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Take My Advice

March 29, 2021– We’re wrapping up our theme of answering your questions this month! I’m having a ball and I hope that you are too. Let’s see what today’s question is:

Q: “What is your number 1 piece of advice for aspiring authors?”

A: Hmmm? This is a tough question! My number one piece of advice for aspiring authors has to be, “You get what you work for, not what you wish for.” I know that many of you who follow my blog, social media, and podcast have heard me say this hundreds of times, but it still rings true. When I started out as an author, I had enough rejection slips to wallpaper the side of my house, but that did not deter me; I kept working hard, improving my writing, continuing my education, and submitting my work to publications. Stick with it and keep working no matter how hard it gets and be sure to take feedback constructively. Becoming an author is all about learning, improving, believing in yourself, and refusing to give up. Here are some tips to remember as you begin or continue your author’s journey:

  • Write down your goals. You won’t ever hit a target that you can’t see, that’s why it’s important to figure out what you want. Your goals can be anything that you want to achieve in your writing career; best seller status, selling x amount of copies, seeing your name in print, getting published, selling your work to your favourite magazine, doing school visits etc. Your list of goals can be small or large, but I’m a big believer in dreaming BIG.
  • Take action. Work on your goals every single day and ignore everything that will distract you from reaching them. It’s one thing to dream, it’s another thing to take action toward making your dreams come true. Dream it, but then do it.
  • Define success. What does success mean to you? Whatever it means you need to define it so that you’ll know what it is when you get there. No one can tell you what success it, but you!
  • Keep your chin up. Yes, you’re going to face rejection, a lot of it, but that’s ok, it’s all part of the journey. In this business we need to have a thick skin because sometimes people can be less than nice; as long as you’re learning and enjoying the process, you’ll get to where you want to go!

Best of luck in your publishing journey! Happy Writing X LLB

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Decisions and Beliefs

February 22, 2021– As we head into our final week talking about  breaking out of our comfort zones, we must explore decisions and beliefs. What we decide and what we believe are integral parts of our success; limiting beliefs do not serve us and will only shrink our experiences, self-esteem, and our inner voice. What exactly are limiting beliefs? A limiting belief is a state of mind, conviction, or belief that you think to be true that limits you in some way. This limiting belief could be about you, your interactions with other people, or with the world and how it works. Limiting beliefs can have a number of negative effects.

Let’s explore some of the most common limiting beliefs that I hear from authors all the time:

  1. I’m too old. What does age have to do with it? It’s nothing but a number.  It’s NEVER too late to follow your dreams, learn a new skill, or get to work on a book! Start today, you are NOT too old and you’ll be even older tomorrow, so what’s the difference? Write the book already! Decide to make time to write. Decide to do it and get started.
  2. I’m not educated enough. Nobody knows it all, and learning is a lifelong quest. But the difference is, as long as you’re willing to learn and upgrade your skills, you can learn anything! So you’re not educated…yet. You can enroll in online classes, continue your education through seminars, and pretty much find anything you want to know about, on the internet. Educate yourself, it’s your responsibility to keep growing as an author. Plus, when you learn more, you earn more. Decide what you need to work on and start today.
  3. I’ve already tried and failed. So? Have you ever accomplished anything perfectly on the first try? Think back to the first time that you tried to ride a bike; you probably needed to work on your balance and get into the path of motion, but all it took after that was a bit of practice and then you became a pro! The same goes for writing; I know I’ve said this a million times, but I’ll say it again, when I first started out writing, I had enough rejection letters to wallpaper the side of my house. EVERYONE has tried and failed; it’s the people who don’t try who should be worried. As long as your trying and failing forward, you’ll eventually reach your goals.

Stop limiting yourself! Stop the negative self-talk and decide to change  your beliefs about your abilities and what you’re capable of. You can do it!

