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Penguinator Newsletter August 2019

Hey Penguinators and those who happened onto this newsletter!

How’s it going? Thank you so much for supporting us.

On Writing

We’ve been busy this past month trying out the Patreon promotion feature, and let me tell you, we utterly failed! I thought if I concentrated on getting new people to join, I would find them, and we’d have 30 new Penguinators on our creativity team. We got zero – that’s right, a penguin egg. Not a single new member… No one picked up on our first offer $30 for 3 months and you get a penguin, and no one wanted to challenge my writing skills on the subject of creativity.

But, if you’ve been paying attention, it’s amazing to fail! That’s a part of creativity, a part of growing and a part of life. If we weren’t failing it would mean we weren’t trying. Of course, the second part of failing is learning from it. So, what did we learn? I’m not sure, yet. Maybe we learned that our offers weren’t enticing enough. Maybe we learned that no one understands creativity and penguins. Maybe we learned that social media is a terrible thing to rely on when it comes to generating new leads. It is the first day since the last offer ended, so I still have to think about it more. What do you think we should have learned? Let us know in the comments.

My SEO job has been giving me fits. I’ve seen the writing on the wall since January; I just haven’t done very much about it. So, this month I started looking for other places to get writing or teaching work. I put a gig on Fiverr for editing and blog writing. I sent out request for anyone who might have leads for editing or writing. I haven’t gotten a paying gig, yet, but I’ve had one writer say he’ll use my editing services (at a deep discount) come August 5th.

I also signed up at Medium.com as a writer. This is a revenue sharing website, but they only use subscriptions not ads. So, I get paid according to the number of people who interact with my writing versus other writings they interact with, i.e. they pay $5 and read ten articles, each writer gets 50 cents. That’s not exactly how it works, but it’s the gist of it. You’ll still be able to read whatever I publish their because I’ll have a friends and family link that I will add to our regular newsletter.

Speaking of regular newsletter… I have started an email list at www.penguinate.com. If you sign up, you’ll get a code for 10% off your next purchase at our website. The emails I have planned going forward will come once a week with a compilation of all the articles I wrote at Penguinate for the week before. You can read why I am starting an email list by clicking on the link.

I have connected my Patreon to my website, so now I can put exclusive content on my website for you! I will always put a link to the content in a post on Patreon about the same time as the link on Penguinate.com goes out. This is designed for me to be able to recruit new readers to our Patreon. If you prefer me to post solely on Patreon for you, please let me know. (If you’re reading this, you’re already on the website!)

In case you missed it, I was featured on the Sweep Spot podcast for my book “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity.” Check it out.

On Penguins

In other news the penguins keep marching.  Checkers is in New Zealand and has his own Instagram account. He and his mom have been so supportive of us. They stepped up and purchased a Pay-It-Forward penguin. Some lucky child will get a penguin at Salem Holiday Market in December unless we find a reason to give it away sooner.

We also have a new penguin. We don’t know its name, yet. I was thinking Reggie, Regina, or Reginald, but I haven’t discussed it with Jenya, yet. Stay tuned for a “Meet the Penguin” post soon!

August 12 is our Patreon anniversary. August 14, I will release “Popeye, criticism and creativity.” August 22, will be our second Penguin of the Month photo. And on every Tuesday, there’s a behind the scenes photo shoot of the Penguin Countdown. All of these will be for Penguinators only.

That’s all I have on the news front for now. Thank you, Penguinators, for your support. I’ll be sending out an extra creativity article just for you sometime during the month of August. (If you’re not a Penguinator, and you’re reading this think about joining our Patreon for more penguins and more creativity.)

Below, I have sent out a copy of our first blog post email for our email subscribers.

Thanks again for reading and supporting.

Shad and Jenya.

This is what our first Mailchimp Blog summary looks like. If you sign up for our email list, you’ll get an update every week. It’s also available at mailchimp’s archives.

Look what we’ve written about over the last week! Thanks so much for being a part of the community!
penguinate.com Creativity to the infinite power

Excerpts:The ABCs of Creativity: Well Creativity: Even if it’s fun, you sometimes need to step away to get better. 
Read on »

Did You Catch the Creativity Secrets in the Countdown? Almost everyone missed these Easter eggs in our Patreon countdown, did you?
Read on »

Behind the Scenes Photos with the Penguins Day 10 to 7 Behind the scenes for Patreon members only! 
Read on »

Layover at JFK? Problem solved with TWA: Photos from the Hotel Layover at JFK? Problem solved with TWA Hotel. 
Read on »

Just One Day Left for More Creativity Join now and be part of something bigger. 
Read on »

Heroes of the Haunted Mansion: Claude Coats Claude Coats provide atmosphere and more for the Haunted Mansion. 
Read on »

2 Days Left to Get More Creativity Just two days to go! For every 5 people that join our Patreon by July 31, 2019, I’ll write an extra creativity article! 
Read on »

Southwest Airlines Shows the Luv on ‘The Kindness Diaries’ Luv will find a way! on the Kindness Diaries. 
Read on »

What Would You Do if You Were More Creative? Three is the magic number to join our Patreon before this deal expires. 
Read on »

8 Cool Things about Penguins from 2 Videos Have you seen this adelie coming to rescue emperor penguin chicks? 
Read on »
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Is a creativity storm coming? You decide. Nine Days Left for You and Your Friends to Sign up!

