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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Christmas Destroyed My Online Business

Full disclosure:  Christmas didn't exactly destroy my online business forever, but it certainly wreaked havoc on any sales from our website at Christmas. (I didn't even sell one download of our adorable "Johnny Rock's Christmas" software matching game.  Why?  because I got caught up in stupid Emerson's quote once again:  "Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts.  The only true gift is a gift of thyself to others."  (I even wrote a whole essay on perils of embracing this quote.)

I do applaud my successful sisters who own profitible small online businesses and make enough money to hire help during the "happy" holiday season.  That subset of women, however, doesn't include me! 

I personally am TOTALLY grateful that Christmas and ALL the holidays are over what with the gift-buying and guests coming, and the cleaning - ohh such cleaning. 

Of course a woman in business is still a woman who, unless she is Michelle Obama or a Madame Secretary type still feels it is her god-given duty to make memories for the family.  So we set aside our blogging and our tweeting under four different names and sending out Constant Contact lovely emails to customers (that one, we shouldn't have stopped) to vacuum the floor and clear off our desktop while rushing to back Pecan fingers to send back East or West or wherever. I even sewed back the arms and legs of a doll I had made for my daughter some 30 years ago and updated her little doll outfit so that my now adult daughter would have a warm and wonderful feeling at Christmas. 
Meanwhile, I didn't blog, I didn't write the essay I wanted about our software, I didn't tweet, I didn't call School Specialty Catalog where we used to sell our software to present my children's book, "Lucky, the Left Pawed Puppy" in print form, I didn't do the press release I was going to.  All in all, I spent two weeks doing stuff I used to do when I was working merely 8 to 5 in areal job that paid me real money.  
New Year's Resolution for Women in Small Online Businesses   
  

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Small Business Road Trip Review - Coburg, OR

Along our way up and down the coast (we've abandoned the pop-up trailer: see previous posting) we decided to review small businesses that we fell in love with - all serendipitous encounters of the best kind.

So, we had sandwiches packed in the cooler on our way back to California and were getting hungry around the exit to Coburg, OR. We started driving through a delightful little residential/antique shop area and stopped at a cool, shady park, and were surprised to see two hammocks hung between the posts of the shelter in the park.  They looked like well-made hammocks, but yet our hearts were sorrowful that perhaps this was the only way a couple who was homeless had to sleep.  Our sorrow was eased quickly as my husband looked over to the bikes that were chained next to the hammocks - expensive long trek road bikes

After we finished lunch and walked the dog, we started to drive away, but right next door to the park was a house with an open patio where the sign read Ice Cream and Photo Gallery.  We had to stop for that.  It turns out that his park is a common stopover for bicycle riders to snooze at mid-day before they finish the day's ride.  Walt was quite friendly and had very good ice cream.  He is a professional photographer with a little extra time during the day to sell ice cream.  If you're near Coburg and need a break, get off the highway and tell Walt you were sent by a blogger from 2015!

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Coming Soon - Guest Bloggers

We have several guest bloggers on-deck.  Email us if you're a blogger who would like to add a feature about Writing, Blogging, Small Business, Children's Books, Life Wisdom, Dogs, Parenting, Reading, Language Development and anything else you thinks might fit!

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Click-to-Website Business Cards


Authors, Small Business Owners, Educators, 

Concept: Add a QR (Quick Response) Code to your business card and direct people INSTANTLY to your article, your novel, your website, your linkedin page. 

The "Back Story":  We fell in love with Newport Beach from the moment we visited there several years ago. We positioned ourselves to live and do our business in one of the most beautiful areas in California.  How?  We live in an RV resort and write and do business from there! It's lively, it's fun. It's blocks from the ocean. People are always on vacation and they come from all over the country.  Because we experienced Newport Beach as a non-native, I was discovering great spots that every visitor would want to experience.  So I wrote a one-day, do-it-yourself itinerary for newcomers and visitors to the area.  Everytime we met a new person at our resort, I'd ask them if they had seen the view from Corona del Mar or Crystal Cove yet.  I'd tell them about the Balboa Island Fun Zone Tour, and then direct them to my article which was on a website with a long URL. It was too "hit" and "miss" to explain to people where to go, but my husband suggested that if we printed the QR code right on our business card, we could show them the article in an instant. 

