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Rhyming Prose No’s

May 7, 2021– Today we’ll be talking about rhyming prose as we continue with our theme this month of Writing for Kids. A lot of manuscripts that are submitted to us are for children’s books and more often than not, the submissions sent in are rhyming stories. There are a few problems with writing rhymes, let’s take a look:

  1. The flow/cadence is off. The cadence and flow refer to the rhythm and tempo of the verse. Oftentimes writers submit their work without paying mind to this essential part of rhyming stories. If you read this verse aloud,  Panda the Cat was a very bad boy, he loved to find mischief more than a toy, you’ll see that the flow and tempo are smooth and equal. Here’s an example of poor rhyming and cadence, The bat sat with the cat who lost his hat in a wooden slat. See the difference?
  2. The story doesn’t make sense. Writer’s rhyme things because they think it’s easy to do. Perhaps they have the flow and cadence done correctly, but the story doesn’t make sense! Rhyming without the story making sense is not a good thing. I’d much rather read an intriguing story that doesn’t rhyme than a poorly written book that does.
  3. Words are invented to rhyme. Another mistake that authors make is when they make words up to fit the rhyming verses. We’re not talking about Dr. Seuss here, we’re talking about examples like this one: I love chocolate milk, dogs, and toys, I listen to the stories and the noise from boys. I like to play games and sing and run, huffleump and scrumple are my favourite ones. This makes zero sense. We cannot simply make up words in order to finish our story or because we’ve painted ourselves into a corner and have no way to get out.

The point is to focus on the story and the characters. Rhyming prose has to be done to perfection or else it can be a huge mess that publishers will reject. Write well instead of trying to rhyme.

To learn about everything you need to know for writing for children, check out our masterclass here: Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House

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You Want to be a Children’s Author?

May 6, 2021– So, you want to be a children’s book author! What are your goals?  I often see that children’s authors don’t have any benchmarks for their book figured out or written down, and even worse, when I ask them who their book is for, they say, ‘everyone’. Well, you’ve heard me say this a million times before; if your book is for everyone, it’s for no one. You must be specific in who you’re targeting with your book, or you’re going to waste a ton of money and time on ineffective marketing. We’ll talk about niches and narrowing down targets in another monthly theme later in the year, but right now, let’s talk about how to set goals for your children’s book.

  • Define what success means to you-Success is different for everyone. By defining what success means to you, you’ll be able to know when you get there. What do you want to achieve with your book?
  • Get SMART-We all learned this in business school. SMART is a mnemonic acronym that stands for Specific (narrow down your goal for your book to be as specific as possible. If you said, ‘I want more money’ and I gave you a dollar, you would have more money…see what I mean?), Measurable (how will you measure your results of what you’ve specified in step 1?), Actionable (what steps can you take to reach your goal?), Realistic (Is your goal realistic for you? If you want to sell a million copies in 10 days does that seem realistic? If yes, get to work!), and Time-based (when will you complete your goal by?) The problem with not putting a timeline on reaching your goal is that you’ll take forever to reach it, or it will fall by the wayside, and you’ll never get it done. This is simply human nature. Also, the more time we give ourselves to achieve a goal, that’s the amount of time it will take, e.g., 5 years, 1 year etc. Parkinson’s theory explains in detail if you want to Google it.
  • Dream Big– If you knew that you would reach your goal, would you set a piddly little one? No, of course not. What would you do with your book if you knew you could not fail? Make that your goal!
  • It’s got to mean more than money-Listen, I know that money makes the world go round, but oftentimes, people don’t end up reaching their goals because they make it all about the money. I know that bills need to be paid and that you want to cover your investment and make a profit, but your purpose and your book’s purpose must be tied to something higher than that or else when the rough days come, you’ll be more likely to give up. What is your main purpose for your book? To be enjoyed by young readers in every country? To be used as a teaching tool for reluctant readers? To be used to combat illiteracy? Your purpose will remind you to keep going during the hard days.

Write it down, make a plan, and work on it every day. That’s how you reach your goals!

We hope you’ll join us for our Children’s Book Writing Masterclass; check it out here: Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Best Selling Author, Tonya Cartmell is Our Guest Blogger!

