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Not In My House

May 15, 2021-Since were talking about writing for kids this month, I thought I’d post an interesting link about what a lot of people think of celebrity kid’s books. Turns out I’ve been right all along…kids want chaos, fun, danger, bright colours, and larger than life characters and ideas!

Check out this father’s take on kid lit written by celebrities below:

https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/columnists/meghan-markles-new-childrens-book-the-bench-wont-be-on-our-three-year-olds-reading-list-aidan-smith-3231286?amp

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Editing: The Greatest Challenge to my Writing by guest blogger, Paul Moscarella

April 30, 2021-Today we wrap up our theme of Pushing the Envelope in our writing! Thank you to everyone who read our posts and special thanks to my authors for sharing their methods and ideas in how they push the envelope in their own books. Paul Moscarella, author of Machinia, is our guest blogger today.


​The writing process for me has always been a peculiar outlet that demands my obedience yet gives no instruction for compliance. This manifestation of my active imagination into words began when I was in grade 4. I had selected a book on the shelf of our art class, The War of the Worlds, because the cover art intrigued me. It was a difficult read, but the tale of the Martian invasion had me riveted. After reading that book, I knew that I wanted to share the things that I imagined into something others could experience. But right away I saw that there was a limit to what I could express, mostly because at age 9 emulating the classic writing style of H.G. Wells was beyond my ability! It was a challenge, but I gave every story I submitted in my English class that extra effort that went well beyond what was required. The endeavour paid off as my submissions were always given praise (and high marks). Those were the exciting days, when what was put to paper rarely saw revision greater than a few erased words. The written word was magic, and my pen was the sorcerer’s wand.

​Since that time, the greatest challenge to my writing has been the revision process. Imagination for me has always come easy. Shaping the rough draft into a cohesive well-written form takes continuous effort. Too little self-editing and the rough edges mar the prose. Too much, and the creative inspiration becomes a bland stream of clarified beige. And then, more challenging still, the editor’s feedback! I can get a sentence or paragraph rewritten to the point where I feel it is perfect only to get comments that ask for clarification or a slash through the writing with a simple “No!” So, following the advice I was given numerous times, I’ve learned not to fall in love with sentences, or paragraphs, perhaps even whole pages.

​When the first draft of Machinia was completed in 1992, I never dreamed that a novel of over two hundred thousand words would ultimately be subjected to a thirty-year editing cycle. It eventually emerged as a ninety-thousand-word triumph. It taught me that no piece of writing worth reading ever reaches the published page without the struggle and meticulous challenge of revision. In many ways writing is revision, and each reread gives clarity to what we truly wanted to say in the first place. And whether it takes hours, days, or decades, I’ve learned to treat the revision process as if seeing the prose for the first time.*

*author’s note: this submission was subject to several revisions and my wife’s editing notes.

Get your copy of Machinia here: http://www.pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop/Machinia

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Tag (You’re It)

January 21, 2021-As we enter the final week of our Best Seller Bootcamp, here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/  we have a number of things to still cover! As an author with a platform . are you using your social media to connect ideas with readers? Did you know that there is a specific way to do that? With hashtags! Hashtags are still an effective way to get more people to see your posts when using platforms such as Instagram, and using relevant, targeted hashtags is one of the best ways to get discovered by new audiences.

Hashtags # work by organizing and categorizing videos and photos. A post with at least one Instagram hashtag averages 13% more audience engagement than posts without a hashtag. If you add a hashtag to a post on your Instagram account, the post will be visible on the matching hashtag page that acts as a directory of all the photos and videos that were tagged with the same hashtag e.g., #writersofinstagram.  Hashtags are most effectively used on Instagram although we do see them on Facebook sometimes, but not as often because people are less likely to read/care about them. Quick tips:

  1. Use a minimum of 10 hashtags on your post. This will ensure that you cover your bases and include tags that are relevant to the audience you’re trying to reach. Use a mixture of very popular tags and less popular tags to make sure that your post gets traction e.g. #authorsofinstagram (4.7 million posts) and #authorscommunity (156,000 posts). You can use up to 30 hashtags on a regular post and 10 on your Instastory.
  2. Think outside the (hashtag) box. It’s important to use relevant tags, but most people don’t get overly thoughtful when hashtagging. They use the common, most popular tags, but they’re missing out on a potential segment that could see their post by not being creative. Let’s say that you wrote a science fiction novel, some of the less obvious hashtags could include #manvsmachine, #robothero, #riseofthemachines, #machinesvsman, #newrelease, #dystopianuniverse etc.
  3. Hashtag in the comments. Don’t put hashtags directly in your post, put them into the comments section of Instagram and be sure to include your company or book hashtag e.g. #pandamoniumpublishinghouse.

