October 1, 2020- A few weeks back, we had posted a photo writing prompt on our blog asking readers to send in a 500-word short story, poem, or journal entry about what Autumn means to them. Here is the entry we’ve chosen, written by Kinga Ulazka McDonald:
September 30, 2020-iPad storyteller Joe Sabia introduces us to Lothar Meggendorfer, who created a bold technology for storytelling: the pop-up book. Sabia shows how new technology has always helped us tell our own stories, from the walls of caves to his own onstage iPad. Click on the link below to watch the TedTalk now: https://www.ted.com/talks/joe_sabia_the_technology_of_storytelling
Why you need to think outside of the box for marketing your book!
September 28, 2020-Today, I’ve taken a page out of my book Advice from a Publisher (Insider Secrets to Getting Your Work Published) to talk about Synopsis’. This is critical info if you want a shot at being published!
How to write a synopsis: Do you want to know what will make a publisher absolutely lose their mind and throw their laptop onto their front lawn? Read on to find out. No, I don’t mean read on to find out; I mean, when authors say, “Read the book to find out!” Let me explain: The job of a synopsis is to tell the publisher what happens in your book from beginning to end. It’s a snippet of the big picture and gives us the information that we need to know. If you remember from the previous chapter, How to Properly Query, you’ll know that a query letter is a sales pitch. A synopsis is an overview of your book which allows the publisher to identify any major problems with your manuscript, lets us determine if your book is a good fit, and helps us decide if your work is exciting, intriguing, and fresh enough to publish.
Your synopsis must include:
The main character and why we should care about them. What is at stake, and what motivates this character to take action?
The conflict. How does the main character succeed or fail in dealing with the conflict?
Conflict resolution? How is the conflict resolved, and has the character changed or learned anything? THIS IS THE ENDING! DO NOT PUT READ ON TO FIND OUT because your letter will be recycled, and you’ll never hear from us again. Seriously, this drives us crazy.
Summarize each scene or every chapter. This will take way too long, and you must get your summary across quickly and concisely.
Write this with the tone of a book jacket or back cover. It’s not a marketing piece for readers that builds excitement.
Make your synopsis longer than one page.
Get weighed down with specifics such as supporting character names, detailed settings, and descriptions.
Talk about character back story. We don’t need to know, and frankly, we don’t care. Yes, even for you sci-fi writers, leave it out!
Get wordy. Don’t use eight words when four will do.
For examples of good and lousy synopsis’ check out chapter 7 in my Amazon Number 1 Best Seller book found here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/advice-from-a-publisher-insider-secrets-for-getting-your-work-published/
Insider Secret: Write your synopsis in the third person narrative even if your manuscript is told in first person. Write in the present tense and remind the publisher of the category and genre of your work. Reveal EVERYTHING and never use; it was all a dream endings or beginnings.
Best of luck! I can’t wait to read your work.
September 27, 2020- Legendary hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz is on a mission to revolutionize the way artists do business. In this talk, he shares some of the ways he’s helping fellow creatives thrive, including a roving art fair that gives artists 100 percent of their sales, a new commission system for galleries to fund living visual artists and Verzuz, online musical celebrations that bring joy to fans — and sales to musicians. “If we’re not protecting the arts, we’re not protecting our future,” he says. Check out his TedTalk below:
Variety may no be the spice of life…
September 25, 2020– I attended the London Book Fair in England a few years ago, and I was fortunate enough to participate in many classes to continue my education. One of the subjects that came up was e-books, and how they are changing the face of publishing. Here are four reasons why electronic books are essential to offer your customers if you’re an author, especially a self-published one:
- Portability. You’ve just bought a new book series to read while on vacation-did you pack your paperbacks, or did you download the books onto your phone, tablet, e-reader, Kindle, Kobo, or laptop? I’m a fan of paperback books, don’t get me wrong, but when I’m on vacation, I like to lounge by the pool and read. I can’t fit all of the books I can read in a week in my suitcase, so I choose to download them instead.
