundraising idea and wholeheartedly think this is a great avenue to move into - first question - how does this target families with boys? Does Charlie need a friend? my first suggestion would be sporting groups, but perhaps there could be some schools that are interested
    *China - be wary on quality - people do not on-refer if a product is faulty on low standard
    *Advertising - a big yes to TV - my boys rant and rave about the latest things all from the foxtel ads they watch - does this mean Charlie needs her own show one day?

    Hope I have been of some benefit and not just rambled on xx

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  9. Every single one of these comments is 100% awesome and helpful!! Keep them coming. I am making notes ...
    Thanks so much for taking the time!
    Leanne x o x o

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  10. I think everyone has given terrific feedback. Don't have time to check the website right now, but I wanted to say that I think the party idea is fantastic. And a great way for you to promote the brand, giving away the books as prizes etc. So much better than a fairy!

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  11. As for editing, get someone else to read aloud and give them a red pen as they do it.
    It's hard to pick up your own mistakes!
    I think word of mouth is a big thing so I'm sure you've contacted the heads of the cheer squads in your area.
    Otherwise, have you thought about asking local schools to host you?
    If it costs them nothing and the kids can learn new things - they would be keen for sure!
    Em x

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  12. Editing advice: 1. Get someone else to read it with fresh eyes. 2. Read it backwards, each sentence that way you read each word and pick up any spelling errors.

    $1.99 for the app is reasonable but I would be more included to purchase if under $1, just a rule I have with Miss 7.

    Website: needs more white space. And heading needs to be more prominent.

    Facebook page: Perhaps more interaction that is not necessarily promotion related. Create a community, not just a promotion space. xx

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  13. Miss 9 has all the Charlie books on her wishlist. I should really indulge her and get them for her.

    I'm more than happy to proofread for you if you need a fresh set of eyes.

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  14. Excellent stuff!! Thanks so much for the offers of proof reading too guys. Will definitely keep that in mind! All this info is extremely valuable. Great round table :)
    Leanne x o x o

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  15. I'm just catching up here Leanne.
    I'm so enjoying following along with your progress, am finding it very inspiring!
    It all looks fabulous, the only thing is, maybe make the heading on the website a bit bigger and brighter.
    Please keep us up to date with it all x

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I love hearing your thoughts! Keep them rolling in :)

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