April 26, 2021– Our guest blogger today is none other than the one and only Tonya Cartmell! You know her as the author of the number 1, best-selling children’s bookThe 12 Days of Rescue! Available here: The 12 Days of Rescue – Pandamonium Publishing House

Let’s see what her take is for pushing the envelope in her writing:

How do I push the envelope in my writing?  That is an interesting question and one which being a new author with only one book published, I am not sure I can offer a lot of insight into.  What I can tell you is this:

Push yourself and believe in your ability to accomplish your dreams – For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a writer.  Several times a day I will see, hear or read something that makes me think of a story idea, an opening sentence or a “What if?” scenario.  The problem was because I never believed that I could create something that someone would want to publish, I never pushed myself to make my dream a reality.  I also did not invest in things that could help me accomplish my goal. 

Around 14 years ago, I decided it was time to go back and finish my university degree.  I took an adult leadership course and the final paper required you to analyse a situation and suggest leadership skills or strategies that could be used to recognize and improve employee satisfaction and workplace workflows.  There was a situation outlined that we could use however, it was close to Christmas and there was a song playing on the radio that I thought was a perfect example of unhappy employees about to mutiny.  If you have not heard Elf’s Lament by the Barenaked Ladies, listen to the words.  I decided to try and base my paper on that song and was able to apply the leadership skills and strategies I had learned about in that class to it.  Pushing myself to come up with something original made my paper stand out amongst the others.

In 2019, I faced turning fifty.  Not a big deal to many people but, to me it was the kick in the pants to finally push myself to stop dreaming and start doing.  I made it my goal to write a book and submit it.  I also signed up for a writing course.  The one I choose was offered by Pandamonium Publishing House.  It provided me with many writing tools and someone that I could ask questions to.  The next hurdle was coming up with something to write about.  How do I turn a few sentences or an idea into a book?  What worked for me was making myself write.  I have always been one who writes things in my head and then sits down to put it on paper.  While this worked well for school papers, it was harder for a book.  I started keeping notebooks everywhere to jot things into when I did not have my laptop and have even used the voice memo feature on my phone in the car.  I started doing photo prompts which I had never tried before and now love to do.  I even submitted one to Pandamonium in May 2019 and it was picked to be posted in their blog the next month.  That was the turning point that made me realize I can really do this.  From there I did write a children’s book, Twelve Days of Rescue which was published by Pandamonium in September 2020.  All because I finally believed I could do it and pushed myself to work for it.

Try new things – What better way to write and learn about things, then by trying new experiences that relate to the story you are going to tell.  The middle school novel I have almost finished is called The Second Hand Witch.  Another that I have outlined is Called the Dead Boys.  All I knew about witches and ghosts is what I have seen on tv, in movies, read about or stories I’ve heard.  Luckily, I have two friends who are always up for an adventure or whatever crazy idea I may have.  So, to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and to experience new things, I get them to come along.  Together, we have taken classes on crystal ball reading, witches broom making, spell casting, done gravestone rubbings, participated in a Samhain ceremony, slept in a haunted hotel and hostel, participated in the ghost investigation of a cemetery and Fort Henry and done many ghost walks.  I love paranormal things but would never do these things on my own. With them, I have met some wonderful people, learned new things, been scared and had tons of laughs.  You can be sure that some of our adventures will be in those two books.

Explore a new genre – I want to branch out from writing children or middle school books but was unsure what to move to.  One thing I love is the Irish history my husband and I have learned while visiting Ireland, so I thought I would try my hand at an adult historical fiction novel.  This is something I have never done or even considered before, so it is a big leap for me.  

The word count is a little intimidating, so I know I am going to have to push myself to be organized, create character sheets, and outline my chapters in more detail than I normally do.   I know the time period I want to set the story in and have an idea for some of the characters but learning how to tie a fictional story into actual events that happened makes me want to ensure I have my facts right.  To do this, I am going to have to do research.  With COVID, our local library is closed and there are not a lot of books easily available here on the event I am researching. 

I decided to try something I have not done before and requested to join a private Facebook group dedicated to the events I am trying to learn about.  From here I met someone with connections to that time period who has helped me find books on the subject as well as shared some stories with me.  This has increased my excitement for the project, and I am looking forward to seeing how it develops.

For me, these are the ways that I push myself to try and improve my writing. 

Awesome job, Tonya! Stay tuned for more guest bloggers as we wrap up this month’s theme of pushing the envelope.