The penguins are out of the box (even if the cat is still in it). A creativity storm is coming, but it can only happen with your help! For every 5 people that sign up at any level for our Patreon, I will write an additional creativity article. If you want to know more about creativity, this will get you there quickly!

Our current schedule looks like this:

  • August 1: The blog email list – this is open to anyone who has signed up for our email list at Penguinate.com and should include a summary of all the articles that we released on my blog.
  • August 2: I will post a copy of the blog email and add some tasty tidbits to it like a creativity tip.
  • August 14: Creativity Post 1 – What do 1980’s ‘Popeye,’ criticism and creativity have in common? This will be released on Penguinate.com with a reminder on Patreon sent the next day.
  • August 18: Our Patreon Anniversary!
  • August 22: Penguin of the Month photo

Join us at Patreon to make sure that I have to write something about creativity every day! The more people that sign up on or before July 31, the more articles you’ll see.

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One Month until the Author Signing Event at City Cakes and Café

On June 5th, I will be at City Cakes and Café in Salt Lake City to talk about my book “Disneyland Is Creativity” and sign copies of all my books. “Disneyland Is Creativity” is my first book in the “Is Creativity series.” The second book, “The Haunted Mansion Is Creativity,” will be released on June 1 and presented at Ogden UnCon on Sunday, June 9, 2019. Books will be available for purchase. However, because of limited supplies, you should preorder the books you want to avoid not getting your first choice. Join our Patreon and get a discount on your books and penguins!

When I lived in Salt Lake City, I spent a lot of time at City Cakes and Café because the staff was great, the food was vegan, and it was close to Salt Lake Community College where I was taking classes. Most of the time, I’d get a coffee and a lemon blueberry scone. For lunch, I’d go back and forth between the veggie sausage burrito and the waffles. Sure, their known for their cakes, but I just enjoyed the atmosphere and the ability to write articles for examiner.com, the Globe, environews.tv and my own website. City Cakes and Café may have changed locations in Salt Lake City and expanded out to Draper, but it’s still one of my favorite places in SLC.

The Salt Lake location at 1860 S 300 W ste D is small; it can seat 15 people. So, I plan on keeping the presentation portion of my author signing event short. Starting at 6:15 pm, I will talk a little about the impetus for the book and then present three of the suggestions found in the book. At about 6:35, I will take questions, and then I will sign books starting around 6:50 or 7 pm depending on questions and how much talking I actually do. City Cakes and Café closes at 8 pm, so we want to make sure that we give them enough time to close and clean.

Come by and enjoy a coffee or tea and maybe a cookie or cupcake. You can meet my wife, who makes the amazing penguins, and we can chill. I look forward to seeing you there!

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What to Do when Old Goals No Longer Serve You

Professor Penguin studies for greater knowledge.

[Author’s note: If you want to get the short notes on this story of discovery, look for the list of three steps below. It should be easy to find.] I have always heard that as a writer, I should read voraciously. I just couldn’t find a lot of time to do so. I had heard about presidents who would read an amazing number of books. Teddy Roosevelt read a book a day at least, in addition to magazines and newspapers. Even at my best, when I had nothing to do but read and no desire to do anything else (the summer between my sophomore and junior years in high school), I could only read about 100 pages a day unless it were a particularly good fantasy novel.

As I got older, I tried to find a speed reading book that would help me read faster. That didn’t work. So, I decided to go about it the old-fashioned way. I was going to set a goal and achieve it. In 2010, I decided to read a book a week. The only parameter I set was that it had to be a book. Magazines and newspapers didn’t count, and while I tracked my audio books, they didn’t count as reading either.

I accomplished my goal, reading 52 books with an average page count of 221. The longest book I read was 1099 pages, and the shortest was 28. I also listened to 18 audio books, but those would fall by the way side in later years. These numbers gave me a baseline, and so every year thereafter, I kept upping the ante. In 2011, the books averaged 222 pages each. In 2012, the average didn’t change, but I read 16 more pages than the year before. In 2015, I fell short of my goal by four books, but I made up for it in 2016 by reading additional books. In 2018, I read 58 books.

So, this year, I set my sights on 52 books with an average page count of 255, but 10 books in and I find that the unintended consequence of this goal is that I don’t read magazines, and I avoid lower page count books because they would make the average that I have to read in the future go up. The dilemma is that I have several books that have fewer pages than 255 that I need to read for research, and I have a couple of magazines that I need to read sooner rather than later because of the opportunities they hold.

