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Strategic Marketing Plan

November 30, 2021– I hope you’ve enjoyed the content this month which was tips for authors to promote themselves and their books. Be sure to visit tomorrow for a brand new theme of the month! Today, we’re talking all about strategic marketing plans:

Your strategic marketing plan shows how to market your book for success and serves as a roadmap of priorities and decision-making. Here are the questions that you need to answer for your plan. If you can’t answer these questions with a clear and concise vision, then you’re not ready to launch.

1) Does your plan align with the mission of why you do what you do? For example, let’s say you want to inspire young girls to grow up and be empowered to make good choices. Does your plan align with that message? These used to be called mission statements.
2) Does your plan assess the current environment and fit well within it? Are people reading more e-books? Are they reading paperbacks? What is the average price? What are they reading right now? Etc.
3) Does your plan identify a gap in the market? This is your point of differentiation. Publishing Made Simple came about because we got 15 phone calls in a week asking to answer questions about publishing.
4) Does your plan clarify strategic goals? What do you want your book to accomplish? How long will it take? How much will it cost?
5) Does your plan provide a logical pathway to reach the above goals? This is the ‘how’ you’ll do it.
6) Does your plan provide deadlines, objectives, and troubleshooting? What if the book doesn’t sell 5,000 copies in the first month? Etc.
7) Does your plan include a method for measuring and evaluating the success of the said plan? E.g., you set out to do a school visit four times a month, were you successful?

If you need help with your marketing plan as an author or publisher, you’ve come to the right place. Check out our offerings here: Virtual Courses, Classes, and Workshops – Pandamonium Publishing House or email us for a custom quote based on your needs pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

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FAQ’s What Publishers Want

August 25, 2021-Judge Judy is a staple in our home. We watch it five days a week for the pure entertainment factor and for the sassiness of Her Honour. My favourite thing she does is raise her hands to her mouth and shout, “LISTEN CAREFULLY!” because I can totally relate. Each week, I receive a ton of emails from authors asking for advice. As we finish up what publishers want this month, we’ll be spending the rest of the time answering frequently asked questions. Here’s what we’re talking about today:

Q: I’ve submitted a manuscript four times to the same publication, but I have yet to get published. Why? 

A:  Lean in close because you need to hear this, “THEY DON’T WANT IT.” Why in the world would you submit the same manuscript four times to the same publisher or magazine? The rule of thumb is that if you don’t hear back from the publisher within 3-4 months, you can assume that they’ve passed on your work. Yes, it would be nice if publishers could send you an email telling you that they’re not interested, or even better if they offered advice as to what you can do to improve your work, but the truth is, they’re just too busy! I’m a small publishing house, and I receive 175 submissions per month, minimum, so imagine the big five and how busy they are.  Submitting the same thing to the same publisher only does two things:1) it annoys them, and 2) wastes your time. Your time would be better spent improving your writing skills and looking for ways to continue your writing education. There could be several reasons that publishers pass on your work, but in the meantime, stop thinking about the reasons why and get to work improving your writing skills.

I know this sounds a bit harsh, but I want to be completely transparent with you. Some of you may look at the question posed and think, “Wow, that person doesn’t take no for an answer! Good for them!” but that’s not what publishers see. There’s a difference between being determined and persistent versus obnoxious and annoying.

For more advice from a publisher, 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 Cons of Self-Publishing

August 18, 2021- Yesterday, we spoke about the pros of self-publishing; we can call this part two to discuss the cons of the same subject. The more educated authors are about the publishing industry, the options, and expectations, the better chance they have of being published or at least choosing the best fit for their work.

  1. Initial and ongoing investment. Self-publishing can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000+, and there are ongoing expenses. If you don’t have the funds to invest in an editor, formatted, designer, and publication, it’s going to be a tough road, and you’ll get a less than good product. The point is, most people can spot a poorly done self-published book a mile away based on the cover alone; then they pick it up and can see from the interior that it’s sub-standard. They’ll keep their money and spend it on a book that looks the way that it should, no matter how compelling the story.
  2. Too many hats. You are the person in charge of everything, as mentioned in the post before this one. You’ll be the one answering emails, interviewing graphic artists/illustrators; you’re the marketing and sales team as well as the social media guru. You’re the shipper, receiver, inventory orderer and fulfiller, and the person responsible for maintaining your website. There are at least fifty jobs that you’re responsible for while self-publishing. You could hire some personnel to help you, but most of the time, there’s not enough money left in the budget, so you end up doing everything yourself. This is not only time-consuming but counterproductive. Don’t be a jack of all trades master of none.
  3. People. You’ll need contacts for bookstore signings, graphic artists, illustrators, formatters, a printer, and an editor. You’ll need a group of beta readers, people who will give you honest reviews, and the right distributor. You’ll need an accountant, social media specialist, marketing manager and more. The list is long; be prepared to have a ton of doors slammed in your face before ever getting in front of your target audience.