- Sharable. A lot of e-books contain bonus information such as additional chapters or new release teasers via hyperlinks. We add hyperlinks to our e-books because our readers can click on a link and be brought to our website where they can find similar titles they may be interested in. Plus, e-books can be shared with friends.
- Highlightable. Non-fiction books especially fall into this category. Most people skim the contents looking for things that are relevant to them, and they can highlight which parts they want to remember or refer back to without ruining or damaging the book like they would have if they had highlighted a paperback.
- Environmentally friendly. There is no paper or ink or shipping materials used for e-books, which is an absolute advantage to the environment. There is no waste and nothing to throw away.
I’m not saying that I prefer e-books over print books by any means \(nothing beats the textile nature of holding a book in your hands, flipping the pages, and the smell of them). I’m saying that they have their advantages and have a place in publishing. As an author, make sure you’re offering e-books to your readers; it’s essential to give them as many options as possible to enjoy your work. If you search any of our books on Amazon, you’ll find a paperback version and an e-book version; this is just one of the ways we commit to serving you better.
September 24, 2020– Before COVID happened, I popped into an Indigo bookstore in my city. Bookstores are my happy place, and I love to browse the different sections and topics; I always seem to find my way into the children’s area. Often, the store has local author visits where writers can set up a table and sell their books to customers in-store.
I wandered over to the author’s table, and the woman looked up at me as she was sitting there reading a book. I was the first to engage in conversation; I asked her how it was going, and if she had been busy with customers. She told me she hadn’t, and she wasn’t really into the “sales part” of writing and that she preferred to write the books and stay “behind the scenes.” I asked her what she thought would happen after she published her book, and she said that she hadn’t thought that far ahead. I asked her about her sales goals and if she had a plan for her book going forward. Again, she said she “hadn’t thought that far ahead.” She went on to tell me that she had spent a pile of money self-publishing her book and that now she had a garage full of unsold copies that she wasn’t sure what she was going to do with now. She also said that she wished she had more sales and that she wanted to, at minimum, break even.
I see this a lot, and it’s a shame because her book was quite good and the subject matter was interesting. As an author, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you where you want to be?
- What are you doing to get there?
- What can you improve?
If we use the woman above as an example to answer these questions, here’s what we come up with:
- She is not where she wants to be. What she wants is more sales, she wants to break even, and she wants to get rid of the inventory of books in her garage. She should be specific about her goals.
- She is going to book store events, but not much else. She needs to start brainstorming about how she can sell her books—Eg. Online platform, other book stores, schools, festivals and events etc.
- There are a lot of things she can improve; the first thing is engaging with customers when she has them in front of her, hand out literature, talk more about her book, get on social media etc.
You can’t hit a target that you can’t see. So are you where you want to be as an author? What goals do you have for your work? How will you get there? What plan of action will you take? How will you improve your current situation? These are important questions that need answers.
September 23, 2020– Today, we’re putting the spotlight on Grandma’s Table, written by Michelle Pontefract, illustrated by Erin Cutler. This beautiful book is all about family, sharing the love, and making room for friends. Everyone is welcome around Grandma’s Table; the more, the merrier! The illustrations are brought to life and jump off the page because of the watercolour medium used to give them texture and a gorgeous softness.
Grandma’s Table is all about inclusion and celebration among a fabulous feast of foods from around the world. Included are some favourite recipes from Michelle’s family that make the book interactive and allow you to spend cherished moments with your children making delicious memories.
Here’s what one reader had to say about Grandma’s Table:
Reviewed in the United States on August 21, 2020
What a gorgeous book. Such a strong message that there’s always room at Grandma’s Table. I loved the diversity of dishes and characters, as well as the recipes included in the back. My kids enjoyed making the cookies.
You can get your copy here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/grandmas-table/
Gahhhh I’m ready to lose my mind