To check out our writing classes, click here:

Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House 

Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House

Course: Get Your Book Noticed and Increase Your Sales – Pandamonium Publishing House

Novel Writing Course – Pandamonium Publishing House

Kids Creative Writing Course – Pandamonium Publishing House

 

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Strive, Study, Try and Test

April 20, 2021-Sometimes we all need a push to get us to take risks. During April, we’re talking about how to push the envelope in your writing and today’s post takes that a bit further. Let’s talk about pushing the envelope by committing to yourself and your writing. Here are some great ways to take your writing to the next level:

  • Strive to learn new things. When is the last time you’ve taken a class, workshop, or writing seminar? What have you learned recently that will improve your writing? If you haven’t learned anything new, how can you expect to write differently or get a different result in your submissions? I’m a huge advocate for continuing education and learning as much as possible. But you have to put what you learn into action to have any result!
  • Study different methods. How can you possibly push the envelope in your writing if you don’t study different storytelling methods? There are so many ways to change the narrative, a ton of ways to outline, hundreds of different ways to push your characters to the max, and infinite ways to improve your writing. If you’re not learning new ways of writing and the elements that writing includes, you will be stuck until you change something.
  • Try out radical ideas. Remember when choose your own adventure novels were unheard of? Or collaborating with other authors on a series just wasn’t done? What about alternate endings? You owe it to yourself to test new ideas and see what develops. Who cares if it doesn’t work? At least you’re expanding the possibilities and trying new things.
  • Test the boundaries of what is safe or acceptable in any given situation. Have you heard of this book? Marian Engel’s 1976 novel Bear, which tells the story of a relationship between a woman and her bear (yes, the animal) lover, has been called one of the most controversial books in Canadian literary history. Yeah, pretty weird, but it pushed the envelope and is now infamous for its departure from the norm.

Don’t be afraid to push yourself in your writing; you never know where it can lead! To continue your education with us, check out some of our classes and workshops here: Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House, Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House, Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House, Course: Get Your Book Noticed and Increase Your Sales – Pandamonium Publishing House, Novel Writing Course – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Spend the Money?

March 24, 2021-As we begin to wrap up our theme of answering your most asked questions this month, I hope that you’re gaining some insight into the business of writing and what challenges authors face. If you’d like to submit your question, send us an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com. Here’s what we’re tackling today:

Q: “Lately I’ve been hitting a wall with rejections and I don’t know what the problem is. Should I spend money on writing classes to see if they can help?”

A: I think it’s smart that you’re realizing that there could be an issue with your writing and that’s why you’re getting rejected. It could be a possibility that your writing needs to be improved and I am a huge advocate for continuing education. Yes, if you can afford to, it will be worth spending your money on writing courses. You’ll learn so much from the course material and you can narrow down what you’d like to focus on by choosing the course that suits you best. Writing conferences and workshops have helped improve my own writing dramatically and I’m so fortunate to have traveled around the globe to participate in them. Writing classes can help you with things that you may be overlooking such as industry standards, grammatical/punctuation/sentence structure errors, and can provide new and exciting inspiration!

Check out some of our writing programs here: Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House, Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House, Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House, Course: Get Your Book Noticed and Increase Your Sales – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Review This

March 22, 2021-Happy Monday, Friends! It’s my most favourite day of the week.  I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the theme of this month which is answering your most asked questions. If you’d like to send in a question, please email pandapublishing8@gmail.com. Let’s dig in:

Q: “I’ve recently published a book and have gotten a few reviews. A couple were positive, but a few were negative, how do I deal with the negative comments and not let them get under my skin?”

A: This happens to all of us. Writing is an art, and art is subjective. People are entitled to their opinions and unfortunately, they aren’t always nice. Reviews are very important because they not only give us valuable feedback (when looked at constructively), but they help readers find out more about your book. Think of the last time you were purchasing something, did you read the reviews? Probably. And why did you read them? Because you wanted to know what people thought, what their experiences were, and if whatever you were thinking of purchasing was worth the cost. Negative reviews are not something that we should take to heart, but we should learn from them. In this business, you must have a thick skin. That said, are you being objective when you’re reading the negative reviews about your work? Are you stepping back and asking if there could be some truth to what the reviewer is saying? Let’s say that the reviewer gave your book 2 stars because they felt the pace was slow and the characters were underdeveloped, would you be willing to ask yourself if this is something that’s correct and that you could improve upon? Every single negative review I’ve ever had, has always been spot on. But guess what? That helps to improve my writing! I take the negativity and learn from it, I don’t let it get inside of my head, and I understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion. It’s a great opportunity to have someone tell you what they think of your work, and to use that, to produce better work! The thing that drives me crazy is when authors get bad reviews and they say, “That person doesn’t know what they’re talking about, my book is a masterpiece and perfect as is.” This level of arrogance serves no one. I’d much rather have a negative review (which means people are reading my books!) than no reviews at all because that means that my reader cares enough to tell me where I went wrong. It’s when people stop caring that we start to have a problem. Take everything in stride, keep writing, and keep improving!

