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Digital Integration

September 15, 2021– Our theme is continuing education for authors this month and today, we’re talking about Integrating Press Releases with Social Media. Here’s what I learned while studying Crafting Viral and Contagious Content at Wharton Business School; let’s dig in:

I know what you’re thinking…press releases in this day and age? Yes. But let me explain:

Even though we aren’t only dealing with news outlets, radio stations, and newspaper journalists, press release distribution is still important. Influencers, bloggers, e-zine authors, editors, and online publications are essential in getting the word out about your books.

Social media is a great way to engage with your audience, be used as a public relations medium, and are relatively cost-effective when it comes to comparison pricing in traditional advertising. Have you ever heard of a Snap-Chat model? Yes, this is a real thing, and they’re pulling in over six figures a year (sometimes a month, sometimes per post). Social media has now surpassed all forms of advertising when engaging and interacting with your audience. It’s got a personal approach behind it, and there are ways to integrate it with press releases. Here’s how:

  • Brand Recognition-building brand recognition is the main goal for all businesses. Getting your name in front of an audience is essential to your success and brings you publicity at an extremely low or even free cost. Posts like your participation in community events, people seen with your book, or a link to a podcast or article you’ve been featured in are excellent tools for building your brand. Adding your social media to your press release where your images are linked will help build your brand quickly and effectively. Essentially, people will go ‘down the rabbit hole.’
  • Driving Traffic- Driving traffic to your website is imperative to your success. Online press releases will have a link to your website and social media where people can learn more about your products, what you do, why you do it, and the story behind the story.
  • Improve Rankings- When you send out a digital press release with inbound links to your site, you improve your site and social media rankings, not only by acquiring new followers/customers, but Google also heavily celebrates rich content by moving your site up their search list. Your visibility on preferred search terms will also increase especially if you include keywords in your press releases.
  • In the News- Journalists who write about you, bloggers and podcasters who interview you, and radio stations who have you on as guests boost your credibility and extend your reach. Adding all of the places you’ve been featured to your press release will encourage others to check out your work, the articles, and links.
  • Announcements/Events- Putting out a digital press release that lets the media, the public, your readers, and everyone else know where you are and what you’re doing (e.g., a book signing, vendor at a street festival etc.) while announcing your product is the most traditional use of press releases (especially when announcing a new book).

Top Tips:

  • Bloggers– Using them as a distribution channel is a genius way to get the word out. Identify the appropriate bloggers and other influencers and get them to post your news. The best way to do this is to email them (or email them a link to your press release) to see if they would share your article with their readers. You’re pitching them your book so give them all the info they require to share. Also, mention why your press release would be a good fit for their blog. E.g., A mental health for kids blog that shares your press release for your new book on emotions and techniques for kids to cope.
  • Content Matters– Interest level, content, tone and engagement are keys to a compelling press release and getting people to share. When going digital, keep it to 400 words or less!
  • Use Hashtags and Key Words– As usual, hashtags and keywords matter. Be sure that keywords and tags are included in your press release’s headline or first paragraph, and use some of your primary search terms.

Education in this space is so important as the world is digitally moving at a breakneck speed, and you don’t want to get left behind!

 

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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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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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Publishers and Positivity

August 4, 2021– Yesterday we talked about the importance of authors having a clean social media profile because they are an extension of and representative of the publisher and the House. Today, we’ll focus on the importance of positivity and why it matters to publishers.

During normal pre-pandemic times, I met every author that I was interested in publishing, face to face at a coffee shop or for lunch. Now, I meet them via Zoom, Facetime, or at the very least, over the phone. Why? Because I like to know who I’m working with and if we’re a good fit for them as their publisher and if we’re a good fit for them as an author. I like to know if we mesh, if we share any of the same values, and to get a glimpse into their personality.

To be honest, not a lot of publishers do this and 99 percent of them never meet the author! Because we’re a small House, I think it’s especially important to personally meet every individual on my team because we work so closely together and there’s a ton of communication between all of us. I especially love it when authors are energetic, enthusiastic, and upbeat! Here’s why positivity matters to publishers:

  1. Happier-We want our authors to be happy as they interact with the public and readers; we love authors who have a positive mindset because they’re naturally charismatic and wonderful to be around. Happy authors inspire new and upcoming writers/authors, and for publishers, that is our mission.
  2. Healthier-Authors who are optimistic are healthier in terms of their outlook on the world, taking on responsibilities, and having a strong work ethic. We know that book signing tour schedules can be gruelling and can take a toll mentally and physically, so positivity is very important in that regard as well. Everyone knows that happiness is contagious.
  3. Wealthier-Happy authors make more sales and that means more money for them! As publishers, we pay a royalty to the author on every book; the more sales, the higher the royalty. Happy authors are wealthier not only in their pocketbooks but also in the opportunities they get and the relationships they forge.

