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Publisher’s Corner…

August 16, 2019– Let’s dive right into the question of the week!

Q: “Lacey,  As a writer how do you keep yourself from getting overwhelmed? How can you possibly stay organized with all of the books and projects you have?” 

A: There are certainly days where I feel overwhelmed at times, but then I take a deep breath, remind myself that nothing is a crisis that can’t be handled, and I immediately stop what I’m doing to do something else. It’s very important that when you start to feel the walls closing in on you, that you change anything. Change your space, change your position in the room, stand up if you’re sitting, get a fresh perspective and stop what you’re working on! This is your brain’s way of telling you that you need a few minutes to regroup. Take as much time as you need, take the afternoon off, go do something wild or out of your comfort zone, do whatever it takes to make sure that you’re ok. You can’t be any good to yourself or anyone else if you’re burnt out and uninspired. It is ok to rest, it’s ok to let go, it’s ok to shut off your devices. It’s essential to your wellbeing every once in a while to just be. 

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have pretty amazing systems in place that take a lot of the pressure off. I have a social media scheduler that allows me to plan my posts for 30 days at a time, I’ve got a dry erase calendar in my kitchen that has all of my things to do for the week in order of importance, and I use technology to streamline as many processes as possible such as pre-planning my blog posts and YouTube videos. If I had to post every day without this help, it would be near impossible to do so and would be a time-consuming pain. 

Find ways that you can help yourself get organized and how you can make your life a bit easier and less stressful by putting systems in place that become automatic.  X LLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

August 2, 2019– Here’s the question of the week and it’s a great one!

Q: “Lacey, I’ve set goals for myself as writer and I’ve reached a few of them. I really want to be a famous author, but I can’t stay on track no matter how hard I try. Should I throw in the towel and do something else with my life?” 

A: Whoa, this question is deep; first of all, congratulations on reaching some of your goals, you’ve proven that it can be done and if you’ve done it once, you can certainly do it again! I’m a firm believer in never giving up no matter what and I know that some of you reading this will say it’s easier said than done. But, if we all gave up when things got hard, none of us would accomplish anything. Today, I’m not going to talk about tips to stay disciplined or organized in your writing routine, nor will I give you my opinion on what you should and shouldn’t do with your life because frankly, it doesn’t matter what I think. I’m going to dive into the WHY part with a super simple exercise.

It’s called 7 Whys…(I ended up calling the person who sent me this questions and went through this with him, with his permission, I’ve posted his actual answers and he definitely gained clarity).

  1.  Start with a statement of what you want for your life: I really want to be a famous author. 
  2. Why do you want to be a famous author? Because I want people to read what I have to say.
  3. Why do you want people to read what you have to say? Because what I have to say is important and I want to make lots of money at the same time.
  4. Why is what you have to say important and why do you want to be rich? Because I’m tired of being silenced and not respected by friends and family and I’m tired of just being barely able to pay my bills.
  5. Why are you tired of being silenced and not respected by friends and family, why are you tired of barely being able to pay your bills? Because they look down on me, I don’t have as much education as them and they think my opinion and voice doesn’t matter. Because I want to control my life and I don’t want to make decisions based on how much money I do or don’t have, ever again.
  6. Why do they think your opinion and voice doesn’t matter and why do you want to be in control of your life? Because I’ve never stood up for myself before, I usually just go along with whatever they say. I want to be in control because I’m sick of being controlled and decided for.
  7. Why do you go along with whatever they say, why are you sick of being decided for and controlled? Because I don’t trust myself and because I don’t believe in my own capabilities. I’m sick of being controlled because I know that I can do better and that I can make better decisions. I want my family to stop being ashamed of me and I want to make them proud, I want to make myself proud.
  8. Why do you want to make yourself and your family proud? Because I know that  I can do better than I currently am. I’m just as able as my brothers and sisters to make something of myself.

I honestly felt like crying after this conversation. It was difficult for him to answer the questions, but he tells me he’s glad he did.

