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Fear Hierarchy

July 26, 2021– This week, we’ll be wrapping up Public Speaking for authors, which was our theme for July! Today we’re going to focus on something really cool that I had no idea existed until a few days ago; let’s dig into Fear Hierarchy and how authors can use it to overcome their fears of public speaking!

What is Fear Hierarchy? It’s defined as a list of fears in order of least afraid to most afraid with the goal of exposure to the situations to dispel the fears listed. As you immerse yourself and check your list off one by one, your confidence will grow, and you’ll be speaking in public as an expert in no time!

Sample hierarchy list: (Remember, this has to be unique to you! Write your list from least to most afraid)

  1. Read an article out loud to a friend. A newspaper or short article from a magazine will suffice.
  2. Ask a question. Next time you’re at a meeting, conference, or retreat, raise your hand and ask a question.
  3. Make a toast. When you’re out to dinner with family or friends, make a short, impromptu toast to celebrate being in each other’s company and enjoying your time together.
  4. Host a book club talk. By hosting book club, you’ll get to dig into subjects that matter to your participants. Maybe you want to talk about plot structure, setting, or character development, but whatever you choose, leading the talk will help you practice speaking to a larger group with a clear idea in mind.
  5. Speak to a small group about a subject you’re passionate about. Maybe it’s in a library setting, at a local chapter of crime writers, or a writing group of up-and-coming authors who are interested in publishing children’s books. Testing your skills in a small group is less intimidating than standing on stage in front of hundreds of people. This will let you test the water, answer real questions, and interact with your listeners.
  6. Host a workshop or class based on your knowledge. Now it’s time for the big show! You’re the featured speaker, and this is the thing that scares you most on your list! By now, you’ve had some great exposure and are ready to share your knowledge with your audience confidently.

Make a fear hierarchy of your own and expose yourself to the public speaking situations that intimidate you. Before you know it, you’ll be an old pro who has no fear of getting up on stage and saying your piece!

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Practice Distraction

July 20, 2021– We’re talking about public speaking all this month for authors and today, we’re going to touch on a subject that happens often enough, but hopefully not too frequently! As authors, we know it’s part of the job to give talks, book signings, workshops, and live readings, but along with an audience comes distraction.

What do I mean? I mean that anything done in front of a live audience runs the risk of hiccups! Whether it’s tech issues, a crying baby, a restless elementary classroom, coughs and sneezes, or a pinging phone, there will inevitably be distractions. Yes, even with a room full of adults, there will be things that happen that you can’t control.

So, how do we remedy this? Preparation is necessary and going into your speech/presentation, EXPECTING distractions will help prepare you the most. Instead of derailing your speech, you’ll stay focused and on topic. Here’s how to practice distraction:

  1. Turn up the volume. Turn on the television, turn up the radio, and set a timer on your phone so that it goes off every few minutes. By practicing your presentation with distractions on a huge scale, you’ll be able to handle the little ones that will, no doubt, come up during your speech. If you can stay focused with all of the noise going on in the background, you’re ready! If not, keep practicing until you can.
  2. Enlist your family. Ask your family to fill in as your audience as you perfect and practice your speech. Get them to cough, shift in their seats, whisper to each other, and receive notifications on their devices while you’re presenting because these are things that happen in reality presentations. This will prepare you for when these things happen to you during your public talk.
  3. Get winded. Practice your speech while exercising. Why? Because when most people step on stage to speak to an audience, their heart rate elevates, their pulse quickens, and they get winded because of the adrenaline rushing through their body. Exercise is the best way to mimic what happens to most people on stage, and if you practice your speech while walking or running, you’ll dull the sensation/anxiety, and your brain will say, “We’ve been here before; it’s all good. I know what this is and why it’s happening; we’re just exercising, no need to panic.” Plus, if you use the space of the stage you’re on effectively, you’ll move around (not too much to distract from your message) and gesture to your listeners.

Practicing distraction is an excellent way for authors to stay focused and on track during their presentations!

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Benefits of Public Speaking

July 12, 2021-I hope you’re enjoying our theme this month of public speaking for authors and that you’re learning a lot!

Today we’ll talk about 3 benefits of public speaking for authors, let’s dive in:

1) Career advancement-You never know who will be in your audience! Maybe there’s a new client, a new reader, or someone that can book you for a speaking engagement at their company. The possibilities are endless and overnight your career can advance if you put on an engaging, exciting, and interactive chat. Plus, public speaking is a great way to build credibility as an author and be seen as an expert in your field.

