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Memoir Writing 3 Tips…

August 20, 2018-  Memoir writing is difficult and time consuming. That said, there are a lot of authors that have been successfully published in this genre. Memoir writing is not for the faint of heart, so if you’re bold or insane, here are some tips!

  1. Is your life interesting enough? This is a question that you must answer truthfully. When authors submit their manuscripts to me that are memoirs, I ask them if their life is interesting enough to anyone other than themselves and their friends and family. Everyone thinks their life is great, and we all think that we have riveting stories to tell. More often than not, this is not the case, unfortunately. Celebrities often write memoirs because they have lived an exceptional life in one way or another. They have lived a life that most people never will and that’s what makes us want to read their stories.
  2. Remember what it isn’t. Your memoir is NOT an autobiography. A memoir focuses on a SPECIFIC time or theme, such as the summer of 1972, for example. This helps your readers get to know you better and that one experience in your life better and on a different, deeper level.
  3. Tell the Truth. Especially if people in your memoir are still living. I’ll never forget an episode of Oprah where she was interviewing a man about his book. He told the story of being detained in a concentration camp during the war and that he met his future wife when she gave him an apple through the fence. It turned out that the story was completely fabricated. There’s no need to lie, being honest and genuine is your best bet.

Memoirs explore the truth of your life through your eyes. No one can tell your story and that is your power. Happy Writing!

X LLB

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As a Self- Pubished Author, Are You a Bad Decision Maker?

August 17, 2018- This is for all of my self-published author friends and colleagues! I want to know, are you a bad decision maker? I know that in the past, I certainly have been. It is imperative to be a good decision maker when self-publishing because so many things require your attention! Here’s what I’ve learned along the way in my own publishing journey:

  1. You base your decisions on ego. If you think that you know it all, you’ve got a problem. Let’s say that your an expert in a specific field like illustration, you may assume that your expertise in that field will translate to every other area in bookmaking such as marketing, advertising, and writing. Well, my dear friend, you would be wrong. Instead, assemble a team of people whose expertise rounds out your own and reap the benefits of multiple perspectives.
  2. You rely on the momentum effect. Yes, I do believe that some past events can predict future events, BUT this is not always written in stone, and there’s a problem with thinking this way! The world is continually changing and evolving. If you’re only relying on your tried-and-true methods and are blind to other options, you’re going to be in trouble. It’s important to learn from the past, but to keep your eyes on the future. Know what’s going on in your industry so that you can continuously pivot and be on top of your game.
  3. You’re Lazy. If you’re a self-published author, then I have news for you, you’re an entrepreneur whether you like it or not. Entrepreneurs have to be curious and hungry and always on the lookout for new opportunities. If you only make decisions based on how comfortable you feel and refuse to try anything new, this industry will chew you up and spit you out.
  4. You’re indecisive. Ugh. Nothing makes me cringe more than people who can’t make a damn decision. Yes, there are some decisions that need to be thought about carefully, but let’s face it, most decisions can be made in a matter of seconds! If you can’t decide where you’re going on your self-publishing journey, then why would it matter when you get there? You can’t hit a target you can’t see. Make a decision and stick with it whether it’s right or wrong. You’ll find out eventually and remember that indecision is a decision!
  5. You see the trees and not the forest. Take a look at the big picture! Good decisions are always made with the big picture in mind, but if you’re always worried and focused on putting out fires and solving minor problems, you’ll never be able to properly plan ahead. Don’t Major in Minor things. You get me? Delegate the smaller decisions to those who are in your corner. You don’t need to worry yourself with minor details that don’t really matter in the long run.

So, the good news is that if you do any of the things above, you can choose to stop doing those things immediately and become a better decision maker! It’s not always easy, but it can be done. Trust me, I’ve done it.

Here’s to your writing success,
X LLB

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Do Author School Visits Matter?

August 13, 2018- I do a lot of school visits as an author, and someone once asked me the question, “Do author visits make a difference in kids’ lives?” I took a second to think about that. “Yes, they do. And let me prove it to you.” More on this in a second.

