SULPHUR SPRINGS, Texas (KETK) Back in 2012, Colleen Hoover sat down and wrote her first book, never imaging she would sell millions just years later.
“When I finished it, I let my sisters read it, my mom read it, my boss read it and everyone was like oh this is good, you should do something with it,” said Hoover. “And so I put it on amazon as a self-published book, I didn’t even try to find an agent or a publisher, because I knew nothing about the publishing world and three months later, it hit the New York Times.”
That wouldn’t be the last time the stars would align for Hoover.
She’s written 19 books since 2012, 17 of those, have been New York Times Bestsellers. Because of Hoover’s success, she decided she didn’t want to keep all those blessings to herself.
“I called my sisters and I was like I think we should start a subscription box and we should donate all the proceeds to charity and it just blew up from there,” said Hoover.
The Bookworm Box started in 2015 in Sulphur Springs and then came Book Bonanza, a book signing conference that started in 2018. Together they offer up autographed books, unicorn paraphernalia, and meet and greets to avid readers. All in the name of charity.
“It feels even better as a reader, because not only am I able to read the books that I love and meet the authors that I’m so excited to meet and love, it’s also going to charity, which I think is special,” said one Book Bonanza attendee.
Hoover and her two sisters have given more than a million dollars to charities all around the world since the inception of the Bookworm Box, including several in East Texas. One of the charities includes the Salvation Army and multiple others.
“Well I think all three of us would give away every penny to help people if we could, so it does feel good to be able to do it together, you know, as a family,” said Lin Reynolds, one of Hoover’s sisters.
“It feels really, really good to know that we are in a position to help people, it means a lot to me,” said Murphy Fennell, their youngest sister.
Even though the women grew up underprivileged, giving to others started early for the three sisters.
“When we were little, I don’t know, you were a tiny little thing, I was probably 11 or 12, and she took all three of us to go and she had a bag of quarters,” said Hoover. “And we put quarters in these parking meters and then we went to an antique store and she was like y’all listen to what those ladies are wanting and then we’ll go secretly buy it for them and she left it at the register. It was one of the greatest days of my life, just seeing her do these little acts of kindness without any kind of recognition or reward.”
At this year’s Book Bonanza, we met Carrie Pena, she works with BuildOn, a global non-profit that will benefit from next year’s sales.
“So we’re a non-profit and having an organization like Book Bonanza and the Bookworm charity support us just means everything,” said Pena. “Because not only does it help contribute to our mission, but also it exposes us to a whole group of women who are clearly passionate, clearly really interested in making an impact and changing the world.”
These three sisters are changing the world one signature and one dollar at a time.