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Give Back Books Helps the Animals

Thursday, July 23, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Christopher Locke
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Give Back Books publisher and founder Zoe Michal (left) pictured with Sandy (right), one of the animals helped from the sales of her picture book A Human for Huxley.

When Publisher Zoe Michal founded the independent publishing company Give Back Books in 2019, she set up the company so that for every book they sold, they would donate $1 to an animal welfare organization. There are a lot of indie publishers who’d love to support charitable causes if they could figure out how to make it work financially, so IBPA spoke to Zoe to get the details of her charitable giving.

IBPA: For every book that Give Back Books sells, you donate $1 to an animal-welfare organization. How are you able to make this work financially?

Zoe Michal (ZM): I adjust the price to include the $1.00 donation, but not much. I basically take less of a profit. I believe my books can do good in the world–for the children that enjoy them and the animals that benefit from the donations. It’s a win-win.

IBPA: Why did you choose animal welfare as the social justice cause you wanted to support, and how do the books that you’re publishing fit into the theme of your charitable giving?

Mission Protect Bear by Zoe Michal

ZM: Animal welfare has always been important to me. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 13 when my uncle brought a live duck for us to eat from his farm. I said, “No way.” He reminded me that this is where all meat comes from. That was the last time I ate any meat. I have served on our local animal shelter board, [and] started an anti-animal abuse task force (that subsequently turned into a Commission) after a dog was set on fire. I love all animals and just don’t understand how humans can harm them.

My first book, A Human for Huxley, is about a dog. My second book, Mission Protect Bear, due out this month, is about a bear, deer, duck, and skunk. Not all the books will be about animals, but they will all benefit the animals.

IBPA: How do you/will you pick the organizations to which you donate money?

ZM: Because I’ve been involved in animal welfare causes throughout my life, I know many of them. I’ll also use the list on Animal Charity Evaluators, which was sent to me by IBPA Member Liaison Christopher Locke (his partner, Jaya Bhumitra, is the Managing Director). In addition, I’ll ask my social media followers to nominate animal-welfare organizations that would benefit. Since I only published my first book in January of this year, I have only written one check (every six months is the plan). That donation was sent to Pets With Disabilities (in Prince Frederick, Maryland) from the sales of the picture book, A Human for Huxley.

IBPA: Can you share advice for other independent publishers who are looking to somehow incorporate a charitable cause into their business model for their companies?

ZM: I would tell them to really think hard about what their expenses are for each book before they set what they can afford to give. If they can purchase books from a printer in bulk, they will have a larger margin of profit to accommodate the donation.

IBPA: One of the biggest issues facing independent publishers right now is the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. Now that we are a few months into this crisis (with no clear end in sight), can you share advice for other independent publishers about how they can weather the impact of the health crisis on their businesses?

ZM: A full-time job to pay your bills is a blessing, which I am grateful to have right now. I think with extra free time (no travel to and from work, no taking kids to games/school) can leave a great amount of time to work on marketing. Spend time helping others grow their business and hopefully they will reciprocate. Be active on Facebook, Instagram, getting Amazon reviews, and sending out emails to potential customers. Try to have bloggers interview you and review your book and YouTubers read your book in front of their audiences.

IBPA: How has it been beneficial to you to be a member of Independent Book Publishers Association?

ZM: It has definitely been beneficial to be a member of the IBPA. I’ve used your discount code for IngramSpark (uploading several times); your discount code for purchasing ISBN numbers through Bowker; read marketing information; and contacted other publishers in similar positions about what they do to increase sales and grow their business.

IBPA: Can you tell us more about your upcoming book, Mission Protect Bear?

ZM: It’s the story of Bear, and his three friends that rally to protect him during the last three days of bear hunting season.

IBPA: Thank you for sharing your insight, Zoe, and for your charitable giving to help non-human animals!

Click here to learn more about Give Back Books!

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