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We Will…We Will…Reject You

January 31, 2019– Listen up fellow writers, what I’m about to tell you is absolutely imperative to set you on the path of successfully getting published, not only with my company but also, with other potential agents/publishers. Here’s the thing, writing is hard work, and we receive approximately 175 submissions give or take per month, so narrowing down the field of manuscripts is essential. Here is what will cause your work to be automatically rejected.

  1. You didn’t follow the submission guidelines.  When a potential author doesn’t follow the submission guidelines that are posted on every publisher’s site, you give us the clear indication that you cannot follow instructions. If you can’t follow directions, how are we going to work together longterm? Easy answer-we can’t. Here’s a link to our submission guidelines: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/about/
  2. You sent your entire manuscript in an attachment. I don’t open attachments. Ever. Next.
  3. Your query letter/synopsis didn’t grab me.  If you don’t know how to query a publisher, I suggest that you find information online that is accurate and trustworthy. Also, your synopsis is something that is your HOOK! It is exciting and makes me want to read more of your manuscript. It’s like a movie trailer for an upcoming attraction.  For expert help, you can click on this link to our products page to find out how to write the perfect query: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/mini-course-crafting-the-perfect-query/
  4. Your opening pages were boring. The first few pages in your writing must be attention-getting not only for me but for your readers! If the opening of your story is dull, if it starts with a cliche (it was a dark and stormy night), or if it starts out as a dream, your chances of getting a publishing deal have pretty much vanished. Understand that yes, introductions to stories can be fixed, but you only have one chance to make a first impression. If I read your first five pages and I do not love it, what’s going to make me think that the rest of the book is any better? Start where the action is; the rest can be explained later and sprinkled throughout your story.
  5. You weren’t patient. You decided to call my bluff (or not) and say that another publisher was interested in your work, and you tried to rush me into making a decision. You needed an answer in two days or by five o’clock, or before Cinderella’s carriage turned back into a pumpkin, these things take time, and when I’m pushed to decide in a rush, my answer will always be no. Please understand that it takes between 4-6 weeks for me to review your work, sometimes longer based on how many submissions I have. Your patience is appreciated, and I will always respond, either way, so you know where you stand with your submission.

So, those are five ways to get rejected. We hope you’ll follow our advice, X LLB

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Taken From the Headlines

January 29, 2020– Could your next book idea be right in front of your nose? Absolutely! While I was writing this post a few weeks ago, I scanned the headlines online from around the world. Here are a few of them that inspired the inner writer in me:

  1.  Woman wakes up to find intruder in her bedroom.
  2. Man drives off cliff and escapes with no injuries in ‘Miracle’ Crash.
  3.  Baby born during record blizzard, last name Snow.
  4. Huge asteroid expected to skim past Earth today.
  5. Fly me to the moon for an out of this world date.

Inspiration is everywhere! Using news headlines is a great way to beat writer’s block and to get the creative writing juices flowing. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of a nudge from international headlines to write your next best seller! I challenge you to find two headlines and write a 500-word short story for each. If you want to really challenge your writing muscles, merge the two headlines together and start writing. X LLB

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Our Guest Blogger, Jake Evanoff

January 24, 2020- Today, I have the pleasure of introducing fellow author, Jake Evanoff, creator of the children’s storybooks Jacob’s Ladder and Oswald’s Surprise. Check out what he has to say, below. Be sure to click on the links to purchase your copies!

https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/jacobs-ladder-by-jake-evanoff/

https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/oswalds-surprise-by-jake-evanoff/

Hey there! My name is Jake Evanoff and I’m really excited to be able to share my story with you, but first I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to Lacey Bakker and Pandamonium Publishing House for making this possible.

I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario and I’ve had a love for storytelling ever since I was a child. I shot my first film on my parent’s camcorder when I was 7 years old and I’ve been hooked ever since. All throughout high school, my friends and I filmed and posted comedic shorts to YouTube, which eventually brought me to Humber College where I took Film and Media Production. After deciding that I still didn’t quite know what I wanted to write, I went back for one more year to attend their Television Writing and Producing program. It was in this program that I discovered my passion for writing children’s content. I started out by writing spec scripts for my favourite kids’ shows and from there moved onto some original concepts.