Positivity is important and publishers can’t wait to work with authors who are cheerful, lively, and pleasant. It makes our jobs better, our team brighter, and our readers smile.

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Marketing Yourself as a Public Speaker

July 29, 2021-Tomorrow we officially wrap up our month-long theme of Public Speaking for Authors! Let’s dive into our subject today which is tips for marketing your author self as a public speaker. Here are 3 things to help:

1) Video-If you’re trying to get public speaking gigs to talk about your new book for example, you can send out an email linking the prospect to a video sample of you speaking or to your YouTube channel that has relevant content such as you giving a presentation, lecture, talk, author interview etc.

2) Podcast-Your podcast is an extension of your ability to speak clearly, enthusiastically, and professionally while showcasing your knowledge and expertise. Linking to your podcast for those interested in hiring you gives them a sample of your skills.

3) Facebook/Instagram live-Authors often use Facebook and Instagram live to chat about different things in a conversational tone while interacting with their audience. Use this to your advantage and link your social media samples for your prospect to see. It’s also a great way to show them that you’re relaxed, can think on the fly, and that you can answer questions from your viewers with ease and confidence.

Public speaking for authors can open new doors and opportunities for you to share your work and your skills!

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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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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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Data (No, not the dude from Star Trek)

October 13, 2020– As you know, I’ve been continuing my education with a few new courses that I found really intriguing. I’ve completed Consumer Neuroscience and Neuromarketing at the Copenhagen School of Business. I’m almost done my course at Wharton Business School on Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content. I’ve learned many things, but today I’m going to focus on what I really enjoy, and that’s data.

I can hear a couple of you sighing from behind your screen right now, but trust me, this kind of data tracking, analysis, and integration will help you meet your goals for your business. Companies mine data all the time but what does that mean?

Data mining in the most simplistic forms is gathering data, analyzing it, and using it to know your consumers better. When we know who are consumers are and have a firm grasp on what they do, how they behave, the things they buy, and how they find our products, the better we can serve them and fill their needs. This is also called Customer Analytics.

Let’s do a case study so that you understand what I mean:

We have an email list of 5,000 subscribers. 500 of those subscribers are men, 4,000 are women, and 500 are teens. If we are going to spend our money on a children’s book marketing campaign, we need more information and we need to further break down our list.

500 teens are immediately disqualified because they aren’t in our target market. Yes, there is some variable data that suggests that some teens are already parents, but lack the median income or disposable income needed to purchase books for their children. This is a sweeping statement and used as a general example and is not intened to offend or exclude anyone. That leaves us with the women and men. We know from previous data that most women are the primary purchasers in their homes. Out of the 4,000 subscribers, 3500 of the women are between the ages of 30-39. Women between the ages of 30-39 (based on the data we have from our webstore analysis) are the primary purchasers of children’s titles on our site. If we break that number down further, we see that 500 women are from Oakville, 500 from Toronto, 1,000 from Hamilton, 1,000 from Niagara, and 500 from other places in Southern Ontario. Again, we retrieved this data from analytics on our site. We decide to use data from previous sponsored ads on Instagram and Facebook to see how much of a response we’re getting and from who. We see that out of 500 views, we have 100 clicks on our site. Out of those 100 clicks, we see that 40 of them were for a specific title and were clicked on by women from Hamilton and those women used Instagram to find us (as the program segments it).

What does this mean? Well, the data tells us that they were interested in a specific children’s book, it tells us that they are from Hamilton, and it tells us that they’re active on social media (Instagram specifically). This also let’s us know that they’re on the younger end of the age spectrum from ages 30-35 if they prefer Instagram over Facebook as their main source of social media, plus the data collected confirms it.

How does this help us? It helps us in a number of ways; the data shows that we should be marketing a specific book, to a specific region, to a specific age group, at a certain time. We’re combining knowledge that was filtered from our ad, and what we know about the best times to post on Instagram. Now we can tailor our marketing plans to have the most effective reach and impact for our consumers so that they can find our products with ease and efficiency.

There’s so much more to know about how analytics and data can help your small business and entrepreneurs that I couldn’t possibly fit it all in one post. If you’d like more information about how the experts at Pandamonium Publishing House can help you collect and filter your data, send us an email at pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

 

 

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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.