There is so much more to talk about when it comes to hashtags and using them most effectively to promote your work and your posts and to connect with your audience, so check out our Best Seller Bootcamp where we dive deeper into this subject: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/ and more!

 

 

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Publisher vs. Author Role

January 15, 2021– We are officially half-way through our Best-Seller Bootcamp!  Today we’ll be talking about the Publisher vs. Author role when it comes to marketing a best seller. For my self-published friends, guess what? You’re both! You are the Publisher AND Author, so you especially will get a lot from this post. The publishing industry has changed in the fact the publisher is no longer solely responsible for the marketing of your book. The author and publisher together are responsible for collaborative efforts to get the book to the top of the best-seller list! So let’s break it down to see what the expectations are; that way we find clarity, and there are no miscommunications between either party.

Publishers are responsible for: 

  1. Formatting, publishing, editing, and designing your book. We know what’s saleable and we know what the market is looking for in terms of genre, look, voice, and story. We work with teams of people to bring your book to the marketplace and to put it into the hands of readers.
  2. Marketing materials/digital advertising. Signage, postcards, brochures, business cards, press releases, and displays. We craft the messages and deliver the materials to publicists, the media, book sellers, our social media, and to the public. We create specific, targeted marketing plans for our individual authors and their works and then we execute those plans.
  3. Book signings/ events. The publisher is responsible for booking events and signings on your behalf. We make sure that you’re in the spaces that you need to be such as book stores, community events, digital events, and special events such as Comicon etc. We pay for you to be there to chat with your readers and sell copies of your books.
  4. Getting your book into distribution channels. Amazon, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, Booksellers, independent and local bookstores, online stores, and different countries around the world are where we send your books! As publishers, we work hard to ensure that your book gets exposure by being available to readers everywhere and in as many places as possible.
  5. Digital copies. We ensure that your work is formatted as an e-book so that readers can enjoy it as a digital download. We don’t want any barriers to getting your book to the masses.
  6. Sales. We are responsible for sales (not solely) and royalty payments to the author. Why in the world would we put in all the work above and behind the scenes if we didn’t care about sales? Publishing is a business!

Author responsibilities: 

  1. Writing and edits. Write a great book, this is just the *beginning*of your job as an author. Once you’ve written the book, the real work begins. The editor will make notes and suggested corrections and you are required to fulfil them.
  2. Social media. You are responsible for your author platform. You need to be engaging with your audience, you need to be consistently posting your work and behind the scenes stuff that your readers care about. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Amazon author page etc. are all places to start if you already haven’t. Your author platform should be built BEFORE your book hits the shelves.
  3. Availability. You need to let your publisher know your schedule so that you can be available for upcoming events including in-person and virtual. Commit to doing your part in making your book as successful as it can be. If you put in the work and do it consistently, your book will be a huge success.
  4. Code of conduct. You represent your publisher and are a DIRECT representative of the company. We do not tolerate racism, hate speech, inequality, or anything else that is a violation of the way that we interact with our readers and the public. We expect you to treat others the way you want to be treated and to treat them with kindness, respect, and authenticity. Don’t be rude, check your attitude at the door, and realize that you have an opportunity that most people never get.
  5. Sales. Yep, you read that right. You’re responsible for part of your sales. You are not the only author that the publisher is responsible for, so you had better get to work. If you want that nice, juicy royalty cheque, then take initiative by helping sell your work. You do this by all of the things listed above and by having the right work ethic and attitude. You can tell by your royalty cheque each month how much effort you’re putting in. Don’t like the numbers? Then put the work in and they’ll start to change.

If you’re leaving it up to your publisher to do the work that you need to be doing, you need to re-evaluate your role and contemplate if you should even be writing at all. If you decide that your work ends when you finish writing the book, you will be sadly disappointed. Your publisher has published your book, completed the behind the scenes things such as metadata, marketing, online events, press releases and more, but now the public wants to meet YOU. Have you ever looked at the inside of the book for the publisher name? Probably not. Why? Because we don’t matter, the author matters and the illustrator/graphic designer. The AUTHOR is who people want to meet.

Don’t disappoint your publisher either by doing a half-assed job on your part. Pull your weight, do the things that you’re responsible for because if you don’t, why should we invest SO much time, energy and MONEY into someone who doesn’t care. Plus, if you let us know that you’re not willing to put the work in and do your part, or if you flake out on commitments, or make excuses for not doing your share,  we probably (me ESPECIALLY) won’t invest another CENT into publishing your work or any future works. If you’re not committed, why should we be? That’s the hard truth and I’m not the only publisher who abides by this code of conduct. You want to be a professional author? Then act like it. If you show me that you don’t care, I’ll double down. Those are the rules if you want to play on my team. And if you think that’s harsh, find another publisher, because I won’t lower my standards. DO. YOUR. JOB. because I always do mine.

