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I’ll Take Categories for $400, Alex

January 22, 2021-Yesterday we talked about the importance of using hashtags and how they can increase views of your posts and reach new readers. Today, we’ll be talking about categories and how they’re equally important in your best seller success plan! Check out our Best Seller Bootcamp here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/

What are categories? Simply put, categories are how your book is grouped in it’s genre. For example, fantasy, historical fiction, horror, romance, science fiction, and psych thrillers all have their own categories. The point of properly categorizing your book cannot be understated especially with how much it helps your book climb to the top of the best seller list. We could put all of the genres listed above under an umbrella category of fiction, but this doesn’t help readers find your book! When we categorize under such a large umbrella, our work gets lost in the noise, that’s why we have to find our niche!

So, let’s use one of my books as an example; Becoming James Cass is a psychological thriller about a doctor who gets in deep with the mob and makes a lot of terrible choices. He’s also a father, a husband, and murderer. Looking at this description, how could we categorize this book to give it the most impact? Well, we would think outside of the box and perhaps put it under Medical Thriller and Organized Crime. The point is to be creative when choosing your categories while ensuring that they are properly and truthfully categorized. The reader looking for a Crime Thriller, or Medical Mystery is very specific in their choice, so your book had better live up to it’s advertisement as belonging in this group!

To dive deeper into this subject and everything that we’ve talked about, check out our Best Seller Bootcamp here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/

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Tag (You’re It)

January 21, 2021-As we enter the final week of our Best Seller Bootcamp, here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/  we have a number of things to still cover! As an author with a platform . are you using your social media to connect ideas with readers? Did you know that there is a specific way to do that? With hashtags! Hashtags are still an effective way to get more people to see your posts when using platforms such as Instagram, and using relevant, targeted hashtags is one of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences.

Hashtags # work by organizing and categorizing videos and photos. A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 13% more audience engagement than posts without a hashtag. If you add a hashtag to a post on your Instagram account, the post will be visible on the matching hashtag page that acts as a directory of all the photos and videos that were tagged with the same hashtag e.g., #writersofinstagram.  Hashtags are most effectively used on Instagram although we do see them on Facebook sometimes, but not as often because people are less likely to read/care about them. Quick tips:

  1. Use a minimum of 10 hashtags on your post. This will ensure that you cover your bases and include tags that are relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach. Use a mixture of very popular tags and less popular tags to make sure that your post gets traction e.g. #authorsofinstagram (4.7 million posts) and #authorscommunity (156,000 posts). You can use up to 30 hashtags on a regular post and 10 on your Instastory.
  2. Think outside the (hashtag) box. It’s important to use relevant tags, but most people don’t get overly thoughtful when hashtagging. They use the common, most popular tags, but they’re missing out on a potential segment that could see their post by not being creative. Let’s say that you wrote a science fiction novel, some of the less obvious hashtags could include #manvsmachine, #robothero, #riseofthemachines, #machinesvsman, #newrelease, #dystopianuniverse etc.
  3. Hashtag in the comments. Don’t put hashtags directly in your post, put them into the comments section of Instagram and be sure to include your company or book hashtag e.g. #pandamoniumpublishinghouse.

There is so much more to talk about when it comes to hashtags and using them most effectively to promote your work and your posts and to connect with your audience, so check out our Best Seller Bootcamp where we dive deeper into this subject: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/ and more!

 

 

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Reviews (They Matter)

January 20, 2021-All this month we’re dishing out tips during our Best Seller Bootcamp, and today, we’ll be talking about reviews. Let’s find out why they matter, how to get them, and how they contribute to your Best Seller Success!

You know how much I LOVE statistics, so here are a couple that you should know. 1) 84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends. 2) 91% of people regularly read online reviews before making a purchase. Readers trust what others are saying about your book! So, what does this mean for you? It means you need to get as many reviews as possible BEFORE your book hits the marketplace.

Reviews can be done before your book officially launches by getting pre-release copies to reviewers. They receive a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review and reviewers will disclose this. I am not a fan of paying for reviews and that’s something that we’ve never done at Pandamonium Publishing House. We believe that reviews should be honest, organic, and from real readers.

Reviews give you credibility, plain and simple. They let readers know what others thought of your book, and why they should take a chance on buying themselves a copy!

You can get reviews by doing the following things:

  1. Ask your beta readers to review your book. These are the people who you’ve been asking for feedback during the entire writing process. They will tell you the truth about what works and what doesn’t while you’re working on your drafts and tweaking your manuscript and they’ll also be honest about their reviews.
  2. Give out 10 free pre-release copies in exchange for a review.  You can post this offer on social media, at your book club, your local library, on Goodreads, on your website, press releases, and in your newsletter.

Also, you need to ensure that you’re getting authentic reviews from readers in your genre. Romance readers may not enjoy your supernatural crime thriller or mystery lovers may not enjoy your historical romance novel, so be sure to match the right reader with your book. Remember that reviews matter, but also that art is subjective and not everyone is going to love what you write. That’s ok! If your book is for everyone, it’s for no one.