2) Boost Confidence-By doing the things that scare us the most (public speaking for 90% of people), our confidence grows. Public speaking is just the thing that can take authors out of their comfort zones and help them grow and flourish in their writing careers. We turn our weaknesses into strengths by pushing the limits of what we find uncomfortable and doing it despite the discomfort.

3) Better Writing-Preparing a speech or developing a presentation is no easy feat even though we are professional writers. We need to have a message, but we also need to tailor that message to meet the needs of our audience so that they get a ton of value from what we’re saying. By sitting down and working out the details of our speech, we become better writers who are more concise, fluid, and organized in our thoughts and what we need to accomplish.

You can open yourself up to a whole world of opportunity, by publicly speaking as an author, that can quite literally take you and your books around the globe. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to write a speech and best practices. Stay tuned!

 

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Children’s Books Squared

May 20, 2021-As we continue our theme for children’s book writing this month, we need to talk about an important element of kid’s books; we’re not talking about margins, bleeds, or gutters, although those things are essential and will make or break your picture book, we’re talking about orientation!

Did you know there are hard and fast rules for the type of book that you’re writing when it comes to orientation? You should know what the standards are, especially if you’re self-published. You MUST choose your orientation immediately because this will affect everything going forward. The last thing you want to do is piss off your illustrator and make a change at the end when everything has been formatted and oriented for a specific way. Choose the orientation early based on these guidelines:

  1. Vertical– Character-based books are best showcased this way. A vertical orientation with a big illustration of the main character is an excellent way to draw readers to your book! It also looks great on the shelf in the bookstores. Think Panda the Very Bad Cat available here: Panda the Very Bad Cat Collection! – Pandamonium Publishing House
  2. Horizontal-Books that illustrate a journey are best orientated this way. Stories about a journey through time or an adventure of adoption from the eyes of a puppy! Think Oswald’s surprise by Jake Evanoff available here: Oswald’s Surprise by Jake Evanoff – Pandamonium Publishing House
  3. Square– Instructional books are what’s best for square orientations. Subjects can include potty training, bedtime routines, and how-to. Think Berenstain Bears or Clifford the Big Red Dog books.

There’s a lot to know about writing books in general, but even more to know about writing books for kids!  If you’d like a price quote on how we can help your self-published book get off the ground, we’re happy to help! Send us an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com for a personalized, free quote.

 

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Strive, Study, Try and Test

April 20, 2021-Sometimes we all need a push to get us to take risks. During April, we’re talking about how to push the envelope in your writing and today’s post takes that a bit further. Let’s talk about pushing the envelope by committing to yourself and your writing. Here are some great ways to take your writing to the next level:

  • Strive to learn new things. When is the last time you’ve taken a class, workshop, or writing seminar? What have you learned recently that will improve your writing? If you haven’t learned anything new, how can you expect to write differently or get a different result in your submissions? I’m a huge advocate for continuing education and learning as much as possible. But you have to put what you learn into action to have any result!
  • Study different methods. How can you possibly push the envelope in your writing if you don’t study different storytelling methods? There are so many ways to change the narrative, a ton of ways to outline, hundreds of different ways to push your characters to the max, and infinite ways to improve your writing. If you’re not learning new ways of writing and the elements that writing includes, you will be stuck until you change something.
  • Try out radical ideas. Remember when choose your own adventure novels were unheard of? Or collaborating with other authors on a series just wasn’t done? What about alternate endings? You owe it to yourself to test new ideas and see what develops. Who cares if it doesn’t work? At least you’re expanding the possibilities and trying new things.
  • Test the boundaries of what is safe or acceptable in any given situation. Have you heard of this book? Marian Engel’s 1976 novel Bear, which tells the story of a relationship between a woman and her bear (yes, the animal) lover, has been called one of the most controversial books in Canadian literary history. Yeah, pretty weird, but it pushed the envelope and is now infamous for its departure from the norm.

Don’t be afraid to push yourself in your writing; you never know where it can lead! To continue your education with us, check out some of our classes and workshops here: Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House, Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House, Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House, Course: Get Your Book Noticed and Increase Your Sales – Pandamonium Publishing House, Novel Writing Course – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Pressed For Press Releases

March 26, 2021– Happy Friday, Friends! I hope that we’re in for a nice weekend. Next week, we’ll be wrapping up our theme for the month in which I answer your most asked questions. It’s been a really fun experience and I’m grateful to the people who sent in questions via email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com. Let’s see what the question is today:

Q: “I’m reading a lot about press releases and the importance of them when a new book launches. I’ve self-published and I’m wondering how to write one. Can you help?”

