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Virtually Visiting

March 5, 2021-As we continue to answer your most asked questions this month, you’ll see that some of them are relevant to what is going on currently during the pandemic. These questions need to be discussed because we must find ways to connect with our readers using innovative ideas and technology. As the world opens up again, some things will never be the same as they were and we won’t know what those things are until much later. Here is the question of the day:

Q: “I’m getting discouraged with not being able to go into schools to read my new children’s book to students! How do I book speaking events for my book during the pandemic?”

A: This is a great question and I admire your tenacity to continue to get your book out there and into the hands of your readers even during a global crisis and to connect with them in a meaningful way. Thankfully we have lots of technological options when it comes to staying in touch virtually. I would say that you should approach each school individually, starting in your area, to see if you can schedule a Zoom/Google Hangouts/Microsoft Teams and even Facetime where you can read your book to the class and do the same things that you would do as if you were sitting in front of the students in a classroom. Be sure to have excellent discussion questions and show the teacher how much value you  provide in terms of being a guest author. Perhaps you could even mail a signed copy of your book to the school for their library collection or you could send over digital files that the teacher could print to be used as colouring pages, word searches, or other reading activities that go with your book.  Also, we are fortunate because technology allows us to connect with our readers globally! I’ve done virtual book readings for children in the United Kingdom, the US, and South America. The sky is the limit for reaching kids and their classrooms.

Personally, I think that if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s not only to be grateful for what we have, to appreciate the little things (like visiting family, going out to dinner, and coffee dates with friends), but it’s also allowed us to get creative when it comes to connecting with others.

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Marketing is King

March 3, 2021- As we continue to wade through the theme of this month of answering your most asked questions, we have one that comes up time and again over the years, consistently. Here it is:

Q: “I wrote a book last year and have had no traction with it meaning sales have been non-existent. How important is marketing /advertising when it comes to writing a book?

A: A great question! First off, congratulations on finishing your book, a lot of people don’t even come close to that step, so hats off to you. I always say that it’s one thing to write a book, but it’s quite another to sell it! Marketing is ESSENTIAL to selling your book and the success of it. There’s a quote that says, “Writing a book without marketing is like winking at your crush in the dark. You know what you’re doing, but no one else does.” Marketing is something that allows your customers and potential customers to find you, your books, and your upcoming projects.

The key is to start marketing your book before it is even published because we know it takes an average of 7 times for someone to see an ad or promotional piece or online post before they even notice; it takes even more times for them to do something about what they’ve seen. We recommend marketing your book 2-3 months before it launches.

Marketing books can include everything from press releases, reader reviews, handouts, direct mail, social media posts /ads, and more. This is the tip of the iceberg with what we do for marketing our titles and the titles of our clients, we also sprinkle in some consumer neuroscience and neuromarketing best practices to round things out. Please remember that marketing only works if you do. Like everything else in life, you don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for.

Advertising is something that I don’t love to sink money into. I think that people are already bombarded by ads all over the place and that they can simply tune them out at this point. To prove it, ask yourself what was the company last advertised on your Facebook feed and what were they selling? If you can answer this question, you’re better than most at paying attention. With all of the incessant noise online, it’s hard to find a voice for your book through typical ways of advertising. I prefer word of mouth and I’ll give you another quote, “Advertising is what you pay for, word of mouth is what you pray for.”

Word of mouth is the best form of advertising that you can get! People trust other people to recommend things that they should buy, movies they should see, restaurants that they should eat at, and the list goes on. That’s why providing an excellent product and providing your customers with a great experience should be at the top of your list.

I could write a book on Marketing your books, and perhaps I will, but there’s not enough room in this post to cover everything that needs to be done to sell your book and how to effectively market it.

So, to put it plainly, Marketing is an essential practice for success in your writing and selling your book. If you need help with marketing your book or even figuring out where to start, we can help! Send us an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com for a price quote and more information or check us out here: Course: Get Your Book Noticed and Increase Your Sales – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Artificial Intelligence and Writing

March 2, 2021– This month as we explore your most asked questions, we’ll focus on what you really want to know. Send us an email at pandapublshing8@gmail.com and ask away!

Here is the question for today and it’s a good one:

Q: “I’ve heard that it’s possible in the next ten years that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will take over writing non-fiction books, blog posts, and news articles…is this true?”