So in essence, this person wanted to be a writer because he wants to make himself and his family proud and he wants to make something of himself and his life. This is his ultimate reason for writing and when the dark days come, he can look at his reason why and keep going. The other reasons before this one were superficial at best. They wouldn’t be enough to keep him on track.

Wow…we dug deep, didn’t we? The point of the exercise is during the first few whys, the brain gives a nice, neat, acceptable answer, but after the 5th why, it starts to get subconscious. Write down what you want and ask yourself why 7 times, building on the previous answer. Don’t go any further. You have your reason to continue or your reason to quit.

X LLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

July 26, 2019– Here’s another great question from a reader! If you have a question for my team or myself, send us an email at pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

Q: “Lacey, you have a ton of content on your site, how do you think of fresh ideas all of the time?” 

A: Thank you for noticing first of all! I try so hard to bring fresh ideas and new things for us to talk about! Some days it can be a struggle that’s for sure, especially when we have a blog, Youtube channel, podcast, and various social media to keep up with. I do my best not to duplicate content, so you won’t get a podcast that has the same info or material as on our blog, etc. When it comes to finding inspiration for content, here’s what I do: 

  1. I scour the news. Yep, it’s depressing at times, but I look for things that I can talk or write about especially when it comes to creative writing. Sometimes the headlines can inspire a book idea or a skewed perspective for a topic that I can share.
  2. I listen to conversations. Eavesdropping? Check. When I’m out getting coffee or I’m shopping, or anywhere in public, I listen to the people around me. Sometimes waiting in line at a place can provide lots of great ideas!
  3. I read trade publications like Writer’s Digest and subscribe to magazines in my field of work. This allows for a lot of ideas on topics that are relevant for our readers and writers who visit and subscribe to our content. It also means that staying up to date on all things publishing is essential in bringing the most relevant topics to our media.

Thank you for all of the questions! X LLB

 

 

 

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Publisher’s Corner…

July 19,2019- Let’s check out our Publisher’s Corner question of the week!

Q: “Lacey, I don’t read a lot of books because I don’t have tons of time, I know you’ve said in the past that reading directly influences writing, so I’m wondering what I can do to make more time to read! Any suggestions?” 

 A: “Ah, yes. This is a huge problem in society at the moment! We are living in such a fast-paced world that we barely have time to do anything pleasurable or just for fun. But, making time to read is essential! Not only does reading lend to our ability to write, but it also makes us better writers, better storytellers, and more empathetic toward our fellow humans. The average Canadian adult has approximately 5 minutes per day to read!  That’s it. I admire your commitment to reading more and I’m so happy to help! Here’s how I squeeze in time to read”: 

1) I wake up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later. Carving out this hour to read is essential to my happiness and to my business as I usually read things that are relevant in my field such as trade magazines or what’s trending on the best seller’s list. This hour before or after allows me to be uninterrupted.

2) I listen to audiobooks. Audiobooks are portable and you can listen to them everywhere. I travel a lot so this format of book allows me to get my reading done in the truck, on a plane, in the airport, on the treadmill, or wherever else I am. You wouldn’t believe how much time is wasted while travelling and waiting!

3)I read novellas, short stories, poems, and magazine articles. Reading anything is better than not reading anything at all! I’ll pick up a book shot by James Patterson for a quick, action-packed read that satisfies my craving for a good story in a short time.

Getting your daily dose of reading is only a matter of scheduling and preparing! Happy reading and writing! X LLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

July 5, 2019– Check out the question for this week!