How It Works: With a QR code on your business card, your customers, readers, students, clients, etc. can scan the image with their smartphone and go straight to the page you want them to.!  It works well.  If your customer doesn't know how to use a QR scanner, just direct them to  Free Apps for QR Scanner that are available for iOS and Android devices in their respective app stores.  We don't know if one is better than the other, but here's the one we use on our Android phone:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kaspersky.qrscanner

How to Create the QR Image: There are several websites that will do that for free, like this one: http://www.qrcode-monkey.com/

Tips: 

  • You might want to use an image bigger than the one we did because the QR Scanner app has to focus and re-focus to resolve the image when it's too small.
  • Since your customer will probably go right to your website on his cell, be sure your website looks great on a mobile app.  I had some extraneous pictures on my "What to See in the OC" article which were cumbersome in the mobile version, so I moved them around to look good both on the web and on the mobile app. 

Note:  If you want to see how this works, you can simply hold your phone and scan my business card with your cellphone and my article at http://billiekelpin.hubpages.com/hub/Trippin-in-LA-What-to-See-in-the-OC will appear in a flash on your phone. If you have questions, just email leftpawedpuppy@gmail.com with "OR" question in the subject line, or leave a comment here :) 

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Best Life Practices

Thought for Today: 

Leave everything better than you found it.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Business on the Road in a Pop-Up


I didn't know what a pop-up was either,  Now I'm writing to you from one. A pop-up is a camping trailer and doing business from one might not be for you and your business. (I'm not sure it is for mine, but we're giving this a whirl.) Would I like to have one of those top-of-the-line motor homes to do for our "on-the-road" business tour?  Of course,

"Yes!," but only under one condition - that a new Mercedes 

with conscientious environmental gas usage would be in our budget. (Sometimes old environmentalists just can't do the gas-guzzling thing. "It's a moral imperative" as the character Chris Knight says to Mitch in the old movie, "Real Genius") 




Is it easy to conduct  your business from the road?  If you're adventuresome, flexible, and motivated, you can do it.(I think the neighbor next to us is also doing business on the road because he was on the phone outside of his "Sea Breeze" motor home talking on his cellphone about sourcing some 
product. (Tip:  Just be sure you bring plenty of chargers for all of your devices.)


Right now I am blogging to you from inside "The Enterprise," getting ready to post this blog and then on to my 2nd blog. After that, I'll put in some hours doing my paid online job scoring student essays. 

Meanwhile my husband is out hiking the hills around Valencia, CA with his son Steve on Steve's 30th birthday.  
But tonight I swim in a beautiful pool and tomorrow we take off headed north (maybe) to San Francisco where my book "Lucky, the Left Pawed Puppy" is in Lefty's store on Pier 39. Meanwhile, in the evenings, Mike and I will be working on our new app which will connect to our blog "In Love and War: Love Letters from Vietnam" blog and our soon-to-be-released audio book "Spoken Stories".

So, if you see a tan Toyota pulling the pop-up in these pictures, just give us a wave!

Cheers from Billie, Mike, and Scooter - on the road with Language Rocks.   

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Focus, Focus, Focus


Cheers from Billie, the Prez:

Such a long time it's been since posting!  The cause? -My personal lack of focus and eclectic interests and pursuits. Perhaps you can learn from our mistakes here at Language Rocks. I get great comfort from a quote I read on despair.com: "Maybe the sole purpose of my existence is to be a warning to others. So here's the warning: FOCUS! FOCUS! FOCUS!.
I recently joined the OC Writers group and  was struck by the focus of Dr. Diane Rogers, the author of "Stand Tall Growing the Courage To Be Uniquely You"  With laser-like focus on the promotion of her lovely and important children's book, Dr. Rogers has spoken to hundreds of children about the message of her book.  She conducts art workshops with the children, exploring all kinds of creative possibilities to put her self-published book in front of the market for which the book is geared.  Of course, one can never do that unless they have a passionate belief in the importance of their "product" to the consumer.  Dr. Rodgers is not about the sale of her book as much as she is about spreading the message of empowerment that the book bestows on it's young readers. Belief in the benefit your product is to others is most likely the strongest motivator for FOCUS!


