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Things are EXACTLY as they appear to be

June 24, 2021-In about a week we’ll be all wrapped up with our theme this month which is Author Mindset! I hope you’ve enjoyed the content this far and that you’ll continue to join us for more tips, resources, and information.

Today we’re talking about something that is very important for author mindset and that is…our outward appearance. Now, I know you may be thinking that perhaps I’m being shallow or that it’s what’s on the inside that counts (that’s 90% of it!) but what you project and portray on the outside is just as important to your success!

The truth is, as humans we make snap, subconscious judgements whether we mean to or not. Let’s say that you walked into a Publishing company for an interview and the interviewer looked like they just rolled out of bed; wrinkled clothing, chipped nails, unbrushed hair, and they looked as if they haven’t slept in five nights-what would you think? Be honest with yourself. You’d probably think, this person doesn’t look like they have it together, so what does this say about the company as a whole? It looks like they can’t be bothered and that they don’t respect themselves.

Contrast that with someone who makes an effort toward looking their best! No one is perfect and we all have our flaws, but first impressions matter. How you present yourself to the world is a direct indication of how you feel about your self on the inside. I know that for me personally I always feel better, think better, act better, and I’m more confident when I look my best.

As an author you will be thrust into the public eye, whether you like it or not; book signings, school visits, public speaking, and events put you in front of people, there are no two ways about it. Your appearance is part of the whole package.

Here are three ways that you can look and feel your best that will get you into the right author mindset to take on the world!

1. Put on your best outfit. This is the clothing choice that makes you feel confident, able, and unstoppable.

2. Accessorize. Whether it’s a favourite watch, stunning scarf, or a fabulous piece of statement jewelry, accessories can elevate any outfit. Plus, if it’s an heirloom piece, you’ll employ the energy of the person who gave it to you!

3. Details. Wrinkled clothes, chipped or dirty nails, and clothing covered in animal hair or lint do nothing to help your confidence. People notice small details like fallen hems and missing buttons, so be sure to give a once or twice over to your reflection in the mirror.

When I was a kid someone very close to me gave me the advice, “Don’t walk into a bank looking like you need a loan, walk into it looking like you own the place.” This advice has stuck with me for life! This means that you should have the mentality, mindset, and energy that elevates you not only in your eyes, but in other people’s as well.

Everything starts internally and as authors need to put our best foot forward. When we respect ourselves, look respectful, and are confident in our appearance and abilities, other people have no choice but to believe it too.

YOU are your author brand, what message do you want to convey?

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Business not Busyness

June 22, 2021-Author mindset is our theme this month and today we’re talking about “busyness”. We all know that being busy does not always translate to being productive; in fact, being busy is often just a front for procrastinating on the big tasks.

When I ask fellow authors about how things are going, more often than not they’ll say something along the lines of, “I’m so busy it’s not even funny,” or “It’s insanity as usual!” I know what those statements are code for because at one time, I was saying the exact same thing.

The truth is the only reason why we feel like we’re barely keeping our heads above water or that we’re drowning in our work is because we’re focusing on too many small tasks that do not bring us the type of results that we’re looking for! Authors are creative people who are prone to experiencing overwhelm and I find that when this happens, we turn away from the big projects and hard work to focus on meaningless day to day things that can quite simply and effectively be delegated.

LEVERAGE is your best friend as an author. But what does leverage mean? It means that you’re using your resources in such a manner to free up your time so that you can focus on what’s most important!

With a positive author mindset, you know that time and results are important to your ongoing success, so why not help yourself turn down the burner on stress? Here are three ways that you can use leverage to get excellent results in your writing life:

1. Delegate. The best bosses know how to delegate. This means that we match the right person to the job that is most likely to benefit from their skill set. For example, if you’re a self-published author you could delegate your sales numbers, taxes, accounts receivable and payable to an accountant. This is one high stress item off your plate that frees up mental and physical space so that you can do things that are more pressing.

2. Outsource. As an author are you wasting your time editing your own work? Maybe you have a great idea for a book but you don’t have time to write it? Do you need help with your schedule? Hire an editor or ghostwriter or virtual assistant to help out! Outsource anything you can so that you can focus on creating more opportunities for your writing life and expanding your network.

