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Writing Prompt Story Submission

You may remember that last week we put out a photo writing prompt that asked writers to send in their stories in the mystery genre. I’m thrilled to say that we received a ton of submissions and have picked a winner! Thank you to S.P. Taylor for your submission of The Bait. Authors, If you’d like to brush up on your writing skills, check out some of our courses and classes here: Virtual Courses, Classes, and Workshops – Pandamonium Publishing House. I hope you enjoy S.P. Taylor’s story as much as I did! Stay tuned for more prompts and opportunities to submit your stories.

The Bait by S.P. Taylor

In any other circumstance, I would fancy my surroundings as romantic. In hindsight, I realize, hiding behind an ancient crumbled estate at twilight whilst the fog steals across the remainder of the pale blue sky, this may not be the best spot for a rendezvous. Especially given that a murderer was likely on my tail, not a lover. 

Birdie Quinn, how in the devil have you ended up here? I asked myself. My heart beat heavily against my chest. Small gulps of breath escaped my lips. 

Bait, I reminded myself. If my suspensions were accurate, he’s following me. My plan feeling risky now. 

A soft bird cried to my left. An Eastern whip-poor-will. I was comforted in knowing Thomas was somewhere here. Frightened that I may have put both of us in danger.

 I heard footsteps approaching. In my seated position, I leaned deeper into the cold rock, aware that I was literally a sitting duck. An owl hoot, then silence. Something was gravely wrong. 

“Amusing that you, an invalid, thought you could catch me. Did you figure me for a fool?” I heard his voice seconds before his face appeared inches from mine. 

“No, you’ve averted the best,” I answered boldly, my body riveting. 

“For days, I’ve watched you. Who could have imagined such eyes? How spectacular. I promise to leave them alone. As for the rest of you…” he didn’t finish. 

Trembling, I thought of Tom. Myself. What have I done? 

“I’ll give you to the count of ten to run and hide.” His laugh was diabolical. I could not move, and he knew this. 

He pounced, his fingers clutching my throat. If eyes were the window to one’s soul, then I was sure my last breath would be at the hands of the devil.

“Do you hear that?” He whispered. “A crow sings. Bad luck, my dear”.

My heart leapt. Could it be? My throat was desperate for words.

“What’s that?” He mocked, loosening his grip. 

“No, a raven. A bad omen for you, to be sure. For me, the opposite,” I managed. 

A violent thrust, and I was free. Tom’s familiar shape in front of me, a raw gash to his forehead. The blood, red and hardened. 

“Turn yourself in,” I ordered. Overcome with relief. 

A gun materialized instantly, the gleam of its barrel shining against the darkening sky. 

“Do I look frightened?” He taunted. 

“No, but you should be.” I countered. 

Within an instant, the authorities had us surrounded, their expert hands all trained to fire at the murderer.

Detective Civille was not difficult to spot as the sea of officers parted, and he emerged. 

“Miss Quinn, how many times must I tell you to keep your curiosity at bay.” 

“What the devil took you so long?” 

Our eyes locked. Mine with gratitude. His? Perhaps relief? I didn’t think about it long before Tom lifted me into his arms and did as he had done so often in the past, giving me legs to safety. 

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Persuasion Equation

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The Unconscious Mind Marketing

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You’re Biased (and I can prove it)

November 24, 2021– I hope that you’re gaining a lot of valuable knowledge and insight this month as we’re giving out daily author tips for self and book promotion. As you probably know, I was fortunate to study Consumer Neuromarketing and Neuroscience at the University of Copenhagen a couple of years ago; today, I’ll talk about cognitive biases and how they can help you promote yourself and your books when implemented correctly.  (I can’t believe I’m giving this info away!) Here we go!