We want you to succeed! We want you to be a best-seller, but if you don’t do your part, it won’t happen. It’s a lot of work, but worth it! Check out our Best-Seller Bootcamp here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/best-seller-bootcamp-january-4th-31st/

 

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A Special Greeting!

January 15, 2021-Today we have our very own Paul A. Moscarella joining us with a personalized greeting for our Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club! This month we are reading his debut novel, Machinia. Join us every Friday morning at 11 am on Facebook Live as we chat about his new science fiction book. http://www.pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/machinia

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Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club

October 7, 2020- Each Friday on our Facebook Page (Pandamonium Publishing House), we discuss the book of the month that we’re reading. For the past three months, we’ve chosen a book from 6 of the 7 continents (Antarctica has been impossible to find an author), but we’ve visited South America (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist), Asia (Bali Kaur Jaswal, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows), North America (Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes) and now, Europe (Alex Michaelidis, The Silent Patient). We’ll be visiting Australia and Africa next! Each week, we discuss themes, political issues, character development, plot, conflict, and narration within the books. We take questions and comments from readers sent in via email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com. If you’ve ever thought of joining a book club, but haven’t had the opportunity, here’s your chance! Send us an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com, and we’ll add you to our member’s list.

The benefits of book club:

  1. Reading goals. Did you know that most adults read 1 book or less per year? Yikes, that’s not a good thing! By joining our book club, you’ll be able to set and reach your reading goals!
  2. Perspective. Since we chat about the book each week, we can get a different perspective on the characters, themes, and plot from everyone who participates in the discussion.
  3. Unique/Diverse Voices. We choose books that maybe you’d never think of reading because it’s outside your genre, or you’ve never heard of the author. We try to include authors’ unique and diverse voices from a wide range of countries, backgrounds, beliefs, and writing styles.
  4. Friendship. Joining a book club allows you to chat with other members, find things in common, and forge friendships that will last a lifetime.

We hope that you’ll join our Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club! We’ve got some exciting new titles for the rest of the year and 2021. Hope to see you online:)

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Spotlight on Lost and Monkey Around

October 4, 2020– Rachel and I met a few years back at a cat show in Ancaster, where I was selling my very first book, Panda, the Very Bad Cat. She approached my table and said that it’s always been a dream of hers to have a children’s book published. I handed her my card, and a few months later, she sent me a query for her book about lost and found items at a zoo. I told her earnestly that I do not support zoos and that I would not publish a book that had any animals in captivity; we went our separate ways. The rest of the story is a little blurry for me, but I plan on having Rachel as a guest on our Podcast to fill in the blanks, so stay tuned for that at a later date. Another year passed, and I contacted her asking if she’d rewrite the story to have the animals in another setting such as on safari; we struck a deal, and the rest is history! Rachel was paired with our very own, Erin Cutler, who did a wonderful job of bringing the story to life through illustrations. This fabulously funny book will have you roaring with laughter!

Will Lenie ever find her glasses? Join Lenie and her brother, Noah, on a safari adventure full of surprises! Sometimes you might just find what you’ve lost in the most unlikely places! Get your copy here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/lost-monkey-around/

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Advice From A Publisher

September 28, 2020-Today, I’ve taken a page out of my book Advice from a Publisher  (Insider Secrets to Getting Your Work Published) to talk about Synopsis’. This is critical info if you want a shot at being published!

How to write a synopsis: Do you want to know what will make a publisher absolutely lose their mind and throw their laptop onto their front lawn? Read on to find out. No, I don’t mean read on to find out; I mean, when authors say, “Read the book to find out!” Let me explain: The job of a synopsis is to tell the publisher what happens in your book from beginning to end. It’s a snippet of the big picture and gives us the information that we need to know. If you remember from the previous chapter, How to Properly Query, you’ll know that a query letter is a sales pitch. A synopsis is an overview of your book which allows the publisher to identify any major problems with your manuscript, lets us determine if your book is a good fit, and helps us decide if your work is exciting, intriguing, and fresh enough to publish.

Your synopsis must include:

The main character and why we should care about them. What is at stake, and what motivates this character to take action?

The conflict. How does the main character succeed or fail in dealing with the conflict?

Conflict resolution? How is the conflict resolved, and has the character changed or learned anything? THIS IS THE ENDING! DO NOT PUT READ ON TO FIND OUT because your letter will be recycled, and you’ll never hear from us again. Seriously, this drives us crazy.

