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Speech Writing (Part 2) The Mechanics

July 14, 2021-Yesterday we talked about best practices when preparing for your speaking engagement and the overall attitude you should have when publicly speaking. Today we’re focusing on the mechanics of speech writing. Let’s get started!

To write an engaging, informative, and interesting speech, here are 5 tips to help you:

  1. Clear, relevant message. What do you want your audience to take home from your speech? What action do you want them to take? What do you want to teach them? What should they remember? The clearer you are about these points, the more relevant and targeted your message is, the more valuable your talk is to your audience.
  2. Outline. Just like writing a book, a speech is no different. You must begin with an outline to keep you organized and allow you to make your point effectively. Your speech should have an introduction, a middle, and an ending that includes a call to action such as purchasing your book, or signing up for your newsletter, or booking their spot at your next workshop.
  3. Storytelling. People remember stories when relaying and recalling information. Stories make a big, memorable impact when told properly and when details are remarkable, shocking, inspiring, or heartwarming. Make sure that the story in your speech is repeatable and sharable. Ask yourself if it’s buzzworthy! If not, leave it out.
  4. No PowerPoint. Powerpoint is dead. So are cue cards. Yep, it’s time that you memorized your speech, and when you get good enough at it and have practiced and given the speech several times, you won’t need to use anything as a crutch or distraction. The fact is, the more data, PowerPoint slides, and notes you use, the more amateurish you look to your audience. You look like less of an expert. Plus, slides and data are usually boring, and you want your speech to stand out and make a memorable impact.
  5. Keep it Simple. Don’t use eight words when four will do (please write this on my gravestone) and leave the complicated language out. When delivering your lecture, the more superfluous you are, the more disinclined your audience will be to acquiesce to your request of paying attention to your speech. See what I mean? Don’t use a word salad to make yourself seem intelligent; the only thing that does is make your audience disengage.

Here’s the formula: 

Interesting fact for your audience (did you know?) to immediately grab their attention—-jump into a story—-get to your main points—-wrap everything up with a bow—-call to action—answer audience questions—call to action again.

Write your speech and practice, practice, practice!

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Expand Your Chances

April 8, 2021– As authors, it’s important to grow in our writing and as artists. Part of pushing the envelope in your writing life means that you need to be bold in your submissions. Here are new ways to expand your chances of being published.

  • Submit to publications that are new to you. Nothing will get you out of your comfort zone faster than writing about something you’re not familiar with. Do your research, find your voice, and write something awesome. When we write outside of the box that we are familiar with, we offer a fresh perspective on potentially old topics. A word of caveat is to read the publication and know what they are publishing e.g., You’re not going to submit a fashion piece to Scientific America magazine.
  • Follow up. Have you ever heard the saying the fortune is in the follow-up? It’s true. Be sure to follow up on your submissions in such a way that is timely, respectful, and confident. Publishers are inundated with work and sometimes we don’t get the chance to respond to each submission in a timely manner. There’s no harm in sending a friendly email to check on the status of your manuscript if you haven’t heard from us in the suggested timeline according to our guidelines.
  • Upgrade your social media. Publishers are looking for authors with an established platform. It’s never too soon to start building your following by putting out content that is fresh, interesting, and provides your readers with value. Push the envelope by posting regularly, finding a niche, and interacting with your audience. Sometimes it’s hard for authors (most of them are introverts) to be in the public eye, but it’s a necessary practise because readers need to know who you are and where to find your books.

Push yourself beyond your limits! Wouldn’t you much rather live a life of why not instead of what if?

Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on Podbean where we continue to discuss pushing the envelope every Tuesday and Thursday during the month of April, plus new themes each month. Download the Podbean App from iTunes or the Google Play store, it’s free! Search Pandamonium Publishing House and bring us with you wherever you go.

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Fresh Four

April 6, 2021– We’re talking about pushing the envelope in your writing this month and as we go down the rabbit hole, we’ll explore various topics and ideas that will help you grow as an author. Here are four fresh new ways to do something different and new in your writing.

