November 14, 2018– We read a lot of books around here at Pandamonium Publishing House, as we should because we are writers. I’m a firm believer that the more you read, the better you write. We like to read all types of books including books that aren’t always in our genre. I’m currently reading an interesting and pretty short book that’s non-fiction and it’s written by Admiral William H. McRaven (talk about a cool name) who is retired from the United States Navy. The book is called, Make Your Bed, Little things that can change your life…and maybe the world.
Admiral McRaven gave a commencement speech to the University of Texas students, which you can view on Youtube. His school of thinking is that if you make your bed every morning, you’ll have accomplished the first task of your day. He also believes that making your bed reinforces the fact that the little things in life matter and if you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
This is my second time reading this book in a year. I read it at the beginning of the year and I’m re-reading it now. This book is fantastic because McRaven is right! I made my bed every single day except for four days over the past year and let me tell you, boy did it make a world of difference when I didn’t! When I neglected to make my bed, I went to bed restless, had a terrible sleep, couldn’t shut off my brain, and felt unsettled. That’s not to say that every day that I did make my bed was a great day, but the point was that no matter what life threw at me, I could come home, get into my perfectly made bed, and disappear from the world. Daily life requires structure and making your bed is the first step.
I hope that you’ll read this book as there are a lot of fantastic stories and lessons within. (My favourite chapter is number four, the sugar cookie story!)
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Contact us today. Pandamonium Publishing House, where reading and writing is exciting!
November 12, 2018– As a traditional publisher, I get a lot of questions about guidelines when writing. Sometimes I’ll receive a manuscript submission that doesn’t have the appropriate amount of content, and unfortunately for that writer, it means that it’s a no from me for picking up their script.
I want to discuss some word count guidelines in this post, but please keep in mind if you are deciding to self-publish, you can bend these rules a little. What’s that old saying? You have to know what the rules are before you break them? Sounds about right!
Children’s Picture Book– The industry standard for children’s picture books are 28 pages of interior, illustrated pages. There are 32 pages in total, 4 of the pages are left for the first interior cover page, the copyright page, and two blank pages. The 28 page count is usually 13 double spreads (the same scene happening across 2 pages) and 2 single illustrations (where a different scene is happening on each of the two pages). 13×2=26+2=28+4 blank pages= 32. Average word length is 400-800 words and up to 1000 words maximum.
Middle-Grade- The industry standard for middle-grade novel word counts is from 20,000 – 55,000 words, depending on the age range and subject matter, however, the word count of these books has been trending up in recent years. When writing longer works that are aimed at 12-year-olds and could be considered “tween”, using the term “upper middle grade” is advisable. With upper middle grade, you can aim for 40,000 – 55,000 words. These are books that are similar to young adult in subject matter and storytelling but still tend to stick to tame themes and avoid hot-button issues. With a simpler middle-grade idea rather than a complex one, aim lower- 20,000 to 35,000 words is acceptable.
YA (Young Adult)- The industry standard for young adult novels is pretty flexible. 55,000-79,999 is a good range for word count. The books seem to be trending on the longer end currently which is to say that you could write well into the 85,000-word range and still be ok. Just know that you better have a good reason for going that high! Higher word counts tend to show publishers that the writer does not know how to edit their work or themselves. Don’t go lower than 47,000 words on the low end of things.
SCI-FI and Fantasy– The industry standard for Sci-fi and fantasy are exceptions to word counts because the categories historically run long. It really has to do with the world building and descriptions used to set the scene. With both of these genres 100,000 – 115,000 words is a perfect range. On the low end, 90,000 to 99,000 is also acceptable with the ideal range being 100,000.
Adult novels: Commercial & Literary– Here are some industry standards, again, we are talking about ranges so keep that in mind. Between 80,000 and 89,999 words is the range to aim for. This word count is the perfect range for literary, mainstream, women’s, romance, mystery, suspense, thriller, and horror. Anything in this word count won’t scare off any agent anywhere. You can have as few as 71,000 words and as many as 109,000 words.
