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James Patterson Said it Best

May 6, 2020– Author James Patterson said it best, “There’s no such thing as a kid who hates reading. There are kids who love reading and kids who are reading the wrong books.” I agree wholeheartedly and believe that we can encourage our kids to read by doing the following things:

  1. Let them read whatever they’re going to read. Yes, this means comic books, graphic novels, magazines, newspapers, and anything else they can get their hands on. Reading is reading is reading, even if it doesn’t always come in the form of a book! Check out our collection of books for kids to see if there’s something that they might like: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop/
  2. Monkey see monkey do. Set an example and let your kids find you reading. It’s important to ignite a love of literacy within them by showing them your passion for books and the written word. Read together and find out what type of books your child enjoys most. Take turns reading chapters and talking about the plot, setting, and characters.
  3. Read the book, see the movie/play.  Yes, the book is always better, but the experience of reading the book and then seeing the movie or play opens up dialogue between you and your child; ask them what they liked most, what they liked least, what they would change, and if they thought the right actor was cast to play their favourite character-why or why not?
  4. Keep track and make it fun. Set up a reading challenge chart with stickers, markers, or whatever your creative mind can imagine to make reading fun. When children are challenged to reach a goal, they usually exceed it because it becomes a game! Seeing their progress can be the ticket to getting them excited about reading.

Literacy matters and studies around the world show us links between illiteracy, poverty, crime, substance abuse, and mortality rates. Reading is power, knowledge, and freedom. X LLB

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Red Riding Hood

May 4, 2020– Anyone who had European grandparents growing up, knows that fairytales aren’t always fluffy and feel-good stories; we were read the Grimm’s version of fairytales as children and the stories were edgy and downright scary at times. They were anything but Disney-fied. I remember hearing the story of Little Red Riding Hood and my grandmother glancing over her glasses at me and saying, “Why would anyone go into the forest wearing a bright red cape unless they wanted to be stalked?” That sent shudders through my whole body as a child and makes me grin from ear to ear as an adult. Turns out that my grandmother was on to something! She had a different perspective entirely.

The Grimm’s Fairytale version of Little Red Riding Hood sounds more like the plot of a Hollywood horror, and some versions of the fable say that Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, both sat down to eat Grandma…disturbing, yes, but also very intriguing. Fairytales were created to teach children lessons that were scary enough to keep them on the straight and narrow.

We can take insight from fairytales that are a little more dangerous and risque than the typical type-we can use them as inspiration to push the envelope in our own work. Take risks, write a darker version of your work to see what it feels like, what it sounds like, and how it makes YOU feel. It’s empowering to write books with less than a happily-ever-after ending. If you haven’t tried it yet, do it at least once, you’ll be surprised as this simple exercise can open your creativity and allow you to see your characters and themes in a whole new light. Happy writing! X LLB

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Do You See What I See?

April 29, 2020-We’ve all seen those photos online that look like inkblots, and the question is always, “What do you see?” Of course, it’s all about perception. One person may look at the image and see a spider where another may look at it and see an angel. The point is perspective is essential, especially for authors.

Around here, we do our best to ensure that when we write, it’s from a different point of view. Let me explain; in my upcoming book King Midas, I tell the story from the perspective of King Midas’ barber. Why do I do that? Because in my opinion, it’s more interesting. The fable of King Midas has been told a thousand times before with a few differences here and there, but usually not many. I wanted to put a different spin on things and put my readers in a place where perhaps a well-known story is totally different than we thought it was.

One of the things that inspired me to write a different take on stories was something called twisted tales. A great example of this is an audiobook titled, As Old As Time, and it’s based on Beauty and the Beast. But instead of rehashing the same old story, the author decided to mix it up a bit. The premise is that Belle and the Beast are living happily ever after in the castle when one day, they find out that it was Belle’s mother who cursed the Beast. Wow! Talk about a totally different spin on a classic story that opens an entirely new can of worms! Writing from a different perspective can open up your writing and give you infinite new possibilities for your work. Here are some more examples to get your creativity flowing:

  • The Wizard of Oz-What if they had written from a perspective of Dorothy’s ruby slippers and how they saw the world through their own “eyes.”
  • Aladdin-What does the magic carpet have to say about the adventure, or how does Rajah the tiger see the events unfold?
  • The Jungle Book-What about the villain Shere Khan? How did he become a villain? Why does he see the world the way he does, and was he always that way? What events unfolded in his life made him so jaded?

