<![CDATA[Cool Books and Apps for Growing Minds - Blog: Our Studio ]]>Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:33:17 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Intense Media Doubles last year's Web Traffic ]]>Sun, 17 Nov 2013 08:36:42 GMThttp://intensemedia.com/4/post/2013/11/intense-media-doubles-last-years-web-traffic.html
As in the movie, Ratatouille, the famous Gousteau says, "Anyone Can Cook!" Well the same goes for publishing in today's market. Anyone can write a book and can get published, but not everyone can market a book. In addition to a great product, it helps to get great word of mouth, great reviews, and a lot of luck. As I try to market my company, I do so on a very tight marketing budget of less than $1,500. Most of my attempts at marketing have been through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and some PR. A lot of my good press is from the relationships I've built through the great bloggers "Teachers With Apps" and the Review Site, "SmartAppsForKids.Com." Quite frankly, the latter has come to bat for me on several occasions.

Through a combination of Google Anyalytics and my own web site's hosting traffic analyzer, I'm creating new ways to find my customers and find ways to keep them on my web site longer and on the pages that matter most. It's a battle though when there is so many other hats to wear! Every year, I set goals for my reach and I try to better the numbers if possible. In August of 2010, I actually decided I better get to this Twitter thing and use Facebook to talk about my apps. When I made an effort, I noticed small upticks in the amount of hits and visitors. In all of 2010 my total number of hits was only 9,900. I knew that was not going to work and so in 2011, I vowed I would work harder to get those numbers higher. At the end of the year, I reached an astonishing 47K, a 375% increase in hits.
In one month (October) when Hippos Name was released, I actually reached my then record for hits in a month at over 12,000. However, I never saw anything close to those numbers again until 2013. In fact, I only was able to increase my total number of hits in 2012 by 1,000 hits.

At the start of 2013, it looked like it was going to be yet another slow year until March when both Sheldon apps came out in print. My hits immediately went up and I was able to surpass my record set in October 2011 and reached over 13,000. And ever since, there's been no looking back as we've continually hit great numbers nearly averaging 10,000 hits a month and we will hit 15,000 visits in 2013. Yet I know I have an awful long way to go before I crack the top 1,000,000 sites.

I know I can't sit on my laurels, there is so much more work that I have to do. We've broken the 100K mark for hits back on November 4th and with six weeks left in the year, I can make a larger impact on year 2013 numbers. But I also realize that I have to work even harder these next few months to make sure that everyone knows who Sheldon the Square-Shelled Turtle is and keep Intense Media on the minds of kids and parents a like. It's true, anyone can publish a book, but it takes an awful lot of marketing to get anyone to read it! I have so much to do and soon, I'll be adding a vlog or video blog to the mix as I show you some of the cool new products we'll be introducing in 2014! It should be a record-breaking year!

We also plan on publishing other titles under the Intense Media umbrella. Thank you for your patronage!
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<![CDATA[Apple is Smug as Samsung and others compete in Smart Watch Wars]]>Fri, 18 Oct 2013 00:20:02 GMThttp://intensemedia.com/4/post/2013/10/apple-is-smug-as-samsung-and-others-compete-in-smart-watch-wars.html
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I can see it now. Jonny Ive, Apple's Vice President of Design, and Tim Cook, Apple's CEO are sitting in their design labs with huge smiles on their faces? Why? By sitting back and letting their competitors jump into the "Smart Watch" boxing ring to slug it out for market share, Apple will prove to the world what it has known for decades, Apple does have a handle on great design and innovation. By rushing to market, Samsung probably shot themselves in the foot. Apple is very “smart” for waiting to let the dust settle. Ive and Cook are probably sitting back and saying," Go ahead, you guys come up with your watches and show the world what you have! We'll be along soon."

Apple has been taking a beating as of late because some have said they've lost their edge and companies such as Samsung, HTC, and Microsoft have the upper hand because they are launching more products than Apple. Some say to Apple, “Where’s the innovation?” or “You’ve lost the edge.” Apple though is meticulous in their brand, they want to wait until it is perfect and by letting others jump in to soon, some feel that not only will Apple’s look and feel better, it will perform better too. I think Samsung shot themselves in the foot with the Galaxy Gear. Samsung has a history of their products looking just like Apple's.*

By leap frogging Apple, they have made it clear that they have no business in designing their own products. The Galaxy Gear can only be used with one device. And it’s design comes straight out of a 1970s Popular Mechanics article on what to expect for the future. It looks like a bunch of engineers sat around and tried to design something. Maybe the engineers thought it would look good, but the designers are clenching their throats. When Apple releases the iWatch, it will be sleek and useful and we’ll know what it’s supposed to do, because they’ll show us.

