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The Power of First Impressions

November 23, 2020– A few months ago, I packed Luna into the truck and drove for about an hour and a half to deliver some books that were ordered to an establishment in a small town. It was a new account and I was so excited to chat with the owner of the store, talk about the new release, and see if perhaps we could collaborate in the future by cross-promoting each other.  I was also pumped to browse the items she offered, and I needed to do some shopping!

I arrived at the destination, books in hand and pushed through the front door. No one seemed to be around, so I took a few steps further inside. A woman popped up from behind the counter, and suddenly out of nowhere, there were four sales clerks. “Can I help you with something?” the woman asked, and I said, “Hi, I’m Lacey, and I’m here to meet Jane (name has been changed).” The woman paused, “Does she know you’re coming?” I said, “She sure does! I told her I’d be here today at 11, and here I am!” The woman shot me a glare and said, “What was your name again, and what are you here for?” I explained about the book order that I was dropping off and repeated my name.

The woman finally went to get Jane and returned to the counter to chat with the other workers about me apparently being wrong for waltzing into the place and asking to see the owner. Much to my amusement, the experience with the owner was worse!  I smiled and handed her the books. “Thanks,” she said and spun on her heel and left. I was dumbfounded. Was this actually happening? I stood in place for a moment to see if she was just putting down the books and then coming back. She never returned.

I left the store without looking around, without picking out the three birthday gifts I planned on getting, and without posting the collaboration on social media. I was so disgusted by the entire experience that I vowed never to mention the company by name; I unfollowed them on social media and basically washed my hands of the situation. By the time I had walked back to the truck, my phone had dinged with an email notification…it was from Jane. She said, “Thanks for dropping off the order. The books are great! I look forward to meeting you one day.” I laughed out loud. I emailed her back. I said, “You’re welcome. You already have met me; I was in your store five minutes ago.” My phone rang almost instantly, and Jane was on the other end, explaining that she didn’t know I was the owner etc. etc.

Here’s the thing, it shouldn’t matter if I’m the owner, the driver, the receptionist, the plumber, the janitor, or the intern…everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. That company lost my business that day. They lost my contact, social media support, positive word of mouth advertising, and the wholesale discount I gave them for any future orders. I have no interest in dealing with that business or its employees ever again. First impressions matter! And so do second and third, and fifteenth. I have never felt more like an inconvenience in my life, and I’ve never felt that unwelcome before. It’s too bad because small businesses need our support more than ever. But save your pennies for the places that want to serve you with kindness and respect, the places that are eager to help you and that make you feel welcome.

Your company and your employees are an extension of YOU. You set the standard of care for your customers, and if you’re setting a bad example, why shouldn’t your employees do the same? It all starts at the top. And pleading ignorance is a lame excuse that no one will believe anyway, so don’t bother. Treat people how you want to be treated. It’s that simple. Your first impression can make or break your business!

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Weekly Podcast

September 22, 2020-Did you know that we have a weekly podcast? It’s easy to follow us; all you have to do is download the Podbean app on Google Play or iTunes and search Pandamonium Publishing House! Each Tuesday, we’ll talk about a new topic, and some of our episodes include author interviews, special guests, writing tips, small business advice, all things writing, and more. It’s free to subscribe!

If you’re an author and you don’t have a podcast, here are three reasons why you should consider having one:

  1. To reach your readers– Having a podcast will allow you to reach your readers while they’re driving, working, working out, cleaning, running errands, and at other intervals where they are unable to sit down and read a blog post or newsletter.
  2. To expand your network-There are 60 million people in the United States alone that listen to podcasts each day. A lot of these people may not know about you or what you do, so podcasting could be a new and innovative way to reach a new audience and expand your reader base.
  3. To provide expert information to your listeners– Authors and entrepreneurs are experts in their field. They have a lot of knowledge and information to share that can help others with their books and businesses. It’s nice to be able to speak to an audience of like-minded people in a weekly podcast.

Podcasts are easy, fun, informative, conversational, and valuable tools to have in your toolbox to connect with readers around the world. If you’d like to follow our podcast, click here: https://jidwkx.podbean.com/

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Hierarchy by Maslow

April 3, 2020– Before I became an entrepreneur and author, I studied marketing and advertising among other areas of interest. In marketing, we are taught Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs pretty early on in the course in order for us to identify where our potential clients are,  and where our products would fit in their lives. It’s important for us to remember that this is the way that our characters will experience their lives throughout our book.

For example, a character cannot be self-actualizing if they are worried about food and shelter. I urge you to review your manuscript to ensure that your character is following the hierarchy, not only does it lend to your credibility as a writer, it will speak to your reader on a very personal level as this is all of humanity’s experience.

Maslow’s hierarchy will help develop your characters fully and will let your reader know what motivates them to do what they do and be who they are. Please remember that none of these levels in the pyramid can be skipped, they can be stretched however, but only slightly. Also be aware that there is a expanded version of this hierarchy. If you do happen to skip a level, your reader will question the believability of your work. This entire theory of the hierarchy is that humans have a series of needs, some of which must be met before they can turn their attention towards others.

A homeless character would be focused on food and shelter, the first level of the hierarchy rather than the stock market. Of course, in Hollywood especially, there are always exceptions to the rule. I hope that you will use the resource below to make your characters as real as possible.  If you’re interested in developing your characters fully, please email us for more information on our upcoming Character Development course at pandapublishing8@gmail.com Happy writing, friends! X LLB

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Wake Up!

January 6, 2020– You should be up early, especially if you’re are or want to be a writing entrepreneur. Yes, I’m aware that most writers have day jobs or work shift work or have families and responsibilities other than themselves, but that’s what makes this post so important. What do I mean?