I don’t say any of this to discourage you, but to be truthful that YOU must be the right type of person to take the rejection that comes with self-publishing. It’s not for the faint of heart or the easily rattled.

Here’s how we can help you on your self-publishing journey: http://www.pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop; check out the classes and services that we offer.

 

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Pros of Self-Publishing

August 17, 2021– During August, we’re talking about what publishers want! We want you to be informed and educated about the publishing industry so that you can make the best choice for your work. Today, we’re talking about the Pros of Self-Publishing; all the good stuff makes this publishing option very attractive to the right person. But, more on that later, let’s sink our teeth into today’s subject:

  1. Creative control. The author is in control of the project from beginning to end; cover design, editing process and changes to the manuscript, the size, page count, layout, formatting, inventory, sales, distribution, price point, and marketing are just some of the things that the author is fully responsible for.
  2. Higher royalty rate. When authors choose to self-publish, they get to keep more money. There is an initial investment on their part to get the book to market, but after costs, the profit is all theirs! Once they get enough sales under their belt to cover the initial investment, the rest is profit in their pocket. Plus, there are additional ways to make money as a self-published author, such as school visits, speaking fees, and lectures, for example.
  3. Continuing ed. Authors should be mindful of furthering their careers and take as many continuing education classes as they can afford. Writing is something that needs to be continually improved upon, and the publishing industry is constantly changing. It’s best to keep up with what’s going on in the market and what it demands. As a self-published author, one can decide where they would like to study as most writing continuing education classes are held abroad. I’ve been fortunate to travel globally to hone my craft of publishing and writing, and the benefits have been incredible. Not only have I been able to see and study new places, but I have build friendships that have lasted a lifetime just from attending writing conferences abroad.

With every good thing, there is always an opposite. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on the Cons of Self-Publishing.

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Cons of Traditional Publishing

August 16, 2021- As we continue our theme this month of what publishers want, we’re touching on the cons of traditional publishing. Last week we spoke about the pros of traditional publishing, so let’s explore the alternative.

  1. You have no control. The publisher is in total control of your manuscript and your book. They choose the parts they want to cut or extend, hire the cover designer and ensure that the book looks the way it needs to whether you like the cover art or not. Publishers turn the manuscript into something saleable because publishing is a business and your book is a product.
  2. Expectations are high. The industry is changing and has been for a while. Publishers now rely on authors to pull their weight. Not only do they expect authors to engage with their readers at book signings and events, they ask them to be active on social media and have an author platform in place before the book is published.  Authors are also expected to promote their books on various platforms. There are minimum sales targets for reprints, and if the book doesn’t reach that minimum, it will not get another print run.
  3. No guarantees. Authors might not get a reprint of their current book or another publishing deal, even if published in the past. Things change all the time, and new authors and ideas come into play. There are no guarantees in publishing or life.

The point is to treat each book as if it were your first; put the work in, be active in the promotion and sale of your book, and keep writing!

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Pros of Traditional Publishing

August 13, 2021- We’re talking about what publishers want during August, and today I thought it might be good to talk about the pros of traditional publishing. Why an author would consider traditional publishing as an option, and on Monday, we’ll chat about the cons. Let’s dive in:

  1. You get paid for your work. This is every aspiring author’s dream, to be paid for their work! After years of struggling, you’ve finally made it! In traditional publishing, the publisher purchases your work and pays you an advance or royalty. All you have to do is write the book and complete the revisions that the editor expects. Plus, you will receive a royalty on your book for the life of the work.
  2. Everything is handled. From your marketing plan to publicity, book signings,  and bringing your book to market, the publisher takes care of it all. They tell you where to be and when. They take care of you and your book from beginning to end. Publishers also handle the sales, payments, earnings reports, and inventory, as well as editing design, formatting, and creation of your book.
  3. Opportunity. Publishers have a vast network of contacts, and from those contacts comes opportunity. Your book and your face have the potential to be in front of a ton of people and media personnel. You’ll have opportunities that most people can only dream of!
    Authors can be found in documentaries (like ours!): https://drive.google.com/file/d/14HpvaRHvxk1T4J4NbRdvXwRQ3VpkAZOs/view?usp=sharing
    in newspapers, on radio segments and podcasts, on blogs worldwide, interviewed on internet segments, YouTube Channels, and red carpets.