80,000 – 89,999: Best
90,000 – 99,999: Safe
70,000 – 79,999: All right
100,000 – 109,999: Okay
Below 70,000: Too short
110,000 or above Too long
6. Memoir– The industry standard for Memoir writing word counts is the same as a novel which is between 80,000-89,999 words. Keep in mind that most people don’t know how to edit their work, and this is especially true for memoir writing. People tend to write down every little detail because after all, it did happen! On the low-end aim for 70,000-79,000 words. This shows that you know how to focus on the meat of your life and are only telling the most interesting parts!
There you have it! The more you know before submitting your work to a traditional publisher, the better your chances of getting a book deal. Here’s to your success!
November 9, 2018- Ahhhh, audiobooks. There is nothing better than an audiobook, other than a paperback of course. In fact, I pick paperback first, then audiobook, then e-book. So what are the benefits of audiobooks and what place do they have in the literary community?
Audiobooks can bring the characters to life, especially when the voice actor is amazing. Let me use an example; if you’ve ever read the Stephanie Plum series, One for the Money and so on, by Janet Evanovich, you’ll know what I’m talking about. The actor who does the voices for the audiobooks, Lorelei King, is so amazing that she sounds exactly how you would expect Stephanie and Lula to sound like in real life. This can also be a downfall, however! All it takes is a bad voice actor to ruin your favourite book. Like the person who reads the Murder, She Wrote series. Umm…why the hell is Angela Lansbury, not the voice? Exactly.
Audiobooks are perfect for people who are on the go. You can listen to audiobooks anywhere, on planes, trains, and in automobiles. They are totally portable and you don’t even need wifi to use them. I bribe myself with an audiobook when I have to do things that I hate…such as the treadmill, or running. I plug in my earphones, turn on my audiobook and forget what I’m doing as I’m immersed in the story. Using audiobooks, I was able to “read” 60 books last year. I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I didn’t have audiobooks to listen to while I traveled.
Audiobooks make non-fiction books go faster. A lot of non-fiction books can be utterly boring, especially when they’re about something that you’re not particularly interested in such as sales or the stock market. You can speed up your audiobook, skip to the end, and listen to them while you’re doing the dishes or making dinner. I know that audiobooks are different than Ted Talks, but I put them in the same category. Ask me when I don’t have a Ted Talk on…not very often! I think that we can learn things by listening and I’ve amazed myself more than once with the information I’ve retained by listening to audiobooks.
Audiobook are excellent for auditory learners. I am an auditory learner in that I learn best by listening and not doing or seeing something. I’ve always learned this way and let me tell you, that schools do not accommodate this way of learning which is a shame. I was the kid that read each question out loud while doing homework because that’s how I learned. There are a bunch of different ways that people learn; Kinesthetic learners are people who learn by doing rather than by listening to a presentation or by watching a demonstration. Visual learners are those who learn by seeing something such as a graph, chart, or diagram. And as mentioned before, auditory learners who learn things by hearing/listening. I can’t tell you how much information I’ve learned from audiobooks, but it’s a lot!
So, if you’ve never downloaded an audiobook because you think it might not be for you, I urge you to reconsider! Give it a try, you just might love it.
November 7, 2018– This month we’ll be focusing on authors that celebrating birthdays in November. Most of the authors we are going to talk about are deceased, but they’ve left such a mark on the literary landscape, that they’re impossible to forget.
Tomorrow, November 8th is Bram Stoker’s birthday! To celebrate his birthday and the genius that is his writing, here are some interesting facts about him:
He fought with Oscar Wilde over a woman. Wilde, Florence Balcombe, and Stoker were all part of an intense love triangle! Stoker ended up winning the fight and married Florence.
He got to meet two presidents. Stoker met Theodore Roosevelt and William McKinley while he was visiting the United States as part of managing an actor by the name of Henry Irving. Stoker’s trips revolved around managing his client.
He wrote romance novels. Stoker is known and much beloved for his supernatural works such as Dracula, but he also wrote romantic novels, in fact, over half of his works of fiction were classic Victorian romance pieces.