By contrast (and here's "the warning to others"), once I wrote and published "Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy" in paperback and print book form, I went on to 39 other projects - not a great plan. 

So let's toast today, dear business reader, "To "Focus  Focus, Focus!" - especially this week - all the way to Friday. I'd love to hear the great results you experienced. 

Cheers from "on the road" - our summer business endeavor. More about that in the next blog :)  




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Monday, October 27, 2014

Question for Marketers!

So, here's the app that anyone can download FREE for Android from the googleplay store. (RESIZABLE on the phone!!!) We're working on getting this little app into the Apple store, but we're having trouble. (Blog to follow).

Our next plan is to re-publish this app, but with a Christmas game. That app will have the OPTION TO PURCHASE our complete game app for children for $1.99. The upgrade will include "Sentence Scrambles" for developing reading skills, more memory matching games with niche themes, and Fill-in-the-Blank games that are now featured on "The Awesome Game Page" in the kids' secton of our website at languagerocks.com. 

Marketers: We could use any constructive ideas for our little company regarding our games for kids. We need to know if we should: A. Stop what we're doing? B. Keep on going in this direction? C.Go on to something else? We have been creating educational software and games and other products for 25 years and are at an impasse. Let us know YOUR thoughts the comment section below. 

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Will a Custom Game App Rocket Your Small Business?


We at Language Rocks believe a custom game app can rocket
your small business to new heights, get customers to interact with your product line, and keep customers coming back.    That's why we created our newest app, a Halloween memory matching game for Android phones, tablets, online (soon to be in the Apple Store as well.) We called it "Concentration-Halloween Haunt". 

For ANY type of Business
The Halloween App makes sense for OUR educational website, but what about YOUR company? Does having a game make sense for YOUR products?  You might have heard of "The Secret" which was popular several years ago. A game on their website seemed to have made sense for The Secret. Playing the game reinforces concepts the book contains. Imagine the interactivity of a customized game on YOUR website or YOUR business app. (We would suggest fewer squares, of course, with YOUR product or content. You then can add sales banners, links, or affilitate information.)  But when you think how often a player would be interacting with your products, the benefits are obvious.
How to Order a Customized Game for YOUR Website: What Will Your Custom Game Look Like: How Can You Order A Game To Be Created for You:

Read more »

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Apple Certificates for Submitting Apps to Apple Store

Even software developers have a difficult time preparing an app for the Apple Store.  If you are a writer, photographer, business owner, etc. who wants to use ibuildapp.com for creating your app, read on. When it comes to the publishing part and submission to Google Play and the Apple Store, if you're not an experienced Apple software developer, it's best to pay to have ibuildapp submit your app for you. My husband with 40 years of experience in the software field as coder, consultant, senior project leader, had to go through numerous hoops, especially for submission of my audiobook, "Live from Milwaukee, It's Tuesday Night," to the Apple Store. The costs keep changing at ibuildapp and if you're paying for a monthly plan, be sure you're charging a fee for your app that correclates to your projected sales OR give only a portion of your app for free and hope you have enough customers who will upgrade to the paid version.    


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Sunday, May 25, 2014

New App To Be Released Soon


Since we've had over 5900 downloads of "The Perfect Husband App", we decided to go ahead and combine my audio essays, short story, and one-minute "dollop-a-day" features into an audio app.  I'm using ibuildapp again, and after reacquainting myself with the in's and out's of one of my favorite do-it-yourself online software programs, I am ready to launch "Live, From Milwaukee, It's Tuesday Night".  My husband, Mike, the software engineer and technical support for our company, Language Rocks, uses his developer's certificate AND his expertise to help me upload the app to the Google Play store and to iTunes.  I've decided to charge a small fee for this app, so we'll see how that goes. Wish us luck.

Ibuildapp is a bit glitch-y to use, but they do have a help desk with online chatting available during certain hours along with email support.  I have posted and will continue to post little hints I've found useful.  One hint, before I close tonight, is to be aware, when using ibuildapp that the widgets are tied to the "manage content" functionality.  You can turn off a widget that you don't want by going all the way back up to the place you added your button images and then clicking on the "tab" button.  There you will see an "on-off" switch for your widget. 