You get the point. Every time you sit down to write, it’s crucial to choose a perspective that will entertain and allow your audience to see the world in a little bit of a different way. This helps open up the minds and hearts of your readers. Happy Writing, X LLB

 

 

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Don’t Let This Happen to You

April 27, 2020– Did you know that most self-published authors sell less than a total of  100 copies of their book? That’s around $1000-$2000 for lifetime sales which is pretty dismal if you ask me. People write books for a lot of reasons some of them being: It’s a bucket list item, because they have a story to tell, or because they want the ability to say, “I wrote a book,” or “I’m an author,” and the list goes on. I suppose it’s because I’m a publisher, with a marketing and advertising background, that I look at the book business a little bit differently than if I was solely an author. But, just because you’re a self-published author, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think of your writing as a business, IT IS.  Here are some tips on how to ramp up your book sales:

  1.  Build a platform. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Dig your well before you’re thirsty?” This applies here. I hope that you built your author platform before you published your book. If not, you can start right now. Pick the social media platforms that work for you, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube etc. and be sure to engage with your audience. Let people know why you wrote your book, what inspires you, what books you love, and where they can get yours!
  2. Build a network. Join a  group, build relationships, and connect with people. It’s important to be surrounded by people who are just like you, but it’s even MORE important to be around people who are different than you. Why? Because you’ll learn the most from them. They’ll have ideas and suggestions that will push your thinking out of the box. The most brilliant ideas I’ve ever had for selling my books came from people who were NOT in the book business.
  3. Build your brand. YOU are the brand. Make sure you represent your book well.  Is your message consistent and clear or is it conflicting? The way you dress, the way you speak, how often and what you post, all matter. When you go to events and visit schools/businesses to present your book, your brand matters. Your marketing materials need to be branded in your colours, with your logo, and with the proper fonts and messages to get people interested in what you have to say.
  4. Build your list. Where do you want to see your book and how do you get it there? Do you want to see it in airports around the world? What must you do to make that happen? Do you want to find your book in all major bookstores? Who do you need to contact and what happens next? Which publications do you want to be interviewed by? Build your list of where to sell your book and be relentless in going after the things, people, and places that you want!

Of course, the above list is not extensive. Selling your book is a huge undertaking, but don’t be one of the many self-published authors who make little money. If you have self-published a book and don’t know where to start with marketing it, drop us a line because our team of experts can help! Email us today at pandapublishing8@gmail.com for a price quote.

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Lunch Lady Heroes

April 24, 2020– I was lucky enough to meet Jarrett when I was in New York attending the SCBWI winter conference last year. He’s a fantastic speaker and a lovely guy. Check out his Ted Talk about Why Lunch Ladies are Heroes and his graphic novel!

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It’s Time

April 22, 2020– What if I told you that you could totally transform your life by doing one simple thing? Would you believe me? Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s true, but there’s a catch…You have to decide which one thing. As writers we are often absent-minded, disorganized dreamers who would lose our head if it wasn’t screwed on; I may be only referring to myself in that last sentence, but I digress. So, what is it that you must do right now to change your entire writing life? Here’s the secret: CHANGE ONE THING.

Yep, that’s it. That’s the magic right there. You know the areas of your writing life that need improving, but for ease of explanation, I’ve included some examples below. Pick ONE thing to change because studies show that making too many changes at once, results in failure. Once you’ve changed one thing and have stuck with it for 21 days, pick another thing to change while still adhering to your new habit.

1. Change your frequency. If you’re writing infrequently it’s time to increase your daily word count. Make a schedule and stick to it. Try to write as many days in a row that you can. It will help you develop discipline and a routine; before you know it, you’ll have finished writing that novel.

2. Change your mindset. Get away from negative thinking. I cannot stress this enough-what you focus on EXPANDS, so concentrate on what you WANT. See yourself as a professional and start showing up as her. If you’re not published yet or have received a bunch of rejection letters, welcome to the club, that just means that with every NO, you’re that much closer to a YES.

3. Change your space. Is your desk or writing area a disaster? Do you lose the same things over and over again, such as pens and pages of your manuscript? Do you spend more time looking for stuff than you do writing? If yes, it’s time to make a change and get organized.

