Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Always be willing to Try New Things and Go for the Knockout

So, I just heard from SoundCloud that one of the songs I recorded with a band I used to be in is nearing 1,000 downloads. I think it's pretty funny because it is just a recording from one of our rehearsals. It's not even a studio recording. In fact, we just set up the sound system, set a mic in the middle of the room and recorded it live.

It really goes to show that you just never know how something will be received. the song was just a cover version of a cheap Trick song called "The Flame." It was put up on the SoundCloud website so that people could here how we sound. The band has since disbanded and we all went our separate ways.

In all honesty, though,  I don't really think that 1,000 downloads is what makes for a hit. It's just that it was such a surprise that a simple rehearsal recording would be received that well. It has gotten many more plays than downloads as well. But at least 1,000 of the people who listened to it liked it enough to actually want to download it.

I think the lesson learned from this experience is to sort of keep your mind open for new ideas and be willing to try new things. This particular song was really just one of around 80 songs or so that the band performed. There were other songs that I would have thought would have been received better. But these sort of things happen with everything.

I have done some videos that were received better than other ones that surprised me. I have had some of my 3D artwork be received better than some of my other works. The same is true regarding my writing and my websites. You can never accurately predict which ones will do better than the others. At least I have never been able to do so.

I am a firm believer in the fact that a person should always be willing to try new things. Many of my successes resulted from trying something new that I wasn't sure would amount to anything.

Another thing to make a point of doing is to be willing to put in an honest effort. Sure, the recording I am speaking of was not a studio recording. But we did make the effort to get a decent quality recording with the assets we had. We did a few sample recordings and played around with the placement of the mic until we came up with a sound we were satisfied with. In other words, we made the best effort we could with what we had. We tried something new and we went for the knockout. 

The image provided with this article is from the Punk Rock Comic Strip.
Bob Craypoe's SoundCloud Page

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hammering Out the Details

Whenever you begin to actively pursue a goal, there are certain details that need to be hammered out. Those details involve such things as to what has to be accomplished in order to make progress. It also involves knowing the reality of your situation.

As an example, there is a certain amount of income I would like to be able to generate from my websites. So I played around with some numbers and calculated that if I averaged .6 cents a visitor, I would need half a million visitors a month on my websites in order to generate around $36,000 a year from my websites.

I got the .6 cent per visitor figure from doing some research on another site that gets millions of visitors a year and reduced the numbers accordingly to a level us simple folk can deal with.

Sometimes when we see the real numbers and what we may be up against, we become discouraged. sometimes it may seem as if the odds are astronomically high against us. maybe we were not even being realistic regarding the tasks that lay before us. but sometimes, after the initial shock of seeing the real numbers, we manage to get it all together. this is not about dashing your hopes but more about knowing what you are up against so that you may take the necessary steps required to pursue your goal.

I will often outline things either on paper or in a document on my computer. I just find it to be a bit easier to grasp when I see it all laid out before me. I am often a stickler for the finer details.

After getting all of the details, the next step would be to devise a strategy or number of strategies one could employ to reach that goal. The point is that we all need to know what the real numbers are in order to have some idea as to the reality of our situation and where we need to go. That’s what everyone needs to do when they actively pursue a goal. They need to determine where they are, where they need to go and what needs to be done to get there. They need to hammer out the details.

Image by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Diversifying Your Online Writing Income

We have all probably heard the saying that we should not put all of our eggs in one basket. That could very well easily apply to online income as well. It could even apply to online article writing. There are so many writing sites out there now. None of them are perfect. They all have their good points as well as their bad points. But, in any case, a person would be wise to write for more than one site.

You see, if you only write for one site and something happens to that site like the earnings take a dive or it completely closes down, you lose everything. However, if you write for other sites as well, you still have something going. I have written for one site that paid very well in the beginning and then, as it turned out, they were paying more out to their writers than they could actually afford to pay out. they eventually had to adjust their rates in order to avoid shutting down the site entirely. Unfortunately, they had to cut the rates a lot in order to recover some of the money they had lost. When they had done that, they lost a lot of writers.

There was another writing site that had just started out that was siphoning off writers from the previously mentioned site. At first things were going well. But then one of the people working for the site took off with the money and all of the writers on the site had their bank balances wiped out and had to start all over again.

Some sites also pay more than others. I have written for some sites where my articles had gotten thousands of views but the money generated from them were less than some articles that received only hundreds or dozens of views on other writing sites. I still write for that site because I also write for promotional purposes, not just money. I promote things like my e-books, websites, music and 3D artwork. Getting thousands of article views can really help with that. In fact, self-promotion was the main reason I even really got started in online writing. Over time, I actually began to enjoy writing. Imagine that.

Sometimes things will fluctuate too. Maybe things will be going great for a few months on a particular writing site but for some reason things will start to slow down. It might be a good time, then, to try out other sites. then, when things start to pick up on that site once again, you can go back. It's not like you ave to completely give up on a site. You can always go back on occasion to sort of check in and see what's going on. I do that a lot myself.

So, I try not to put all of my online writing eggs in one basket. How about you?

Image Credit:  "Sorcerer Troll and Apprentice" created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Thursday, March 19, 2015

How to Create and Sell Your Own Merchandise

Recently I began working on a site called that features some punk rock cartoon characters. The website has some free desktop wallpapers available for download as well as a comic strip. I created all of that in the hopes that I may popularize the characters and be able to do some merchandising featuring the characters that I created. I also recently finished working on creating some merchandise that I can sell from my website.

