If you’ve been following my island project, Finding Corte Magore, then you’ll know it has been my lifeblood for the past fifteen months or so. What’s miraculous is that my lifeblood has flowed to numerous volunteers who have given of themselves freely to see this incredible project come to fruition. What’s miraculous is, my lifeblood has also become theirs, too.
In that time, my team and I went from having a dream of making a fictional place real – to actually being awarded an island in Nicaragua by the Nicaraguan Ambassador to the U.S – and now have the ability to put the island to social good use, reversing the cycle of poverty along the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCS) in Nicaragua – a bio-diverse region that serves some of the world’s most poor. And, that poverty is what is driving the nation’s children from school into the workplace. (Guardian).
29-acre, Hog Cay, Nicaragua is now ours to share with the world. And we can put it to very good use by creating revenue producing opportunities from it that work to keep kids in Nicaragua in school.
Here’s what I know to be true. My dream is not your dream. I know you have dreams of your own. I know the economy is tough and many don’t have a great deal of discretionary income. I know you probably already have your own, favorite cause. I know people inherently like to give, but sometimes can’t. I also know I have to ask. I’ve done a lot of things in my life, but raising money is not one of them, so I hope I’m going about it the right way.
Today, what I really want you to know about this island is that it’s not some ruse to generate huge corporate gains. It’s not my island. It’s everyone’s island. It’s about turning dreams into reality – setting out to do something so big and grandiose – that proves to the world, particularly its children that anything is possible, and their obstacles can be overcome, just like mine were growing-up in the U.S. My story as it connects to the island can be read about here.
So, I’ll make my plea short and to the point. Today, I’m asking you for 5 minutes of your time, to go to our website, to click the PayPal link at the top, and to make your $10 (or any amount you can give or afford) tax-deductible donation to our California Benefit Corp and that money will flow to our joint partnership with Ambassador Campbell on Corte Magore at Hog Cay, Nicaragua. You can make a difference by contibuting now – and you can help me keep this island dream alive.
If you can’t donate, I understand, but I’m asking you, please, for your share on each of your social networks you participate.
Throughout this blog, there’s more detailed information about the Finding Corte Magore project, it’s sustainability measures and what not – should you wish to learn more about it. In the meantime, thanks to your donation today, an indigenous child in the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region of Nicaragua can have access to learning materials delivered by the human rights organization, CEDEHCA, through the Finding Corte Magore project.
This article includes toddler BabbleMusing on the title of my children’s picture book, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore…
On a summer’s drive to the beach, almost eighteen years ago, my daughter, Whitney Ann- a toddler at the time – was playing with her little bare toes and babbling the nonsensical words from her car seat, “Corte Magore…Corte Magore…” Over and over again, she’d prattle, burble and blather the words, giggling as if she had a secret, while my husband and I scratched our heads, and racked our brains to figure out what she was trying to say.
Since I fancy myself a bit of a poet (I hope you do too), I started making-up a rhyming poem on that fateful drive along the California Coast to Santa Barbara. I toyed around with the sound of those two words, out loud and in my head, crafted by my toddler’s own two-year-old imagination. Whitney’s made-up words formed the beginnings of an epic poem, one that I just couldn’t shake free from my brain long enough to ever let it go. And, for years I honed various drafts and versions of Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, but never got serious about publishing it in the form of a children’s picture book until much later in my daughter’s life.
But, how do you spell words conjured-up in the boundless creative mind of a child? Originally, I was spelling Corte as “Corta” because I like phonetically correct spellings. But, one day, I noticed one of my employee’s checks was addressed to Corte Madera, California. So I looked up what “Corte Madera” means. In Spanish, Corte Madera means the imperative command “Chop wood”, as in “To chop the wood”. A crab uses a chopping motion with his pincers. So Corte – to chop – seemed befitting for my land and sea fiddler crab, awashed ashore of the island that would one day be Corte Magore (fictionally, and in real life.)
California is also a land wrought with Spanish derived spellings and places, so “Corte” stuck, even if not phonetically correct. (I didn’t know then that my book’s unintentional Spanish influence would later be connected, serendipitously, to Latin America through the Finding Corte Magore project). “Magore”, or the second part of the name of the island in my book, rhymes perfectly with Moore, lore, before and a slew of other words used throughout my prose in Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore. Every poet feels blessed when she uses a word and finds it amassed with other phonetic or rhythmic words.
And thus, a book’s title was born. And my life has forever been altered.