A: Great question! The main function of a press release is to announce to the media that you have a new book out and why they should talk about it/read it. Press releases contain the following things:

  • The title of your book. This is self-explanatory.
  • Where to purchase your book. Sometimes, the media such as newspaper reporters, bloggers, and book editors get free copies of books for review, but not always. Most are happy to purchase a copy to support the author and many of them pass the press release on to friends and colleagues that may be interested in reading you book. Be sure to include the websites, bookstores, the publisher’s website, and anywhere else your book is sold. You can also include social media handles provided they are your professional ones (e.g., Book pages, author page, Youtube Channel, Book Trailer etc.).
  • Author information. A short bio works well to introduce you to your readers. Include things that are relevant like your education, interests, and anything you’ve previously had published. It should be short and to the point. Also, some authors include where to reach them as in an email address. For example, L. Colling was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada and still resides there today. She’s completed her education in literature in New York, Boston, and London. Obsessed with Her is her first thriller. Including a professional looking headshot of yourself is always a plus. Plus, if you’ve won any awards for your book, mention them.
  • Reviews. Positive reviews from satisfied readers are always excellent to include. Reviews let people know why they should read your book and potentially what they will enjoy about it.
  • An interesting tidbit. This is the blurb usually found on the back cover. It’s a brief synopsis, usually no more than a short paragraph that’s a teaser for what’s inside!
  • Make it clean and uncluttered. We don’t want the press release to be visually overwhelming. When there is too much info, especially info that is disorganized, it looks not only unprofessional, but it’s hard to read and understand the message that you’re trying to convey.

To contact your local press, do a Google search; start in your hometown and branch out from there. Local authors with new books make great news articles and interviewees for podcasts, blogs, etc. Happy Writing X LLB

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Tips for Self-Publishing a Book

March 17, 2021-First off, let me say a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our very own, Tim Ford! He’s the author of the Mitch Strongbow Series and is coming out with a new book, Freedom, very soon. Stay tuned for details about a release date, but in the meantime, check out his series here: A Jungle is Still a Jungle – Pandamonium Publishing House, Criminology 101 – Pandamonium Publishing House, Chasing Dragons, Slaying Demons – Pandamonium Publishing House, Inside Looking Out – Pandamonium Publishing House.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the theme of this month where I answer your most asked questions about publishing, writing, and being an author. Here is today’s question:

Q: “I’m thinking of self-publishing a book and I’ve got all of the mechanics in place to do so, but are there any tips you could recommend to make the process a bit smoother?”

A: Sure thing! Congratulations on your self-publishing journey, I can’t wait to see what you’ve written. Here are a few pointers that you don’t want to skip.

  1. Hire a professional editor. It’s easy to spot a self-published book within the first few pages. A lot of self-published books forgo editors to save time and money, but it’s a huge mistake! Editors ensure that the book reads the way that it should and correct grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and flow. Invest in an editor, you’ll be glad you did.
  2. Cover art matters. Don’t skimp on the cover art because it’s what helps sell your book. People look at the cover first when choosing a book, then they flip to the back, and then the inside. The cover of your book is the first impression. Hiring a cover artist, if that’s not your forte, is a wise decision!
  3. Work with the experts. Self-publishing can be a daunting task, but there is no need to go it alone. Work with experts in the field that will answer your questions and guide you in the right direction. We offer consultation services at Pandamonium Publishing House for self-publishers. Send an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com for your custom price quote.
  4. ISBNs are free. Some less than reputable consultants/businesses will say that there’s a charge for International Standard Book Numbers, but there is not. ISBNs are free and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  5. Define your goals. What are your goals for your book? How many do you want to sell? What do you want to accomplish with your work? You can’t hit a target that you can’t see!