More later and please don't hesitate to add your comments or questions.  Cheers, Billie



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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Our Winter Sweepstakes - Win $100

Welcome Visitors from Language Rocks "I Have a Dream" Speech Page.  Here you will find the specific rules and guidelines for the 'Dream Speech' Sweepstakes.  To enter the contest, simply go to the "I Have a Dream" page and enter your email address. We have a strict privacy policy and your email will not be shared with any other company than Windmill Works at languagerocks.com.  One lucky winner will be chosen on February 14 and notified within 24 hours.  Thank you for your interest in Languagerocks.com 

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL, AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
 
 1.            Eligibility
                'Dream Speech' Contest (the Contest) is open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry. Employees of Windmill Works at languagerocks.com and other companies associated with the promotion of the Contest, and their respective parents, subsidiaries, affiliates and advertising and promotion agencies as well as the immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings, and children) and household members of each such employee are not eligible. The Contest is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations.  


Read more »

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Motivating Reading Game for Christmas

The goal of Windmill Works at www.languagerocks.com has always been to make reading and language development motivating.  What could be more motivating, we thought, than colorful Christmas images to improve reading skills?  Of course, being a teacher of the deaf, the focus of our products has always been visual and NON-phonetic.

We're hoping that our remarkable sale of the DOWNLOADABLE "Johnny Rock's Christmas" for only $3.99 will be a great holiday success.

We've focused on little blurbs in the parent groups, speech/language pathologists, teachers of the deaf and hard of hearing, and special ed. teachers on linkedin.  Tonight, we're hoping to add an online sample of "Johnny Rock's Christmas" to promote our lovely Christmas sale.  Read more about the classic matching games with the exciting Christmas vocabulary at www.languagerocksproducts.com where you'll find great screen shots of content and testimonials.  We'd love to hear how your little wide-eyed reader does with matching "Johnny's" fun reading and language building games.  Happy Holidays!

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Scheduling Google Adwords Driving You Crazy?

If you've just started your small business and are new to Google Adwords, I'm going to talk to you like the grandma who says, "Back in my day, I had to walk 10 miles to school in the snow without boots..." And yes, that's exactly how it felt as a small (let's face it 'tiny') business person trying to put an ad up in Google Adwords a few tears ago. My mantra at the time was: "How can the best search engine people in the world get this interface so messed up?"  My software engineer husband couldn't figure it out either, however, living with a left-brain thinker helped me analyze exactly was some of the problems were. A large part of the confusion for me was a question of semantics. While "campaign" may make sense in the software and advertising world, it made no sense in mine.  Differentiating a "campaign" from a plain old "new ad" threw me.  In addition, Ad Words must have gotten some perverse pleasure in hiding the "keyword" button and it usually took it a half an hour to locate it.  But you can thank me for writing tons of "feedback" emails to adwords that minced no words to google.  (I'm sure it was totally my personal input that created a better interface today, but we just can't prove that ;)  


 LINGERING PROBLEM TODAYLet's assume the above problems described in the paragraph above are not problems for you.  However, I guarantee that if you're new to Google Adwords you will have trouble scheduling an end date for your d"campaign".  This posting is devoted to helping you put an end date on the ad you're creating so you are not shocked three days after posting that your ad cost you three times the amount you intended. There is one simple setting to change when starting "a new campaign"  Be sure that you CHANGE the setting from Standard to All Features.  The setting All Features will allow you to see the Scheduling choice toward the bottom of the page and you'll be able to set the end date.  If you click on "Help" and search for "schedule end date" you'll be presented with a video that explains this process in depth. You can also go to this Google Adwords resource page.  The video is right in the middle  Good Luck!

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Business Owners - Choose Your Name Wisely

We've been on the web for over 15 years creating educational learning games and activities as well as producing educational software matching games for schools, especially schools that have special programs for deaf and hard of hearing students. 

Windmill Works was the name we chose for our company for a very sentimental reason:  "Man of La Mancha" was released the year that I first decided to re-create the card game, "Authors."  My card game, "American Authors," was modeled after the fun card game by Whitman Publishers that I had played as a child.  Since we knew reviving this game might be an "Impossible Dream," and since the Don Quixote character in "Man of La Mancha" was stabbing at windmills, bells and whistles started sounding and Windmill Works was born.  It's too back the bells weren't of the alarm type that indicated that since many places on the web still list companies alphabetically, "W" might be a bit ill advised.   