A friend of mine suggested I re-write a previous post I made here on my blog about marketing and publicizing a book. He told me that very few people understand that, while a major a coup, publishing a book is winning only half the battle. He suggested I write about what I have been doing, specifically, to get the word out about my picture book app, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore, particularly since I’ve taken a somewhat unique and varied marketing approach to the matter. Taking into account my almost twenty years of marketing experience, owning and running a promotional marketing company, Tagsource, perhaps I do have something to contribute in helping others on marketing and brand messaging a children’s picture book, or any book for that matter. I don’t know. But believe me, even with my professional background, even I am still feeling my way. All that said, in just three months, I do feel I’ve made significant progress, and hopefully, if you are a writer, you can benefit from my experiences. So what did I do?
I hired a Publicity Agency:
I knew that I needed to get the word out exponentially to the masses, and the best way to do that was for me to hire a publicity agency, right off the bat. After thorough research, I selected Smith Publicity, a global publicity firm, and contracted with them on an initial, six-week publicity campaign. Special thanks to Lauren Covello, Publicist, at Smith Publicity for her work on publicizing, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore. With the help of Smith Publicity, I’m happy to announce we are off to a great start! During and after the campaign, Smith continues to deliver some interesting results. The most notable: InformationWeek asked me to be a contributing, bi-monthly writer covering the educational and mobility segments on their online digital publication. As a busy executive, I have to look at the investment of time and weigh the ROI on the writing obligation. For me, this was a no-brainer. InformationWeek is one of the world’s largest information technology publications. They have over 220,000 subscribers and receive something like 2.4 unique visitors to their website each month. My profile picture and bio will be positioned on their website with each article they publish, which will link back to my businesses and my book. Publicity turned marketing. I like it. Not to mention, this “writing gig” is a pretty major bio booster.
In addition, Smith Publicity lined-up numerous radio and print article interviews for me. iMedia interviewed me about approaching technology use for children. Recently, I wrote a bi-line article for Today’s Parent, “Coming Soon to an Electronic Device Near You.” Today’s Parent boasts a readership of over 100,000 site visitors a month, and the article included a blurb about me and the book. I have also enjoyed being on various talk radio programs. I really enjoyed this particular radio interview on Tots and Technology on IMI Tech Talk with Tom D’Auria. (Move ahead to about the twelve-minute mark to bypass all the tech news at the start of the show.) I am in the process of putting all my radio interviews up on SoundCloud, so stay tuned for links to all of those. This interview with Derrell Connor on 620 WTMJWisconsin Talks was another one of my favorites, if you haven’t heard it yet. In addition, I’ve been interviewed on the Kim Pagano Show, Manchester University’s radio program, and several other programs throughout the country and Canada. The goal is, with each interview, people will act and download my book.
I Collaborated with Connected and Celebritized People Who Helped Me Produce My Book:
Aristo Media, the publicity agency who represents Robby Armstrong, the Nashville star who wrote and produced my book app’s original Americana-style musical score, pressed news about Robby’s involvement with Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore. That press release went out to many country radio news outlets, and the release has cropped up all over the web! It was pretty neat to see Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore mentioned on a CMT site! Country Pulse also wrote up a nice story called, “Catch a Rising Star,” about Robby and mentioned his collaboration on my book. You can read about Robby on his website, here. In addition to Robby Armstrong, I selected Mr. Steve McCoy, a renowned radio broadcaster to narrate the book. Steve boasts a huge fan base and has a lot of clout in the world of broadcasting. Mr. Doug Lawrence and Mark Ceccarelli, both notorious illustrators, and former original storyboard directors for SpongeBob SquarePants, co-illustrated my book. When I produced my book, I knew that each of these unique collaborators would have vast networks of their own. I wanted to cast my personal net out as far as it reached through my own network, but I knew that having networked, connected people working on my book would do nothing but bring more recognition to my project.
Something Interesting Happened, I Became Perceived as a Bit of an Expert:
Being an author who produced an animated book straight-to-digital through my publisher (Skies America)brought me some publicity I didn’t expect. All of my work garnered me a bit of attention as a tech expert. Recently, I was asked to write a bi-line article on app development : http://www.beginningiosdev.com/app-case-studies/children-book-app. Circle back to the radio interview on Tots and Technology, being interviewed for the iMedia article on kids and technology, and then being asked to write on mobility topics for InformationWeek. It’s all connected, and was an outcome I wasn’t expecting.