You can see for yourself what I’m talking about. A few companies couldn't wait and jumped in feet first to release their much-awaited smart watches, the Samsung's Galaxy Gear and Sony's Smart Watch 2 are just two that come to mind. Then there are the electronic bracelets like Jawbone Up that are gaining steam as well. They’re smart looking but what is it that they do? Take away the brouhaha and what do you have. In a recent article in VentureBeat.com,** a recent article on the new-improved bracelet failed to fully describe what the product actually did nor did the video that accompanied the article. Perhaps this was just the writer of the article with the faux pas, but companies with these new technologies need to clearly state what they’re offering.

My feeling is that Apple doesn't want to worry about more litigation and by sitting back and letting their competition 'show off', they can let the world know that companies like HTC, Motorola, and others really don’t get what Apple so successfully does. The Galaxy wouldn't be where it is today without Apple. It's quite evident in these early designs of the Galaxy. Should they have done what they have so successfully done in the past; wait to see what Apple would have done before coming out with a new product? Apple has taken a lot of flack recently about their lack of product introductions. Yet if you look When Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, Steve Jobs told the audience at the launch that the competition was 'years' away from a similar product. But lo and behold, Samsung and many other "SmartPhones" arrived on the scene to dispel that notion. What Jobs didn't realize is that the category of the smartphone would take off as it has. Apple prided itself on taking products that other people had already made and making them better. So when the iPhone came out, they were actually helping to create one of the most influential markets the current economy has ever seen. By being the first company to create a gorgeous phone, they set themselves up for copycats.

That brings me to the question, "Did Samsung release their SmartWatch Prematurely?" By rushing to get the watch to the market, did they shoot themselves in the foot? I mean look at the design of the watch? There are various opinions out there that suggest the watch looks clunky, bulky, and just bad. Rachel Metz, who wrote an article that appeared in the MIT Technology Review recently (So Far, Smart Watches Are Pretty Dumb), says this about the Galaxy Gear, "Unfortunately, the first smart watches are too complicated in a way that makes them more curiosities than helpful tools. Their manufacturers, trying to please as many people as possible, have turned them into Swiss Army knives—neat at first, but not really fantastic at anything, and ultimately destined to be ignored or replaced by a simpler, sharper blade." She then goes on to say, "Another downside: the Galaxy Gear isn’t very good-looking. It has a large, thick, steel-framed display and a camera protruding from its band; its color options, like lime green and mocha gray, are ugly. This isn’t trivial: since smart watches are always visible, they shout something about the wearer’s sense of style."

I did find someone who raves about his Pebble Watch. Rob Kubasko, Creative Director and founder of Iguana, Inc., a Tempe-based graphic design firm had this to say,

“I'm a happy Pebble owner. The Pebble essentially does three things for me: 1) tell time, 2) show calls/texts/emails coming to my iPhone and 3) allows me to control music on my iPhone.  It does it well and I've found it to be far more useful then expected.  It's nice to be able to glance at a text message while driving and NOT risk the danger of fumbling with my phone. When compared to what Samsung says the Gear can do, the glance notifications seem to be handled as well if not better than the Pebble.  The hands-free calling is cool too as well as access to S Voice (their equivalent of Siri).  The rest of the features seem to ramp down in usefulness from there and I'm really not sure how great a camera strapped to my wrist is going to be.  The killer issue though here in terms of usefulness is battery life and compatibility.  The Gear doesn't get a full days use without charging (my Pebble roughly goes a full week between charges).  And my Pebble can work with many different devices.  So is the Gear "useful?”  I guess no unless you're a Galaxy Note 3 owner who never goes more than 4-5 hours away from a wall outlet.

I think one of the clear issues you see with non-Apple companies, is their rush to push products out that do stuff.  Yet, they don't spend nearly enough time figuring out what the "stuff" should be or even if it's worth doing.  This is where Apple excels. I think people forget that Apple really DOESN'T INVENT ANYTHING.  They PERFECT things.  They didn't invent the mouse… they perfected its usage as a UI input device.  They didn't invent the MP3 player… they perfected what one should be at the time. They didn't invent the smartphone or tablet… they perfected what people wanted from those devices.  Apple is fortunate to now have resources and vision to tackle ANY disruptive technology and perfect it.  And with products like the Galaxy Gear as the early standard bearer, they gain that one other crucial ingredient: time.

