Do You Stop Short of Success?

Do you tend to stop just short of success

Boycott “Shortstops”

Do you stop short of success? Funny I should ask! Today is March 15th. I’ve been working for two weeks on a St. Patrick’s Day marketing idea that would bring people to my website to buy my little children’s book, “Lucky, the Left Pawed Puppy”. I have left myself a whopping two days for promotion.

This article won’t be long because I do realize I’m writing this instead of doing my other work. But this is what I always do. I stop just this short of success, and maybe you do too.  But I’m not going to do that today. screenshot Irish Memory Match Game for St. Patrick's Day

Your Past May Be Present 

So where did this new discipline of mine (if it kicks in soon) come from? Google, of course, is the answer. I simply searched and found two wonderful articles that might help you if you’re a “stopper” like me. The first piece, “The Fear of Success” was written by Dr. Susanne Babbel for Psychology Today, resonated with me the most. Dr. Babbel discusses the surprising link between Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and fear of success. She addresses, as well, the avoidance of situations that might “get our hopes up. Sound familiar?

The second article, “Fear of Success: Do You Have One Of These 6 Symptoms?” will be helpful in identifying whether or not you fall into this “un-merry” band of brothers (and sisters). There are also insightful questions at the end of the article which just might propel you towards the success you really do want.

I’ll be off now tweeting my promotion because a St. Patrick’s Day marketing scheme just can’t wait until Easter.




‘California Weaving’

crystal ballIf I had gone to a fortune-teller in Minneapolis in 1990 – let’s imagine a dark-haired woman with a crystal ball and a gypsy scarf around her head – and she attempted to tell me I’d be living in southern California in 2016, I would have laughed out loud. If she told me that my friend Patti Hall would one day retire and also move to California where both of us would have adult children who lived a few blocks from each other, I would have
rolled my eyes and droned, “Yeah, right.”

Patti7But here it is 2016 and Patti lives in Toluca Lake and I live in the OC and we meet often for lunch at some beach-y restaurant with seagulls and surfers and sometimes a stray dolphin swimming by.  Patti might not have been as surprised by the imaginary fortune teller’s California predictions because, after all, she did start her young adult life out here on the West Coast, attending Cal-State, Los Angeles where she received her BA in Art.  It might have been predictable as well, that after years teaching and mentoring new teachers, Patti would finally be able to devote herself full-time to her own personal artistic pursuits when she retired.

It was over a margarita at Duke’s in Huntington Beach (Surf City, USA) that I started asking Patti more about the weaving that I knew she was pursuing full-time and about her shop in the Etsy store I had recently visited online.   Continue reading ‘California Weaving’

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. bizcardgood

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
Continue Reading

Focus, Focus, Focus

Cheers from Billie, the Prez:

http://www.drdianerogers.com/
http://www.drdianerogers.com/and pursuits. 

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 one of our members, Dr. Diane Rogers, the author of “Stand Tall Growing the Courage To Be Uniquely You”  With laser-like focus on the Continue reading Focus, Focus, Focus

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! 

Personally, I 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.  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 has to make memories for the family the home-made way.  So we dolly1set aside our blogging and our tweeting. We suspend sending out our Constant Contact lovely emails to customers to vacuum the floor and clear off our desktop while rushing to bake and then pack Grand
ma’s recipdollyCloseupe for Pecan Fingers to send back East or West or wherever.  This year, I decided to resurrect a little home-made dolly I had made for my daughter some 30 years ago!  I sewed back the arms and legs that had since fallen off and updated her little doll outfit so that my now adult daughter would have a warm and wonderful feeling at Christmas. Isn’t she just adorable?  It WAS worth it! Sometimes business just has to wait! 

So who cares that I didn’t blog, write the essay I wanted about our software, didn’t tweet, and didn’t promote my children’s book,  “Lucky, the Left Pawed Puppy”.  I spent two weeks doing things I used to do when I was working merely 8 to 5 and I feel renewed and re-engergized to begin all over again in the New Year.  Sometimes, a break is just what we need!   

  

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.    

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

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!

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.

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!

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. 

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.

From Ebook to App with Ibuildapp.com

A Novice’s “Work-around” Ibuildapp’s App Builder

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.)  Continue reading From Ebook to App with Ibuildapp.com

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

Continue reading Don’t Change Emails in the Middle of the Stream