I love, love, love going to schools as a visiting author with the opportunity to read my books to young people! It is such a unique and wonderful experience that no two schools are the same. I leave with a sense of gratitude for the young minds that allow me their attention for even a brief time and for the teachers and librarians that welcome me with open arms, into their schools and their spaces. The questions that the children ask are fun, funny, and sometimes very personal! But, enough about what we as authors get out of school visits, what do the children receive?

According to a recent study that was conducted in 2013, by California State University, children receive the following benefits from author school visits:

  1. Author visits motivate children to read more. Kids passion for reading is ignited before, during, and after an author visit. They get excited about things that they can relate to such as an in-person visit from someone who is real! I often hear them say that they too want to be authors when they grow up.
  2. Author visits inspire creativity and expression. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a school where the kids have created a comic book for me, complete with illustrations, or how many times they’ve created a poem or handmade card.
  3. Author visits motivate children to write more. Children often hurry home after an author has visited their school because they’ve suddenly caught the writing bug. They want to write about anything, and everything, plus, author visits can also spark ideas to write about.

It is always beneficial to have an author visit your school! There are so many reasons why you should book a visit for the upcoming school year. Not only is it fun, but it’s also educational and entertaining.

I do in-person school visits, but I also offer live Skype visits and readings with schools that are abroad. Please contact pandapublishing8@gmail.com for more information.

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What is Your Definition?

August 10, 2018- What is your definition of being a successful author? This is the question that I ALWAYS ask the authors that I work with; whether self-published or traditional, it’s important to be able to answer this!

You are the only one who can define success and everyone’s definition and idea of success is different. Here are some answers I’ve received over the years after posing the question:

  • If I sell $1 million dollars worth of books
  • If kids read my book in their school
  • If I have a huge house, and an in-ground pool, and a convertible
  • If people line up to see me at book signings
  • If I become famous around the world
  • If someone tells me I’m their favourite author
  • If my book helps one person
  • If a celebrity reads my book and gives me a shout out on social media
  • If I’m a bestseller on the NY Times list
  • If I get a tv interview
  • If my book gets turned into a movie

So, as you can see, there are a lot of DIFFERENT versions of success and it’s all dependent on how you choose to define it! Write down your version of success and start working towards that goal. There are no wrong answers! Remember, you can’t hit a target that you can’t see. Here’s to your success, whatever that may be.

X LLB

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Flash Fiction-(What is it and why you should add it to your toolbox!)

August 8, 2018– Flash fiction is something that can be very valuable to you as a writer. I know that it is to me! Writing flash fiction is something that I use when all of my focus has been on a more significant writing project such as a novel or a series of books.

So, what is it? Flash fiction is a concise form short story that is usually between 500 and 1,000 words, but no more. The point of using flash fiction is able to condense your entire story into a tiny space. Compressing your story in this way is an excellent exercise for ALL writers! It helps develop the following skills:

  1.  It gets to the heart of the conflict.
  2. It boils the plot down to its bare bones.
  3. It lets you write without the excuse of having no time. It’s short and sweet and to the point.

Your flash fiction should include essential elements of conflict, climax, and resolution; Also, you should stay in one character’s point of view. As a bonus, writing this way often breaks the dreaded writer’s block. I challenge you to write some flash fiction today!

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How to Self-Edit Your Writing!

August 3, 2018– Normally, I would advise against self-editing especially if you plan on submitting your work to a publisher. It always pays to send in your most polished writing, and the cost of getting your manuscript professionally edited is absolutely worth it! But what about the publisher? If they like my work don’t they pay to get it edited? Yes, of course, we do, but it’s always a breath of fresh air to have a manuscript submitted that requires less editing, and that is pretty close to almost perfect.

My advice, if you can’t afford to hire a pro to edit your ms before sending to a publisher, can be found in this excellent infographic from our friends at NowNovel.com. Check out the tips below!