  1. Explore topics that aren’t usually written about. This is great for blogs, and very niche markets, especially for e-books. People will pay for specialized information that they can have at their fingertips just when they need it! For example, let’s say it’s tax time and you’re an accountant, you could write A Tax Guide for Canadian Small Business Owners with Income Less than $50,000 Per Year (You Could Be Missing These Essential Write offs!) as an example. The narrower your focus, the better chance you have at becoming a best seller and reaching a group of people who need info fast and are willing to pay for it.
  2. Recreate yourself/your sound (narrative). Artists are always re-creating themselves. If we look at authors who have explored different genres, written in different narratives, and have used pen names, we’d have a long list! Some notable authors who have done this include Stephen King, Mark Twain, George Orwell, Lemony Snicket, and Stan Lee. Some authors have had complete makeovers and changed their lifestyles to become more interesting or mainstream or talked about, we’re looking at you E.L. James and your fabulous red-carpet collection of gowns!
  3. Include something that grabs your reader’s attention. Perhaps it’s a contest, or exclusive access to a choose your own adventure series online, anything that engages and grabs your reader is essential in keeping them interested in your work. Maybe it’s an official soundtrack or an alternate ending that you’ve included that helps you push the envelope not only in your writing, but what readers can expect from you as an author.
  4. Collaborate with other authors. This is a great way to expand your writing and your skills. Teaming up with other authors in a collaborative book will help motivate you to step up your writing game. It can push you to explore new ideas and write in a way that you don’t typically write; it can be a fantastic way to get your head out of the box and unleash your creativity.

If you’d like to the chance to collaborate with us on a book, now is your chance; we want your pet stories! Send us stories about how your pet changed your life for the better to pandapublishing8@gmail.com and for submission guidelines/details.

If you’d like more advice on what publishers are looking for, check out my number 1 best selling book here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books – Amazon.ca

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The Best Part and Biggest Challenge

March 31, 2021-We made it! We’ve answered your questions all this month and are so thankful to each reader who sent us an email. Just because the theme of the month is over doesn’t mean that we won’t continue answer your questions. Email us any time at pandapublishing8@gmail.com. We’re always happy to hear from you! Let’s dig into our final question for March.

Q: What is the best part of being an author and what is the biggest challenge?

A: What a great question to end our theme with this month! There are a lot of “best parts” of being an author to me. These are some of my personal favourites.

  • Seeing people enjoying your book in public-There’s no feeling quite like this. Seeing people enjoying my books is priceless. One of my favourite things to ever happen was when I was travelling on vacation. I was boarding a plane and heading to my seat when my husband tapped me on the shoulder. He said, “Look! That kid is reading your book!” I peered over the seat and saw a child reading Panda the Very Bad Cat. My husband said to the child, “Hey! Guess what? This is the author of that book!” The kid looked up from their book, took one look at me, and said, “No it’s not.” And went back to reading. Talk about being humbled LOL!
  • Receiving emails from readers- I’ve certainly had a lot of these this month and I’m so grateful! Any time readers reach out to me, I make it my duty to respond. Some emails are wonderful and complimentary, some ask questions, and some look for advice; I enjoy reading each one of them and hope that I can help them find their writing path in some small way.
  • School visits- Definitely one of the highlights of my career is reading to kids and lecturing in schools and universities. Sharing my knowledge and stories is extremely fulfilling and I hope to help ignite a love of literacy within them. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the question and answer period in Kindergarten classes! I’ve been asked a number of hilarious questions such as, “How much money do you make?” “Are you famous?” “What is your third favourite reptile?” and my personal favourite, “Is that your real hair?” LOL!
  • Book signings- Meeting my readers in person is an honour. To have people read my books and tell me what they thought is such a thrill. Connecting with readers is what it’s all about and I learn so much from our interactions.I’m beyond grateful for all of our readers and hope to enrich their lives in some small way, even for a brief moment, through storytelling.
  • Continuing Education– I’ve been so fortunate to be able to continue my education around the world. I’ve studied publishing and writing in Boston, New York, Toronto, and London, England. I’ve completed courses at Wharton, Copenhagen University, and Stanford and am excited to continue to learn and grow as an author and publisher. Learning never stops in this business and I’m always trying to find new and innovative ways to tell stories and to put our books into the hands of readers. I think that I’ll always be a perpetual student.
  • Publications- It’s pretty cool to walk into Walmart or a bookstore and see my name on the shelf. Whether it’s in a magazine, a newspaper, or book, it’s always thrilling. One of the highlights of my writing life so far, is picking up a magazine at the checkout of the grocery store and seeing an article I wrote. Women’s World is a magazine I write for quite frequently and their readership is 1.6 million people worldwide. That’s epic if you ask me that that many people are reading my stories. Chicken Soup for the Soul was another thing I celebrated (I’ve been published with them twice so far) seeing on the shelf because to join such an amazing and well respected publication was icing on the cake! They’ve sold 11 million copies around the world and to have my stories as part of that is such a great feeling.

While trying to answer the second part of your question, I’m sitting at my laptop watching the cursor blink on the page. This question took me a lot longer to answer. What is the biggest challenge of being an author? This is so hard for me to answer because I love what I do so much and am so fortunate to write for a living. After thinking for awhile, I guess I’ll say that rejection is the hardest part of being an author, but even that, we learn from. Rejection is something that we never really get used to and if we take it to heart, it can be really destructive. But the good outweighs the bad. It’s a career that I highly recommend!