After school, I knew that I wanted to be writing children’s content and I also wanted to get it out into the world in a way that would give me full control of the entire process. That was when I decided to start self-publishing my work. The first book I wrote was ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ – It’s about two best friends, Jacob and Halley. They meet up in Jacob’s treehouse every day after school to start their next adventure, but one day Halley doesn’t show up! We follow Jacob on his mission to find out just how far he’ll go to find her. The entire process from jotting down my first idea to physically holding a copy in my hands was about 7 months in total. I couldn’t believe how much I had learned in that time! From editing to working with an illustrator, to marketing not only my books but myself as an author
Writing Jacob’s Ladder was such a fun and exciting experience because it was something new to me. I was used to writing scripts for films and tv shows, where you had all of this time to lay down exposition and explore the world you’ve created at any pace you see fit. Whereas with kid’s books, you’ve got this extra challenge because you’re typically working with 24 pages of content and that’s it. Now, I’ve always written in a non-linear fashion, so what I’ll do first is jot all of my ideas down onto cue cards. It could be anything from a single word or phrase, to a specific interaction between characters or even just what I want the underlying message to convey. From there, I start to move them around like puzzle pieces until I find my story. I remember when I was doing this for Jacob’s Ladder, I wanted to be sure that every single page had value. So I wrote out all of my cue cards and if one could be removed without being a hindrance to the progression of the story, it would be scrapped. I’m incredibly happy with the way the book turned out, and if you want to check it out for yourself it’s available on the Pandamonium Publishing shop along with so many other wonderful books! I also just released my second book ‘Oswald’s Surprise’ and it’s about a golden retriever that wants nothing more than a family that will love him with all of their hearts. He finds just that when a young couple adopts him from the shelter, but over time he worries that his parents might be getting ready to bring home a new puppy and Oswald isn’t sure if he’s quite ready for a new sibling. It’s a story that I hold dear to my heart because it’s actually true!

If there’s one thing I can leave you with it’s that if you’ve got a story inside of you, I would strongly encourage you to share it in any way you can. Whether that’s with a book, or music, even an interpretive dance! Let’s all take a moment to put down the screens and pick up the pens because there’s a whole world out there waiting to hear your story.
-JE

 

 

 

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Get Punched.

January 22, 2020– I read a quote recently that said, “Wanting to be a writer and not wanting to be rejected is like wanting to be a boxer and not wanting to get punched.” (-David Barr Kirtley)

More real words have never been spoken. Of course, being rejected sucks, it hurts, and it makes us question our capabilities and sometimes even our sanity. But, I’m here to tell you to embrace the suck. I’m here to say, stick out your chin and get punched as many times as possible. Because the only way that you’re going to get a YES is by taking all of the NO’s that come before it and using them to your advantage. When we fail, we become better. We can see where we went wrong, and we can tweak things to improve our writing. No one is born as a fantastic writer. Nope, not even Shakespeare, King, or Hemingway. They’ve all seen their fair share of rejection, and if you don’t believe me, Google it.

As writers, we MUST write because it’s who we are, and we can’t imagine doing anything else with our lives. That’s why I’m telling you to get punched. Get punched and get punched hard, because it’s part of the process in making you a better writer, in causing you to wake up and change your strategy, and it will give you a much sweeter victory than it would if you’d never been punched in the first place.

Being rejected is part of the gig. You want to be a writer? You’re going to be rejected… a lot. But who cares? You’re in great company. The point is, you have to keep going. I personally have enough rejection letters that I could wallpaper the side of my house. And I keep them in a special box that I go through when I need motivation. I look at the comments that say, “Consider a different career,” “Too out of the box, not saleable,” “Go back to school and learn proper grammar,” and my favourite, “Your writing is unoriginal, and frankly, boring.”

So what did I do when I received these comments? I read them, thought about them for a few days, changed a few things in my storytelling approach, hired a professional editor, and then KEPT WRITING. There’s a big difference between arrogance and self-belief. Arrogance says that everyone is an idiot except for you and that anyone who criticizes you is a dumbass. Self-belief is when you take constructive criticism to improve yourself because you KNOW that you can do whatever you want to with enough hard work and practice. Do you think that the first time that Wayne Gretzky picked up a hockey stick, he was perfection? Don’t answer that, what a terrible example…You get my point.

So dear friends, today, I hope that you get punched. X LLB

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Bring This With You

January 17, 2020– Here’s a throwback video on our Youtube Channel about what you (authors) should bring with you to a book signing! I’ll be doing a ton of signings at events over the coming year, so stay tuned for an official listing of when and where to find me.

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Your Fears Will Set You Free.

January 15, 2020-Over the winter break, I enjoyed some much-needed downtime. My days consisted of sleeping in late, puttering around the house, and re-watching some of my favourite movies for the four-hundredth time. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sucker for 80’s action movies; give me Van Damme, Willis, and Stallone, and I’m happy.

So, there I am, sitting on the couch, curled up with my cat, watching Rocky 3. You know the one where he gets busted up by Hulk Hogan and then goes on to defeat Mr. T? Of course, you do, everyone does. I’m watching the scene where Rocky is talking with Adrian on the beach when all of a sudden, he says something that makes me stop in my tracks. “You wanna know the truth? This truth is I don’t want to lose what I got. In the beginning, I didn’t care what happened to me…now there’s you, now there’s the kid, I don’t want to lose what I got!”

Wow. That hit me like a ton of bricks. Know why? Because that’s what has been holding me back. For the last year, I’ve been sitting on my ass, not hustling as hard, because quite frankly, I’m a bit too comfortable with my current position and current situation. I don’t really stray from my daily routine by taking significant risks in my writing career and in my business because I don’t want to lose what I got. I’ve got bills to pay and cats to feed and things to pay for, taking a risk might put all of these things in jeopardy.

