My YouTube Diary – Opening A YouTube Channel

Similar to television channels, on YouTube you can open your own channel to upload videos to. You can even make a trailer to promote it, add your social media links and pay for ads to advertise this channel. It’s like opening a free mini tv station which you can brand and upload whatever content (within YouTube guidelines) you want the world to see.

There are step by step instructions and technical tips on Buffer Social’s site write up on how to open a YouTube channel. Basically you need a Google account which will also give you an email account, brand account, YouTube account and Ad Sense account (for collecting revenue from ads or to pay for ads). It’s handy that everything is linked and the interface is quite user-friendly for newbies.

One of my friends told me that somehow they got banned from opening a YouTube channel because someone close to her somehow had access to her email and did some odd stuff on YouTube pretending to be her. Hence she was banned for a few years. Remember that the internet is like an elephant, it never forgets! So be careful of what you write and read the warning emails if they appear because you can get banned!

After opening a brand account and YouTube channel, you may want to think of a logo. This is an extra touch which helps promote brand recognition and it’s kind of fun to have the chance to make a logo for your own channel! To make a logo, you can either 1) DIY with original art, 2) DIY with free royalty-free stock art from Pixabay, 3) DIY with design programs such as the fabulous free Canva (you can upload your own images if Canva doesn’t have exactly what you want) or 4) hire an artist. If you hire someone and buy the copyright, the content is  yours. When you use stock art or Canva, read the fine print for license details for what you can and can not do.

Here are a few of my YouTube channel logos which were created either on my own or commissioned an artist for the art:

logos

Once you have things set up, you can actually open up more than one channel. Why do this? Well, for me, I wanted to have a few different channels due to different interests that don’t really intersect. I actually created the JF Garrard channel years ago to upload a book trailer for my multicultural vampire novel, The Undead Sorceress (looks so cheesy when I re-watch it!). Now that I have a new project, to organize things better, I created a playlist specific to my project on depression, Pessimist to Semi-Optimist (PTO) project so people interested in this project can watch all the videos on this project in one go. It’s like using setting up your PVR to record all the Big Bang Theory shows in a row to watch them non-stop.

Po Po Gets Results!” is a channel I opened to make Chinese language videos with my mom to drill some Chinese into my son because it’s hard to find Chinese/English videos with toys that he likes to play with. “Po Po” means grandmother in Cantonese. Viking husband thought that “Po Po Gets Results” was a funny phrase and describes my mom’s relentless nature in shoving food into our offspring. Anyhow, getting him to learn numbers from a Thomas the Train that sounds like his grandmother seems to be working for now!

Over Christmas, my husband went crazy while watching super boring videos of Disney toy openings with children that we were babysitting. I looked up the person that made these videos and it turns out they make over $1M a year! We have a lot of toys at home, so why not try to make some videos about toys which children would want to watch? However, my interest in attempting to making videos about toys (openings and reviews) does not really fit into my channel on author and depression stuff. As a parent, I would be confused if a channel has videos on toys and advice on how not to commit suicide or vampire book trailers. It might fit into the Po Po channel, but I want to keep that exclusive for Chinese educational videos, so I opened a channel called “Kid Creatures” for toy reviews and toy opening videos.

Finally, some friends wanted to get together to make comedy skits. Good comedy is extremely difficult to do and very subjective, which makes me a bit nervous about doing this. As a big fan of BBC’s Absolutely Fabulous I always wish there was more female comedy that was not only about hot flashes, women being mean or sex. “One Hand Wave” is the comedy channel I opened to upload funny things to. My friends and I haven’t gotten together yet because everyone seems to be busy. Maybe that can be a skit in itself! Funny how the one person with a toddler is the one that set up everything and bought equipment but the single people are still “thinking” about things before they want to do anything…sigh…ok, I’m being a bit mean now…

I admit it’s a hassle to switch in between channels or personas when doing updates, but I think it will be worth it in the long run. Within each channel you can create playlists, so when people are on your channel, you can create lists to link all your videos. This will help people find your videos as YouTube is a vast place with millions of videos.

One software I highly recommend to spread messages about your message on social media is Hootsuite, which allows you to schedule posts. For example, you want to send ten Twitter messages about a new video. Instead of logging into Twitter and typing it ten times every day (and trying to remember!) – you can schedule all ten posts over ten days in a few minutes in Hootsuite. There is a free version you can link to 3 accounts, but if you have multiple things to upkeep, a paid version costs about $200/year for up to 10 accounts.

Opening a channel is the easy part! Now it’s off to the races by making videos to upload!

 

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My YouTube Diary – How Do People Make Money?

YouTube appears to be the new gold mine of our century. Are you going to pan for gold? I am! Seriously, as much as I would love to make millions every year, I know that the people making lots of money also work very hard. We can’t see the amount of hours, money spent on equipment and sheer sweat they put in before they became a success. A little bit of gold dust would be nice, nevertheless!