DO NOT:

Summarize each scene or every chapter. This will take way too long, and you must get your summary across quickly and concisely.

Write this with the tone of a book jacket or back cover. It’s not a marketing piece for readers that builds excitement.

Make your synopsis longer than one page.

Get weighed down with specifics such as supporting character names, detailed settings, and descriptions.

Talk about character back story. We don’t need to know, and frankly, we don’t care. Yes, even for you sci-fi writers, leave it out!

Get wordy. Don’t use eight words when four will do.

For examples of good and lousy synopsis’ check out chapter 7 in my Amazon Number 1 Best Seller book found here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/advice-from-a-publisher-insider-secrets-for-getting-your-work-published/

Insider Secret: Write your synopsis in the third person narrative even if your manuscript is told in first person. Write in the present tense and remind the publisher of the category and genre of your work. Reveal EVERYTHING and never use; it was all a dream endings or beginnings.

Best of luck! I can’t wait to read your work.

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E-Books (The Future of Publishing?)

September 25, 2020– I attended the London Book Fair in England a few years ago, and I was fortunate enough to participate in many classes to continue my education. One of the subjects that came up was e-books, and how they are changing the face of publishing. Here are four reasons why electronic books are essential to offer your customers if you’re an author, especially a self-published one:

  1. Portability. You’ve just bought a new book series to read while on vacation-did you pack your paperbacks, or did you download the books onto your phone, tablet, e-reader, Kindle, Kobo, or laptop? I’m a fan of paperback books, don’t get me wrong, but when I’m on vacation, I like to lounge by the pool and read. I can’t fit all of the books I can read in a week in my suitcase, so I choose to download them instead.
  2. Sharable. A lot of e-books contain bonus information such as additional chapters or new release teasers via hyperlinks. We add hyperlinks to our e-books because our readers can click on a link and be brought to our website where they can find similar titles they may be interested in. Plus, e-books can be shared with friends.
  3. Highlightable. Non-fiction books especially fall into this category. Most people skim the contents looking for things that are relevant to them, and they can highlight which parts they want to remember or refer back to without ruining or damaging the book like they would have if they had highlighted a paperback.
  4. Environmentally friendly. There is no paper or ink or shipping materials used for e-books, which is an absolute advantage to the environment. There is no waste and nothing to throw away.

I’m not saying that I prefer e-books over print books by any means \(nothing beats the textile nature of holding a book in your hands, flipping the pages, and the smell of them). I’m saying that they have their advantages and have a place in publishing. As an author, make sure you’re offering e-books to your readers; it’s essential to give them as many options as possible to enjoy your work. If you search any of our books on Amazon, you’ll find a paperback version and an e-book version; this is just one of the ways we commit to serving you better.

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Wherever You Go (There You Are)

September 24, 2020– Before COVID happened, I popped into an Indigo bookstore in my city. Bookstores are my happy place, and I love to browse the different sections and topics; I always seem to find my way into the children’s area. Often, the store has local author visits where writers can set up a table and sell their books to customers in-store.

I wandered over to the author’s table, and the woman looked up at me as she was sitting there reading a book. I was the first to engage in conversation; I asked her how it was going, and if she had been busy with customers. She told me she hadn’t, and she wasn’t really into the “sales part” of writing and that she preferred to write the books and stay “behind the scenes.”  I asked her what she thought would happen after she published her book, and she said that she hadn’t thought that far ahead. I asked her about her sales goals and if she had a plan for her book going forward. Again, she said she “hadn’t thought that far ahead.” She went on to tell me that she had spent a pile of money self-publishing her book and that now she had a garage full of unsold copies that she wasn’t sure what she was going to do with now. She also said that she wished she had more sales and that she wanted to, at minimum, break even.

I see this a lot, and it’s a shame because her book was quite good and the subject matter was interesting. As an author, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you where you want to be?
  2. What are you doing to get there?
  3. What can you improve?

If we use the woman above as an example to answer these questions, here’s what we come up with:

  1. She is not where she wants to be. What she wants is more sales, she wants to break even, and she wants to get rid of the inventory of books in her garage. She should be specific about her goals.
  2. She is going to book store events, but not much else. She needs to start brainstorming about how she can sell her books—Eg. Online platform, other book stores, schools, festivals and events etc.
  3. There are a lot of things she can improve; the first thing is engaging with customers when she has them in front of her, hand out literature, talk more about her book, get on social media etc.

You can’t hit a target that you can’t see. So are you where you want to be as an author? What goals do you have for your work? How will you get there? What plan of action will you take? How will you improve your current situation? These are important questions that need answers.