  1. When you get up an hour earlier (or for my shift working friends, go to bed later), you have uninterrupted time. The kids are asleep, the dog is snoring softly in the corner, and all you can think about is the perfect silence that encompasses you at that very moment. No one is demanding more jam for their toast; no one is complaining that they can’t find their favourite hairband, no one is asking for anything from you. This is the ideal time to write with abandon because this time belongs to you and your characters.
  2. When you get up an hour earlier, you have a great sense of accomplishment. You train yourself for greatness. Look at everything you’ve completed as the world slept! Most CEO’s and business owners are up at 5 am. Why? Because they know the value of getting in their fitness time, the value of reading an article in their line of work, the importance of meditation, and the calm that comes when they’ve already shaved down the items on their to-do list. I get up at 4:30 some days, but mostly 5 am, and the first thing I do is hit the treadmill because if I don’t do it then, I probably won’t. Then I’ll write a couple of blog posts for the month or schedule some social media and review my daily list of things that need to be done. This puts me miles ahead of where I would be if I started my work at 9 am. It gives me a sense of control and helps me feel in charge of my day. Plus, at 1 pm, I’ve put in 8 hours, if I need to go to an appointment, or I want to visit with my nephews, I don’t feel guilty because I’ve already knocked off my daily items.
  3. When you get up an hour earlier, your life changes. You start to realize that you’re up chasing your dreams instead of letting them pass you by as you hit the snooze button four times in a row. You start to develop a sense of pride because you’re doing something that not everyone does. You learn more over the course of a year, you become a better writer just by using an extra hour a day to hone your craft, and you have the potential to get healthy if you use your hour to amp up your fitness routine or plan your meals for the day. The point is, this one extra hour can change your life if you want it to.

Don’t pound the alarm. Embrace the quietness of the extra hour of YOU time and use it to realize your potential. X LLB

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It’s Never Too Late!

September 20, 2019- It’s never too late to reinvent yourself. Take it from Paul Tasner who worked for other people for 40 years, before he founded his own start-up at age 66, pairing his idea for a business with his experience and passion! Check out the video below:

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The Difference between Success and Failure for the Authorpreneur

February 15, 2019– I do a lot of talks and host a lot of classes on writing and publishing, and at least once per class this question comes up: What does it take to become a successful author/entrepreneur? Is there a secret formula? Is there a quick fix, magic wand or potion that can help? If you read my blog or have met me in person, you’ll know exactly what I think of that. The short answer is NO to all of the above. What I can tell you is that there are strategies and actions that will lead you to success and that they’re way better than any magic wand.

  1. Believe that you can do it. I know, I know, I’m usually a hard ass that says stop wishing and start working, but I want to remind you that if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will. See? There’s the cynic you’ve all come to know and love. You’ve got to have the mental posture for success. Believing in yourself requires daily dedication, encouragement from within and positive self-talk. What’s that famous saying? Whether you think you can or think you cannot, you’re right!
  2. Have the right people around. I’m talking about everyone from the people you employ to the people you hang around with on a frequent basis; if they’re not forcing you to up your game and become a better author and entrepreneur, then you’ve got the wrong group. If you want to be successful, you have to hang around successful people. Have a mentor, have the right heroes, and have people that you look up to.
  3. Expose yourself to what is new. Did you learn anything today? Your competition did. You must stay on the cusp of what is happening in your industry to stay informed and relevant. The more you learn, the more you earn. Are you reading publications that will make you a better writer? Do you subscribe to content that will make you see things from an entrepreneur’s perspective? Are you learning the business and are you striving to be better than you were yesterday? Can you name the current trends in your industry? If you said no to any of the above questions, you’ve got a lot of work to do.
  4. Take responsibility. Can you guess who is directly, unequivocally, 100% responsible for your success? That’s right, YOU — no one else. When the bus goes sideways, and you’re the driver, you have no one else to blame. Blaming others for your actions, decisions, and ramifications of those decisions is a gigantic waste of your time. And let me tell you something else, if you blame others, you won’t be in business very long. Successful people take responsibility for every choice they make and for everything that happens to them whether good or bad. Your name is on the door so act like it.
  5. Take action. Come on; you had to have known that this was coming if you’re a regular reader of this blog. Action is the only way to get what you want. You can dream about things until you finally wake up and see the world for what it is; the only people who reap rewards are the people who are willing to work for them. Nothing happens until you do something. Don’t be all talk and no action. I can’t stand people like that. You are what you DO, NOT what you say you’ll do.

Here’s to your success! May you get what you deserve. X LLB

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Happy Birthday, Walt!

December 5, 2018– Ok, so today is Walt Disney’s birthday and I know he wasn’t an author, but he was one hell of an entrepreneur! We talk a lot about entrepreneurs on this blog, and as authors and illustrators, well, we are entrepreneurs. Walt was an artist, producer, and game-changer. To celebrate his birthday, let’s look at some interesting facts about the man behind the magic!

  1. He failed. A lot. Legend has it that Walt failed an epic 320 times before getting the financing for his dream of Disneyland. Imagine if he had of given up!
  2. He helped with the war effort. Even though the Disney Company was not in a good financial position at the beginning World War II, Walt decided it was vital that he and his company help in the war effort.  Walt Disney Training Films unit was created which were instruction films for the American military and propaganda films for the American public.  He won an Academy Award in 1943 for his short propaganda film, Der Fuehrer’s Face.
  3. He learned to draw by doing this. Walt spent most of his time at school doodling. He learned to draw by copying newspaper cartoons, specifically from an American Midwest newspaper called Appeal to Reason which his father was an avid reader of. Walt wasn’t interested in the political editorials, but he enjoyed looking at the front page cartoons. At this time there were no animated films or comic books, Walt found the cartoons exciting and the style demonstrated in the cartoons would later appear in his own!

Happy birthday to the legend that is Walt Disney!

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