Dracula was inspired by a woman. In fact, it was an essay by Emily Gerard titled, “Transylvania Superstitions,” that inspired Stoker’s Dracula. Oh, and remember Henry Irving, who Stoker managed? He was the physical inspiration for Dracula.
Happy Birthday, Bram Stoker! He would have been 171 years old tomorrow if still living…now that would be really something to write about!
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Historia/REX/Shutterstock (7665085dt) Bram Stoker Novelist and Short Story Writer Best Known For the Gothic Novel Dracula (1897) He Was Also Theatre Manager For Henry Irving at the Lyceum Theatre London 1847 – 1912 Historical Collection 2
November 5, 2018- It really depends on the generation that you grew up in as to how you answer the question above! I personally think that e-books have their place in the world, but nothing beats a paperback.
I love e-books for specific things, especially non-fiction because quite rarely do I ever read a non-fiction book from cover to cover. I end up skimming the pages for the information I need, highlighting it, and then leaving with the info that I came for. It’s easy and free when you subscribe to something like Kindle unlimited.
That being said, nothing beats the smell of a paper book. The feeling of turning the pages, the sound of the pages turning, folding down the corner of the page to mark where you left off (I know, I’m a monster!), and the kinesthetic involvement of the entire experience is the absolute best. E-books don’t hold a candle to traditional paper in my opinion.
Now, I know what some of you are going to say, “But I love my Kindle for the portability of the books when I go on vacation!” Yes, I do too, but if I could bring along seven or eight of my favourite paperbacks without taking up too much room in my suitcase, I would.
Let’s look at some reasons why paperbacks are making a come back.
Physical books make a better gift. When was the last time that you gifted someone an e-book? That’s what I thought, probably never. There’s something about the process of wading through a bookstore to find the perfect book for someone you love. They open the gift bag or tear off the wrapping paper and immediately flip the book over to read the back cover, then they thumb through the pages and tell you that they can’t wait to snuggle up and read it tonight!
Physical books are easier to share. Yes, you can share e-books and lots of people do, but paperbacks are easily shared from reader to reader. Do you know how many times I’ve lent friends books never to see them again…the books not the friends. Yep, it’s true, paperbacks make their way into the hands of many people. My suggestion is that if you love a particular title, buy two of them because the one you lend will never return.
Reading a print book sets a good example for your kids. We want kids to read, we want them to experience the magic of books, and we want them to use their imagination. What better way to get kids to read than to be caught reading, ourselves? Monkey see monkey do.
Paper books are easy to scribble on. I know that some people are gasping in horror while reading this sentence. Yes, I mark important passages in books and I even scribble down thoughts in the margins. As an author, there are a lot of ideas that pop into my head while reading and sometimes a certain passage will speak to me. I highlight the words, underline sentences, and box off really important points.
So, which camp are you in? E-books or paperback? Sound off in the comments below!
November 2, 2019– Yay! November is officially National Novel Writing Month. This is a great time to start writing or outlining your novel if you’ve finally decided to take the plunge! Look around you, there are so many things to be inspired by and the chilly weather is perfect for curling up by the fire with a new project.
But, did you know that there’s an official internet project based on the month? Let me explain: National Novel Writing Month (often shortened to NaNoWriMo /ˈnænoʊ ˈraɪmoʊ/), is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. Participants attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript between November 1 and November 30. Whoa…that’s a tall order, but I think that you can do it!
So I want to know, are you up for the challenge? What will you write about? Sound off in the comments below:) Happy Writing, you better get started! X LLB
October 31, 2018– Halloween is officially my favourite holiday. Ok, so it’s not really a holiday, but I think of it as one. The decorating with skulls, black cats, and spiders inside and outdoors, candy, and of course, costumes! What is there NOT to like? I admit we go all out for Halloween because it’s the most wonderful time of the year. So, in celebration of this beautiful day, I’m going to share some interesting facts with you about one of the greatest spooky books of all time, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was only 18 years old and by this time, had two children. Frankenstein was published by the time she was 20!