I Put My Experiences to Work:
I’m a marketing entrepreneur, a conversationalist and a networker, and I put all that experience to work for me. I set up a Facebook page where I dialogue with my fans, and tweet about my book and experiences on Twitter via @toniaallengould. I converted my existing blog to an author’s page and changed the domain to www.toniaallengould.com, to brand myself. There, I continuously pressed new articles about my road to publishing and authorship.
I take pictures of kids who are engaged while reading the app:
I’m producing swag and giving it out to various contributors and people who have become book evangelists. I produced coloring t-shirts with washable markers and posting pictures of kids coloring the t-shirts. I produced magnets, and microfiber cleaning cloths for electronic devices. I deployed the services of the promotional company, at www.tagsource.com, for the swag.
I’m in the throes of being scheduled to speak at an elementary school that has recently moved to an iPad only curriculum (notable since I have an iPad only book), and really do hope to start working with children on writing and going after their dreams, and will invite the press to be there whenever I have a speaking engagement. I can’t wait to spend more time in the classroom with kids engaging them about reading!
I created several videos featuring kids who enjoy the book while showcasing the music and the narration:
Through all this marketing effort, the book made it to the 2nd Best App in the App of the Week Contest at iHeartThisApp. This is a parent/teacher/peer voting opportunity and you can help by voting anytime for the book by clicking the link above. Sam also reached the Top 100 Books in the App Store list for iPad, which in my elated and humble opinion is a major feat, given the legions of books out there! Recently I saw that we are at #100, if those stats are even accurate. But, oh what it would be like to reach #1!
Even better, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore just got a 5-Star Video Review at Give Me Apps where also the reviewer mentions the great functionality and the collaborative efforts that went into the book. At one point in the review, he describes the animation as “something that almost looks like a Hollywood movie!” Here’s their Blog Review as well. Right after the review, Best Preschool Books, put Sam on their list! That’s some really great news and hopefully will continue to help me reach my target demographic, children ages 4-8.
As you can see, I have a lot of great things in the works after just three months since my book app went live in the App Store on iTunes. Writing a book is one thing, getting it published is another, and marketing and publicizing a book is still another. I can honestly say—it’s all hard work. I can’t tell you if I’m doing it right. I can only firmly say, at this juncture, that I’m laying down some important groundwork for the future success of my book.
I really enjoyed my radio interview yesterday live with Michael Paynter from WBKE/The Beehive from Manchester University. Michael and I talked about what inspires children to read, how books can offer a positive form of escape from the world we live in, and also teach children that it’s okay to dream. During our talk, we touched on how animated and narrated eBooks or apps with music are changing the landscape of the children’s picture book market by bringing stories to life in a way that conventional books can’t. I have to admit that I had a good chuckle when Michael referred to me as the “Future Mrs. Dr. Seuss.” What a lovely compliment, and wouldn’t creating that kind of revered literary works be something that most authors only dare to dream about? I’ll keep dreaming, but thank you, Michael!
Here’s the taped feed from my interview with Michael Paynter, 89.5 “The Buzz”.
And, would the real Mrs. Dr. Seuss, please stand up.
Robby Armstrong Produces First Musical Score For Children’s eBook, “Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore”
eBook/App now available on iTunes
(Nashville, Tenn. – July 17, 2013) Country artist Robby Armstrong has produced the musical score for the children’s eBook, Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore (Skies America Publishing, 2013), which is now available on iTunes.
A children’s book written by Tonia Allen Gould, the story is of a tenacious land and sea fiddler crab that will stop at nothing to build and save his home from his rival. Complete with a fiddle and his bow, Samuel T. Moore marches forward with his mission, even though he is met with adversary while onlookers and naysayers mock him in disbelief. The book teaches children about courage and tenacity, to stand up and fight for what they believe in.
Gould creatively directed and hand-picked the celebrity talent to make this eBook/app an engaging experience for children ages four to eight years old, leading up to the animation where Skies America Publishing Company picked up the project.
The eBook was partially illustrated by one of the original creators of SpongeBob Square Pants, “Mr. Lawrence” who, incidentally, is also the voice of Plankton from the hit, animated series by Nickelodeon. The narration is done by two-time Marconi Award nominee, and one of the top radio personalities, broadcasters, and voice-overs in the country, Mr. Steve McCoy. Steve is a major market voice and his work for animation has become famous. In addition to his many character-related projects, he did the voice work for a Rise of the Guardians app by DreamWorks Animation.
Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore is available through the iTunes store for $4.99.
