Ricepaper Magazine Patreon Setup

It’s not a secret that many not-for-profits often struggle with coming up with funds to keep alive. Ricepaper Magazine is not an exception as an example of a publication that is trying out different things to gain access to public grants and private funding.

As a Senior Editor for Ricepaper, my title is quite loose since it’s a small organization. I do a lot of writing, interviewing, partnership building, event planning (LiterASIAN Toronto) and now something new I’m trying out is Patreon.

I’ve tried setting up on Patreon before and some of my friends on it have collected $0/month to a few hundred dollars total. I only know of one person who is surviving as a full time writer on Patreon and they are not rich.

Similar to Kickstarter, Patreon people pledge to give funds on a monthly or project basis in exchange for something. Since mainly artists and writers are on Patreon, the “creator” can give away music, artwork, writing, videos, magazines, etc in exchange for funding to create.

I’m working on the “about” Patreon page and looking back at the amazing magazine covers that Ricepaper has had in the past. There are days when my family and friends suggest I should quit Ricepaper to concentrate on just being a writer, but I tell them that there are few platforms for Asians in English and I believe I’m doing good by helping this ship stay afloat.

Sharing a few covers and when the Patreon page is up I’ll post news about it and hopefully garner some support!

 

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Entrepreneur Article About Crowdfunding For Books

Recently, I had the pleasure of working with Samita Sarkar, on the topic of crowdfunding to self-publish a book. Since she was the one writing the article, I didn’t know what quotes she would use from me versus other people who also had experience in crowdfunding, so it was interesting to see the end result.

In her article, “Crowdfunding Your Self-Published Book? Here Are 3 Things You Need to Know” the latest Kickstarter stats show that over out of 349,504 campaigns, just 123,447 succeeded – a 35% success rate. Some 14% of projects finish without receiving a single pledge.

In the three tips listed, lessons learned includes preparing a lot of videos and illustrations prior to the campaign start, then using social media a lot for the duration of the campaign. I talk about how I’ve mastered more software skills – quite frankly, this is because some people that I’ve hired in the past weren’t that great. Sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and do things yourself!

With Kickstarter campaigns there is always a risk that it will fail. But obviously I believe this is a risk worth taking as I’m slowly becoming a serial Kickstarter campaign runner! At dinner tonight I warned my friends that I will be emailing them once again to ask for support for the Trump anthology. There was a lot of moaning about how they were tired of Trump, but they were intrigued anyways! (or so I think)

 

Presto tried to charge me $4000 for a $40 transaction!

Presto is an electronic payment system that replaces tickets, tokens, passes and cash on local transit systems in Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa. It’s a little green card which you load up with digital cash to pay for your fare. Similar systems have existed in the US and Asia for many years, so we are a bit behind in Canada! In Hong Kong you can use the Octopus fare card at many convenient stores and other merchants.

I’ve never had an issue reloading the Presto card with my credit card…until last week. When I tried to load $40, the machine charged me $4000! I didn’t know what happened initially. After entering my credit card pin number, the screen flashed red and a message told me that the transaction didn’t go through and that I should check the receipt. I was expecting the receipt to tell me that my pin number was incorrect. Instead, it showed an attempted charge of $4000! My credit card company had rejected the charge automatically. Whew!

presto-warning

Since there were many receipts scattered all over the floor near the Presto machine, I guess the moral of the story is to look at your receipt! Also, checking your credit card statements once in a while is a good idea in this age of digital thefts and mistakes!

Update Jan 30/17 – I had tried to contact Presto via phone but couldn’t talk to an agent after pressing multiple menu options. In the end, the machine voice said that I had to go to a customer service desk in person. Other option was to email, which I did. Presto sent an automatic email saying they will contact me within 5 business days. Will see…

Update #2 Jan 30/17 – a Toronto Star reporter contacted me since he was curious about my receipt, so I sent him a copy of the original one for verification. Here’s the article he wrote. A few hours later Sing Tao daily rewrote the article in Chinese!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

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!

 

 

 

 

How to apply for a copyright in Canada

Recently, I was thinking, if I’m going to blow my money travelling to one con, it would be in San Diego.  So I contacted them to ask about getting a small press table.  It turns out there is a “jury” that decides on who gets these tables and you have to send in one publication with copyright dates 2013-2014 in order to quality for a 2014 table. So I started looking into how to apply for copyrights in Canada.

Definition of copyright from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office:

“Copyright means the sole right to produce or reproduce a work or a substantial part of it in any form.”