Check out some of our classes and workshops here: Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House, Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House, Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Psychographics

March 16, 2021-Oh boy! Today’s question has me VERY excited because this area of marketing is one of my MOST favourite! Let’s dive right in:

Q: “I’ve recently heard the term psychographic segmentation used by a member of my author’s group. I didn’t want to sound daft, so I didn’t ask what it meant. The internet doesn’t go into great detail about how it works for book marketing. Can you explain?”

A: YES! I would LOVE to get into this subject and I could talk about it all day! Ok, without getting too heavy handed, I’ll explain this as simply as possible. There are four types of market segmentation: Demographics, Geographics, Behavioural, and Psychographics. In marketing and publishing, we segment the markets to gain valuable information about who is reading our books, where they’re from, why they buy, and what their reasons for buying are; that’s where Psychographics comes into play. Psychographics from a marketing definition is focusing on the consumer’s emotions and values so that we can market to them more effectively. For example, in publishing, we look at the area of psychographics to include personality, attitudes, values, interests, and lifestyle. But, what does this mean and why does it matter for your book?

Well, the more you know about your reader the better! As an author/self-publisher, you need to know your audience so that you can help them pick the best possible book choice that you offer to suit their needs. Let’s do a simple case study:
Your reader is a college educated, 35 year old, single father of two six year old twins. He believes in teaching his children about the importance of imagination, saving the planet, and having fun at the same time. The kids go to private school and enjoy activities that include swimming, dance, and rock climbing.

What types of books and products could we recommend to the father based on the information above? Books about twins, books about single parent homes, books about adventure, books about the environment, books about swimming/ competitive sports, books that help with reading and vocabulary, books about imagination and teamwork, and the list goes on. Perhaps we could recommend adventure writing courses for the twins, or other classes that are well within their age group and capabilities, we could offer the father a literacy workshop and how to ignite the love of reading in his children, and whatever else we offer that would be appropriate based on his values, interests, and lifestyle.

So, as you can see, segmenting markets is invaluable to your success in helping your reader find books and courses that they love. Keep the questions coming! Send us yours at pandapublishing8@gmail.com and check out some of our classes and workshops here: Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House, Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House, Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House

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When Am I Ready?

March 4, 2021- Today’s question from an author is something that I get asked a lot. Follow us all this month as I dig into reader’s questions and answer them from the perspective of fellow author and publisher. You can send us your questions to pandapublishing8@gmail.com. Let’s dig in!

Q:“I’ve always wanted to write a mystery novel because I love to read them! But I don’t think that I’ve got what it takes yet. There’s still a ton I need to do before I could ever think of sitting down to write my own book. When will I know when I’m ready?”

A: Thanks for your question. When would be a good time to write your mystery novel? Now. Now. Now. Do it, get started, who cares if you don’t have all the details or your ducks in a row, get going! Let me ask you this, have you always been an expert in everything you’ve ever tried to do? What about the first time you learned to ride a bike? Did you pick it up instantly and flawlessly? Probably not. But you tried, and practiced, and fell off, and got back on, until eventually, you were successful! You didn’t know the mechanics of bike riding or what muscles needed to be activated for balance and forward motion, but you did it anyway, so what in the world is stopping you now? I’ll tell you what it is. Fear. Because as soon as you write anything for publication, you’re immediately vulnerable. You’ll have some people that won’t like your work, but who cares? The point is that you’re about to do something that you’ve always wanted to do and that’s pretty special! It doesn’t matter if you’ve got all the details yet, beginning anything even when we aren’t ready, gives us momentum to move forward. Think of it this way, have you ever driven at night? The headlights on your truck only allow you to see a couple hundred feet in front of you, but as soon as you start moving, the light reveals another few hundred feet, and another few hundred feet until you finally arrive at your destination. You don’t have to see the whole road, just turn on the truck and start driving! The same goes for writing, starting is always the hardest part, but as soon as we commit to it, we’ll never turn back; it’s an addiction, a calling, an obsession. The fact is, no one is ever ready. But wouldn’t you rather see what happens than never try at all and spend the rest of your life wondering what could have been? If you need help, bring in the experts, but you don’t need to do that to begin; all you need is to put your fingers on the keyboard or pen to paper. Start writing now.

If you need help with your writing, check out some of our classes here: Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House,  Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Reaching Best Seller Status

January 29, 2021– Thank you to everyone who enrolled in our Best Seller Bootcamp! I had such a fantastic time teaching all of you and I can’t wait to see your books at the top of  the best seller lists!  Thank you for the outstanding reviews and for all the positive texts, emails, and notes. You’ve all been so amazing and I’m so glad that you’ve enjoyed the course. Let’s dig into the final day of Best Seller Bootcamp.