* Apples Case that Samsung Copied the iPhone and iPad in Pictures.
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/08/apples-case-that-samsung-copied-the-iphone-and-ipad-in-pictures/

**The Jawbone Up (With its ability to track your daily activity and sleep patterns, it seemed like the perfect device to help you live a healthier life.) Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2012/11/13/jawbones-up-health-wristband-is-back-after-2-9-million-hours-of-testing/#dlCvR5JpeeBT4zs1.99

http://www.Iguanainc.com


The Pebble essentially does three things for me: 1) tell time, 2) show calls/texts/emails coming to my iPhone and 3) allows me to control music on my iPhone.  It does it well and I've found it to be far more useful then expected.
–Rob Kubasko,
Creative Director
Iguana Inc.,
Tempe, AZ


The Pebble essentially does three things for me: 1) tell time, 2) show calls/texts/emails coming to my iPhone and 3) allows me to control music on my iPhone.  It does it well and I've found it to be far more useful then expected.
–Rob Kubasko,
Creative Director
Iguana Inc.,
Tempe, AZ
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The Pebble has a slick design especially when it comes to telling time! Let's just hope you know how to read English.

A recent article on the new-improved bracelet failed to fully describe what the product actually did nor did the video that accompanied the article.

A recent article on the Jawbone Up failed to fully describe what the product actually did. At $129, I've seen apps that do the exact same thing at a much less of a cost.
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New and Improved Jawbone Up
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<![CDATA[October is National Bully Awareness Month]]>Mon, 30 Sep 2013 16:50:46 GMThttp://intensemedia.com/4/post/2013/09/az-authorillustrator-helps-parenets-learn-to-cope-with-bullying.htmlAt Intense Media, we're passionate about the products we create, especially Sheldon the Square-Shelled Turtle.™ October is National Bully Awareness and Prevention Month and we feel it's our duty to help parents and teachers cope with some of the issues facing children today. Bullying has always been around but I think society finally realizes that it has become an epidemic.

I want to team up with you and help you help your children. We've created two stories that are loved by critics and reviewers (See Below). It's an adorable story that is for all children to embrace not just those turtles with odd shaped shells. Our books and award-winning apps feature Sheldon the Square-Shelled Turtle.™ He's a wonderful, courageous, little turtle. We hope you'll discover Sheldon and read about his wonderful adventures. His message of hope is consistent with the messages in all of our titles:
  • Don't be afraid to try new things
  • Believe in Yourself
  • Be True to Oneself
  • We all have special talents to share with others
Our hope is that the characters we create instill a sense of hope in children's lives. It's not always easy to be brave and do what you believe is right when others are trying to persuade you to do something else. But if you're true to yourself and do what you believe is right, wonderful things can happen! Every child has a gift, talent, and trait that should be shared with others; whether they find it now or later in life, those dreams and wishes shouldn't be suppressed. I believe that every child has a place in society and that their individual talents can be brought together with other children to create something really amazing. Luckily, I found my talents early in life, but it still took a lot of self-belief, encouragement from friends and family, persistence, and confidence to pursue my dreams. I want to give that same encouragement to other children and emphasize how important our talents are. Some children need to discover this for themselves, while others need special guidance. Sheldon finds out that it's not what's on the outside that's most important, but what's on the inside!

There is so much more we can do as a society to help children. We can participate in our kid's athletics, and cultural activities in school, we can volunteer to read to children (RIF), or we can volunteer to be a coach for youth soccer, just to name a few. The messages that we write about in our books are the same messages we instill into the minds of our own children; never give up, be the best you can be, and taste the variety of life. Every parent wants the best for their child and there are a lot of choices out there; it's the little things that we do to help our own kids and even the ones we don't know that can make a huge difference.

I believe that all children today have what it takes to do wonderful things with the right guidance. This is something as parents, teachers, and mentors, WE CAN'T GIVE UP ON!
                                                                                                                           
                                                                                            –Nick Nebelsky, CEO Intense Media, LLC
                                                                                                                    nick@intensemedia.com
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<![CDATA[Help us Celebrate National Bully Awareness and Prevention Month]]>Sun, 15 Sep 2013 03:59:03 GMThttp://intensemedia.com/4/post/2013/09/help-us-celebrate-national-bully-awareness-and-prevention-month.htmlPicture
You've probably been wondering where I've been these past few months. They say 90% of book sales is marketing! And "THEY" are right. It's a lot of work to get a book published, but just publishing it doesn't mean it's going to be a run away success. One case story comes to mind. Dr. Wayne Dyer, the popular motivational speaker/writer. His first book, Your Erroneous Zones,  was not an overnight success. In fact, in an excerpt from Wikipedia, it states, "Dyer quit his teaching job and began a publicity tour of the United States of America, doggedly pursuing bookstore appearances and media interviews "out of the back of his station wagon", according to Michael Korda, making the best-seller lists "before book publishers even noticed what was happening", which eventually led to national television talk show appearances including Merv Griffin, The Tonight Show, and Phil Donahue." Now THAT'S DEDICATION! Thank goodness for the internet. but that's just one avenue of marketing. You really need to get out of your house and talk to people. Talk to book sellers, radio stations, any one who will listen. Especially if you have a cause worth talking about. And you have to be relentless!

