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Mark Our Words

March 30, 2020– Get your pen out to mark the upcoming release dates on your calendar! Here’s what’s coming from our House to yours:

Advice from a Publisher– Lacey L. Bakker *May 1, 2020* Non-fiction

Acts of Remembrance– K.G. Watson *May 1, 2020 *Fiction/non-fiction hybrid for adults/Wartime

Becoming James Cass– L.L. Colling *June 1, 2020 * Psych Thriller for adults

Life Supports– K.G. Watson *June 1, 2020 *Fiction for adults

I am Jessica Westlake– L.L. Colling *July 1, 2020 *Psych Thriller for adults

The Adventures of Milan and Friends, Baseball Bandits– Lacey L. Bakker/Alex Goubar *August 1, 2020 *Children’s book

King Midas-Lacey L. Bakker/Emily Keown *September 1, 2020 *Children’s book

Machinia– Paul A. Moscarella *October 1, 2020 *Sc-Fi for adults

12 Days of Rescue-Tonya Cartmell/ Emily James *October 1, 2020 *Children’s  book

Grandma’s Table-Michelle Pontefract/Erin Cutler *October 1, 2020 *Children’s book

Safari Go Seek– Rachel Adema-Hannes/Erin Cutler * October 1, 2020 *Children’s book

Silent Anvil-Tim Ford/L.L. Colling *October 1, 2020 *Thriller for adults

Plus, we’ll also have books coming out from our friends that include Once Upon a Vision, a wonderfully cozy, supernatural novel and The Adventures of Carlos, a fabulous picture book for kids, coming soon! Stay tuned, you never know what other surprises we’ll have in store.

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Virtual Insanity

March 23, 2020– With everything that’s going on in the world right now, it’s normal to feel as if we’re getting a bit (or more than a bit) stir crazy. Social distancing is imperative at this time, and so is working from home if your position allows you to do so. I just want to say a huge thank you to all of the professionals who are still going to work because they provide essential services, we appreciate you and are thinking of you! If your an author who can work from home, here are some things you can work on to  help serve your readers in new ways:

  1.  Do a virtual book launch. If you have a new book coming out, but social distancing has closed down pubs, libraries, and meeting places where you’d like to have your gathering, don’t worry! You can hold your book launch online. Things like Facebook live and other online platforms have made it much easier to connect with readers.
  2. Do an online book signing. During this time, you may not be able to head into Indigo for your regular book signing date, but you CAN do a virtual book signing from the comfort of your own home. Set up a viewing party and invite readers to tune in at a specific time to get the party started. You can even take their questions, live,  depending on the platform you use.
  3. Hold a contest. Make things fun for your readers during this time of self-isolation. Do a scavenger hunt using one of your books, or have a colouring contest for younger readers. Whatever you do, make it entertaining and exciting.
There are so many things that are made possible by technology. Let’s be creative during this period of solitude so that we can continue to connect with and enjoy the company of others. X LLB
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The Value of Book Clubs

March 20, 2020-Book clubs can be a valuable source of ideas and recommendations from one reader to the next. Here’s what you can learn from becoming a member of a book club in your area. *Due to recent world events, the availability and creation of online/digital book clubs are an excellent idea!

  1. You widen your views, ideas, and perception of the world. Have you ever discussed a book with a colleague and you each took away a different message from it? Of course, you have! No one sees the world the way that you do, and that’s what’s most exciting! A good debate/discussion around a topic gets new ideas flowing and expands our thinking. It allows us, even for a brief moment,  to experience the world through another person’s eyes.
  2. It betters your own writing skills. We know that the more we read, the better writers we become. Reading different genres that are offered at book clubs, expand our horizons and help us leave our reading comfort zones. Perhaps we’ve only been reading historical fiction, and our book club picks a new psych thriller! This will only help you in the long run as an author because it will expose you to different voices, points of view, narrative, and dialogue, as well as plot structures and character development.
  3. You’ll gain new friends. There will be people who you instantly connect with in your reading club and people who you won’t. That’s ok! Bonding over books is magical, and book clubs help develop life-long friendships in places all over the world.
  4. You’ll finish the book. This is an important one! I knew a woman who said one of the reasons she joined a local book club was because she had a reading goal that year, and the club was the only way that she was going to reach it! A book club will “force” you to finish the book, which is a good thing.

We’re working on a lot of things around here and with the current outbreak, we are trying to find new ways to connect with our readers. Soon, we’ll have an online book club that you’ll be able to participate in each month. We’re just figuring out the dynamics of that and the best way to communicate with our book club members remotely. Stay tuned for more details!

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Colouring Contest!

March 18, 2020– We’ve got a very special colouring contest for kids! And the best part? All entries will be sent to us digitally! We’ll pick the winner of a really awesome prize pack on Friday, March 20th at 12:00 pm. All you have to do is print out the picture below, colour it, and send us a picture of the finished product. You can email your entry to pandapublishing8@gmail.com! Good Luck! COLORINGPAGES-1 (1)

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Platform 9 and 3/4

March 18, 2020– First, let me say a very Happy Birthday to my Dad, and to my Nephew, who both celebrate their special day today!