But in the beginning, I didn’t care what it took to sell my book, I didn’t care about how uncomfortable it was to wake up early and go to bed late and to stand out in the rain or heat or snow and peddle my books one at a time. I didn’t care about the risk, all I could picture was the reward. But now, I don’t want to lose what I got!  AND THAT’S WHERE THE PROBLEM LIES!

As soon as we get comfortable in our lives, we get lazy, and we miss what’s waiting for us. We miss the potential to be great, we miss opportunities to take our writing lives and our businesses to the next level. Our FEAR of LOSING WHAT WE’VE GOT KEEPS US FROM GETTING WHAT WE WANT. Read that again.

Our fears should be: being in the exact same place as we are now, next year.
Our fears should be: staying stagnant in our writing and censoring ourselves.
Our fears should be: not growing as writers, artists, and people.
Our fears should be: not taking risks and not seeing what we can achieve.

Once we identify our fears, they can finally set us free from the chains of mediocrity, if we’re willing to risk our comfort and take action toward our dreams. X LLB

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An Excerpt From Obsessed with Her, By L.L. Colling

January 13, 2020– I was fortunate enough to have a lot of expert help on my first psychological thriller, Obsessed with Her. Because I’ve never committed any of the acts that my characters have (yet), I thought it was essential to enlist the experts, particularly at the Toronto Police Department (Homicide Division). Here is an excerpt from the book. You can order your copy at https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/obsessed-with-her-novel/ or on Amazon. I genuinely appreciate your support of my work and I hope that you enjoy Obsessed with Her.

He finally obeys my orders and releases the restraints. I swing my legs over the edge and let them dangle for a second while I balance. I reach for the neck brace and pain shoots through both of my arms; I let them down by my sides slowly before trying again, this time ignoring the pain. I put one foot on the pavement and then the other, all the while steadying myself with both hands on the edge of the stretcher. I slowly walk toward the house focusing on one step at a time. The pain piercing through my chest has nothing to do with my fall. A detective is standing at the door and tightens his lips when he sees me. 

What would you do if your child was missing? How far would you go to find out what happened to her? Obsessed with Her is every parent’s worst nightmare, with twists and turns so shocking, it will leave you breathless until the very last page.

Here is where you can find some reviews of the book https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37853271-obsessed-with-her?from_search=true&qid=SW6nnL5QEV&rank=2

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Guest Blogger, Christopher Botting-Unfrogged

January 10, 2020– Today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to our very special guest blogger, Christopher Botting, the illustrator of Unfrogged! Let’s check out what he has to say about his experience as an illustrator with Pandamonium Publishing House.

Hello friends and fans of Pandamonium Publishing! My name is Chris Botting, and I am the illustrator for the ‘Unfrogged’ book; Pandamonium Publishing’s second book offering. One day back in two thousand and too far back to remember right now, my sister (Tamara Botting), had written a story she greatly desired to publish someday. She was asking me to do the artwork for it. I made a half-hearted attempt at some rough ideas, but in the end, I told her that publishing companies would have the final say on the art direction they were looking for and not necessarily something I may come up with. That it would be a waste of time to try anything before a publisher picked up her manuscript. What a big bother brother I quite often turn out to be. Well, time went on and one day I did receive a phone call….from a publisher…wow! (Good for little sis, she stuck with her dream and never gave up). Pandamonium Publishing’s very own Lacey Bakker was interested in seeing a sample of my art portfolio. She was hooked! She absolutely loved the idea of a brother/sister team working on their first published book together. (Bucket list items for both siblings!). There were meetings and deadlines made. The rough copy art sketches were approved and used for the final pieces after colour and corrections were added. Did I ever learn a thing or two about books;  They have chapter titles to illustrate. They have front covers to draw. They have a back cover too…what? Whodathunk? Do you know what else they have? A spine that needs artwork! My first book art job, and it was a ton of work! But it was all well worth it! Someday, when I see a well-worn copy on a used book store shelf, I’ll know a second generation is about to enjoy something my sister and I put so much of ourselves in to; I’ll know we’ve ‘made it’. I believe that when you do something or create something, in the brief second that follows the last pen stroke, or saw cut, or screw turn, or musical note, or whatever; that your creation, your project, art piece is instantly a classic. Just in that moment, the passing of time. Because, when you look back at your accomplishment, finished or not, there’s that feeling of ‘I remember doing that’. And ‘it’s out there, other people are going to see it, and remember seeing it, and to them, it instantly becomes a classic. Because they’ll remember it too. Something ‘vintage’ with the passing of more time’. I know people enjoy our work, I can tell by the time they spend absorbing it and taking it in. By how long someone will look deep into a drawing I have done, and make positive comments. I really enjoy doing art and sharing it with other people. I hope it makes them feel good inside, peaceful. Open a sense of awe in them and myself that the world can be a beautiful place. I am so thankful for the experience of working with Pandamonium Publishing and my little bother sister on ‘Unfrogged’. They are creating great friendships and books along the way. Check them out and enjoy some instant classics!