If you’d like to continue to get advice on your writing and publishing questions, check out my number 1 best selling book here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books – Amazon.ca

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Newsletter

March 30, 2021- Tomorrow is our last day of taking your questions! We’re sad, but at the same time very excited for Aprils theme which is Pushing the Envelope in Your Writing. Just because we’re done with the theme for March doesn’t mean that you can’t still email us your questions, send us an email  at pandapublishing8@gmail.com. Here is our question for the day:

Q: “You’ve said that there is value in sending out newsletters about upcoming book releases etc. As a self-publisher how do I collect email addresses from interested readers?”

A: Yes! You are correct; there is a ton of value in communicating directly with your readers and there are many ways to do this:

  • Subscribe button on website or blog. This is one of the easiest ways to get readers to subscribe to your content since they’re already coming to you and interested what you have to say. A pop up page can come in handy, just make sure it’s not obnoxious and popping up while readers are trying to view your articles.
  • In person events. This is the most fun way to gather email addresses! You get to directly interact with your readers and tell them about the valuable info that you provide in your newsletter and why they should subscribe. Tell them about upcoming releases, free classes or workshops, tidbits of interesting info, upcoming events, and whatever else you think they’ll be interested in! Have a sign-up sheet and make sure that you get their permission and consent to add them to your newsletter.
  • Post card and direct mail marketing with your sign-up information. Never disregard direct mail as a great way to communicate with your readers! If your readers purchase titles directly from you, this is a great opportunity to include marketing information such as a postcard, flyer, or last month’s newsletter. Your reader can find out how to subscribe to your newsletter on the marketing that you include with their purchase. Remember to include a call to action such as “Sign up today!”
  • Exclusive access. Giving your readers valuable content and knowledge is important and surprising them with a little something extra is always a great idea. You can say, “Sign up for our monthly newsletter to get free access to Ten Things You MUST Do to Write a Best-seller!” and then give them exclusive access to the article, course, or download.

Remember not to overdo it with your newsletter. At most it should be bi-weekly, but we prefer monthly; be consistent with when your newsletter is sent out. Pick the same date each month such as the first, fifteenth, or thirtieth to make it easy to remember and schedule.

If you’d like to subscribe to our newsletter, send us an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com and we’ll add you to our list. In the meantime, check out some of our books and services here: Products – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Spend the Money?

March 24, 2021-As we begin to wrap up our theme of answering your most asked questions this month, I hope that you’re gaining some insight into the business of writing and what challenges authors face. If you’d like to submit your question, send us an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com. Here’s what we’re tackling today:

Q: “Lately I’ve been hitting a wall with rejections and I don’t know what the problem is. Should I spend money on writing classes to see if they can help?”

A: I think it’s smart that you’re realizing that there could be an issue with your writing and that’s why you’re getting rejected. It could be a possibility that your writing needs to be improved and I am a huge advocate for continuing education. Yes, if you can afford to, it will be worth spending your money on writing courses. You’ll learn so much from the course material and you can narrow down what you’d like to focus on by choosing the course that suits you best. Writing conferences and workshops have helped improve my own writing dramatically and I’m so fortunate to have traveled around the globe to participate in them. Writing classes can help you with things that you may be overlooking such as industry standards, grammatical/punctuation/sentence structure errors, and can provide new and exciting inspiration!

Check out some of our writing programs here: Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House, Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House, Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House, Course: Get Your Book Noticed and Increase Your Sales – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Motivation vs. Discipline

March 15, 2021– I hope that you’re enjoying our monthly theme during March which is answering your most asked questions! The questions coming in are great and touch on a number of topics that range from how to make money writing to how to write books kids will love, and everything in between. If you’d like to send in a question, please email us at pandapublishing8@gmail.com.  Here is today’s question:

Q:“I started writing an adventure novel five years ago, but I’m finding it difficult to stay motivated to finish it, actually, to keep writing each day. Do you have any suggestions to help get me motivated?”

A: There’s a big difference between motivation and discipline. “You will not always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined,” is one of my favourite quotes. Let’s face it, if we waited for motivation to write, most of us would never finish our book. Writing is our job and we must show up ready to work every day. I know it’s hard to sit down in front of your computer and get the words on the page, but it has to be done if you’re going to be a published author. Sometimes we see tasks as too daunting and we get overwhelmed with how much we have left to complete, my suggestion is to:

  1. Set aside the same time each day to write. Routine is key and discipline equals freedom. Figure out your best time to write and start writing; whether it’s early morning, afternoon, or midnight, choose whatever works with your schedule. Be sure to set a time that you will be uninterrupted so that you can let your creativity flow.
  2. Set a timer. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. When I’m not in the writing groove, I’ll do basically anything else to avoid what I need to do and that’s write! I set a timer for ten minutes and begin. I usually end up writing long past the time of ten minutes and all I needed was a boost to get started!
  3. Don’t self-edit. Get the words on the page and edit later. Also, don’t go back and re-read your work. Think of writing like building a sandcastle, you just have to keep shoveling the sand into the box and then refine it into a castle later.