At Intense Media, we've been getting ready for a HUGE BOOK-SIGNING TOUR that's coming up in October to honor, National Bully Awareness and Prevention Month. Since I live in AZ and my co-creator of Sheldon the Square-Shelled Turtle book series live in NC, we've asked Costco (our newest retailer on board with Sheldon) for some additional book signings. They've obliged in a big way. We have SEVEN book signings in two states; four in Arizona and three in North Carolina. And as publisher of these wonderful books, I have to wear my marketing hat! Every city gets its own banner and a slew of marketing materials that need to happen. I've been lucky to have some good people around me to help make it happen. It's a huge undertaking but with help, you can do it too. One of the things we're most excited about is that we already have a huge success at the Greensboro Costco under our belt. This success (8th highest selling book-signing EVER at this Costco) has helped us generate the additional signings. AND I was bold enough to ask the Assistant Buyer of Books at Costco for "Pointers" on how I could get into the remaining Costcos. She merely gave me the Database of stores with contacts names and numbers. I was shocked!

If you live in Arizona (Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, or Tempe) or NC (Winston-Salem, Durham, or Raliegh)stop by to one of our book-signings coming up in October at Costco. I'd love to meet you!

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<![CDATA[This is one of my favorite Apple Commercials and if you think about it, It could be about Sheldon!]]>Wed, 29 May 2013 23:06:14 GMThttp://intensemedia.com/4/post/2013/05/this-is-one-of-my-favorite-apple-commercials-and-if-you-think-about-it-it-could-be-about-sheldon.html
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<![CDATA[New Improved Web Site and More!]]>Tue, 28 May 2013 19:16:19 GMThttp://intensemedia.com/4/post/2013/05/new-improved-web-site-and-more.htmlPicture
I just wanted to let you know that although I haven't posted anything new to my blog in a while, we've been hard at work on other areas of the business. As you all know, we've turned two of our apps into printed books. This has been a rewarding experience as well as a huge learning curve for me. In fact, I have been putting all of my energies into this and haven't done any app development in quite some time.

Well that's going to change. We're hard at work on creating the third book and app in the Sheldon series as well as I'm creating a new photo app based on the beautiful photos of John Naegely of Ithaca, NY. We're going to start with one app and see how it's received and if we get some good numbers, we'll create some additional apps as well as some hardcover books. John has an amazing eye and has the profound capability to capture light like no one I've seen in a long time. We're hoping to have that app finished by July for tourist season in the beautiful Finger Lakes region.

The other thing I wanted to tell you was that I redesigned my home page. I was looking for something that was a little more intriguing than our last home page and I think I've succeeded. Please let me know what you think about the new redesign. I was struggling with the design because I wanted it to be more like a magazine but I didn't want to go completely wordpress. And that seemed to be the best way to get the design I wanted. So I took this class through SkillShare (http://skl.sh/ZPmEHM) and for only $20, a woman by the name of Meg Lewis from Ghostly Ferns in Brooklyn showed me how to create a grid. I can't believe how simple it was and after I found out I could have my pages slide across the page, I figured I could do this by myself. Skillshare is really cool. It's online education for adults or students. People can learn techniques and get feedback from the teacher. At least you used to be able to. I have a link here that you can save $10 off a class. I think you'll be hooked as well as I am. So check it out.

We're also in the midst of marketing our two books and our upcoming third book. Marketing is 90% of the work, although producing the books was a lot of work as well. One of the successes that I wanted to share with you all was that by bringing on a co-author and co-creator, our marketing reach has doubled. Dr. Mike Perko has either written or co-written both books and he has already gotten a lot of buzz around the books in a very short time. Now that school is over and I don't have to think about the schoolwork and activities of two teenagers, I can devote more time to the marketing of the books as well. By collaborating with other people, I believe you're not only helping other people become successful, but you're helping market the book twice as fast.

We also have some really exciting news to share with you about Corona Labs. As you may or may not know, I'm an Ambassador with Corona Labs out of Palo Alto, CA. They're the reason we're so successful making apps. They make the software that allows us to create apps. Well as one of two Ambassadors in Phoenix, my job is to get the work out about Corona as well as market my own stuff. We have a huge announcement to make in the next few days that will change the face of Corona development here in Phoenix. So look for that as well.

