RICHARD BACH, Illusions
When we launched BookBaby back in 2011 we had a strategy to get the word out about our new brand:
“Book Barnstorming” – traveling across the country to book fairs, trade shows, author conferences and more. The BookBaby team pitched our products and services to thousands of would-be authors, talking up our global eBook distribution, our payout of 100% of net sales back to authors, and all the rest.
Most folks listened politely, nodded pleasantly – and little more than that. Invariably there was one key line in our pitch that turned the conversation around:
“Our sister company is CD Baby, the indie music giant….”
“Oh! CD Baby!,” they would exclaim, suddenly more engaged. “Of course! I know them!” And the lights would go on. People would launch into their own stories about buying music from CD Baby or how their brother’s band has their music on the website, and a 100 more stories like it.
Connection made: BookBaby was already part of the family.
Family is a familiar theme during the holiday season. The word conjures up memories, warmth and happiness. Beyond that, being ‘family’ speaks to trust, honesty, reputation and familiarity. It’s an everlasting bond.
It’s no stretch to say that CD Baby and BookBaby are practically joined at the hip. The two brands share a Portland, Oregon office with adjoining call center slots. Many BookBaby staff members started their careers on the music side. Both brands work with many of the same retail partners such as Amazon and Apple.
The ‘Baby brands share something else – customers. It’s not surprising that musicians would also be authors, and vice versa. It’s the epitome of true “crossover artists” as each medium supports the message and meaning of the other.
For one of those versatile musician authors, family is the main reason why she found her calling in life. Oya Thomas is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, actress and musical mentor. Her debut album, Spirit of OYA, is described as a fusion project of R&B/Soul, Gospel, Jazz and Funk. Oya says it’s a musical depiction of her own journey, filled with life, love, inspiration and light.
“Music was a big deal in my household for as long as I can remember,” said Oya when I interviewed her earlier this month. “I started singing at 3. I would hear my my mom singing gospel songs all day, my father would be singing in church and my brother was in a boy’s choir. It’s what I grew up around.”
But it wasn’t until a sad family milestone occurred that music was brought back into her life in a more meaningful way.
“When my grandmother passed away I was asked to sing at her funeral,” she said. “I was actually really bummed out! It was my birthday and I didn’t want to do it. I was ready to have fun at a party in Mexico and instead had to be a part of a funeral.”
“It turned out to be the biggest day of my life, the biggest gift I’ve ever received,” said Oya. “Something happened in that space and time. It took me back to that time when I was a little girl, singing my heart out. I was singing from my heart, touching people in ways I didn’t know or even understand.”
“It wasn’t for money or fame. It was just for the love of it. I felt like I really reconnected with music that day. I knew from that point what I was meant to do, through my voice and words to spread light and love around the world. I’ve been completely focused on it from that day forward.”
When she completed her album in 2012 she went looking for a company that had a personal touch. “I did a lot of research about who could help me sell my CDs,” she said. “CD Baby really stood out to me because of the customer service. In this day and age everyone just wants to talk by email. Now I’m up on technology and all that but i like a real human to be in the conversation, especially the first time I’m doing something like this. They took the time and had the patience to answer all my questions.”
When her book was finished it was natural that she would “keep it in the family” and work with BookBaby. “I knew if BookBaby was anything like CD Baby then this was going to work for me,” said Oya. “It’s a little different being a book vs. a CD but it’s basically the same thing. I worked with (BookBaby customer service team member) Lori and she helped me with the whole process. There was a lot of back and forth on different things but she was completely patient and helpful.”
Oya’s new book is entitled The Five Star Points For Success: Manifest Your Dreams, Live Your Life’s Purpose. She calls it a practical guide designed to help anyone with a creative mind build a solid foundation for living an exceptional life, grounded in the core components of self: Mind, Body, Spirit, Emotions and Environment. Her book is now available for sale through her website: http://www.indiemerch.com/spiritofoya.
This is likely the first of many books from the singer/author. “Oh yes there will be more,” she said. “I had 1000s of pages of notes, and my editor had a talk with me. It was such a challenge to bring it down to just 150 pages.”
Staying within the ‘Baby family of brands allowed Oya to focus her time and efforts into crafting her messages – across both mediums.
“I’m a writer first and foremost,” she said. “I’m so fortunate to have the voice that allows me to sing the words. My songs and the book have shared philosophies and messages.”