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Pseudo-who?

April 15, 2020– Many very famous (and not so famous) authors (including yours truly) use pseudonyms. Let’s find out who they are and why they use fake names to write under. Pseudo=Phoney, artificial, not genuine Nym=Name.

  1. To write more than 1 book per year. Stephen King used a pseudonym so that he could write multiple books a year. One book per year is the industry standard in publishing, but he found a way to get around the issue by simply changing his name. You wouldn’t want to do this too often because you need to build a following of loyal readers, and that takes time and effort.
  2. To switch genres-I personally do this to protect my young readers from Googling my darker works. Lacey L. Bakker is the name I use for writing kids’ books, and L.L. Colling is the pen name I use to write my adult thrillers. If my young readers do an online search, they won’t find my adults-only books.
  3. To take the pressure off– J.K. Rowling is a perfect example of this. She wanted to write without the pressure and the hype of Harry Potter, so she changed her name and wrote The Cuckoo’s Calling.
  4. To switch publishers-The truth is that publishers own your works and the name that you put on that work. If you change publishers, you’ll have to use a different name, especially if you’re still under contract with the original publisher you’ve signed with.

I’m going to caution you on one thing; if you write a book that has sensitive information in it and you think that by changing your name, you’ll be able to write anonymously, that is not the case. Eventually, something will lead back to you, and you’ll be found out. Also, what if your book really takes off and people want to meet you in person for interviews and book signings? Choose your name wisely! X LLB

rowling

 

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Platform 9 and 3/4

March 18, 2020– First, let me say a very Happy Birthday to my Dad, and to my Nephew, who both celebrate their special day today!

Today we’ll talk about author platforms. What is an author platform, and why does it matter? Let’s get to work.

1) An author’s platform is the way that authors engage with their readers. This means it’s essential for authors to have a voice online and on social media. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, and blogs are all great ways to connect with people. It’s not just about being online, it’s about building and connecting with your readers so that you can share information that is valuable to them. Marketing materials such as feature sheets, postcards, and other handouts are essential parts of a giant cog.

2) Building your platform is a process. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Build your brand (which is YOU) and create connections that are meaningful to all parties. If you’re not going to take the time to do things right, when will you make time to re-do them? Have a strategy going in and make sure that you are being clear about what your message is.

3) Your platform may get you a book deal with a publisher. Yes, we look at your online presence, we look at how many followers you have and the content you’re posting. We look at if you engage with your audience and we look at your online personality. These things matter because if you’re going to represent my House or anyone else’s for that matter, we want to know what and who we’re getting into. I’ve said this a million times before, we are WHO and WHAT we publish.

Keep your nose clean is all I’m saying. What you post online could make or break you.

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A Couple of Things I learned in London!

November 30, 2017-Well, it took me long enough! After visiting the London Book Fair, the largest book fair in the world, in March of this year, I’ve finally decided to share a few of my notes. The presenters were phenomenal, and I learned so much. I’m happy to say that at Pandamonium Publishing House, we are constantly trying to implement these ideas in our works. Here’s just a taste of a seminar I attended titled, Children’s Picture Books, Today and Tomorrow which was presented by Christine Baker…she’s the person who introduced Harry Potter to France!

  • Visual and aesthetic changes based on what is coming out of Europe
  • Core is sharing a story between kids and adults
  • Globalization of illustrative talent
  • Smaller publishers=different esthetics, different graphic styles, RETRO styling and online media influence of graphic styles
  • The changes currently are in regards to children’s books polarization in how to sell to people in the market. Books about food (donut on the front or about a shopping trolley sell insane amounts of books in supermarkets)
  • There is a large spectrum of illustrations, and a slightly alternative style is forthcoming
  • DIVERSITY IS HUGE. Be willing to take risks and be experimental, this will open a lot of doors. It’s good to see things from other countries because that itself lends to diversity. The Gruffalo is a great example of this.
  • Rhyming books can be hard to translate, and books for kids don’t always need to rhyme, but rhyming is fun if you do it right!
  • Non-Fiction Narrative is up and coming in this market
  • Unusual measurements-BIG HUGE books are popular
  • Push the boundaries of art
  • The scale is almost furniture size for up and coming picture books. A couple of kids gathered around a huge book as they read it in front of the fireplace on the floor. ­­­
  • Digital content-This is not so important to have books in an app because there isn’t really a demand for it.
  • Non-fiction books can have illustrations rather than photographs. Eg. Great White Shark
  • Screens and tablets can never replace books
  • Physical touching of a book is best, kids with their parents turning the pages, sitting on laps
  • Apps are only good if what you’re doing is interactive. It must be intelligent because apps are difficult to sell.
  • Heavily illustrated early reader novels (5-8 years) are here to stay!
  • Kids always read up!
  • Cross over books are books between picture books and middle-grade novels
  • Tons of writing is told in the imagery
  • Be untraditional, non-traditional, odd, with a different style. Don’t look like everything else in the market! Stand out!
  • Define and describe new categories illustratively
  • Your book is a work of art, be unique and interesting.
  • It’s all about fantastic stories, adventure, characters kids care about that they want to share with their parents, intriguing covers make you want to know what the book is about.
  • The US is the biggest market for books right now, but the UK is the biggest market for picture books.

Image result for the gruffalo