The release of the eBook coincides with Armstrong’s current single release, “Rodeo,” which is currently at Country radio. Written by Armstrong and Darrell Brown, the toe-tapping track is Robby’s first single from his forthcoming 2013 full-length album, which is additionally produced by Brown (LeAnn Rimes, Ty Herndon, Radney Foster). Robby has three songs, including “Rodeo” in the major motion picture, Gambit (featuring Cameron Diaz, Colin Firth), wherein he and his band make a cameo appearance. The songs are also on the official soundtrack. Additionally, “Rodeo” is featured in The Sims video game and has been heard at Angels’ stadium as the Los Angeles Angels’ rally song. The dance remix for the song is circulating through line dance clubs across the country.
I’ve been so lucky in my business life over the years. I was able to find an occupation where (despite getting up at 3am every morning )was filled with more fun than should be allowed by law. I was blessed enough to be able to turn doing a morning radio show in one city, into a career that lasted over 30 plus years. I stopped counting when one of my own kids said to me one day “Ya know Dad, you’re not Ryan Seacrest” a reference made about the young man, filled with talent, whom worked with us at Star 94 as a junior in high school here in Atlanta.
Along the route of radio,I was always doing voice work, and naturally as most radio people do when they tire of getting up early, I built a studio in my home and started doing voice work full time. Over the decades of daily voices I’ve had a blast creating magic with just my voice, designing characters for commercials, video games, documentaries or church bulletins. I’ve played the part of a stapler at Office Depot, a Furby, Apostles Peter and Paul, I’ve played Lincoln for a documentary on PBS, and yesterday I got to be a junk food bag with an Italian accent. How much fun is that?
But back in March of this year, on a day that I was supposed to be gone for my birthday celebration I auditioned for a children’s book about a fiddler crab named Sam, who fought against the odds to prevail in building a home on a magical island.
Now, I love doing children’s stories, especially when I can get to play characters as I narrate the story. In the past, I’ve narrated audio books for Alice in Wonderland, a book about a little boy who lived among Giants, and a few others. So instead of being 25 minutes early to a dinner celebration with friends, I decided for the first time in my life that I was going to be 30 minutes late for my dinner celebration with friends and audition for Samuel T. Moore from Corte Magore. Written by Tonia Allen Gould.
Little did I know while auditioning that this was a dream of a young Mom from Calif. who was reaching beyond her own stars to write and publish her first children’s story.
When I was contacted by the agency that Tonia had chosen me to be the voice of her book, and that she was requesting to be on Skype with me as I read the project I was thrilled to get the job.
Doing the voice work while being on Skype with a director, or producer or someone in charge is not unusual at all, and being married and having 3 children of my own, I certainly understood the demands of a Mother who was being protective of her new baby Samuel. What I didn’t realize at the time is that it wasn’t by chance that I was late for my birthday celebration to do the audition, I think it was one of those things that was kinda destine to happen…as if it we’re created by JJ Abrams for his very famous TV show LOST.
As we Skype’d, and made small talk, I learned that she had “googled” and had thoroughly researched me before making her careful choice for her narrator. And I quickly realized that this Mom who probably has run 1001 carpools, had 15 themed birthday parties for her two children, made countless sacrifices for her family members, had this energy that reached through my Mac pro screen and grabbed me. As we recorded the story written in prose that had to be just right, Tonia would kindly stopped me when I added a word (something I tend to do in sessions when I’m a little nervous)… and I was nervous because I wanted to make sure that I was doing the best job for this perhaps once in a lifetime project for Tonia.
See, Tonia had an excitement about this story that revitalized me once our Skype session ended and made me realize that no matter what your age ( not that Tonia is old-I’m actually more than 10 years her senior) that you should never settle into your daily routine in life as a Mother or Father. Yes, raising young human beings into good and life achieving adults is a career achievement in itself, and something (especially in this day and age) that we can all be proud of as a job well done. But also, that if you have a dream to do something else, and stretch those hidden talents beyond living just for parental duties that you should take the time to do something you never might do otherwise. My wife Linda also realized this a few years back and went back to college becoming a freshman at 50.
I love more than anything when I can learn something from someone younger than myself. In a strange way it makes me feel (sadly), that I may have missed something in my 30’s or 40’s…something that I should have experienced and perhaps missed out on).
As we finished the voice work on Samuel T. Moore on Corte Magore and I learned about Tonia’s family and I regaled her with stories of my 3 offspring and probably bragged too much about my three grandkids. But as the disconnect sound of the Skype session went “Bleep-Bloop” I felt like I had made a new friend, someone who I would keep in touch with and I realized that I wanted to do whatever I could to help Tonia to make this book a success.