How to self-edit - 8 top editing tips for fiction writers

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It’s ALL About Perspective

August 1, 2018- Earlier last week I was chatting with a woman who I’ve become friends with who works at my local bookstore. She asked me if I needed help with finding a book and I told her that I was looking for a psychology book that deals with Borderline Personality Disorder. “Whoa, that’s pretty interesting! Is it for a new book in the works?” She asked with a smile. “You know it!” I said. We got into a discussion about her writer’s block, and she asked me for some tips about getting the creative faucet to turn on. Here’s what I told her:

  1. Change your space. Change your environment. Use your opposite hand to eat, brush your teeth, etc. Change anything! I know I’ve harped on this a million times on this blog, but it can’t be understated! Change your space, and you change your perspective.
  2. Pick up a book outside of your regular genre and read it! Doing this helps to expand your imagination as a writer, and it may give you a tiny glimmer of something new to write about! Do you usually read non-fiction self-help books? Why not pick up a copy of a cozy romance or horror story? It might just be enough to get your creativity flowing.
  3. Think about a different perspective. Ok, everyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of the Twisted Tales Series by Liz Braswell! If you haven’t put these on your To-Read list, you have to; they are fabulous! In her book As Old as Time, which is an interpretation of Beauty and the Beast, she explores what would happen if it was Belle’s mother who cursed the Beast! Right? I know. Here is a sample below of what the book is about:

    Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father’s reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle’s mother returns—a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern. But Belle touches the Beast’s enchanted rose; intriguing images flood her mind—images of the mother she believed she would never see again. Stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle, and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is twenty-one years in the making.

Holy smokes right? Why didn’t I think of this? Guess what? You CAN think of something like this! All you have to do is change your perspective. Let me prove it to you. I’ll give you some classic stories and how you can flip the view to write something entirely new:)

  1. Little Red Riding Hood– Write from the perspective of the Wolf. What is his side of the story? What if he was more afraid of Little Red Riding Hood than she is of him? Why should he be afraid of her? What has she done? What if she comes into the forest wearing a wolf-skin cape?
  2. Harry Potter-What if you wrote from Voldemort’s point of view? What happened in his life to make him the way he is? What trauma has he experienced in his life to become so evil? Of course, use this for inspiration only as I am not in the business of recommending copyright infringement. For creative writing purposes and to get the juices flowing, it’s okay to write about this. Just don’t publish it!
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird– Write from the perspective of Boo Radley. What was it like for him to be a recluse and never leave his house? What happened to him to make him this way? Did he watch Scout, Jem, and Dill and think about what he wanted to say to them? What would he say if he could?

I think you get the picture! Here’s to your creativity! Keep writing:) X LLB

 

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Book Title Info-Graphic

July 30, 2018- I had the pleasure of visiting LitFire Publishing’s booth when I was at the London Book Fair in England last March. Here is a fabulous info-graphic about 15 amazing ways to create a book title. This is definitely one of my weaker points and I can’t tell you how often I struggle with naming my books!

Don’t you want an attention-grabbing, thought provoking, emotionally stimulating book cover? Check out these easy, fail-safe ways to create book titles.

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How To…

July 25, 2018- Today, I’ll be giving you three things that you MUST DO if you want to create an unputdownable book. Yep, that’s right, Un Put Down Able is a real word that is in the dictionary. Who knew?

So, you want to create a novel that readers tell you that they just couldn’t stop reading?
Here’s what you need to do to ensure that this happens:

  1. Start where the action is. You’ve got to get your reader hooked right out of the gate. If your intro is boring, what does that say about the rest of your book? I know that some people will say that it’s crazy to judge a book by the first page, but I’m here to tell you that people do. Start with action, and you’ll hook your reader for sure.
  2. Create compelling problems for your characters. I’ve said this time and again, your reader MUST be invested in your characters, they must care about them, and be interested in seeing them solve the problems that you, the author, has presented them with. The conflict that you set up must be high stakes. It can be as simple as something like having two love interests and trying to decide between the two, or it can be something as complex as trying to save the world from an alien attack. Also be sure to layer the character’s problems for even more fun!
  3. Pick up the pace. Literally. Shorten the end chapters, pick up the speed at which your reader reaches the end of your book. Make the last few chapters breakneck and be sure to tie up everything with a bow.

If you follow these three tiny tips, I promise that you will create something that is unputdownable for your readers! Happy Writing!

X LLB

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My own novel, Obsessed with Her, where the last few chapters were shortened to a page or two.