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The Queen’s Gambit

November 13, 2020-I’ve been watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix; what a show! It’s so good, and I’ve never wanted to learn how to play chess more in my life than right now. If we look at the main character, Beth Harmon, we see why she’s so successful in her career. We can use her obsession with chess to inspire our own work ethic when it comes to writing and creating. Here’s how Beth made it big:

  1. She put in the work. Beth practiced playing chess each day for hours, and when she wasn’t playing, she read books, studied the greats, and played hundreds of hours of games.  We need to do the same and schedule our writing time and remain consistent on the path to our author goals. Imagine where you would end up at the end of the year if you started writing a few pages each day!
  2. She sacrificed. When people were partying, Beth was learning all she could about the game. She sacrificed time with friends and time spent doing other activities to perfect her craft, and sometimes we need to do the same to become successful authors.
  3. She had a network of support. Beth’s friends supported her; she had the support of her adopted mother, the janitor at her previous school who taught her how to play, and her previous roommate. She also had the support of people she played against, albeit not at first. You have so many people cheering you on as an author, and you are someone’s favourite writer. People are hoping for your success, buying your books, sharing your posts, and spreading the word about you.
  4. She was generous. Beth took care of those around her, especially her mother. She was generous with her winnings, and when her mother said she would manage her for 10% commission, Beth offered her 15%. Being generous to those who have helped us get where we are is important. We can’t do this alone as authors, and we should thank those who have believed in us from the start and pushed us to fulfill our potential.
  5. She believed in herself and her abilities. A lot of people didn’t believe in Beth, especially when she first started. But that didn’t matter, she believed in herself, and she refused to give up. The same thing happens to us as authors; people ask how we’re going to survive on an artist’s income, or are we sure that we want to write a book and be totally vulnerable to everyone who reads it. We must believe in ourselves and our abilities as artists. People will always have something to say, but it’s our belief in ourselves that matters most.

If you haven’t watched it yet, I hope you’ll tune in to The Queen’s Gambit. It’s a remarkable take on fulfilling one’s destiny and the work that needs to be done to get there.

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What Do You Do?

September 9, 2020– How many times have you been asked, “What do you do?” Probably a lot, especially when at a gathering where you’re meeting new people. I was at a party once where this question came up (which was not directed toward me), and the person answered, “Oh, I’m just an author. Well, not really an author, I publish my own stuff, but I don’t have a publisher or anything…” From across the room, I watched as the woman squirmed in the corner and shifted her feet with cocktail in hand, and I wanted to grab her by the shoulders, look into her eyes, and say, “Start again, this time with confidence! Repeat after me, I AM AN AUTHOR. Period. That’s a complete sentence.” 

How many times have you downplayed your writing skills or talents? A few, I’m willing to bet, especially since most authors are introverts who don’t like to toot their own horn. But it’s crucial that you say you’re an author with conviction because if you don’t believe it, no one else will. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re published, unpublished, in the submission phase, have a few things in small publications, a blogger, a poet or whatever else, YOU ARE AN AUTHOR. 

Why does this matter? Because sooner or later, what you say and think about most, becomes reality. As long as your writing and improving your craft, it’s only a matter of time before someone says yes after a whole bunch of no’s. It drives me insane when authors say that they’re not real authors because they’ve self-published. All that means is (if they did it right and invested in a quality editor, cover designer, and formatter) that they wanted to keep control of their project and work from beginning to end. Yes, there are a few self-published works out there that give the good guys a bad name, but for the most part, self-published books (when executed properly) are impossible to tell from traditionally published books. 