4. Change your timing. Get up earlier or go to bed later if that’s what it takes to change your writing life. Don’t wait for inspiration to write because if you do, I promise you won’t write another word. Writing and being an author is a discipline that needs commitment. We don’t write when we’re inspired, we write and then the inspiration shows up. Set a schedule and stick to it.

Pick your area of weakness and change one thing about it. Old ways won’t open new doors. X LLB

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I Have a Dream

April 20, 2020-How often do you dream? Do you remember your dreams when you wake up, and how can you harness your subconscious to solve problems in your writing?

Studies show that one of the reasons we don’t remember our dreams is because we do not awake in the same position that we dreamt in. If there’s too much movement, we forget. For example, if you fall asleep on your left side and wake up on your right, chances are you won’t remember what you dreamt about.

Personally, I am a vivid dreamer and 5 nights out of 7, I’ll have dreams that I can remember. Of course, there are some nights that I don’t dream/don’t remember my dream. But as writers, how can we use a dream state to improve things in our work?

  1. Have a dream diary. Do you write down your dreams? I usually do because I like to refer back to them. I enjoy having a record of different times in my life that I was going through and how my dreams reflected my inner thoughts. Another fun thing to do with your dream diary is the following exercise; take the images from your dream and write a short story. This is so helpful when dealing with periods of writer’s block and lack of inspiration.  I keep a pen and my dream diary beside my bed so that I can write things down immediately, before they’re lost forever.
  2. Invest in a dream dictionary. A dream dictionary helps decode your dreams and gives you answers to imagery. For example, did you know that dreaming of a broken glass can signify broken promises, negativity in your waking life, disappointment and shattered dreams? You can use these symbols as breadcrumbs throughout your work to make it more rounded and interesting.
  3. Work it into your story. Some of my dreams have made it onto the pages of my novels. In Obsessed with Her, there is a character that awakes from a nightmare, and it was something that I had dreamt about. Work your dreams and nightmares into your story carefully. Publishers and readers don’t like dream sequences, and we feel ripped off when the whole story was “just a dream.”
  4. Tap into your subconscious. The subconscious mind is a very powerful thing and is an excellent problem solver. When I’m struggling with a part in a book, or I’ve written myself into a corner, or I’m suffering from writer’s block, I write down the problem and ask my subconscious mind to fix it while I sleep. Then I go to bed. Sometimes the answer is immediately the next morning, sometimes it will come to me in a dream, and sometimes it takes a few days. How you program your subconscious mind is also imperative to your success; it does not know the difference between reality and fantasy.

Here’s hoping that all of your writing dreams come true! X LLB

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Who Was the First?

April 17, 2020– Check out this super cool Ted Talk about the world’s first author! Soraya Field Fiorio explains:

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Pseudo-who?

April 15, 2020– Many very famous (and not so famous) authors (including yours truly) use pseudonyms. Let’s find out who they are and why they use fake names to write under. Pseudo=Phoney, artificial, not genuine Nym=Name.

  1. To write more than 1 book per year. Stephen King used a pseudonym so that he could write multiple books a year. One book per year is the industry standard in publishing, but he found a way to get around the issue by simply changing his name. You wouldn’t want to do this too often because you need to build a following of loyal readers, and that takes time and effort.
  2. To switch genres-I personally do this to protect my young readers from Googling my darker works. Lacey L. Bakker is the name I use for writing kids’ books, and L.L. Colling is the pen name I use to write my adult thrillers. If my young readers do an online search, they won’t find my adults-only books.
  3. To take the pressure off– J.K. Rowling is a perfect example of this. She wanted to write without the pressure and the hype of Harry Potter, so she changed her name and wrote The Cuckoo’s Calling.
  4. To switch publishers-The truth is that publishers own your works and the name that you put on that work. If you change publishers, you’ll have to use a different name, especially if you’re still under contract with the original publisher you’ve signed with.

I’m going to caution you on one thing; if you write a book that has sensitive information in it and you think that by changing your name, you’ll be able to write anonymously, that is not the case. Eventually, something will lead back to you, and you’ll be found out. Also, what if your book really takes off and people want to meet you in person for interviews and book signings? Choose your name wisely! X LLB

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