The website that I created the merchandise and sell through is called There is also another one named, that I have made my own merchandise through as well. They both allow you to take your own images and create T-shirts, posters, wall clocks, mugs, stickers, mousepads and more. I used one of my own images to create the T-shirt  I have displayed to the left. 

There is also another website where I sell art prints featuring my own 3D artwork and that site is called They even give you code to embed into your web pages that allows you to sell the art prints directly from your own website.

All of the websites I just listed handle all of the transactions for you and all of the products are made to order, so there is no financial risk for you because you don't have to have a lot of merchandise made up in advance to try to sell yourself. Some of these sites offer money back guarantees as well, in the event someone is not satisfied. They handle all of that for you too.

The only thing you have to do is try to find ways to direct people to your website or your products page on any of the sites listed. That's the hardest part, if you ask me. Creating the merchandise and setting it up for sale is really the easy part.

So if you ever wanted to know how to create and sell your own merchandise on the Internet, now you know.

The Space Probe Approach to Finding Success

There are a number of different things that I do. I do web development, music, 3D art and animation and this writing thing. The problem is that it is hard to find the time to do them all and it is hard to decide where I should put my efforts in next. So, I sometimes take the space probe approach to things. Let me explain.

NASA has sent out space probes with various things like information about our planet, in the event that there may be intelligent life out there in the universe other than us. It's like sending something out to see if someone finds it. That's what I do with my work.

I will put something out there to see if it draws a lot of attention. If it does, I will do more work of that kind. So I might work on a new website to see how well it will do. If it doesn't draw much attention, I move on to the next thing. Maybe I will do a music video. If it draws minimal attention, I move on to the next thing. So what I end up doing is prioritizing as to what I will be doing next instead of trying to do everything at the same time. I just send out a probe to see who will find it. 

The thing is that there are times when the various things we do don't yield the results that we hope they would. Hey, that's just part of life. Not everything we do pans out or ends up being a great success. We just have to make that extra effort to not get too discouraged if things don't go our way. It's just back to the drawing board. in my case, the drawing board is usually a computer.

You may also want to take into consideration the fact that certain opportunities may arise from things you may have done well in the past. I have had people contact me through one of my websites and with them came new opportunities. so, in many cases, the work you have done in the past can lead to new things in the future. So it's not a waste of effort.

Keeping your eyes open for new opportunities is a good thing to do as well. Sending out that space probe can help you to stumble onto those new opportunities. Well, I have to go now, it's about time for liftoff, see you later.

Photo Credit: Image created by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Introduction to the Balalaika

I started to play the balalaika about 5 years ago. It is a beautiful instrument. The balalaika is a stringed instrument popularized throughout Russia and Eastern Europe. It has three strings and a triangular shaped body. It is also a fretted instrument. The most popular version of it is the prima balalaika. That is the one that I play. The prima balalaika is tuned E E A. The two E strings are actually tuned to the same pitch and are nylon. The A string is steel. The two E strings generally serve as the accompaniment tones and the steel string is used primarily for the melody. The steel string stands out more because of the fact that the other two are nylon. That's what helps the melody stand out.

Since two of the strings are tuned the same. The thumb of the fretting hand is used quite often to play the lowest string. It takes a bit of getting used to and your thumb will get calloused like the other fingers on your fretting hand. The balalaika is played with the fingers instead of a pick or a plectrum. There is also an extensive use of the tremolo technique like the mandolin, except that the mandolin is usually played with a pick but the tremolo on the balalaika is done with the index finger. 

I have grown to to love the instrument. I have included a link to a recording I posted on Soundcloud that I made with a couple of my friends. I am playing a traditional Russian folk tune but I have a friend playing a synthesizer solo with it. Here is the link:

I also give online tips on my website for playing the balalaika:

Bob Craypoe is a musician, writer, cartoonist, webmaster, 3D artist and entrepreneur. Just Google his name and you will find him. You can find his art by Googling R. L. Crepeau

Photo Credit: by Bob Craypoe, also known as R. L. Crepeau

Monday, March 9, 2015

You Never Know Until You Try

Every now and then, it is a good idea to stop and take a look at your accomplishments in order to avoid getting discouraged about other things that may not be going as planned or as well as you would like. I have done numerous projects throughout the years and let me tell you that a lot of them did not take off as fast as I would have liked. Things like that can lead to discouragement. Discouragement can sometimes lead to quitting if we allow the feeling of discouragement to get too strong. 

So, in order to feel better about my situation, I think of what I have already accomplished. I try to think about the things that I could never have imagined that I would achieve. Among those things are the number of people I would be able to reach through my various efforts.

One thing that I had done that managed to reach a lot of people is my network of websites. The network of websites. I literally get millions of page views a year. I could never have foreseen that. Hell, there was a time when I didn't even think I would have my own websites. I have also created a lot of pages. I have over 4,000 pages on the Net.

I have always had some interest in writing. Even when I was a kid, I had an interest in it. I was actually fairly good at it. But I didn't really do much with it until I started to write online articles. I have done over 200 online articles to date. I have also done some for sale as well as written some e-books. On one of the sites I write for, I am nearing 2 million article views. Just think of that. I don't know how many people I have reached overall but that is a lot of views. It could just be a few thousand people reading a lot of my articles. In any case, 2 million article views is a lot, in my book.

I have written the overwhelming majority of my articles for other sites. Just last year, I started this blog. I have not received as many views on my own blog but I remain hopeful that it will eventually take off like my other various projects. Anyway, like the title says, you never know until you try.