While it’s still early in the year, it’s clear that my goal is hampering my progress rather than helping. It’s done this before, but I just ignored the implications and bulled my way through the process. Now, the situation seems different. It’s time to change the goal.

The process for doing so must look something like this:

  1. Recognize the goal no longer serves you; you are serving it.
  2. Decide what you really wanted from the goal in the first place.
  3. Set a modified or new goal that enhances your ability to achieve what you really need to achieve.

The original purpose of the goal was for me to be able to say I read a book a week and know they weren’t all children’s books. I didn’t exclude children’s books outright because there are a lot of good children’s books out there, and they typically make the best way to learn the basics about some subjects quickly. For example, children’s book on Ancient Egypt presents a starting point for the subject matter that is easy to follow, generally accurate, and provides enough information that the adult (or child) reader can find out what specific aspect about the subject matter he or she wanted to learn and move on to more adult books about that part of the subject. (Also, I was studying to be an early childhood education teacher at the time.) By setting up a tracking system and breaking it down into number of pages read, I stayed motivated and kept myself on track. There was always an end of the year blitz, but some of that had to do with holidays as well as motivation.

At this point, for this particular goal, I think I need to modify the page count, or at least not worry about it. I might not be able to read a book a week while I am in research mode, but that shouldn’t dissuade me from catching up at the end of the year. As long as I maintain my reading on the subject matters at hand – Disney, creativity and online marketing, in the early part of the year, and the Twilight Zone, creativity and online marketing in the latter part of the year followed by a holiday blitz for the final month – I should be okay. If not, I should be able to forgive myself and realize the goal is only as good as the benefits I get from it. In this case, it is the benefit of education and the growth of vocabulary and literary styles.

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The Non-Kickstarter for ‘There Are No Penguins in Alaska’

There are no penguins in Alaska

There is a lot of misinformation about Alaska that Alaskans hear from tourists and see in movies and TV. Some people think the money is different. Some people think everyone lives in an igloo. Some people think that there’s gold lying on the beaches waiting to be picked up. And some people ask where they can see the penguins in Alaska. There are no penguins in Alaska.

When I left Alaska in 2012 and traveled through the Lower 48, I got asked a lot of questions about my time in Alaska. Does it really stay light for 24 hours a day in summer? How cold does it get really? What do you do for fun in the winter? What’s the best part of living in Alaska? Why did you leave? Did you see any penguins while you were there? I would answer each of the questions as well as I could. For the last question, I would point out that Polar Bears would eat the penguins and that there are no penguins in Alaska.

That trip gave me an idea for a book: “There Are No Penguins in Alaska.” The idea would remain just that until 2018 when I published my first book, “My Life in the Projects: A kid’s-eye view of HUD housing in the 1980s.” Once I realized I could publish books, I also realized I could publish my penguin book. The problem was I let my art skills degrade for a long time and was no longer up to the task of drawing what I needed to make “There Are No Penguins in Alaska.”

Well, my art skills haven’t improved much over the last year, but fortunately, I was able to find a couple of artists to do the work. Antonisa Scot and Oscar Feliz of Transcend Studio put together “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” and now it’s ready to be published. In fact, you can preorder it on Kindle and as a hard copy coloring book at penguinate.com. However, there is a catch.

In order to publish “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” as a coloring book at a reasonable price ($2 per book my cost to retail at $4), I need to order 750 or more copies. That’s $1500 for anyone playing along. I could get fewer copies, but the price goes up pretty drastically, capping out at $5 a copy for 50 copies. That’s only (Haha! Only!) $250 but then I would have to charge $10 per book to make any money. Who’s going to buy a coloring book for $10? Maybe you, since you’re reading this, but not most people. Most people won’t even spend that on a regular kid’s book or any eBook.

Other writers or artists, at this point, would probably launch a Kickstarter, or maybe they would’ve launched it sooner. I, on the other hand, realize that I will publish this book in one form or another, and a Kickstarter would take away from my opportunity to write more books before I start touring the inland states in June where I will sell my books at Lilac City Comicon in Spokane, City Cakes and Cafe in Salt Lake City, Ogden UnCon in Ogden and Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con in Las Vegas, as well as any other bookstores, coffee shops or venues on the way that will have me.

In lieu of running a Kickstarter, which would definitely kill one or both of the books I plan on finishing before June, I am offering a presale. The price for the preorder is set at $8 in case I have to settle for the higher printing costs and to account for shipping and handling, which is more expensive than people would believe. If I can get 80 preorders of the hard copy and/or the Kindle version of the book, I will find the other money I need to print the rest of them. Even if only two people preorder, I am still going to print them, just not in the massive quantity of 750 or for the cheaper price.

This is a challenge. I haven’t sold 80 of any single book, so this preorder, if it works, would make “There Are No Penguins in Alaska” my most popular book. If you’ve read this far, thank you for your interest and support. Please share this page to your social media network, tag me and add “#penguinate.”