Once you start with a logo and business cards, it's difficult to deviate from your name even though you may have branched out into a whole new line of products since the inception of your company.

And thus, today, we struggle to convert our Windmill Works website to Language Rocks.  All of our url addresses to pages on our former website, and believe me, there are pages that even I don't remember having created, would have to be sold if we sold our name.  Since our goal is to move toward that end, we have spent the last 6 months re-doing, re-constructing, re-inventing our website.  We're exhausted! So while you don't have a crystal ball, make sure your name and the domain names you purchase and pages you create on the web with them will be pertinent in the future.

Well, now it's back to the painful re-construction at Language Rocks which, for the time being, is a division of Windmill Works.  I hesitate to link to our site at this moment in time because what you'll see is a version of spring cleaning where everything has been pulled out of the closet, is strewn in heaps on the floor, with only a bit having been put back to it's newly organized state.  Well, embarrassment be damned, you can take a look at a work in progress at www.windmillworks.com or www.languagerocks.com.  Our ebook website should be fairly intact at www.leftpawedpuppy.com

Best to you and Happy New Year!,

Billie

Best to you.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Multi-Media Ebook and App Disappointment



Let's back-up a bit. The real reason I started to publish "The Perfect Husband App" was to try the new software at ibuildapp.com in order to convert my children's narrated ebook, "Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy" as a narrated app.  After struggling with the audio, I went back to interactbuilder.com which I had been trying to use about a year ago.  That lets a user create really great looking mobile apps, but there is quite a cost involved. PLUS, I myself, find that software hard to use.  I then tried talespring.com last to use their software, and that has possibilities except I don't have a MAC and while I can create in that platform, I can't test it out to make corrections, etc.  To use Apple's iBuild Author software which creates multi-media books, one would need a MAC 10.7 (LIon) or beter which retails at about $999. Bookbaby.com, the company with which I have published "Lucky..." for Kindle, Nook, etc. is not doing narrated apps at the moment.  I contacted B-interacktive in Germany and they seemed interested in exploring whether they would create an app for me, but I haven't heard back from them.  I tried Desktop Author's epagewiz which creates page-turning ebooks like my narrated, page-turning online ebook at www.leftpawedpuppy.com, but when your app then goes into the Desktop Author ebook store and when you download apps you have to use their app reader to run the software and finding a book app with Desktop Author app is a nightmare.  So you might be able to see why I'm frustrated and disappointed.

All the forums keep saying getting a multi-media book made is "on the cutting edge."  I say, "It's NOT on the cutting edge because software engineers are doing it throughout the world as evidenced by the narrated children's apps that are out there.

My conclusion is this:  There seems to be a big problem with integrating audio with images for apps.  Somehow, some software coders who have figured it out are doing it and are charging a large sum for having accomplished this.  Here's my prediction - whoever comes up with a Do-It-Yourself piece of software that allows authors like me to integrate narration with images will have a multi-million dollar company.  I wish my software husband could do it for me, but apparently you need C++ or Objective C or some other C thing to do it!  With 12 computer languages in my guy's brilliant head, and more than 40 years of programming under his belt, he's not inclined to tackle any more languages.  Who can blame him?  Not me, but we do need a software hero to come swooping down and let creative children authors go to town.  We'd pay!  Because as a group, we may be a little cash poor, I'd say $150 for such software would be tolerable.  If there are any super-heroes out there who can create this wysiwyg, diy software for multi-media ebooks, show forth thyself!

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Update for Ibuildapp Previous Blog Posting

Dear Fellow Novice App Builders with ibuldapp,

Previously, I had talked about not being able to insert an image and type over it in the software for ibuildapp.com and that is true as I understand the software as it works on this date in September of 2012.  What I was aiming for was a screen that looked like this:You're Amazing Lyrics by Bruno Mars

Quite a daunting task this would be to create 20 images like the one to the right for each of entry in  "The Perfect Husband App". 

 So, if you're asking, why don't you just use a background color and insert a small image with your text, you would be about 1000 miles ahead of me.  So that just occured to me this morning, and if it hadn't occured to you, you might try this for your "quotation" app or other interesting "ibuildapp app."  The image on the right is the labor-intensive way of creating a colorful page in ibuildapp.

