As we celebrate our 10-year anniversary in 2019, we’ve been taking time each month to look at all the accomplishments and milestones we’ve experienced over our first decade. This month, as two of our divisions celebrate their official birthdays as well, we’re taking a minute to share 10 things you may be surprised to learn about BookSparks. How many of these were news to you?
1BookSparks started at a kitchen table. That’s right! Over the last 10 years, the company that has grown to represent hundreds of authors and publishers started with our founder and an intern sharing a love of books at the kitchen table. That original intern is still part of our Spark family today—it’s our Content Marketing Manager Christelle Lujan!
2 A love of books drives everything we do. True, you may already know this based on how we fangirl over the latest releases and simply adore our clients and their books, but did you know that our founder’s background is actually in high tech PR? It was Crystal’s love of reading, starting at a very young age, that drove her to merge her passion with her expertise to found BookSparks, a leading PR and digital marketing agency focused on helping authors share their stories.
3We’re actually part of a much larger company called SparkPoint Studio. Over the years, our portfolio of brands has grown through innovation and acquisition to include the publicity division, BookSparks; our award-winning hybrid publishing imprints SparkPress, She Writes Press, and SheBooks; the largest online platform for female authors, She Writes; and the multimedia book recommendation platform, She Reads. We’re truly our tagline – All Your Story Needs™.
4Our biggest campaign of the year is the Summer Reading Challenge. BookSparks was one of the very first agencies to work with book bloggers to promote our clients’ projects. For 9 years we’ve hosted the Summer Reading Challenge with approximately 30 books per summer, hundreds of influencers and bloggers, hundreds of media hits and 1,000s of social posts and hashtags. We now host Fall and Winter reading challenges too!
5 We don’t just promote books, we publish them too. Six years ago, we launched our own publishing imprint called SparkPress (which just turned 6, see all the details here!). Since then, SparkPress has signed over 100 authors, including 15 bestsellers. SparkPress authors have gone on to land traditional publishing deals, and sold foreign and film rights. In 2014 we also acquired She Writes Press (happy 7th birthday!) which has signed over 500 authors, including 50+ bestsellers, and two years ago we acquired SheBooks, which publishes shorter ebooks for women on the go, adding over 75 notable authors to our catalog. Our imprints have swept indie awards for over five years, and in 2019 She Writes Press was awarded Indie Publisher of the Year at the Next Generation Indie Book Awards at ALA.
6 We’re based in Phoenix, Arizona. Although we represent authors all across the country – and the world! – our home base is downtown Phoenix. Through the years we’ve moved around the metro area as our team has grown, and any time you’re in town we’ll be happy to take you to our favorite restaurants near the office.
7 In addition to a full PR team, who represents more than 100 campaigns per year, BookSparks has a digital marketing team as well. These teams work hand-in-hand to offer much more than just traditional literary publicity – something that truly sets us apart. We reach a social following of nearly 85,000 just on our BookSparks accounts and amplify that reach through countless brand partnerships and a network of hundreds of influencers.
8 We run a successful internship program that often hires from within. Over 5 years ago we launched an internship program that has worked with nearly 50 local journalism and business college students to give them hands-on experience in a high-paced PR agency. Several of those interns have gone on to become full time Sparks.
9We’re an all-female team … almost! From our interns and network of freelancers to our executives, our company is female-led and female staffed. Our founder, Crystal, has been recognized by the SunDevil 100 two years in a row as the leader of one of the fastest growing companies in Arizona. In 2018, she was the only female CEO in the Top 10. Our “Chief John Officer” assists with many vital back-office tasks and does carry a Y chromosome, but we couldn’t do it without him!
10 We love books so much, we write about them, too! We run SheWrites.com, the largest community of women writers with more than 32,000 members, and SheReads.com, a fast-growing site offering book recommendations based on lifestyle, pop culture and more. Both sites offer editorial content for writers to help them perfect their craft and for readers to help them find their next favorite book.