A:“It’s already here and it’s already happening. In April 2019, the first textbook written by AI was published. AI is basically designed to take over the parts of writing that are less than exciting and part of its job of pumping out new content, is only the beginning. Think of it this way, AI can get the story completed in less time, published faster, bring the work to market faster, and do all of that without stopping for rest or experiencing any type of burnout. AI can work constantly with no supervision or handholding and can put out a ton of articles/books etc. within hours. But, what does this mean for the future of authors? It means that you had better find your voice and your niche and find them fast. Your work needs your own personal stamp and if it doesn’t have that already, you’re going to be in trouble. Same goes for author platform. Artificial Intelligence is no longer bound by human programmers telling it what to do; if we give it enough data and algorithms it will train itself. Let’s say that we gave AI the direction to study the work of James Patterson and it writes a new book without plagiarizing any of Patterson’s work, but it’s clearly in his “voice” (Patterson’s). Who owns the copyright? After all, James Patterson didn’t write it,  AI did. For right now, the view is that non-humans cannot own copyright, so if JP didn’t write the book does the company that created the AI technology  own it? It’s muddled, convoluted, and downright unethical to not have artists/authors retain the copyright to their works. But, is this the future of writing? I think so and it’s developing more quickly than we realize.”

To find your unique author voice, check out our Best Seller Bootcamp here: Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House  or our Children’s Book Writing Master Class, here: Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House

 

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Riddle Me This

March 1, 2021-It’s a brand new month and that means that we’ll be talking about a brand new subject! I’ve decided to focus on the most asked questions I get as a publisher from authors, writers, and writing entrepreneurs. Please remember to follow us on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube); we appreciate your readership!

Let’s dig into the questions that matter, asked by real authors:

Q: “I’ve been writing for about two years now and I’ve gotten nowhere. I’ve sent in multiple manuscripts to publishers, stuff to magazines, and even and editorial piece to an editor, but no one answers me back or I get rejected. What am I doing wrong and how long will it take to get published?”

A: Good for you for sticking with it for two years. It’s a long and tough road, but eventually things will happen for you! This is a bit of a lengthy answer so I’ll break it down into parts.

  1. I’ve sent multiple manuscripts to publishers, magazines, editors. Have you followed the submission guidelines as outlined? I know for a fact that if you don’t query properly or follow the guidelines to a T, your manuscript will end up being recycled or put into the slush pile meaning it will never see the light of day or cross a publisher’s desk.
  2. No one answers me back or I get rejected. Personally, we receive approximately 175 submissions per month and we are a boutique publishing house. The big 5 publishers probably receive that many per week or even by the day! Celebrate the fact that someone even had the courtesy to send you out a rejection letter (even if it’s a generic form letter) because now you’re not left wondering. Usually publishers won’t answer or provide feedback based solely upon the sheer volume of submissions. Rejection happens for a number of reasons here are the most common-we don’t have enough room in our roster, our slots are filled with new publications for the upcoming 2-3 years, it’s not a good fit for what we publish, the manuscript needs major work, or we have something too similar already.
  3. What am I doing wrong? Are you following the submission guidelines? Are you addressing the correct person and the correct publisher for your specific genre of writing? Is the publishing house open to submissions? Is your writing fantastic, interesting, fresh, and new? Are you following up? Is your writing up to par in terms of grammar, structure, and industry standards? There are a number of things that you could be doing wrong that would create a barrier to getting published. My advice is to have a beta group read your work or hire a professional publishing company(such as ours, Pandamonium Publishing House) to give you honest feedback on your work. Education can be the key to your success, so enroll in as many classes that you can to help tighten and perfect your writing. Sometimes we receive such poorly written manuscripts that no amount of editing can salvage them.
  4. How long will it take? Publishing is a process and can take years before you have success. There is no time limit and to put one on yourself is unnecessary and stressful. Keep writing, keep submitting, keep honing your skills, and educating yourself and it will happen! Success is not an overnight thing, keep working at it.

To get more info on what publishers want, check out my number 1, best selling book on Amazon here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books – Amazon.ca

To send in your publishing/writing question, email pandapublishing8@gmail.com

 

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Embrace the New and Terrifying

February 26, 2021– I’d like to thank each one of you for not only following our blog, podcast, and social media channels (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter), but for giving me such great feedback about the format change this year. Focusing on a central theme each month seems to be very well received and I’m thrilled that we are providing content that you care about.

Today is the final day where we wrap up stepping out of our comfort zone! Starting Monday, March 1st until the 31st, we’ll be focusing on the most asked questions that I get as a publisher from authors, entrepreneurs, and aspiring writers. Stay tuned! Lots of awesome questions and answers coming your way!

But, let’s get back on track and focus on one more post about smashing our comfort zones.

