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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

 

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Advice From a Publisher

June 12, 2020– As many of you know, I have a non-fiction book out titled, Advice From a Publisher (Insider secrets to getting your work published), that is packed full of information for people who have questions about publishing. Here’s a sample of what’s inside!

Q: “You have a ton of content on your site, how do you think of fresh ideas all of the time? I seem to write about the same old things and sometimes I have trouble finding ideas!” 

A: Thank you for noticing first of all! I try so hard to bring fresh ideas and new things for us to talk about! Some days it can be a struggle; that’s for sure, especially when we have a blog, YouTube channel, podcast, and various social media to keep up with. I do my best not to duplicate content, so you won’t get a podcast that has the same info or material as on our blog, etc. When it comes to finding inspiration for content, here’s what I do:

  1. I scour the news. Yep, it’s depressing at times, but I look for things that I can talk or write about, especially when it comes to creative writing. Sometimes the headlines can inspire a book idea or a skewed perspective for a topic that I can share.
  2. I listen to conversations. Eavesdropping? Check. When I’m out getting coffee or I’m shopping, or anywhere in public, I listen to the people around me. Sometimes waiting in line at a place can provide lots of great ideas!
  3. I read trade publications like Writer’s Digest and subscribe to magazines in my field of work. This allows for a lot of ideas on topics that are relevant for our readers and writers who visit and subscribe to our content. It also means that staying up to date on all things, publishing is essential in bringing the most relevant topics to our media.

The book is packed full of useful information about self-publishing, hybrid-publishing, and traditional publishing; you can order it from our site www.pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop

book cover publisher

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Publisher’s Corner…

May 31, 2019– This is an interesting question that I got from a reader during a book signing that I was at with Obsessed with Her. I’ve been asked this on more than one occasion so I thought it might be good to share!

Q: “Lacey, why did you write a prequel to Obsessed with Her? Why not a sequel, and did you have this in mind from the beginning?” 

A: I wrote a prequel to Obsessed with Her because the story wasn’t finished yet. I needed to release the books in this order for the story to make sense and for quite simply the sake of interest in the character and his development. I didn’t want to leave my readers with a ton of backstory to start with so the manuscript demanded to be written and released this way.  

I didn’t write a sequel to Obsessed with Her because the ending is final. There is no chance of a sequel and that’s all I’ll elude to as to not spoil it for those who have not finished or read the book yet. 

Yes, I had this prequel in mind from the beginning, I hadn’t written it yet, but it was always going to happen. Obsessed with Her is unfinished without the prequel and leaves the reader with too many questions. The prequel shows why James Cass behaves the way he does and what type of person he truly is. Obsessed with Her will make perfect sense after the release of, Becoming James Cass (prequel) that is set to hit the shelves this October! 

Capture

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How to Write a Book Review

February 18, 2019– Today we’re talking about book reviews; wait a second, there is a format for writing a book review? Let’s get real, there are formats for every piece of writing that you could ever think of!

Book reviews offer you a chance to share your perception of a book’s good and bad parts and to share info with other readers that they may find useful. Of course, book reviews also allow others to decide whether they should read the book themselves.

Here are the do’s and don’ts of writing a book review:

  1. Do provide a general overview of the book. Include the author, title, publication info such as the publisher and year of publication, and genre. In a few sentences us a taste of the book and your overall opinion of it.
  2. Do say WHY you liked or disliked the book. Be specific! What did you love about it? What did you hate about it? What could have made it better?
  3. Do take a stand. The whole point of a book review is to make a recommendation to your reader. Remember that it is possible to like and dislike parts of the same book! Don’t be afraid to share your opinion!
  4. Don’t give too much away. If you’re reviewing fiction don’t give away key points of plot or the ending or twists that could ruin it for other readers.
  5. Don’t make your review too long. A paragraph or two will do. Pick the thing that interests you most and the thing that you think will most interest your readers.
  6. Don’t be a jerk. If you didn’t enjoy the book, that’s fine, but don’t be insulting. Let your reader know why you were disappointed in the book while still being calm and unemotional.

So there you have it! I look forward to reading your reviews online for some books I’m thinking of reading!

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How to Make Your Very Own Mini Pants!

October 20, 2018– To celebrate the book launch of Pants, by Tamara Botting, illustrated by Erin Cutler, we wanted to help you make your own mini pants! Here’s what you need to make 1 pair:)

Materials: Ask an adult to help you gather the things below:

Felt sheets or brightly coloured fabrics in a variety of colours and patterns
Cotton stuffing
Cardstock or construction paper
Scissors
Marker
Thread
Sewing Needle

Instructions:

  1. Draw a pants shape on a piece of cardstock or construction paper with a marker
  2. Cut out the shape
  3. Put the pants shape on the piece of felt or material
  4. Cut out the shape two times so that you have 2 pieces
  5. Thread your needle and sew the two shapes together remembering to leave a small hole for the cotton stuffing
  6. Stuff the pants
  7. Sew up the final hole
  8. Display your pair of mini pants with the storybook Pants, written by Tamara Botting, illustrated by Erin Cutler! Read the book again:)

Ask an adult to help you cut out a shape similar to the one below and sew it together! 

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pants cover