There are many pros when it comes to traditional publishing, and publishers want to see that you are informed about how the various types of publishing work. Know what you’re getting into. Happy Weekend, everybody! See you on Monday to talk about the cons of self-publishing.

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Do Your Homework

August 12, 2021– We’re talking about what publishers want this month, and we’ve been dishing out our most helpful tips for authors! Hit the subscribe button on our blog on the right-hand side of your screen so that you never miss a post and remember to follow us on our podcast here: https://feed.podbean.com/jidwkx/feed.xml

Publishers want to see that authors have done their homework; what does this mean? Before submitting your manuscript to us for consideration, we want you to do (or at least know about) the following things.

  1. Word Count. We want you to know the word count for your specific genre and abide by the parameters set out by the publishing industry. I see this all the time with kid’s books submissions; I’ll get a manuscript that is 400 words or the polar opposite at 1000 words; it’s quite apparent that the author hasn’t a clue that the industry standard for children’s books is 800-850 words. It’s important to know the basics and to ensure that your manuscript meets the specific word count. Anything too short or too long will disqualify you.
  2. Unpublished. Did you know that if you’re looking to get traditionally published, none of the manuscripts you’re submitting to us should show up online? It’s considered published at that point, and we won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. Yes, fanfiction is included in this, and E.L. James (author of Fifty Shades of Grey that started as writing Twilight (Stephenie Meyer) fanfiction) is the exception to the rule. We want to ensure that our books and publications are fresh, new, and unique. Also, don’t submit anything that has been previously published.
  3. Only One. Most publishers will not accept simultaneous submissions. That means that submitting to multiple publishers at the same time is frowned upon. Why? It’s an etiquette thing. Picture this; you’ve sent your work out to various publishers without telling any of them about the others. We all decide that we like your manuscript and want to do a deal. Now, I know what you’re thinking-great! Let’s turn this into a bidding war, let them fight over me, and I’ll go with the one who offers me the highest royalty. Well, you’re in for a big surprise if this is your train of thought because not only is it totally unprofessional on your part, but none of us will be fighting, we’ll simply all decline, and instead of a bidding war, you’ll have zero chance of being published with any of us. Submit to one publisher at a time and wait for a response. Don’t jump the gun, or you could be shooting yourself in the foot.

For more advice on what publishers want, 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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Writing Credits…Do they Matter?

August 11, 2021-As we continue with our series this month, which is what publishers want, I wanted to share a question that I’ve been asked more than a handful of times.

“Do writing credits matter, and will they help me get published?”  Let’s start from the beginning!

What are writing credits? Writing credits are basically any accomplishments that you’ve had in your writing. For example, if you wrote a short story for a magazine and they published it, newspaper column, blog post, letters to the editor, or you wrote a play/screenplay that made it to the big (or small screen), you’ve been published before traditionally, or you’ve won a writing contest. Writing credits are usually listed by publication (name of the book, article, contest, or movie), date, issue number (where applicable), page number.

Do writing credits matter to publishers? It depends. It’s seen as a major bonus if a submission comes in with a host of writing credits attached because it means that the author is experienced and they’re probably a good enough writer that we don’t have to spend a ton of time and money on editing. It lets us know that there’s someone else in the world interested enough in what the author has to say that they were willing to publish it and that they may already have a fan base of loyal readers who loved their previous work and will probably purchase their next book. Having writing credits does not guarantee that you’ll be published by the House you’ve submitted to; more factors come into play, such as the story’s strength, character development, and the flow and presentation of the writing. People often compare getting a publishing deal to be less likely than getting struck by lightning.

Writing credits are great for marketing yourself and can look pretty impressive to those who receive them stapled to a query. Let’s put it this way, two manuscripts land on my desk, and both are equally good in the same ways. If one of those manuscripts has a query letter attached that shows the author’s writing credits, I’m more likely to read theirs first versus the other. And if I like both of them, then I lean toward the one with the credentials. Think of it like this; you’re essentially applying for a job as an author when you submit your work, so why shouldn’t you be qualified, just like anywhere else you were looking to get hired.

If you want more advice from a publisher, 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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Do the Work-Hybrid Publishing

August 9, 2021– Publishers can be pretty picky at times. Ok, that’s a lie. We’re picky all the time, but for good reason. Did you know that it costs a ton of money to produce a book? It costs anywhere from $5,000 to $10,00 and up to have a book go to publication. We want to make sure that we at least make our investment back, but publishing is a business, so naturally, we want to profit. That’s why we choose books and authors so carefully!