 


In the "Let's eat out tonight"  screen to the left,  just one image imbedded on a page with color.  It certainly cuts down on hours of work, and I think if I intersperse these pages with the other more "beautiful" screens, it will satisfy the customers. 

And by the way, speaking of customers, don't be disappointed if you have NONE.  Unless you have an "Angry Birds" app or a boat-load of money, promoting your creation for thousands of downloads will be difficult.  After I finish pretty-ing-up my app this weekend, I'm going to create a facebook business page for it and take out a facebook ad.  We'll see where that goes. 

By the way, if you are kind of heart, I sure could use some positive reviews of my app at the googleplay.com store.  Search for it with the "the" as in "The Perfect Husband App" or just click here.  It's only a 99 cents.
Cheerio for now.  Let me hear from you.  This is all very exciting, albeit a tad frustrating, but onward we go. 

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Ideas for Promoting a Contest?

I actually wrote this about a month ago, but it has some information you, as a fellow publisher trying to promote your ebooks might like to mull over. Again, this is in keeping with my favorite quote from despair.com:  "Maybe the sole purpose of my existence is to serve as a warning to others."

(originally written sometime in Sept. 2012)

Well, on this journey together, perhaps you've had a successful contest to promote your book because mine isn't going as smashing-ly as I had hoped. How did I get this crazy contest concept spinning in my cranium?  I was actually looking around for websites that parents might go to find books for their children and what should I find, but the  the AMAZING Reading Rockets website.  Clicking around,  I was instantly attracted to those little boxes that tell you there's a youtube video on this site.  The videos posted at Reading Rockets had adorable pictures begging one to click onto even more adorable videos.  Never being one to want to re-invent the wheel, I thought:  "I can have a children's video contest, too!"  I'll run a google ad and ask for video re-enactments of my ebook, "Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy" and voila', hundreds of entries will come tumbling out my email inbox.  I worked really hard on contest's webpage, purchased just the right prizes, set the deadline to coincide with International Left-Handers day (August 13) since Lucky is left-pawed, listed it on Facebook, Twitter, updated my facebook business page and on and on.  Result:  NOT ONE ENTRY so far. 

So I went to the place where I post some essays and articles, hubpages.com and learned this much at least:

1.  Never charge an entry fee.  (So my requirement that parents purchase the download-able, narrated ebook for $3.99 so that their child could actually ACT OUT the Lucky story on video was apparently too much to hope for).  I have since offered a FREE download.  The cost of the prizes that I thought would be covered? You guessed it.  I changed my goal from earning money to earning name recognition.  iii !

2.  Don't ask for a video to be made unless the prize is REALLY big.  After contemplating that advice, I changed my submission requirements to INCLUDE:  a drawing, a song on an mp3 file, a written little summary or report of "Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy" or ANY creative way of re-telling Lucky's story.

Update on the contest:  I never did get ONE response to all that hard work.  If anyone has any promotional ideas, be a sport and pass them along this way.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

From Ebook to App with Ibuildapp.com

This Novice's "Work-around" the Ibuildapp Software


Dear Fellow Self-Published Authors,


Either we're very ADHD or just quite forward-looking.  Let's assume the latter.  So I'm not satisfied that  "Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy" is published on Kindle, Nook, and whatever other e-reader platform is out there.  I want the NARRATED version published as I published it on my website  (www.leftpawedpuppy.com). However, that narrated version is an .exe file and can't be uploaded to Kindle, etc.  So I sell it from my casually visited website.  Ugh!  All that work! 

So on my way to trying to get audio embedded in "Lucky..." my thoughts turned to app development, and I turned to ibuildapp.com.  Not being able to figure out the audio embedding here, I decided to go ahead with a simpler app which I am presently calling, "The Perfect Husband App" which is essentially a "cheat sheet" for husbands who want to say the words their wives actually want to hear.That app is up in googleplay.com,  ("Available now for only 99 cents!" tee-hee ) BUT I'm working to make it prettier.  If you happen to find it and download it for your Android, be assured that within the week, the changes that will pretty-it-up will be automatically inserted in your app. (You can see what I mean if you click on the last item in the list - "OUR Words for YOU! That's the one pretty page that I hope to duplicate for the rest of the perfect husband list.) 