  1. Availability Bias– This bias is essentially a shortcut in our minds that causes us to rely solely on readily available knowledge rather than examining alternatives. We rely on immediate examples based on our most vivid experiences or memories in decision-making. It’s a shortcut for our brains to say, yeah, I know reading is good. You’re basing ‘reading is good’ on the information you have readily available in your brain, such as remembering all the times your parents read to you as a child or recalling the experience you had waiting in line all night for the release of your favourite author’s book and the excitement it created.
  2. False Consensus Bias-This bias is when people assume that others think the way that they do. They overestimate the degree to which their habits, values, beliefs, preferences, and opinions are normal and related to the general population. “I love books so much!” Well, not everyone does. Or “The movie was way better than the book!” Umm..no, it wasn’t. See what I mean? Not everyone thinks the way that you do.
  3. Choice-Supportive Bias-This bias happens after we make a decision. When we choose something (because we chose it and are the smartest, most educated person ever to exist), it can’t possibly be the wrong choice! We tend to feel positive about our choices, even if the choice we make has flaws. Humans also seek out information that (only) supports their choice. The point is, people hate being wrong, and they’ll do whatever it takes to make their decisions seem right. For example, we know that literacy matters, but there are people out there who will argue that kids ‘lose out on life’ if they spend too much time with their noses buried in books. They’ll argue that children who read often lack social skills or that their interpersonal skills aren’t up to snuff. Actually, studies show that the opposite is true; children who read have enhanced empathy, a higher ability to problem solve, are better at conversing due to a vast lexicon to draw upon (see what I mean?),  and improved focus and concentration, which are crucial traits of a good conversationalist. I feel like I should drop a mic here, but that’s my own choice-supportive bias coming into play as I’ve chosen the career of a publisher.
  4. Optimism Bias-This bias correlates directly with the amygdala part of the brain, which controls emotion. Often referred to as Lizard Brain, our old brain tends to make us more optimistic than we should be and hard wire us to follow wishful thinking. It leads us to believe that we are at a lower risk of experiencing a negative outcome than a positive one and that the future will be better. For example, I’m not going to buy the author’s book now, I’ll wait until it goes on sale (the future will be better), or I’ll wait to see if I win it in the draw they’re having (wishful thinking).
  5. Sunk Cost Bias-This bias leads us to stick with opportunities for too long when we have invested a lot of time or money. We irrationally pursue activities or things that don’t meet our expectations because of the aforementioned reasons. People stay in bad relationships (But, I’ve been with them for fifteen years, I can’t leave now! What a waste of time!), occupations they hate (same example as above), and continue to harm themselves through poor choices such as gambling (I can’t quit now, I have to win my money back), or addiction (I have to eat this entire $30 chocolate cake because it was too expensive to throw away even though I’m trying to live a healthier lifestyle).

I’m going to leave out the familiarity bias and the reciprocity bias for now in the interest of having this post not read like a phone book. The point of this post is to educate you into tiny insights into consumer behaviour and why people do the things they do. Keeping these biases in mind, how will you change your book-selling and promoting strategy? Will you look at your consumers through a different lens and try to understand them more effectively?  For more information on Consumer Neuromarketing for Authors, check out my course here: Neuromarketing for Authors Course – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Media Madness

November 2, 2021– We’re finding our way around the theme this month, which is an idea a day to promote yourself and your work! This includes best practices and tips to help you navigate the waters of book promotion, advertising, marketing and publicity.

Today’s post is pretty straightforward when it comes to approaching the media. Do what the media likes and stay away from what they don’t like. Here are the likes:

  • News: Above all else, the media wants something newsworthy. News is what people talk about around the dinner table and with friends, family, and colleagues. The main goal of the media is FIRST to entertain, then to educate/sell.
  • Top 3: Money, sex, and health are what the media thinks the public is obsessed with. If you can link your books to any of these topics, they’ll be more likely to pick it up and publicize it because it increases the media appeal.
  • Conciseness: Why use eight words when four will do? Get to the point, make your press releases/info/emails short and sweet and never longer than a page.
  • Targeting: Just like writing, if your book is for everyone, it’s for no one. The same goes for the media. Research the audience you want to reach and target, target, target your approach for the best media outlet to pick up your story.
  • Relationships: Everything is about building relationships! Folks in the media build relationships, and they prefer to work with those around for the long term rather than one-hit wonders. Once you’ve made a connection, foster it with a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.

Here are the dislikes:

  • Too long press releases: Get to the point and make sure you have a hook in your first sentence that piques the editor’s interest. Again, no more than one page! They don’t have the time or the inclination to read anything longer.
  • Links that don’t work: Let’s face it; everyone gets annoyed when they click on something, and the link doesn’t work, is broken, leads nowhere, or takes too long to load. What’s more, is that this looks highly unprofessional and is seen as a waste of time.
  • Misrepresentation: Don’t lie, exaggerate, or make things up just to fit your publicity narrative. Your article, idea, or release has to be relevant. Don’t fudge numbers or anything else (bestseller list, sales figures, who endorsed you etc.).
  • Name dropping: It’s not who you know, but who knows you! No, but seriously, don’t name-drop. It makes you look desperate and ridiculous. It’s fine to mention someone who previously wrote an article on your book if you’ve kept up the relationship; if not, don’t bother mentioning them.
  • No follow-up: The fortune is in the follow-up! So many people don’t get what they want because they don’t follow up and find out where their request is or if there have been any developments or progress on your ask.