Keep the questions coming! Check out my Amazon, number 1, best selling book, Advice from a Publisher here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books – Amazon.ca

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Money, Money, Money, Money, Money

March 10, 2021– All throughout March, we’re answering your most asked questions when it comes to publishing, writing, and everything in between! We hope you’re enjoying our posts so far, we have tons more to talk about. Let’s answer the question of the day:

Q: “Is it possible to make a living writing books? How much money can I expect to make as an author?”

A: The short answer is yes and the sky is the limit. But, we must remember that nothing comes without hard work, dedication, and perseverance. It is definitely possible to make a living writing books. The more books you sell, the more money you make of course, and it’s advisable to write multiple books to increase your sales as well. But, writing a book is the easy part in some respects, the hard work comes after. I’m not simplifying the process that goes into writing a book by any means, I’m just saying that selling and marketing your book(s) are when the real work begins!  Personally, I’m very thankful that I have a business background in marketing, advertising, consumer neuroscience, consumer neuromarketing, and crafting viral and contagious content. Without this experience, I don’t think that I would have the tools that I need to properly market our books to reach our readers. Having a business background is  an essential part of being and author and publisher/self-publisher. I would recommend either getting educated in the space of book marketing etc. or hiring a company such as ours, to help you. It can be a daunting task and if you don’t have a business education, then you need to enlist the experts. That also goes for the authors who are traditionally published. Gone are the days where the traditional publisher does everything on behalf of the author. The truth is, unless you are extremely well known (think Stephen King, James Patterson, and the like), your publisher is less likely to sink major dollars into a marketing campaign for your book. That means that you have to put the work in! As for how much money you can expect to make as an author, the answer as said before, the sky is the limit. A well marketed and excellent book/series can earn more than enough to cover your bills and monthly expenses. Some people are able to quit their day jobs and spend their full time writing for a living. Self-published authors especially, have no cap on their income because they earn and keep 100% of their profits.

I know that was a long way around to get the answer, but I hope I answered it to your satisfaction!

If you’d like more information about the services that we can provide, check us out here: Course: Get Your Book Noticed and Increase Your Sales – Pandamonium Publishing House or send us an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com for a personalized quote based on your specific needs.

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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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Stepping Out

February 1, 2021– All this month we’ll be focusing on stepping out of our comfort zones  in our writing and career!  As many of you know, my life is about to change dramatically; want to talk about stepping out of comfort zones, I’ve got a story for you! I recently sold my house and have purchased a Pandamonium Publishing House tour bus, that I will be travelling cross country in, for the next 2-5 years. Yep, I’m all in and totally committed to adventure, new experiences, getting out of my comfort zone, and spreading the word across Canada and the United States (when the border opens) about our fabulous authors, artists, and company.

I chose this topic as the next one in our series because I think it’s important. Anything that makes us uncomfortable helps us grow and it’s up to each of us to create the type of life that gets us excited to wake up in the morning! Here are some ways that you can begin to step out of your comfort zone.

  1. List your fears. By making a list of things that scare us the most, we give ourselves the opportunity to find solutions. We can only confront and change what we are willing to acknowledge. What are your fears for your writing life?
  2. Find solutions. The only way to overcome our fears is to look them straight in the eye. Whatever your fear may be there is always a solution. For example, if one of your fears is that you’ll never finish your book, the solution may be to schedule writing time each day, or to hire a ghostwriter.
  3. Take immediate action. I really don’t like running the stairs, but I know that it’s beneficial to my health. So, instead of thinking about it, dreading it, and making excuses as to why I should do it tomorrow, I do it immediately before my brain talks me out of it. Same goes for my writing life; there are some things I really don’t like to do (accounting and necessary paperwork), but I count down from 5 and by the time I hit 1, I’m already started. I don’t give myself an opportunity to cop out and neither should you. Do it, get it done, and move on.
  4. Do the hardest thing first. Do you need to rewrite chapter eight of your novel? Do you need to put together a marketing plan? Do the hardest thing first! You’ll thank yourself later because when you get the hard stuff out of the way, you’ll feel less stressed, more accomplished, happier, and more productive. You won’t have the task hanging over your head and you can do the things you love to do without worrying about what you should be doing.

This month, I can’t wait to explore a whole host of writing exercises, challenges, and topics surrounding getting out of our comfort zones, with you! For more advice, check out my Number 1 Best Selling Book here: Advice From a Publisher (Insider Secrets for Getting Your Work Published!) An Amazon Best Seller – Pandamonium Publishing House