A few posts ago, I spoke about the importance of meeting my authors in person, and this post will add to that. By meeting the authors I publish, I get a feel for their personality and work ethic by the things they say and the questions I ask. I want to see how invested they are in the success of their book and the outcome of their sales.

I want authors who are willing to do the work. Gone are the days where the publisher does everything (especially in small Houses, but even the big publishers are changing their tune) because, at the end of the day, the public wants to meet you, the author, not the publisher. We do a myriad of things behind the scenes, such as setting up book signing tours, school visits, local presentations, events, signage, inventory, marketing, press releases, and the list goes on infinitely, so why would it be unreasonable for us to expect our authors to pull their weight? That’s why some publishers are going hybrid!

What is hybrid publishing? Hybrid publishing allows the publisher and the author to make equal investments in the project and split the royalties.

Why do publishers like this model? Because it ensures that the author is just as invested in their work as we are. There are a few times (more than I’d like to admit)  where I’ve made a mistake picking authors, and if they had to foot the bill for their book, they probably would have worked a hell of a lot harder. It’s the adage that you appreciate what you work for, not what’s given to you. Ask any kid who had to pay their own way in University or otherwise if they skipped any classes or if they threw responsibility out the window and said, “Ahh, screw it. I don’t feel like going to an 8 am lecture. I didn’t pay for the class, so who cares.” When you have to do your part and are invested, you work harder. That’s what publishers want. If the author doesn’t put in the work, we aren’t out our entire investment.

Why do authors like this model? Because they get a say in their creative work,  they like the support they get from the publisher, and it’s more affordable than going it alone. Traditional publishing means that authors sell their work to the publisher to make the changes that the publisher sees fit. The publisher gets the control because we’re fronting the money. We give you a royalty in return. Hybrid publishing is a collaborative effort between the publisher and the author. The author gets more of a say regarding the manuscript, illustrations (if applicable), and marketing efforts. It’s not as free reign as self-publishing, but it’s closer than traditional publishing.

At Pandamonium Publishing House, we offer hybrid publishing as an option for authors new and existing. I think this model will be used more frequently by publishers in the future because it makes sense. That way, we know that the author is invested in doing the work, and if in the end, for some reason, they aren’t, we haven’t drained our bankroll, resources, and time working with someone who isn’t interested in being successful.

Publishers want authors to work as hard as they do. That’s it. That’s what we want. And if that’s not something you’re willing to do as an author, then maybe this business isn’t for you.

 

 

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We Want Perspective

August 5, 2021– We’re talking about what publishers want this month, and I hope that you’re paying attention if you’re thinking of submitting your work for publication to a traditional House; we’ve got some great tips that can help you!

Today is all about perspective, no-we’re not talking just about narration or point of view in terms of who is speaking in your book, but new, fresh, and exciting takes on stories, ideas, characters, plots, and settings.

When a publisher considers a manuscript for publication, here are three things that excite us:

  1. A new take on an old tale. Have you written a new spin on an old story? Perhaps you’ve unearthed a hundred-year-old European fairytale that resonated with you as a child, and you want to try your hand at switching things up a bit in the story. Picture this- the classic story of Hansel and Gretel but from the house’s perspective, set in modern-day, with a neighbour who could pose as a younger woman who studies the occult and witchcraft. If this story came across my desk, I would certainly entertain the idea of seeing what we could do with it!
  2. Fresh characters. Publishers want to see characters in books that readers will care about. We also want to see characters that are modelled after those in real life. We want differences of abilities, different races and cultures, characters with challenges, and unique beliefs, practices, and physical attributes. This is especially true for children’s books because we want to facilitate inclusion, diversity, and acceptance. Kids can’t be what they can’t see.
  3. A different look. Publishers especially love different illustrative ideas, new art forms for picture books, and innovative uses of space on the page. If you’re an illustrator, this is especially important to set yourself apart from the competition. Think of doing something totally out of the box, as in using scanned images of fabric to create texture and layers, or a style with a paper mache look, or create images that have a ton of depth so that they jump off the page!

The most important thing to remember when submitting your work for consideration is to ensure that your story is strong, the writing is stellar, that you have characters that readers will care about and resonate with, and that you’ve got a fresh take on old problems! All of these things combined make your manuscript practically irresistible to publishers! Check out my number 1 best selling book called Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published) here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books – Amazon.ca