Follow the tips above while reaching out to the people in the media to chat about your book! Here’s a list of our courses that you may be interested in: Virtual Courses, Classes, and Workshops – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Daily Challenge for Authors

October 27, 2021– Is there such thing as a perfect day? Or does perfection not exist? I think that many days in my life have been perfect so far and that there’s a common theme that makes them this way; I get to spend the day doing what I want with who I want. It’s as simple as that for me!

Sleeping in, writing, great coffee, cuddling the cats, hiking with Mike and Luna, exploring new places, watching old movies, reading, and playing board games, are some things that my perfect day includes. What are yours?

For today’s writing challenge, I want you to write a 1000-word short story about your perfect day or your idea of an ideal day and what that consists of. I like this challenge because it’s so personal and lets us see how much we have to be thankful for and that it’s the little things that matter. Notice how none of the items on my list cost money? They say the best things in life are free-I agree.

Have fun with this! If you’d like to check out some of our classes, click here: Virtual Courses, Classes, and Workshops – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Celebrate!

October 21, 2021-I love all of the photo prompts we’ve selected this month, but this particular prompts speak to me for some reason! I love the colour and style. You can almost hear the chatter going on around the table; whether it’s family or friends, it’s a gathering of individual personalities connected by common threads- food, wine, and conversation.

For today’s assignment, here are the instructions:

Write a 2500 word short story about a dinner party among friends. Write it in the third person narrative and choose an exotic location.  Let your imagination run wild, whether it’s a winery in the south of  France, a garden terrace in Italy, or a stunning backdrop in the Alps! If you’ve never been to the location you’re writing about, do some research to see what it would be like to visit.

Happy writing! As always, if you’d like to join any of our classes, workshops, or courses, they’re available here: Virtual Courses, Classes, and Workshops – Pandamonium Publishing House

 

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How Does This Inspire You?

October 19, 2021– Writing prompts are a great way to get a glimpse into who you are as a writer, what genre and style you like to write in, and what your challenges are. Photo writing prompts are especially fun because they let your imagination run wild! Humans are naturally visual creatures, and we can remember up to 2000 pictures with 90% accuracy according to recognition tests performed in studies.

For today’s author challenge, I’d like you to reflect on the photo above and write a 1500 word personal essay about what you feel when you look at the picture. What thoughts go through your mind? What are you inspired to write about? Happy writing!

For more information about our classes, workshops, and courses, click here: Virtual Courses, Classes, and Workshops – Pandamonium Publishing House

And for our list of books by theme/genre, click here: Book Listings – Pandamonium Publishing House

Be sure to visit frequently as we update these pages often!

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Writing Prompt October Challenge for Authors

October 18, 2021– October will be over in just under two weeks; can you believe it? We’ve figured out Luna’s Halloween costume, the cats’ costumes, and our own, so we are officially ready to celebrate Halloween over Zoom with our families!

We hope you’re enjoying the author challenge this month, which is photo writing prompts, and I hope you’re discovering things about yourself as an author and about your work. Let’s dig into today’s assignment.

Instructions: Write a 2,000-word short story using the photo prompt above. Use first-person narrative in the mystery genre. A lot of people make the mistake of using too much internal dialogue when writing in the first person, but a quick tip to help you correct this is to think of your manuscript as if it were being made into a movie. If your book made it to the big screen, would your audience know what’s going on based on what you’ve written?

First-person narrative: First-person narrative sits the reader right beside the main character during the story. The reader experiences everything the main character does and has a front-row seat to the action!  Use the pronouns “I,” “me,” “we,” and “us” to tell a story from the main character’s perspective.

Mystery genre: The mystery genre contains stories with narration in which one or more elements remain unknown until the end; the stories are like puzzles, where the reader is given one piece at a time to figure out the big picture. It starts backward (like with a dead body) and then finds out who the killer is. A thriller is when the story works forwards.

Happy writing! As always, feel free to send us your work for consideration to pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

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New Page! Courses, classes and workshops

October 17, 2021-We’ve added a brand new page to our site where you can see the educational resources age opportunities that we’re offering! Whether you’re just starting your education with us, or continuing your quest for knowledge, we have something for everyone. Check out our brand new page here https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/virtual-courses-classes-and-workshops/, and visit again soon as we have new classes added frequently.

Happy learning!