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<![CDATA[Apple's Brilliant Marketing Machine]]>Sun, 04 Nov 2012 14:46:53 GMThttp://intensemedia.com/4/post/2012/11/apples-brilliant-marketing-machine.htmlPicture
There are very few companies out there that create a buzz around its products like Apple does. Over the years, the well-orchestrated product announcements have always been more like stockholder meetings with the media occupying seats rather than stockholders.

Whether the buzz occurs from carefully placed rumors or simple announcements, Apple's “Buzz-meter” goes berserk especially around announcement time. That's because there are a lot of interested media outlets that cover just Apple. Once the media sees what Apple has to show them, Apple does an amazing job of detailing their financial success from the previous quarter and their engineering breakthroughs.

As I watched the latest presentation online (iPad Mini), I found myself more excited about these announcements than any previous. I actually found myself fist-pumping as I was watching! Is there an acceptable number of times one can fist-pump?

Steve Jobs , former CEO, was a master at delivery. He was a cult-like God to the Apple community and everyone listened to him intently as he delivered speech after speech of great news every quarter for the last ten years of his life.

Prior to this last event, Tim Cook, Jobs' successor as CEO never had the same effect that Steve did. However this last event, I noticed something about Tim's delivery. He definitely prepared more for this. He was looking more and more like Steve up on stage. And not that he needs to, but Steve had a way of capturing our attention. And I believe Tim has cracked the nut on this one too. I'm a keen observer of people's walks, movements and speech patterns. And Tim has nailed the presentation. Albeit for a few mispronunciations, Tim was spot on. If there was any doubt about who should lead this company, I feel that his performance should ease those concerns. It was like watching the old Steve Jobs up there. Tim even looked a little buff in his long sleeved shirt.

Apple is very smart as they deliver all of their quarterly news wrapped around one big announcement. And because every one and their brother wants to know about this one announcement, they're willing to sit through whatever else Apple has to tell them. And usually it's a potpourri of announcements on Financials, PR, Marketing, Wow Factor. Not only is it a managed audience, it's the right people. It's the “who's who” in the media world. The script pretty much stays the same. The reigning CEO comes out: Enter Tim Cook. Loud Applause from the galley. A general welcome and then a few teasers to the audience about the evening. “We're going to show you something great!” You would think after hearing that phrase over and over again, you would stop thinking it was true, but Apple delivers over and over again. There's a good reason Apple hasn't veered from this method of product announcement since Steve Jobs came back to Apple. It's a winning formula.

On October 23, 2012 in San Jose, Tim Cook presented not one, but an across-the-board unveiling of new products. It was surreal. Most of the hype of the event was the iPad Mini. But there was so much more!

Financials:
100,000,000 iPads sold to date
275,000 apps in the app store
90% of web traffic is for the iPad tablet
$6.5 Billion paid to developers thus far

Product Announcements:
The new iTouch, Nano, and Shuffle (iPod) lineup
The iTouch looks and feels just like the new iPhone 5
The new Mac Book series of Notebooks
A new iPad 4
And the new iMac desktop computer
Oh yea, and the new iPad Mini

The new iMac
I have to say, this was the most impressive announcement for me. With a whole new design, the iMac was redesigned for a slimmer look. With a sleek, super thin edge, new Retina display and faster processors and connectors, this desktop is poised to make a lot of noise. Not only were there engineering advancements, but design advancements as well. You can see why this is so important to Apple. By bridging those two together, you can create wonderful products. What they did with the new iMac is incredible. First they slimmed down the display to almost half. Then they removed the 2 MM air gap between the glass and the display by fusing the two together. What this does is truly incredible. It makes the fonts easier to read. Jim Schiller, Apple's VP of Hardware said it's like the text looks like it's sitting on top of the glass. The computer comes with four USB 3.0 connectors, two Thunderbolt ports, Quad-core Intel Core i5 or i7, as well as different configurations for hard drives and graphic cards.

Fusion Hard Drive
Apple has done it once again. It's built an amazing piece of hardware and software that works transparently that fuzes Flash Hard Drive space with traditional Hard Drive space into one drive. The software is so intelligent that it will decide for you which programs are being used the most and whether they should sit in Flash memory or on the hard drive. Flash memory is 2.5 times faster read and wrote times than traditional memory. And Fusion is really close to what Flash memory does. Each iMac comes with up to 3TB of 7200-rpm hard drive: up to 3TB Fusion Drive; or 768GB flash storage.