Q: “Lacey, how do you manage to keep positive when people tell you they don’t like your work? I wrote a short story and my colleagues didn’t care for it. They were nice enough, but I could tell that they weren’t being completely truthful so I pressed them and they told me the truth finally. I was pretty upset and hurt. Maybe I should quit writing…” 

A: “This is a good question! I get hate mail all of the time telling me that I’m a terrible writer, that people don’t like my books, and that I should stop writing because I have no talent. It’s something that comes with the territory and this business has given me a thick skin!” Here’s how I manage to stay positive:

  1. I remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion. That’s just it, it’s their opinion and not the truth or reality that I choose to focus on. They can hate me and my books and I’m ok with it because writing is art and art is subjective.
  2. I stay in my own lane and focus on my own craft.  I don’t pay attention to what other people say about me. You will never be criticized by someone doing more than you. Read that again. If I worried about what other people thought of me, I’d never write another word.

The point is, keep writing because you want to write. Who cares what anyone else thinks? The only person’s opinion that matters is yours.
X LLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

June 28, 2019– Another Friday, another question! Let’s check it out:

Q: “Lacey, I’ve just been put in charge of writing my company’s newsletter (Dentist office) each month. Any tips for me on how to get started and come up with new info? I’m struggling.” 

A: It’s pretty cool that you’re in charge of the newsletter! You’ll get to flex your writing muscles and hopefully get paid to do so. Here are some tips that work across all businesses. 

  1. Use a catchy headline. Your headline has to grab your audience and make them want to read further.
  2. Make it easy to read. Use short sentences and don’t go overboard with the terminology that your audience may not understand. I’m not saying to dumb it down, but I’m saying keep who you’re writing for in mind. If you’re writing to other dentists instead of patients, then go ahead and get technical.
  3. Make it useful. Offer the readers information that is useful to them. They need a reason to subscribe to your newsletter and it has to be valuable and relevant info to them.
  4. Cite your references. If you’re quoting someone or using studies from white papers to share data, be sure to cite your references!

Newsletters are a great way for companies to keep in touch with their clients, they’re great for announcements and offers, and they’re a fun way to inform your clients about what you’re up to. If you don’t have a newsletter, you should consider making one!

XLLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

June 21, 2019– Wow, this is an excellent question! Let’s dive right in.

Q: “Lacey, my family doesn’t support my dream of becoming a writer. They tell me that I won’t make any money and that I should focus on getting a real job. Writing is something I love, but I understand that I will need to pay my bills at the same time. How do I convince them that I’m doing something that I love and that this will pay off?”

A: Whoa…for a second after reading this, I was at a loss for words. I’ll break it down because there are a couple of hidden questions in here and I don’t want to miss them.

  1. My family doesn’t support my dream of becoming a writer. Sometimes, families aren’t supportive of our dreams. They mean well, but then again, some of them don’t. Some families don’t support the arts, and they don’t understand or appreciate any form of artistic expression. This can be very difficult. You have to follow your OWN path and whatever journey that leads you on. No one can decide what you should do with your life. If you want to be a writer, by all means, do it! Find others that will support you in all of your endeavours no matter what they are.
  2. They tell me I won’t make any money and I should focus on getting a real job. I can tell you from first-hand experience that this has been said to me time and time again. “Writer’s don’t make any money,” “How are you going to pay your bills?” “No one is going to buy your books,” “Who do you think you are?” Yep, it hurts. But, that’s what makes victory so sweet. The fact is, there are millions of writers out there who make plenty of money writing books. And there are so many ways to make a living writing! You can write for magazines, you can do copywriting, editing, content creation, blogging, journalism, and hundreds of other things that revolve around writing. Focus on honing your skills and getting as much experience as possible. Last time I checked, which was 56 seconds ago, writing was a real job.
  3. How can I convince them that I’m doing something I love and that this will pay off? You can’t and you never will convince them so stop trying. Do what you want to do because YOU want to do it. Life is way too short to be living your life based on what other people want you to do, say, or think. Getting up in the morning is a gamble, crossing the street is a gamble, travelling is a gamble, and the list goes on. There are no guarantees in life except that we only have one shot at it. Don’t spend your life wondering what if. If this is what you want to do, you don’t need anyone else’s approval. I can’t tell you that this will pay off, but what I can tell you is that you won’t regret trying. We only regret the chances we never take.