The entire point of getting reviews is allowing your readers to find out what other readers thought about your book and what they liked about it/didn’t like about it so that they can make an informed decision in purchasing your work.

To dig deeper into this subject, and many others, consider joining our Best Seller Bootcamp here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/

 

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Failure to Launch

January 19, 2021-Do you know how to launch your book? There are a number of factors that go into a successful book launch, but not having a plan is a recipe for disaster and will completely ruin your best seller chances. You will never have a best selling book if people don’t know about it. Here’s how you can have a successful launch.

  1. Start early. About 6 weeks before the launch of your book, start inviting people! Create an event on Facebook, send out invites in the mail, and put the event details in your newsletter that goes out to your readers. Keep in contact and send out reminders 2 more times (6 weeks before, 3 weeks before, and the week before). This gives your guests enough time to put your event on their calendar. Remember to post the details on your social media and also think about having an online book launch event.
  2. Use your resources. Marketing materials such as postcards, save the date, business cards, brochures, and whatever other forms of print media you’re using should be in supply and ready to hand out.
  3. Find a high-traffic venue. You want as many people to come to your event as possible. We suggest a high traffic area so that people can see you and walk in. Think outside of the box, your venue shouldn’t be a book store if possible, there are high commission fees and percentages of sales taken off the top for a book store to host you in their brick and mortar. We’ve had book launches at indoor playgrounds, fabric stores, pubs, and parks and have had much success with chatting to people who were just passing through.
  4. Get help. Hire someone if you have the means to organize your event or to help you hand out literature/marketing materials. There is a lot to do and you’re only one person, so delegate tasks to someone you trust. You can also look for volunteers or students who may need community hours to graduate that would be willing to help out.
  5.  Enjoy yourself. Your book launch should be fun! It’s an event to remember and celebrate your success. Have a good time and be sure to genuinely connect with your readers.

There are many, many more steps to have a successful book launch and while we can’t possibly cover all of them in this post, we would love to have you sign up for our Best Seller Bootcamp where we dive in to all of the topics we’ve covered in depth. Check it out here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/

 

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We Want Your Pet Stories! Official Story Call-Out

January 18, 2021- We’re looking for YOUR pet stories! We’re doing another collaborative book with authors who want to tell us how their pet has made a difference in their life. This book will come out in July/August 2021 and the proceeds will be donated to animals in need. All you have to do to participate is:

  1. Write your story. Please keep it to 1200 words or less.
  2. Send it to pandapublishing8@gmail.com and in the subject line write Pet Story Submission.
  3.  We will contact you to let you know if your story has been chosen.

You will receive a free copy of the book, with the opportunity to purchase additional copies at a discounted rate, and the proceeds will be donated to animals in need. Here’s your chance to become a published author and see your name in print! Submissions will be closed on June 1st. 

Possible topics include: 

-Service/guide animals
-Fostering animals
-How your pet has made a difference in your life
-Therapy animals
-Animal Heroes
-A funny story about your pet (make us laugh out loud!)
-A heartwarming story about your pet
-The joy your pet brings you
-Pet Bereavement and keeping their memory/signs from above that they still watch over us
-Quirky personality traits or habits that your pet has

All pets are welcome! Tell us your story, we can’t wait to read it.

 

 

 

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What Makes a Great Book

January 18, 2021-You can’t have a best seller if you don’t have a great book. I know, I know, there are people yelling at their laptops right now saying, “What about 50 Shades of Grey?” “What about Twilight?” It’s hard to tell what readers will like, but here are a few tips. There is one thing that is a common thread throughout that makes a great story no matter the genre; get the readers to invest in the characters, make the reader care about the character and what happens to them.

What makes a great children’s book?  Children’s books should be colourful, fun, and have a great story with larger than life characters. The illustrations should help tell the story and should also be representative of what real children look like. Different abilities, ethnicities, sizes, traits, and characteristics should be present. Kids can’t bee what they can’t see! Have a theme/message, but be careful not to come across as preachy. It’s not your job as an author to preach to kids, it’s their parent’s responsibility. The cover art should be eye catching and include an excellent title. Alliteration is great for kid’s book titles, but rhyming prose is a no-no unless it’s perfection (which is extremely rare and hard to do).

What makes a great novel? The recipe for a great novel, no matter the genre, is like baking a cake; your recipe should include a few characters (3-4) that are flawed and go through multiple challenges, a climax with a ton of action, and a sprinkling of mystery and romance. Please remember to resolve all conflict by the end of your book and wrap up all loose ends with a bow. By the end of your book, the reader should have all their questions answered!

What makes a great YA novel? Young adult novels are in a league of their own. They’re usually written with readers ages 12-18 in mind. The older reader appreciates more mature themes, but themes that are real and relatable are best for all readers. Things to include are veritable issues that young adults are experiencing such as family matters, divorce, blended families, body changes and challenges, bullying, school  dynamics, and finding themselves. It’s important to write about these things in this genre because it allows the reader to know that they are not alone. Interestingly enough, a lot of adults read and enjoy YA novels.