What does it mean for your writing career when you finally reach best-seller status? It means that you get to use that status in your marketing and then perform the entire process all over again to reach best seller status for your next book! You can add it to your writing credits and writing resume, plus the status of best seller can never be taken away from you.

Becoming a best selling author is something that you should be proud of. Take the time to enjoy all of the hard work you’ve put in to reach your goal! But then, get back to work:)

Here are some of the reviews from Our Best Seller Bootcamp students:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the class material and Lacey was one of the best teacher’s I’ve had. I learned more from this one course than I have in any other course I’ve taken to date. A fabulous formula for best seller status.” -Maggie K.

“This course was so much fun! I had a blast and learned a ton. I’m confident that I have the winning recipe to reach best seller status. Five stars, I highly recommend Lacey and her courses! She’s a hoot!”– Joseph R.

“A ton of well thought out information from one of the best.”– Rachael M.

“Listen to Lacey. She knows what she’s talking about! She’s a fantastic teacher, speaker, and educator. The best in the business.”-Stephanie C.

“Best seller bootcamp was awesome! I learned so much and enjoyed how we explored each section in depth. Lacey answered all of my questions in detail and was so fantastic to work with. I would follow her off the edge of a cliff.” -Taryn W.

Thank you so much! It’s so humbling to help others and have them succeed. Wishing each one of you the very best now and always. X LLB  (Join us in February for Taking Risks!)

 

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Descriptions Matter

January 28, 2021- What’s the first thing we do when we pick up a book? We flip it over to read the back cover. Why do we do this? Because we want to know what’s inside! Hopefully the description of the story  intrigues us and helps us make a buying decision. How you write your book description can make or break your best selling author status! Think of your book description as a teaser for a movie. Here’s how to write a great description that can entice people to buy your book:

  1. Ask a question-Asking a question to your reader on the back cover, immediately engages your audience. For example, for my book Obsessed with Her, I posed the question, What would you do if your child was missing? How far would you go to find out what happened to her? The reader will personally and internally answer these questions on the spot! If my child was missing, I would go out of my mind, I would be beside myself. I would do whatever it takes to find her. What happened to the child? What if they never find her? I need to know and I need to read this book! See how that worked? A question posed will never go unanswered.  Obsessed with Her: Amazon.ca: Colling, L. L.: Books
  2. Leave them hanging-Give your potential reader a tiny taste of what’s in the book. My biggest pet peeve is when movie trailers give up all their best parts in the trailer; it’s so disappointing when we’ve already seen the ‘meat’ of the movie this way. Don’t make the same mistake with your book description, give your audience just enough to leave them wanting more. Here’s a great example from the book Machinia-Cybersecurity officer Damon Maxwell wakes from cryogenic sleep expecting to be ten years into his future but instead finds himself in the robot ruled empire of Machinia, 2156! Welcomed by Machinia’s omnipotent leader, the Universal, Damon learns that his extraordinary journey is part of a complex plan by the Universal to bait Machinia’s deadly enemy, the Underground into action. But the Universal’s brilliant robot aide, Nepcar, fears his leader’s dangerous scheme and pairs Damon with the beautiful and mysterious Cynthia Lhan hoping their union can prevent a catastrophe. Yet, even as the Universal’s plans fall into place an enigmatic figure appears in Damon’s life that even the mighty Universal is powerless to control. Will Damon ultimately be the destroyer of the robot race or its saviour? Machinia: Amazon.ca: Moscarella, Paul A., Goubar, Alex: Books
  3. Brief Synopsis– Could you imagine reading a book with no description? That would certainly be an odd experience! A brief synopsis of the book let’s your reader decide if they are interested enough about what’s inside to buy the book. Here’s my book Becoming James Cass as an example: It’s business as usual for James Cass, who is a doctor, a father, a husband, and a murderer. With a penchant for prostitutes and an appetite for alcohol, his life spirals out of control, one terrifying event at a time. Will he ever be able to atone for his sins? Or will his demons drag him to his grave? Becoming James Cass: Amazon.ca: Colling, L.L., Goubar, Alex: Books

The methods above work for every genre from kids books to thrillers and everything in between. When describing you book ensure that it’s intriguing to you too; always read the description from your reader’s perspective-you’ll instantly know if it works or not. We’re wrapping up Best-Seller Bootcamp January 4th-31st – Pandamonium Publishing House tomorrow, thanks to everyone who joined us during this exciting course, we hope you enjoyed it!