Keep your head up. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?

If you have a question you’d like answered, please send us an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

X LLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

June 14, 2019– Let’s check out today’s question!

Q: “Lacey, I’m working on a couple of novels at the same time and I’m having a hard time keeping things straight! I’ve mixed up my characters and plots in a couple of points during the story and am driving myself crazy. How do I fix this?” 

A: Well, kudos to you for working on not one, but two novels! That’s very exciting. Yes, it can be difficult when working on multiple projects to keep things in order. I can’t tell you how many manuscripts I’ve edited that have had the wrong name (or the previous name) of the character written down in later chapters. The good news is that it happens to everyone. The other good news is that it’s easy to fix! 

  1. Sticky notes are your friend. Before sitting down to work on either one of your novels take a sticky note and write the main character’s name in BOLD, BLACK, marker. Stick it to the screen of your laptop. This is a visual reminder of what you’re working on and which character/book requires your attention.
  2. One thing per day. Section your week into specific days that you will work on each project. For example, I write Becoming James Cass on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and I write I am Jessica Westlake on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. It’s much easier to write on certain days rather than to spend the morning of each day working on project one, and the afternoon working on project two. You’ll be less inclined to make a mistake…unless of course you’re like me and you never know what day it is.

Keep the questions coming! I love helping out fellow authors and answering your questions:) X LL B

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Publisher’s Corner…

June 7, 2019– This is an excellent question that a reader asked me over the phone. He had written a book about baseball and had a couple of questions regarding copyright. Let’s check out what he had to say, below:

Q: “Lacey, I’ve written a book about the history of baseball and want to use photographs throughout my book, what do I need to know and is this possible?” 

A: Great question! This whole copyrighting issue can get a bit messy at times, so let me explain how it works when wanting to use images. 

  1. Stock Images: You can use stock images that have no attribution required. There are multiple sites online that have stock images that you can use however you’d like. No attribution required means that you don’t have to give credit to the photographer or the owner of the image.
  2. Public Domain: Did you know that all images published before January 1, 1923, in the United States are now public domain? See if the images you’d like to use are in this category, because you may not need to get permission to use them.
  3. Buy Photos: You can always buy photos from the photographer on sites like istockphoto.com, shutterstock, and fotosearch.
  4. Email: Send an email to the person who holds the copyright of the image and ask their permission to use it. Sometimes there will be a charge and sometimes there won’t it depends on what the owner of the photo decides.
  5. Wikipedia: You can use the images from Wikipedia as long as you cite them.

In all cases, except for the first two on the list, you must give credit to the person who owns the photos. Please remember that copyright is very important and not something to be infringed upon. All artists deserve to be recognized for their work. It’s up to them to say no attribution required, so always check beforehand what the case is. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble this way and be able to give credit where it is due. X LLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

May 31, 2019– This is an interesting question that I got from a reader during a book signing that I was at with Obsessed with Her. I’ve been asked this on more than one occasion so I thought it might be good to share!

Q: “Lacey, why did you write a prequel to Obsessed with Her? Why not a sequel, and did you have this in mind from the beginning?” 

A: I wrote a prequel to Obsessed with Her because the story wasn’t finished yet. I needed to release the books in this order for the story to make sense and for quite simply the sake of interest in the character and his development. I didn’t want to leave my readers with a ton of backstory to start with so the manuscript demanded to be written and released this way.  

I didn’t write a sequel to Obsessed with Her because the ending is final. There is no chance of a sequel and that’s all I’ll elude to as to not spoil it for those who have not finished or read the book yet. 

Yes, I had this prequel in mind from the beginning, I hadn’t written it yet, but it was always going to happen. Obsessed with Her is unfinished without the prequel and leaves the reader with too many questions. The prequel shows why James Cass behaves the way he does and what type of person he truly is. Obsessed with Her will make perfect sense after the release of, Becoming James Cass (prequel) that is set to hit the shelves this October! 

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