Whatever you’re writing, ensure that you’re doing the best for your readers. Give them what they want and you’ll no doubt have a best-seller on your hands! To join our Best Seller Bootcamp, click here for more info: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/

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Publisher vs. Author Role

January 15, 2021– We are officially half-way through our Best-Seller Bootcamp!  Today we’ll be talking about the Publisher vs. Author role when it comes to marketing a best seller. For my self-published friends, guess what? You’re both! You are the Publisher AND Author, so you especially will get a lot from this post. The publishing industry has changed in the fact the publisher is no longer solely responsible for the marketing of your book. The author and publisher together are responsible for collaborative efforts to get the book to the top of the best-seller list! So let’s break it down to see what the expectations are; that way we find clarity, and there are no miscommunications between either party.

Publishers are responsible for: 

  1. Formatting, publishing, editing, and designing your book. We know what’s saleable and we know what the market is looking for in terms of genre, look, voice, and story. We work with teams of people to bring your book to the marketplace and to put it into the hands of readers.
  2. Marketing materials/digital advertising. Signage, postcards, brochures, business cards, press releases, and displays. We craft the messages and deliver the materials to publicists, the media, book sellers, our social media, and to the public. We create specific, targeted marketing plans for our individual authors and their works and then we execute those plans.
  3. Book signings/ events. The publisher is responsible for booking events and signings on your behalf. We make sure that you’re in the spaces that you need to be such as book stores, community events, digital events, and special events such as Comicon etc. We pay for you to be there to chat with your readers and sell copies of your books.
  4. Getting your book into distribution channels. Amazon, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, Booksellers, independent and local bookstores, online stores, and different countries around the world are where we send your books! As publishers, we work hard to ensure that your book gets exposure by being available to readers everywhere and in as many places as possible.
  5. Digital copies. We ensure that your work is formatted as an e-book so that readers can enjoy it as a digital download. We don’t want any barriers to getting your book to the masses.
  6. Sales. We are responsible for sales (not solely) and royalty payments to the author. Why in the world would we put in all the work above and behind the scenes if we didn’t care about sales? Publishing is a business!

Author responsibilities: 

  1. Writing and edits. Write a great book, this is just the *beginning*of your job as an author. Once you’ve written the book, the real work begins. The editor will make notes and suggested corrections and you are required to fulfil them.
  2. Social media. You are responsible for your author platform. You need to be engaging with your audience, you need to be consistently posting your work and behind the scenes stuff that your readers care about. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon author page etc. are all places to start if you already haven’t. Your author platform should be built BEFORE your book hits the shelves.
  3. Availability. You need to let your publisher know your schedule so that you can be available for upcoming events including in-person and virtual. Commit to doing your part in making your book as successful as it can be. If you put in the work and do it consistently, your book will be a huge success.
  4. Code of conduct. You represent your publisher and are a DIRECT representative of the company. We do not tolerate racism, hate speech, inequality, or anything else that is a violation of the way that we interact with our readers and the public. We expect you to treat others the way you want to be treated and to treat them with kindness, respect, and authenticity. Don’t be rude, check your attitude at the door, and realize that you have an opportunity that most people never get.
  5. Sales. Yep, you read that right. You’re responsible for part of your sales. You are not the only author that the publisher is responsible for, so you had better get to work. If you want that nice, juicy royalty cheque, then take initiative by helping sell your work. You do this by all of the things listed above and by having the right work ethic and attitude. You can tell by your royalty cheque each month how much effort you’re putting in. Don’t like the numbers? Then put the work in and they’ll start to change.

If you’re leaving it up to your publisher to do the work that you need to be doing, you need to re-evaluate your role and contemplate if you should even be writing at all. If you decide that your work ends when you finish writing the book, you will be sadly disappointed. Your publisher has published your book, completed the behind the scenes things such as metadata, marketing, online events, press releases and more, but now the public wants to meet YOU. Have you ever looked at the inside of the book for the publisher name? Probably not. Why? Because we don’t matter, the author matters and the illustrator/graphic designer. The AUTHOR is who people want to meet.

Don’t disappoint your publisher either by doing a half-assed job on your part. Pull your weight, do the things that you’re responsible for because if you don’t, why should we invest SO much time, energy and MONEY into someone who doesn’t care. Plus, if you let us know that you’re not willing to put the work in and do your part, or if you flake out on commitments, or make excuses for not doing your share,  we probably (me ESPECIALLY) won’t invest another CENT into publishing your work or any future works. If you’re not committed, why should we be? That’s the hard truth and I’m not the only publisher who abides by this code of conduct. You want to be a professional author? Then act like it. If you show me that you don’t care, I’ll double down. Those are the rules if you want to play on my team. And if you think that’s harsh, find another publisher, because I won’t lower my standards. DO. YOUR. JOB. because I always do mine.

We want you to succeed! We want you to be a best-seller, but if you don’t do your part, it won’t happen. It’s a lot of work, but worth it! Check out our Best-Seller Bootcamp here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/

 

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A Special Greeting!

January 15, 2021-Today we have our very own Paul A. Moscarella joining us with a personalized greeting for our Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club! This month we are reading his debut novel, Machinia. Join us every Friday morning at 11 am on Facebook Live as we chat about his new science fiction book. http://www.pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/machinia