And what's really nice about the new announcement, is the price. When I started to look for a desktop alternative to my Macbook Pro laptop, the desktop is actually cheaper than the laptop configuration. And with the new iMac, that hasn't changed much. The base price of the iMac 21 inch is only $1299 and the 27 inch is $1799. As much as I love my MacBook Pro, I find myself wanting another monitor to hook up to it. I've thought about using my 42 inch Flat Screen television as a monitor, but the iMac would actually have a finer resolution. That's something I'm really excited about due to the fact that I do so much illustration work creating children's apps. The detail that I will be able to obtain is mind-boggling.

People used to tell me or ask me why I would plop down $1000+ for a Mac instead of just going out and buying a $300 dollar Windows-based PC. It's like driving a high performance car. Until you've driven one every day and can feel the difference, you can't be a naysayer. Apple has fused performance, with style, and functionality. It's brand is more than just the latest trend. It's elegance at its finest. Some purists might find my comparisons of a computer to a high-performance car ridiculous, but think about it. You probably use your iPhone or your computer all day long. Wouldn't you want something great in your hands or on your eyes. It's like nourishment for the soul. I hope some of you naysayers will go test drive an Apple and I think you will understand.

And then I come to the iPad Mini. Oh wait. There's more. I forgot to mention the new fourth generation of the iPad. In all the excitement of the iPad Mini, Tim Cook announced that there was a new iPad as well. A fourth-generation iPad. That's even faster than its predecessor. This is incredible. The new iPad has the new Lightning connector, a faster processor, a new ding dong, and a new flip a ma jig.

You're probably wondering when I'm going to talk about the iPad Mini, aren't you? Well this is the time. I saved it for last. I love listening to Jonny Ive talk. When they showed a movie about the iPad Mini, Jonny gave an insight on how it was designed and so on. He too is a remarkable young man who knows his stuff. When he talks, you want to fall in love with anything he says. I hope he never leaves Apple. If Tim ever would step down, I would hope Johnny Ive would take his place. He's amazing, articulate speaker that tugs at your heart strings. His passion for Apple is only outweighed by his genius.

The iPad Mini has the same resolution as that of the latest fourth-generation iPad. And because of that, Apple’s developers won't need to change anything about how they code apps. You can hold it in one hand! That's incredible. At a 7.9 diagonal vs. a 9.7 diagonal on the iPad, it's still 10% larger than any competitor's 7 inch screens.

As I watched the Apple presentation on Apple.com, it was like, the old adage of, “And there's just one more thing” was being said over and over again. The ability for Apple to consistently wow their customers over and over again every quarter amazes me. They're innovation and simplicity of products is a welcome change from the Quadra 410, 400, 450, Performa 100, 200, 400, etc. Centra, What a nightmare that was. Since Steve Jobs came back to the Apple he helped co-found and now with Tim Cook at the helm, Apple has transformed itself and the computing community into something wonderful.

Nick Nebelsky is Publisher and CEO of Intense Media, LLC. Based in Gilbert, AZ, Nick creates, writes, and illustrates apps and printed books for the children's market and also publishes international travel apps. Nick also serves as an Ambassador for Corona Labs, Inc. out of Palo Alto, CA. He's a passionate husband and father of three and a loving friend to his best friend Max, a black labra-goalie retriever.


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<![CDATA[Making the Most of the SCBWI Conference]]>Mon, 30 Jul 2012 17:39:42 GMThttp://intensemedia.com/4/post/2012/07/making-the-most-of-the-scbwi-conference.htmlA question was posted to me today regarding the SCBWI (Society of Children's
Book Writers and Illustrators). It's a tight-knit group that holds conferences year-round
in L.A., NYC, and Bologna, Italy. I attended the one in L.A. in 2009. Going to SCBWI
was the single most influencing decision in my career. I've always been a dreamer thinking
that I can do almost anything I set my mind to. And come to think of it, I have pretty
much done almost anything I've set my mind to. When I first thought about creating
children's books, I created a collection of cartoon characters, a theme, and then set
out to create a book. My intention was to self-publish, but when I saw a flyer
on the SCBWI, I couldn't pass up this chance to meet with editors and publisher of the
top companies in America. It's the who's who in children's publishing! I'll tell you what
I did wrong, and what I did right.

First off, whenever I go to L.A., I always see if there is anything I can do while I'm there that is fun and different. I looked up this web site and found that there was going to be a screening of five independent movies at the Director's Guild the night before the SCBWI started. So I arranged a ticket online and watched five movies directed by the likes of Demi Moore and Kirsten Dunst. Little did I know they both would be sitting almost next to me in the theater. It was a fun night, didn't meet anyone famous, but had a great time.