This copyright registration protects your work internationally, so it doesn’t matter which country you file it in.  You only do it once and you own the copyright for as long as you live, then 50 years after you die the copyright expires.  When you create a piece of work, you automatically own the copyright, but registering offers more protection legally.

1) Go to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website

You will find information on how to copyright things ranging from a book, poem, painting, musical score, performer’s performance and computer program.  There is a guide with basic information available which goes through the terminology and instructions.

Suprisingly, you don’t have to send in a copy of what you are copyrighting or even pictures.

This is why people keep giving me advice that before the book is published, you should print and send a copy of the manuscript to yourself via courier and then not open it.  This archived manuscript will be opened in court if anyone tries to say that your work belongs to them and sues you for the copyright.

2) Call them if you have questions

Hours 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday
Phone 1-866-997-1936

My question: If I want to do a book of concept art with different pieces from my artists, do I have to copyright each piece of art in the book?

Answer: No, you do not have to copyright each piece of art.  Once you assemble the compilation and you copyright the whole thing, each piece of art can be used separately and the copyright still belongs to you.

3) Register the copyright…wait, you can’t just register!  Turns out you have to go to the Industry Canada website and open a free account there before you can do anything.

I was fretting about this one.  As an individual can I really go onto Industry Canada and register an account?  I started emailing my entrepreneurial Viking husband who told me to stop emailing him for advice as he was busy.  So I took the plunge and went into the system…

And I discovered that yes, anyone can just apply for an Industry Canada account.  In fact, they didn’t even ask for a business registration number or anything.  In general, the books will be published under my husband’s company.  To be honest, I’m too lazy to incorporate myself (registering a business, opening a business account and dreaded tax documentation)…hopefully he won’t divorce me if things go really well with the books and I’ll be ok!

4)  OK, let’s register this book!

Back to Canadian Intellectual Property Office website – you click on the “forms” page and “copyright” to access the registration forms, pay fees via credit card.  You can do it cheaper online or mail it in via a paper pdf form.

Fees when paid online is $50 Cdn or $65 Cdn via paperwork.

I looked at the US Copyright Office as well and their fee was only $35USD.  But everything else such as getting a paper copy of the copyright was super expensive, so I suppose there is a trade off…

Forging ahead, I discovered that you can only copyright something 3 months ahead of time.  Or you can copyright something unpublished, but there was no Q & A about what happens if you do publish it.

In the end I took a break here – since San Diego needs to see a copyright number in the book with a date, this is something I can’t provide until Jan 2014 or Feb 2014 at the earliest.  The deadline for table registration was Oct 2013.

So I’ll copyright the book next year and try to get a table in the future when I have more books to sell.

The idea of going to San Diego scares me a bit too, considering their attendance is about 130,000 – it’s a lot of free stuff you have to give away for promotion!  I worry about people coming up to the booth and then complaining they didn’t get a freebie…sigh…not selling any books would probably be just as embarressing as well.

Freezing your fat away! Sounds awesome!

I was super excited today when I saw an ad which claimed that a service was available to “freeze away your fat and sculpt a body you want with no exercise or surgery”!  Intrigued, I visited the website, freezeyourfataway.ca which describes a technique called “cool-sculpting.”  According to them, no exercise, needles, surgery or nozzles is required because this breakthrough technology will cool fat cells in certain regions to reduce bulk.  It uses a technique called “cryolipolysis” which freezes fat cells to kill them off and then the body’s natural immune system will gather off the cell remnants, leading to an overall decrease of fat cell content in the body.  During treatment, clients can read or watch tv as a vacuum sucks onto the part of the body they want to treat and the controlled cooling is applied.  It was discovered by doctors at Harvard so it must work!
freezing fat

Is this really safe?  According to a 2009 paper, researchers studied this technology for reducing fat layers and there were pretty good results found in both human and animals when cryoloipolysis was done over a period of two to four months.  In one treatment session, the top fat layer thickness was reduced from 20-80% depending on the individual.  Some side effects seen were skin redness, bruising and temporary numbness lasting for about a week.

Ready for the ‘it’s too good to be true part?’  The same researchers also concluded that this treatment works best with people who don’t have many discrete bulges in the first place.  So this treatment is only for people who aren’t that fat!

According to Elle Magazine, if you are already in good shape (within 15 to 25 percent of your target weight) but have bits of fat you can’t get rid of with diet and exercise, then this procedure if something you can try.  Cryolipolysis is $750 to $2,000 per area while the more invasive liposuction can cost $5,000 to $35,000.

If you want a DIY method, this webpage features instructions on just putting bags of ice on your tummy for a few hours a day instead.

There’s no way out of it folks, looks like diet and exercise is still the best way to lose weight!