So, start believing in yourself! You’ll be glad you did. X LLB 

 

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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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Who Shouldn’t Be an Author? Here’s Who…

January 21, 2019– Being an author is fun! Book signings and launch parties, and seeing your book on the shelf in the bookstore are definite perks of the job, but there’s a certain type of person who shouldn’t be an author. I’m not saying there are people who can’t be authors, I’m saying that there are people who shouldn’t be authors. Ready to find out who those people are? Here we go! You shouldn’t be an author if:

  1. You aren’t willing to physically work hard. Know what’s funny? That most people think that being an author is easy and that the hardest part is writing the book. Well, I’m here to smash that misconception into a million shiny pieces and tell you the truth. The truth is, being an author is hard. It’s physically and mentally demanding and if you don’t believe me, follow me around during the day of a book signing or launch. Who sets up the table? Who plans the display? Who brings the books? Who gets the dates and locations sorted? Who orders the inventory? Who makes sure that the signage and marketing are on point and convey a purposeful message? Who advertises the event? Who invites everyone they know? Who does the social media promotion? Who stands there for hours in the middle of a store promoting their book while the general public ignores them or pretends not to see them? Who takes a gamble on events and drags everything they own to said event just in the hopes that they’ll sell their books? WE DO. AUTHORS DO. No one does it for us, and we are directly responsible for our success. Oh, and if you’re thinking, yeah, but if you’re traditionally published your publisher does all of this for you. WRONG. The tides are turning and now, more than ever, authors are responsible for most of this stuff, if not all.
  2. You hate and/or are scared of rejection. I’ve personally been rejected enough times that the rejection letters could easily wallpaper the side of my house. But did I give up? No. If you hate rejection, give up easily, are easily discouraged and allow people’s opinions to dictate your success or allow those opinions to force you to give up on yourself and your dreams, being an author isn’t for you. To be in this game, you have to welcome and get used to rejection, because every no, leads to a yes eventually.
  3. You have a thin skin. You will be ridiculed, have people pick apart your work, have people tell you that they hated your book and that you’re a no talent hack, you’ll have people (my extended family) unfollow you on social media because they say you post too much, you’ll get hate mail, you’ll have people say that you should move on to something different, you’ll be reviewed online with less than stellar reviews, you’ll take complaints, and you’ll be absolutely hung by your ankles by people who attended your speaking engagement and said the best part about your speech was your shoes. Yes. This is just a piece of what I’ve experienced as an author. And this isn’t even the worst part. As an author in the public eye, you’re subjecting yourself to all of this and more. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. But, you have a choice to either take what these people say, believe it and get out of the game forever, or you can keep going, keep improving, and keep living life on your terms. Let’s face it, the only people who are going to discourage you from living your dream, are the people who gave up on theirs.
  4. You lack discipline. You’re late, or you miss deadlines, or you aren’t writing every single day of your life, or aren’t willing to do late nights and early mornings, being an author is something you should seriously reconsider. Authors, I would like to think, are some of the most disciplined people on the planet. We do the things we have to do before doing the things that we want to do. Would I rather be outside or poolside, or on vacation, or reading a book instead of writing one? Sure, but there are things that need to be done before any of the other things can take place. A quote that I have hanging on the wall above my desk reads, “You will not always be motivated, so you must learn to be disciplined.” This keeps me in check and reminds me that even though I don’t feel like writing, editing, working, running my business today, or whatever it may be, that I’m going to anyway no matter how I feel.
  5. You are horribly shy and/or unwilling to interact with the public. People don’t buy your book, they buy you. Your success is hugely influenced by the way that you interact with the public. If you’re at a book signing and you think that you’re going to sit in the chair behind the table with a stack of books, with hands folded in front of you, waiting patiently for people to line up to see you, you’ve got another thing coming. YOU ARE NOT STEPHEN KING AND NO ONE IS HERE TO SEE YOU. Read that again and if you’re offended by that, send me some hate mail, or re-read number 3 on this list and get over yourself. You have to hustle, you have to interact, and you genuinely have to be interested in your readers. You have to get out there, approach them, and tell them about yourself and your work. If you’re not willing to do this, find another career because you’ll never cut it.

Are you one of the people who shouldn’t be an author? I hope not, but if so, remember that it’s never too late to change. X LLB