Business Insider has a great article which calculates and breaks down the amount of money people earn on You Tube. PewDiePie (YouTube’s biggest star who critiques video games and makes jokes about them) supposedly pulled in revenue of $10.5M in 2014. After taxes and YouTube’s share, he may have made $4M. That is fantastic, but keep in mind he started doing this many years ago and the big payoff is only now. Another YouTube star is Michelle Phan (beauty and makeup) was calculated to have made about $150K in comparison. These stories are great, but how does one actually make money?

YouTube has ads that you see before and during video viewing. This is called “YouTube monetization.” The person who made or uploaded the video signs a digital agreement with YouTube so that ads can be placed into their videos and there is a split of roughly 50:50. The amount of money made depends on how many people watched the video and if they clicked on the ad or not. Also, longer videos have more ad placements. More details are available on this “Ad Rates Report” page about how YouTube and ads work.

Setting up a video to be monetized is not difficult at all, maybe 30 minutes, tops. However, to make any money, you need lots of eyeballs and different people to watch your video (and yes, YouTube can tell if the clicks come from the same household). Other than professional media (music videos, clips of tv shows) or cute home videos (babies, dogs, cats) which are sometimes bought by the news media; highly viewed videos are either technical (video game, makeup, space rockets, educational, amateur tv shows) or really low brow (pooping, barfing, falling).

Everything comes down to marketing. In our day and age, social media has opened the doors to people to do their own marketing instead of relying on professional companies. However, people are bombarded with marketing from all over the place, so it’s become harder to get someone’s attention. Having good content is always the most solid base for success, but if no one knows about it, then the content will become lost in cyberspace.

One area getting some attention are toy reviews and toy unboxing (opening a toy). Since I have a child, I thought that a good start would be making videos with toys. That $10 piece of plastic I bought should be good for something after it’s been played with for 5 min, right?! Actually, I spent more than $20 on secret Lego Disney figurines because there was a frenzy at Toys R Us with moms feeling up these packages for the figure they wanted while the men shook their heads in the corner. Still, it was quite exciting to open the secret Lego Disney package on camera because I didn’t know what was in it either (felt like doing toy porn and I’m sure that’s out there too)! This is sounding pretty sad…but I’ve had too much excitement lately over a health crisis in my family, so being excited about something boring is good!

In addition, I want my son to learn Chinese, so I have asked my mom to make videos of us playing with toys in Chinese. I have had a maximum of ….wait for this…30 hits!…so far on our video of Thomas the Train counting in Cantonese. The threshold of any money being released by You Tube is $100 and given I’m at $0.02 today (videos have been up for a week), it’s going to take a while!

Since having a child is like opening a black hole near your bank account, I think doing YouTube videos for fun in hopes of earning some money is a good idea anyways. I’ll be blogging about this occasionally when I’m less depressed because I think it’s a funny thing to do. Until then, I’m calling my mom to ask her to think of more video ideas, since our video of Thomas and Mickey buying fruit was viewed as “too Asian” by a friend!

 

 

 

 

Conversing with a Cartographer Part 2

This is a continuation of a conversation with Robert Altbauer, a cartographer who lives in Salzburg.  He was kind enough to take on a commission to draw two maps for me: a world map and an invisible fortress map.  The fortress map is a place where the main character visits at one point in the story.  The first part of our conversation is here.

Fortress in the Sky Final s logo

If someone wanted to become a cartographer, what tools would they need?  Do you use tablets or certain software?  What tips do you give in general?

While traditional materials like a sheet of paper and pencils (and some talent) are a good way to start, I think that a tablet is a necessary tool nowadays. Combined with graphic programs like Photoshop or Illustrator, or GIMP and Inkscape – very good, free alternatives to the both aforementioned programs – tablets provide a powerful possibility to make good maps. They combine the ability to draw with your hand with modern and versatile technology.

Generally, mapping follows – like many other things – the philosophy of learning by doing. The more maps you do the better you get. If I look at the maps I do now and the ones I have made two years ago then I can see the progress I’ve made.

What is your most favorite map (that you didn’t draw)? 

Well, that’s a difficult question. I can’t point to a certain map because there are so many excellent and different maps.

What is your most favorite map that you have drawn?  (You don’t have to say it’s mine, it’s ok!)

I made a rather huge world map called ‘World of Maargard’, which I think is one of my best.

What is the oddest or funniest map that you have had to draw?

I sometimes make personalized maps which can be quite funny. I use the affections and aversions of a person to draw a map – mountains of chocolate, sea of cocktails, plain of spider, pit of the mother-in-law etc. with appropriate illustrations.

How should people contact you if they want commissions?

The easiest way is to write me an email to contact@fantasy-map.net. It should contain the preferred style (description, link or image attached), the size and the average level of detail – how many labels, is a lot of decoration necessary etc. If there already is a sketch this would be helpful, too. The deadline and usage rights are also important information on which I give then a cost estimate.

I have never been to Salzburg or the Alps.  So lastly, tell me a little bit about your country and anything interesting I should do if I can ever afford to visit you?

Austria is in general a nice little country, but often too old-fashioned and too slow to catch up with modern developments.