If you're struggling to get your ebook into an app, you MIGHT try this software.  However, there are a few important points to keep in mind:

1. If you have a book that you wish to make into an app, you'll want to choose the Ebook template at ibuildapp.com, preferably ebook2, which has chapter capability. (You'll struggle with the other templates if you don't choose an ebook format).


2. Don't worry that the simulator doesn't show your total chapter line; it will wrap your text around to a second line in the real app.3.  If you are having trouble with some of the features in ibuildapp, try a different browser.  I was having difficulty with Google Chrome and switched to Firefox successfully last week.  Then today, I wasn't able to insert a picture when working in Firefox and switched back to the Google Chrome browser and that worked better today. 4. Keep in mind that the software for ibuildapp is continually updated because there are features that need to be added to make this software more appealing. It seems to be somewhat in a Beta stage at the moment.  If you build your app and finally are able to upload it to googleplay.com for sale, you might be a little disappointed with the generic-looking quality of your app.  In order to "pretty up" your work, assuming that you've conquered using this software, several tips may help:  a.   If you want a pretty background for your chapters (let's say you're publishing a book of quotations), you will not be able to upload an image and then type text over it with ibuildapp. Therefore, you'll need to create an image with text on it with your graphics program.  Creating that image can be a tedious process, but it is worth it.  What size of an image should you use?   I've experimented for hours and it appears to me that 300 x 410 works best for portrait.  When the mobile device is turned for landscape, the user has to scroll down.  Because the ibuildapp software doesn't allow expansion of your image for landscape, you'll probably have to decide which view you prefer if you go the add-image route. I decided to create the image that looks best in portrait.  If the user chooses to view in landscape, he or she will have to scroll down to see the total image.

     b. When inserting your image in the "content" section, be sure to CENTER your picture.  That way the 300 x 410 images will be centered on the portrait screen of your app. and on the landscape view as well.

     c. You can add a background color for your landscape view since the image of 300 x 410 will not fill that screen.  It's putsy, but you insert this into the html code
<div style="background-color: rgb(89, 135, 206); text-align: center;">
Those rgb colors are for the blue I wanted.  If you want black, for example, you'd change those numbers to: 0,0,0.  Otherwise, forget the background color for now and wait until the software of ibuildapp catches up to your creative desires.

  Best of luck, my fellow authors!  You're on a noble, albeit arduous, journey.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How to Publish a Children's Book

A presumptuous title, this one, but I needed to get important keywords in for the search engines, and "Billie's Mistakes to Avoid," didn't seem like the way to go when I published this article on hubpages.com.  I really did try to cover many of the pitfalls I encountered when publishing "Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy," and I think you'll find at least a little something useful whether you're publishing your ebook for children or a wider age range.  I did get a bit carried away in this article, but Hubpages was running a contest at the time, and I was trying to  win. I didn't :( 
but I think it's a nice little piece anyway.  Just click on the picture to get to the article. Hope you like it.  



 

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't Change Emails in the Middle of the Stream

Ah...my first post about ebook publishing on blogger. Ah, hem...not really, and that's why my first little hint about ebook publishing and blogging (since blogging seems to be an important part of this whole process) is this:  

"Don't change emails in the middle of the stream"  

image  purchased from istockphoto.com
If you create a blog under one email account and suddenly get the idea, like I did, to match your blog's email with your book's name, just because it seems consistent and cool - Don't!  That is, don't change your email address on a blog you've created until you've EXPORTED your old blog. While Blogger does save your blog for a short time after you delete the email address connected to it, the may not be there by the time you remember to change to the new email address.   I thought I'd change the email of my blog, "Publishing Lucky" to a new email I created to be more similar to my book's, "Lucky, the Left-Pawed Puppy".   It seemed as if the only way to do that was to delete the old email address, so I did.  By the  time I remembered to add the NEW email address: leftpawedpuppy@gmail.com, my blog had disappeared. So here I am trying to duplicate the same polka dot background (please tell me why!) while starting all over from square one.

And all of that brings me to my favorite quote paraphrased from despair.com, and the main reason I write at all:  'Maybe the sole purpose of my life is to serve as a warning to others.'  So "Welcome"; don't fool around with changing emails or deleting your blogs accidentally, and let's start our journey together.   

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