Frankenstein was born out of an unusual climate. It was when Lord Byron suggested a ghost story competition while the Shelley’s visited Switzerland during the year without summer. The group of friends was forced to stay inside most of the time because of the immense amount of rain and they read ghost stories to beat the boredom. Of course, Mary was the winner!
Mary got the idea for Frankenstein from a dream. She began working on her story the next day, and said, “What terrified me will terrify others.”
Frankenstein is the name of the doctor, not the monster! Victor Frankenstein is the scientist. The monster remains unnamed and is referred to throughout the book as monster, creature, demon, and it.
The book was slammed by critics. Of course it was, insert eye roll here, because people didn’t understand it. In 1818 when the book came out, critics bashed it and said about the work, “What a tissue of horrible and disgusting absurdity this work presents.” Sigh, I hope one day someone will say that about my works.
I hope you learned some things you didn’t already know about this amazing novel, written by an equally fantastic woman. If you haven’t read Frankenstein, I highly recommend it. Have a safe and happy Halloween from all of us at Pandamonium Publishing House!
October 29, 2018– I’m happy to say that I’ve been published in various magazine publications dozens of times over the years. It’s pretty cool to see your story on the magazine rack and know that it’s going to be circulated to hundreds of thousands of readers! If you want to be successful, look at your work through the eyes of a magazine editor. Here are some things to keep in mind before you submit to your favourite mag:
Does the story I’ve written belong in this magazine? I know that this seems painfully obvious, but a magazine about cooking is probably not interested in an article about construction sites. Check out what the magazine has printed in the last couple of years to know if what you’re writing about works for them. If you can’t find out if your idea would work or not, just go ahead and submit, what’s the worst that could happen?
Have they done a story similar to this before? And if they have, how recent was it? If it’s too recent, you’re wasting your time, and it would be better to set your sights on a different topic. If it’s been long enough, at least make an effort to put a fresh spin on things!
Do you know what sells? If you thumb through any magazine on your coffee or end table right now, I can just about guarantee that there’s a diet story in every issue, especially if it’s any type of magazine for women. Why? Because that’s what sells. If you know your market and what sells, you have a better chance of being published, because what you’re writing about, sells copies! Do your research before you submit.
I hope that you get the chance to write a piece for your favourite magazine, it’s so much fun and I think it’s a pretty cool experience to work towards!
October 26, 2018– Content is hard to come by, for me anyways. I often wonder how many other bloggers have this problem, especially those who write daily. I blog three times a week, or twelve times a month and let me tell you, it can become difficult. I know it’s hard to think, but sometimes it feels as though we’ve run out of things to talk about. The truth is, there’s always something to talk about, and there are still lots new ideas for content, we just aren’t being creative enough, and we aren’t thinking outside of the box.
I hate rehashing the same old stuff over and over, so that’s why I try my absolute hardest to come up with new and exciting tips and topics! Here are a few of my personal tips about where to get great ideas:
Shower. A lot. Seriously, some of my best ideas come to me when I’m standing there in the shower with the water beating down on me. Apparently, this is a thing, and there’s even science to support it! Brains give us our best ideas when a lot of dopamine is released, and dopamine is released by, you guessed it, taking a shower! Dopamine equals happiness and the next great idea.
Subconscious. This is a true story; when I was in college, I remember doing some crazy math problem and no matter which way I tried it, I couldn’t figure out the formula. I finally said screw it and went to bed. I swear to you that when I woke up, I had the answer and the formula was as clear as day in my mind. Yep, to this day, I never go to bed without asking my subconscious a question and rarely does it not answer or work out a solution. Try it, it works!
Study. Read everything you can get your hands on. The newspaper, magazines, online, books, tutorials, instruction manuals, and so on. Why? Because this alone will trigger an idea to write about. You can write about the time you were so blocked in your writing that you became desperate and read the instruction manual to your vintage VCR. But seriously, read it all. Especially stuff that is regularly out of your genre. That’s where some of my greatest ideas have come from.
There it is, my ideas for creating content. And remember, when you’re stuck, get unstuck by following the above tips.
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