Today we’ll talk about author platforms. What is an author platform, and why does it matter? Let’s get to work.

1) An author’s platform is the way that authors engage with their readers. This means it’s essential for authors to have a voice online and on social media. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, and blogs are all great ways to connect with people. It’s not just about being online, it’s about building and connecting with your readers so that you can share information that is valuable to them. Marketing materials such as feature sheets, postcards, and other handouts are essential parts of a giant cog.

2) Building your platform is a process. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Build your brand (which is YOU) and create connections that are meaningful to all parties. If you’re not going to take the time to do things right, when will you make time to re-do them? Have a strategy going in and make sure that you are being clear about what your message is.

3) Your platform may get you a book deal with a publisher. Yes, we look at your online presence, we look at how many followers you have and the content you’re posting. We look at if you engage with your audience and we look at your online personality. These things matter because if you’re going to represent my House or anyone else’s for that matter, we want to know what and who we’re getting into. I’ve said this a million times before, we are WHO and WHAT we publish.

Keep your nose clean is all I’m saying. What you post online could make or break you.

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No One Cares Who You Are.

March 16, 2020- Grrr…buckle up for this post. It’s about to get heated.

I was at a tradeshow last weekend, and there had to be fifty or more vendors set up around the room. There were businesses that dealt with health and alternative medicine, personal beauty, finance, and everything in between. As I made my way down the aisles, I counted on one hand how many people engaged with me as a customer…my grand total? 3. Three people said hello and started up a conversation about their business, what they were doing at the show, and how their services/products could potentially help me.

I wasn’t shocked, and that’s something that we should be worried about. It means that as a society, we have been trained over the years to expect crappy service and rude/rushed sales associates. As consumers, we’ve been trained to get things ourselves, and this trickles all the way down to self-checkout processes.  Some business owners make the horrible and profit hurting assumption that if people want to buy our products, they’ll be the ones to break the ice, so why should we bother to look up from our phones or even stand up to greet them. And we wonder why online shopping and Amazon are taking over the world. I don’t wonder, I know.

Let me remind you-NO ONE CARES WHO YOU ARE. If you’re in business or an author for that matter, it’s YOUR job to make people CARE about who you are and what you have to say. I tell my authors this all the time when they are about to do a book signing, “You are not James Patterson, no one is here to see you.” Harsh? Maybe, but they’re a tough group and they get my point that they need to engage with readers. They are unknown, and it’s their job to talk to people about themselves and about their books. It’s their job to tell the readers and customers why they should read our work and how our books can benefit them in some way. STOP SELLING AND START HELPING.  That’s enough ranting on my end. We don’t do missed opportunities at my House, so let’s get down to business.

Here’s what you need to do to make people give a damn about what you have to say.

  1. Put away your phone. This is first on the list because we live in a world that is full of distraction. Being on your phone while customers are walking by your booth/business/table is unprofessional and rude. It shows that you care more about what’s going on in the virtual world rather than in the real one. It also sends a message that they aren’t important enough for you to put your phone down for. 
  2. Smile and say hello. Imagine that! So easy and so simple yet 80% of people at tradeshows, retail environments, and behind booths don’t do this.
  3. Engage with people. Ask them about themselves. Be genuinely interested in what they have to say. Don’t pitch your products or services right away that drives me insane more than anything. If you’re just jumping into your spiel of, “This is what we do,” blah blah blah, then you may as well just get to the point and say, “Give me your money.” It’s so offputting, and so is faking interest in people and interrupting them. If you care about your customers and readers, they’ll know it, and they’ll care about you too.

I know that this list seems ridiculously simple, but I wouldn’t have to post about it if it wasn’t true. Get your head out of your ass and take care of your customers and potential customers. The life of your business depends on it.

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Work It to Make it Worth It

March 13, 2020- I attend no less than three writer’s conferences per year. I need to keep up with information and trends in the industry, and I think that attending the workshops makes me a better writer and publisher. There is a lot to learn, and I always come back feeling refreshed, inspired, and ready to get to work.

Conferences can cost quite a bit of dough, so to make the most of your time and money, I’ll give you some advice.

1) Make a list. Who is going to be there? Who do you want to meet? Which speakers do you want to listen to? Organization is the key to success in all areas of life.

2) Don’t be dull. Make yourself memorable, everything from your pitch to your appearance should be interesting and should make an impression.

3) Make an appointment, if possible. There are some opportunities that you can sign up for in advance that will allow you to meet with potential agents and publishers.

4) Collect cards. Get as many relevant business cards as you can while meeting other attendees and guests. Jot down any pertinent info about the person or what you chatted about so that when you send them a follow-up email, you’ll remember who they were and the connection that you made.

Find a list of conferences in your area by doing a quick search online and see which ones would be suitable for your writing goals. Remember to have fun and make friends!

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