I was high off her energy and revitalized. In the weeks from March to July 1st, the release date for Sammy the fiddler crab on iTunes I started creating some video’s on my mac to market the story for Tonia. I found some software that helped me to create a video of a wave from the ocean that would reveal the title of the book and its release date. I would create four or five videos and send them to Tonia. We’d both place them up on social media sites and she seemed to love them. We would correspond with each other on marketing ideas for Sam, even looking at real islands for sale to become the island of Corte Magore so that it no longer had to be a fictional island but could become a real place.
I guess if there’s a moral to this story, it may seem trite, but no matter what your age, you never know who you might meet or come across on a chance meeting. There is probably something to learn from each person you meet on your path of life, and even at 59 there’s something to pick up or borrow or steal from that person and use in your own life.
And just like Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore teaches his young readers ( or listeners to Lucy, Jack and Connor’s Papa) to never give up despite the odds being against you. That your never too old to enjoy new adventures and reach beyond that dream and make it a reality. Just make sure your back in that carpool line in time to pick up the kids from School.
If you’d like to download “Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore” a musical and interactive book, click on the link below:
I was honored to be included in this project along the talents of “Mr.Lawrence” one of the original illustrators of SpongeBob Squarepants and the voice of Plankton. Also,musical score by Robbie Armstrong,and of course author Tonia Allen Gould. Three people I hope to meet someday.
–Determined Cartoon Crab Sets Out to Build Himself a Home
Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore(Skies America Publishing, 2013) by children’s author Tonia Allen Gould tells the story of Sam, a small cartoon land and sea fiddler crab (complete with a fiddle and a bow) that finds himself on the sandy shores of an idyllic island named Corte Magore. When he arrives at Corte Magore, Sam decides he wants to make this place his permanent home, but he realizes he will have to build himself a shelter from the rising tides that could take him and his fiddle and bow back out to sea. He must work diligently – and ignore mocking from hermit crabs and seagulls and beat the clock on his arch nemesis, The Great Tidal Wave – if he wants to stay.
Gould’s daughter, now a sophomore in college, was just two years old when she inspired Sam’s story. “We were taking a drive to Santa Barbara and talking about our beach day ahead, when I heard her babbling what sounded like, ‘Corte Magore, Corte Magore, Corte Magore,’ over and over again,” Gould says. “My family knows that publishing this story has been a dream since that day. I want kids to believe, mine especially, that it’s important to dream and that almost anything is possible if you’re willing to do the work.”
As a mother, Gould knew Sam’s story would have to be unique and interactive to capture the attention of today’s children, so she decided to publish the book as an iPad app with original animation, an engaging voiceover, and upbeat Americana music. As a marketing expert, Gould was determined to assemble a powerhouse team to create a book that both children and parents would enjoy. Sam’s story is partially illustrated by “Mr. Lawrence,” an original illustrator of SpongeBob SquarePants; the musical score was written and produced by up-and-coming Nashville musician Robby Armstrong; and the book is narrated by radio personality Steve McCoy, a two-time Marconi Award Nominee.
“I wanted Sam’s story to be an engaging and interactive process,” Gould explains. “Unfortunately, you can’t include animations, voice, and music in a conventional book. But producing the book as an iPad App allowed us to create a whole new world for little ones to enjoy.”
The short, colorful eBook (available through the iTunes store for $4.99) explores several important themes for young readers, including:
·The concept of “building a home”
·Hard work and self-reliance
·Daring to dream of a better life
·Dealing with bullies and naysayers
“I want this story to help parents start a conversation about hard work, dedication, and independence,” Gould adds. “Sam does everything himself in this book, and he doesn’t ask for help. I want children to understand that life isn’t always peaches and cream, but if you’re willing to put your nose to the grindstone and ignore bullies and naysayers, in the end, everything usually works out okay.”
Tonia Allen Gould is a wife, mother, author, marketing expert, and sought after speaker. She is the founder and CEO of Tagsource, formerly Tag! The Creative Source, an award-winning eighteen-year-old consumer promotions and marketing agency, and BRANDHUDDLE, a new marketing startup that caters to clients, suppliers, and distributors of promotional branding products.
In Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore (Skies America Publishing, July 2013), Gould explores the concepts of perseverance, hard work, bullying, and finding a place to call home for young readers. Samuel T. Moore of Corte Magore is available through the iTunes store for $4.99 and can be purchased here.