  1. Enter a contest. A few days ago I helped one of our authors enter his work in a contest at CBC; fingers crossed that he is chosen and wins the grand prize of $6,000. There are a ton of writing contests out there that will let you flex your writing muscles. Doing a quick Google search will help you find what’s out there for you to enter. Entering contests can be an exciting way to step out of your comfort zone and get paid to do it.
  2. Exchange your writing. Trade with another writer and offer feedback on their stories while receiving constructive criticism about your work. It’s terrifying to ask for advice, but this might just be what the author doctor ordered!
  3. Take classes. Join a new writing club, book club, writing retreat, or conference. Take continuing education courses online (or preferably in person) to meet new, like-minded writers who can breathe new life into your work and inspire you to get writing and to write differently. We offer a variety of classes/courses available here: Search Results for “course” – Pandamonium Publishing House
  4. Try writing prompts. Photo writing prompts are something that we love to play with around here! Using photos as story starters are a great way to stretch your imagination and writing skills. Step out of the box, start writing, and get out of your comfort zone.
  5. Collaborate. We’re doing another collaborative book with multiple authors titled, The Power of Pets; How pets change our lives. Collaborating on writing projects with other people can give you the push you need to step out of your comfort zone and even succeed in getting your name in print if you haven’t been published before. Collaborations are a great way to get your feet wet and do something new and a maybe a bit terrifying!

The rush of writing and finally seeing your name in a publication is like nothing else! It’s something that no one can ever take away from you; while it can be very scary and make us feel vulnerable, we need to do things that challenge us so that we can continue to grow as people and as authors.

 

 

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5 Ways to Make Your Writing Exciting

February 25, 2021– Yesterday we talked about 5 signs that you’re stuck in your writing comfort zone; today we’ll chat about 5 ways that you can take your writing to the next level and get excited about writing again!

  1. Read outside of your genre. Non-fiction, biographies, anthologies, science fiction, cozy romances, and whatever else you can get your hands on! Read newspapers, blog posts, articles, and kids’ books to open your mind and find new ideas that excite you.
  2. Write the opposite. If you write thrillers, try writing romance. If you usually write long pieces, try your hand at writing a short story. If you usually write on a laptop or computer, pick up a pen and some paper. Explore poetry or rhyming prose, if you haven’t already, and anything else that is outside of your comfort zone.
  3. Write with risk. Try submitting to your favourite publication such as a magazine or series of books. Send in a letter to the editor of a newspaper, or write a piece as a guest for a blog that you follow. Find opportunities where normally you’d never think to look.
  4. Change anything. Start a blog if you currently write novels. If you write books for kids, try writing a historical fiction novel. If you normally write in a quiet environment, put on some music or write in a public place with lots of background noise. Change whatever you’re doing and watch the ideas pour out of your brain and onto the page!
  5. Get inspired. YouTube, TedTalks, live readings, spoken word, libraries, bookstores, nature, and museums are all great sources of inspiration. Ask yourself what inspires you! Get our there and start getting excited about the authors and ideas that have come before you.

Do you remember the Seinfeld episode when George Costanza decides that everything he’s ever done in his whole life has been wrong? He says, “My life is the complete opposite of everything I want it to be. Every instinct I have in every aspect of life, be it something to wear, something to eat, it’s all been wrong. Every one.”

So, George decides to do the complete opposite from that moment on, starting with his lunch order, which he makes the opposite of his usual order. Later, Elaine tells him that a woman is watching him from across the café. She tells George to go talk to her and he does! He finds out that the woman who has been staring at him just ordered the exact same thing as he did (his opposite). And now he’s met a new friend and a possible romantic partner. Stepping out of our comfort zone, and sometimes going against what we would normally do, can lead to exciting opportunities!

 

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5 Signs You’re Stuck in Your Writing Comfort Zone

February 24, 2021-As we finish up with this month’s theme of smashing out of your comfort zone, we’ll look at some clear signs that your writing is stuck. Stop playing it safe and start taking the writing risks that get you excited to write again! The list below are some of the most common tells:

  1. You’re tired. You’re tired of writing, your ideas are tired, your plot lines and characters are tired,  and you’re writing the same old thing that you’ve always written.
  2. You’re doubting everything. You’re doubting yourself, your craft, your abilities as an author, and you’re doubting that you should have ever started writing in the first place
  3. Your answer is “no”. You rarely consider new and exciting ideas or avenues for your writing career to take. When you think about taking a risk in your writing or doing things differently than you normally would, your go to answer is always, “no”.
  4. You’re bored. Sitting down to write doesn’t excite you anymore. It seems like a chore more than a passion and you find yourself easily distracted and before you know it, you’ve procrastinated all day and you haven’t put a word on the page. When it comes to writing, you can take it or leave it. It leaves you feeling meh.
  5. You’re complaining. You blame everybody but yourself; agents, publishers, the market, editors, readers, and reviewers. Perhaps your work isn’t being lauded because it’s boring/safe/done to death.

If you’re experiencing anything on the above list, chances are you’re not taking any risks in your writing. Obviously what you’re doing isn’t working, so why not change things and step out of your comfort zone? If you want different results, you have to start acting and writing differently. Take the risk! What have you got to lose?