Best of luck on your self-publishing quest! If you’d like to check out some of our classes, click here: Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House, Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House, Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House, Course: Get Your Book Noticed and Increase Your Sales – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Descriptions Matter

January 28, 2021- What’s the first thing we do when we pick up a book? We flip it over to read the back cover. Why do we do this? Because we want to know what’s inside! Hopefully the description of the story  intrigues us and helps us make a buying decision. How you write your book description can make or break your best selling author status! Think of your book description as a teaser for a movie. Here’s how to write a great description that can entice people to buy your book:

  1. Ask a question-Asking a question to your reader on the back cover, immediately engages your audience. For example, for my book Obsessed with Her, I posed the question, What would you do if your child was missing? How far would you go to find out what happened to her? The reader will personally and internally answer these questions on the spot! If my child was missing, I would go out of my mind, I would be beside myself. I would do whatever it takes to find her. What happened to the child? What if they never find her? I need to know and I need to read this book! See how that worked? A question posed will never go unanswered.  Obsessed with Her: Amazon.ca: Colling, L. L.: Books
  2. Leave them hanging-Give your potential reader a tiny taste of what’s in the book. My biggest pet peeve is when movie trailers give up all their best parts in the trailer; it’s so disappointing when we’ve already seen the ‘meat’ of the movie this way. Don’t make the same mistake with your book description, give your audience just enough to leave them wanting more. Here’s a great example from the book Machinia-Cybersecurity officer Damon Maxwell wakes from cryogenic sleep expecting to be ten years into his future but instead finds himself in the robot ruled empire of Machinia, 2156! Welcomed by Machinia’s omnipotent leader, the Universal, Damon learns that his extraordinary journey is part of a complex plan by the Universal to bait Machinia’s deadly enemy, the Underground into action. But the Universal’s brilliant robot aide, Nepcar, fears his leader’s dangerous scheme and pairs Damon with the beautiful and mysterious Cynthia Lhan hoping their union can prevent a catastrophe. Yet, even as the Universal’s plans fall into place an enigmatic figure appears in Damon’s life that even the mighty Universal is powerless to control. Will Damon ultimately be the destroyer of the robot race or its saviour? Machinia: Amazon.ca: Moscarella, Paul A., Goubar, Alex: Books
  3. Brief Synopsis– Could you imagine reading a book with no description? That would certainly be an odd experience! A brief synopsis of the book let’s your reader decide if they are interested enough about what’s inside to buy the book. Here’s my book Becoming James Cass as an example: It’s business as usual for James Cass, who is a doctor, a father, a husband, and a murderer. With a penchant for prostitutes and an appetite for alcohol, his life spirals out of control, one terrifying event at a time. Will he ever be able to atone for his sins? Or will his demons drag him to his grave? Becoming James Cass: Amazon.ca: Colling, L.L., Goubar, Alex: Books

The methods above work for every genre from kids books to thrillers and everything in between. When describing you book ensure that it’s intriguing to you too; always read the description from your reader’s perspective-you’ll instantly know if it works or not. We’re wrapping up Best-Seller Bootcamp January 4th-31st – Pandamonium Publishing House tomorrow, thanks to everyone who joined us during this exciting course, we hope you enjoyed it!

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Marketing Calendar

October 22, 2020-Are you a self-published author? If you are, I hope that you have a marketing calendar. If you don’t have a marketing calendar or aren’t marketing your book, I’m willing to bet that your customers and potential customers don’t know where to find you and that your sales are less than stellar.

A marketing calendar allows you to be organized in communicating with your audience. Let’s explore Pandamonium Publishing House’s Marketing Calendar:

Daily-Post on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and respond to comments accordingly.
Weekly-4 to 5 times weekly, we do a blog post on our site. We also send a link to our latest post to the list of our subscribers. We do a weekly podcast each Tuesday. Friday, we check in with our Pandamonium Publishing House International Book Club members and discuss the book we’re reading. We mail out 100 direct mail pieces such as brochures and postcards to a mailing list of clients we keep in touch with.
Monthly-We send out a monthly newsletter to all of our subscribers.
Quarterly-We post content on YouTube *We need to increase the frequency of these posts. We send out an email to customers who we haven’t heard from in a while to let them know we are thinking of them and to see how they’re doing.
Annually-We mail out holiday cards to everyone we’ve been in contact with during the past year; customers, vendors, teachers, authors, and businesses.

It’s essential to keep in contact with your readers regularly. You want to serve them in the best way possible but won’t be able to do that if they forget who you are and what you do.

Get your marketing calendar together, execute your plan, and watch your book sales grow!

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Think, Pair, Share

September 21, 2020-You’re a poet and Daniel Tysdal is about to show it. Daniel will walk you through his writing process to showcase the Power of Poetry to help us remember, grieve and celebrate. Daniel Tysdal has been a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at UTSC since 2009. He is the author of three books of poetry and the poetry textbook, The Writing Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating Poems (Oxford University Press 2014). He is the recipient of multiple awards for his work and his research interests include creative writing and poetry. Check out the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0BUYzMypi8