I went there with my roommate whom I had never met before. He was looking for someone to help him cut costs as the hotel is pretty pricey. He was great! He would look at my stuff and give me unbiased, honest opinions. And he saved my butt at the costume event they have for all attendees. That year the theme was blue, so you had to wear blue and better yet, be a character that was memorable that was blue; i.e. the Smurfs, Blue Moons, Blue Men Group. My roommate was prepared with two cool blue hats. He brought one just in case I didn't. And thankfully, I wore the Blue Wizard hat from Mickey Mouse's Fantasia! See Pic below. But you know, I still needed something more, so I grabbed the iron. It was blue! I went as the "Wizard of Irony!" Not to blow my own horn, but I was a huge hit. I got an A for creativity,everyone came up to me to see who I was. It's just unfortunate that the party was at the end, because I made a lot of friends that night.

If I were telling someone advice, make sure you meet as many people as possible. I met the
V.P. of Penguin, several terrific and infamous writers, and illustrators. David Gordon who
worked with Pixar was my Mentor in Morphing Media. You'll meet some great people and some whom you may have admired for a long time, will come to your defense when you're pitching your idea to Disney! That's right, that happened to me. I had the distinct privilege to pitch my book idea to three powerhouses. I was in the Master class for Morphing Media workshop. The goal of the group was to prepare us to pitch our book ideas to three judges, 1) Disney, 2) Fox Animation, and 3) An agent from the Gotham Group. Well I fretted over this. I wasn't prepared for it, my artwork wasn't ready, I was nervous, and basically just crashed and burned without a parachute. The funny thing was that Disney told me that DISNEY would NEVER publish a theme as I had suggested. But then way in the back of the room, Dan Yaccarino (creator of Oswald the purple octopuss), raised his hand and came to my defense. He told the woman that in fact, Disney did do a show that was themed similarly to mine. WOW! I was floored. I have picture of Dan and me together. He's now a friend on Facebook!

The other great thing was that because we were in this Master Class, we had a private
tour at Nickelodeon Studios and got to meet and watch the illustrators in action. It was so cool. The President came out to greet us and we saw some pilots of shows that weren't even out yet. When it was over, they offered us cookies and a gift bag full of Nick Stuff.  
 
While you're there, you'll meet a lot of great people, make sure you sit next to someone
new wherever you go. Even when you're out to lunch, there's a great little outdoor mall around the corner. Try to hook up with people from your own SCBWI branch. They'll help you meet people. There were so many highlights to this trip. The other thing I wished I had done was stuck around and got my books signed by the authors. Instead, I took off and went to the Conan O'Brien show in Burbank. Although that was fun and different, it would have been nice to meet some of my idols.

You'll have a blast!
Picture
The Wizard of Irony and his cast of hooligans at the SCBWI (L.A. 2009).!
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<![CDATA[Marketing by the Minute]]>Thu, 26 Jul 2012 18:01:50 GMThttp://intensemedia.com/4/post/2012/07/marketing-by-the-minute.htmlA Minute by Minute Account of a "Work-From-Home App Developer"

Wake up at 5:15 a.m.

Wife drags me out of bed at 5:45 am

Make bed, start 30 minutes of stretching and calisthenics:
Sit-ups, leg raises, pushups, hamstring stretches and leg lifts

6:15
Run downstairs and play fetch with my black lab "removed name for security purposes" in the back yard

Eat 2 minute breakfast
Kiss and hug wife goodbye

Head up to the "Office"

7:00 am
Get online and check sales on iOS and NOOK

Read emails

Confirm conference call with Kindertown's, Carolina Nugent's and COO Brennan Knotts.

Read email on great blog about app pricing group on Linkedin.com
"Education App Talk" curated by Jayne Claire's, TeachersWithApps.com
Remind self to go back and make a comment in response to another comment!

Make note on iPhone to take advantage of MyPublisher.com sale (75% off). Intense Media
is looking at publishing small quantity of physical books as well as apps. Mostly for
Book signing events at Barnes & Noble.

Most likely use their mini books for marketing purposes and create a few regular books to
see how they will look printed. Once we see how that will work for us, determine best
strategy to print at least 200 books. I've already researched: CreateSpace.com from Amazon, Blurb.com, and MyPublisher.com.

Read that I've been accepted to "Early Childhood Education Network" and
"Children's Publishing" groups on Linkedin.com.

Make Note: Post 19 sec. trailer of new book, "Sheldon's Adventure" on Facebook, and tweet about it.

Also post it on my site so that I can send it to Pinterest.

Make note: Load an old copy of "Scriptware" on my Mac so that I can start writing a Pilot
for Sheldon for AmazonStudios.com

Make note to self: Need to finish Sheldon's Bible of characters

8:10 prepare for meeting with Kindertown
8:30 - 9:00 conference call to discuss how Kindertown.com and Intense Media could work
together to build a better relationship and help each other spread the word about quality
educational apps.