Salzburg is a very beautiful place, but don’t make the mistake to reduce it to Mozart or Sound of Music. We have a very good cuisine and excellent beers and wines, so you should visit either a restaurant with Austrian food or a Heuriger or Buschenschank – Austrian taverns where you usually get wine and simple but very good dishes.

You have been a great part in bringing my book vision to life and I wish you the best of luck! 

Thank you, Jean. Good luck with your book!

Once again, remember to check out these 2 links to his awesome works of art: www.fantasy-map.netand www.sapiento.deviantart.com!

Making a Family Crest

On a rainy day, this might be something you might want to do for fun. Digital art in a way has replaced scrapbooking/colleague art for me and leaves less of a mess! If you have been watching any historical stuff you may notice that European families tend to have crests. It’s usually on a shield or flag and there tends to be lots of lions involved.

I’ve decided to make a new crest as a logo, so here are the few steps it took to make it:

1) Figure out if you have a graphics art program

There are free ones available with basic to advance levels –  Paint.net (free – basic) – Gimp (free – advanced). Many professional artists use Adobe Photoshop, but it’s a very powerful tool and you have to buy it.

I have Paint.net installed and will be using this program.

2) Look for stock art

raw pics

There are two great sites with FREE stock art – Stock.xchng & Pixabay.  There are license agreements for this royalty free art, but if it’s for personal use, it’s generally ok.

I looked for a few images which I knew I wanted: shield, lion with sword and chrysanthemum flower.  I couldn’t find the flower on it’s own so I will have to manipulate and cut the flower out for use.

The lion stands for courage and strength (tribute to Garrard name as the ancestral shield features a lion) while the chrysanthemum flower represents hope/light in darkness.

3) Open Shield graphic & manipulate 

Step 1

The idea is to put all the images into the shield. Generally, I want a white logo with “transparency” so my wallpaper on the webpage could show through.

-open up graphic in paint (File tab > open)

-click “magic wand” tool from upper left “Tools” panel and adjust tolerance if needed

step 2

-press a spot on what you want to delete; for me it’s all the white stuff in the shield.

-the wand will highlight everything in blue, then you just press “delete” and a checkerboard pattern will come through meaning image in that location is transparent

4) Add Lion

Step 3There is something called “layers” in every graphic program.  On the right hand side there is a box which tells you what “layer” you are on.  The shield is on one layer and you will be adding more layers for every graphic.

So before opening up the lion graphic, add another layer (Layers tab > add new layer) to the shield.  Then open up the lion graphic (File tab > open)and put into new layer you have opened – now you see 2 “layers” on the Layers box to the right.

The lion was a very big graphic so I had to drag the corners and shrink it.

5) Cut out flowers, leaves

The chrysanthemum flower is only a small part of its original graphic.  A few steps were necessary to make the flower work for me:

Step 5 6

-open up flower (File tab > open) in its new canvas/window and cut out the flowers by highlighting it

-open a new giant canvas (File tab > new), then paste the flowers in it so there is room to play around

-use rotate tool to move flowers around (Layers tab > Flip vertical) (Layers tab > Rotate/Zoom)

Step 7 8-cut out one of the flowers  by highlighting it and using cut & paste function to put it on an empty part of the canvas

-cut out one of the leaves and rotate to the desired angle. (Layers tab > Rotate/Zoom)

-the leaf and flower have overlapping lines. So to erase lines, use the eraser from the “Tools” box on the left.

6) Add flowers & leaves to the shield

Step 10-add another layer to shield graphic (Layers tab > add new layer)

-go back to flower/leaf window, cut & paste flower/leaf into layer in shield graphic window

-to create mirror image leaves and flowers, I played with the (Image tab > flip horizontal) function

-the shield line in the middle was created by just highlighting the top part of the shield and then cutting & pasting

7) Add “JF Garrard”

Step 12-the canvas has to be bigger (Image tab > canvas side) for adding text, so I increased it in width

-initially the added canvaspart is white, so I had to use magic wand from “Tools” in left box to make it transparent

-using “Text” in “Tools” left box, I typed “JF Garrard” using font Goudy Old Style, size 550

8) Save file in black and white

There are places where I’ll use it in black ink and others in white. Important – to keep transparency, it has to be saved as a .gif file. Also, when saving, it will “flatten” all layers, which means everything will be merged into one layer. Keep a paint.net file (.png) in case you ever want to play with this graphic again with its layers.

Step 14-default is black, just save to .gif (File tab > save as)

-to make the logo white, we have to invert the colors (Adjustments tab > invert colors)

-of course at this point I realize that the lion graphic isn’t totally transparent, so I use the magic wand tool to “erase” the white spots.  After 10 min of painfully doing this (lot of little edges/spots), I discover a flood tool, which does it in 2 seconds. (Tools, Magic Wand, Flood Mode > Global)

-now save white logo to .gif (File tab > save as)

However…

In the end I didn’t use this logo on my website as the shield graphic lines looked too thin after I put it in the header.  I’ll use it on my facebook page though, you can see it here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/JF-Garrard/406247922764234

The more you play with the program, the more you will know.  Good luck in making some fabulous crests!