9:15 - 10:00 Spoke to Jayne Claire from TeachersWithApps.com to discuss marketing ideas for
both companies and to cement a growing relationship developed online.

10:00 - 10:30. Wrote new article on IM home page announcing the appointments of
Jayne Claire and Anne Rachel to the roles of Editorial Advisory members.

10:30 -11:00 Posted trailer on Intense Media's Web site. Working on new one for commercial
release.

Read articles on marketing.

Lunch

12:30 updated web site. read articles, responded to blog posts

1:00 Started outlining article on Kindertown for Examiner.com

2:00 send emails to as many app reviewers as possible.

Grabbed a light dinner

5:00 Drove to Corona SDK Meetup that I co-host as a Corona Ambassador in Phoenix.

7:30 Showed my new book app, "Sheldon's Adventure" for the Nook and the iPad to our group. Everyone loved it.
They suggested adopting a classroom to read the app to.

9:00 drove home

9:45 added former RIF school in iPhone to call

10:00 in bed. Good Night




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<![CDATA[E-Book Pricing Wars from a developer's perspective]]>Wed, 18 Jul 2012 04:23:46 GMThttp://intensemedia.com/4/post/2012/07/e-book-pricing-wars-from-a-developers-perspective.htmlI'm a full-time programmer/illustrator/writer/marketer/bottle washer. I make my living from creating and developing apps. There are several stages to an app:
  •     conceptualization,
  •     story boarding,
  •     writing, rewriting, editing, rewriting,
  •     artwork creation (100-150 separate pieces of art),
  •     animation and special effect thought process,
  •     art direction,
  •     then there's the coding, a lot of coding. Thousands and thousands of         lines of code; many of which is developed specifically for our needs.
  •     Then there's testing, testing, and more testing.
  •     Then we have a week of beta testing where we send out our apps so that     real people other than us can look at them.
If I were to itemize each of these steps into dollars, they would easily add up to $10,000 to $50,000 depending on the complexity of the app. It's a lot of work to fit into a two to three month window. And I'm not even talking about marketing in both time and money.

Cut that amount to 4-6 weeks, and you have the makings of an ebook. Same amount of writing, maybe a third of the artwork. Cost maybe $2,500 for the cost.

Here's the big difference though. Cost vs. Price to you the customer. E-books are being sold on average for about $10 on the various sites. Same book, less interactivity on the ebook. Apps are thought to be "Expensive" if their prices are higher than $2.99. So why is it that it cost 4x more to produce an app where we as developers can only expect to receive one/tenth of what an e-book costs. The math is simple, right? So why are we creating apps and not e-books? Well I'm creating both and I'm makings apps not just for the iPad, but I'm making it for the Nook, and the Amazon Fire as well using Corona SDK. It's a lot more efficient and cost-effective, believe me!

And I'm not alone in this war. I recently emailed Jayne Clare, former app developer and currently a Special Education Teacher at Southampton Public Schools in the greater NYC area. She now runs the web site: http://teacherswithapps.com/ She said, "It's very difficult to make money in the app store when you are practically giving away your product! Our biggest pet peeve was that your average educational app cost less than a cup of coffee." Why is there such hesitation by folks to pay $1.99 for an app, but will pay $4.00+ a day on coffee? When I figure that one out, I'll let you know. Then there's the flip side to what Jayne and I are saying, and that's from Will Terry who says he hopes that by charging less, he'll get more people interested in his work, so he's going for volume in the early phases of his business. Will Terry is already an accomplished artist who is just starting out in the app business. You can see his work at www.willterry.com.

Until the prices reverse, that's just how we have to play the market. I can't see how the small developer will be able to make it selling their apps for only $.99. I tried it and I don't see a difference in demand between a $.99 app and one that sells for $1.99. For me there's a lot of trial and error. I play with pricing sometimes like I play with the stock market.

I'm hoping this month will be different though, as Barnes & Noble is putting together a promotion for apps that are produced this month for kids. And since that is my primary market, I have created a sweet little story that I hope will receive the promised marketing. I could sure use it! And until the price wars cease, I'll keep putting out the books I love to make that kids love to read. Until I see you again.

Nick Nebelsky is the Publisher of Intense Media, LLC based in Gilbert, AZ. He is a Corona Ambassador for Corona Labs out of Palo Alto and is a passionate developer of children's books and apps. "Sheldon's Adventures" is Nick's latest release co-written by Dr. Michael Perko, PHD, an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Public Health Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Nebelsky expects the app to be published on the NOOK store in another two weeks, and on the iTunes store in three weeks.  You can reach Nick at info@intensemedia.com or visit his web site at www.intensemedia.com. ]]>