3. Use resources available. A lot of authors work from home and this carries a whole other host of responsibilities. We see the laundry piling up, the dishes in the sink, and the empty fridge. These unfinished, need-to-do tasks play havoc with our heads and we find ourselves washing dishes instead of writing. There are plenty of resources available to take some pressure off your plate (and clean them!). Use things like grocery delivery service, or a housekeeper to come in and clean once a week, or a student that’s looking for volunteer hours or back to school cash to mow the lawn. There are plenty of resources out there that can help you free up time to focus on your writing life.

You may think that all of this sounds expensive; there are initial costs involved, but leverage is used to free up your time so that you can do things that bring you more money and time. YOU ARE WORTH IT! Authors struggle with this undeserving mindset because they feel like they don’t deserve to hire any help or that they can’t afford it. Look at your budget as an author and find out where your money can be best spent! Make an investment in yourself and your future by focusing on the big picture, big moves, and big results.

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YET.

June 17, 2021-As we continue our theme of author mindset this month, let’s look at the power of yet in this epic YouTube video! https://youtu.be/hiiEeMN7vbQ with Carol Dweck. This will translate to your writing life as an author by reminding yourself through every challenge-not yet!

https://youtu.be/hiiEeMN7vbQ

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90% of Authors Fear THIS

June 11, 2021-Author Mindset us our theme this month and I certainly hope you’re getting lots of valuable information and putting it into action! I’m going to tell you something that most authors dread…they hate it so much and it scares them to death.

Today we’re talking about the Fear of Selling! This is a HUGE barrier for most authors and takes a toll on their positive outlook and mindset indeed.

When authors think of selling their books they equate the practice with that of a used car salesman; it gives them an icky feeling and most of them don’t realize how much harm this is doing to their book sales, confidence levels, and growth as an author. Plus, used car salesmen trick people, sell them things they don’t need, and are deceptive. Authors are none of those things.

People buy YOU first and then they buy your book. This is the first rule of selling.

So how can authors be more confident when talking about themselves and their work and selling their books? Here are three tips:

1) Focus on your target. Authors struggle with selling and the reason is this: THEY ARE SELLING TO THE WRONG PEOPLE. Instead of focusing on their target customer (specific demo and psychographics and those most likely to buy), they think they should talk to everyone. Not only is this exhausting, but it’s highly ineffective. Don’t offer people your book who aren’t interested or don’t have a need for it! Simple. For example, if you’re selling a children’s picture book at a book signing, you’re not going to approach a teenager and ask them to look at your stuff. They have no need or want for it. This is why it’s ESSENTIAL to define your target so that you don’t waste your time and theirs.

2) Let them decide. It’s not your job to make judgements about your customer and whether they will or won’t buy your books. Your job is to make a connection with the person, educate them about your work, and offer them the opportunity to take your book home.

3) Remember this. Authors have said to me, “I don’t want to bother people with my book, I don’t want to be a pest.” And to them I say, “It’s a shame you have a book you don’t believe in and even worse, that you don’t believe in yourself. There’s a person out there who needs your book and it’s unfair that you’re not willing to share it with them.” This is the reason why you became an author-to tell your story and inspire others to do the same!

Don’t be among 90% of authors who have a fear mindset about selling. Remember that you are enough. If you’re struggling, we can help. Check out our course here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/course-get-your-book-noticed-and-increase-your-sales/

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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.

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Run Your Way to Inspiration

September 10, 2020-As long as it’s not raining, you can usually find me running outside in the early morning in my neighbourhood. I love saying hello to familiar faces and smiling back at the people who give me cheery grins and waves. There are people walking and biking, some are on rollerblades, and most have dogs; it’s usually the same crowd day in and day out with a few exceptions.

I like to make up stories about the people and things that I see while I run; Where are they going after this? What if their dog could talk? Does their dog talk to the other dogs it meets? Where does that staircase lead? What is that skunk doing, and what is he digging for? What if we were all running from Zombies? Would I survive? And the list goes on.

Sometimes the ideas are silly, and sometimes the ideas are stuff that I can work with. The point is that I’m observing the things around me and being inspired by them.

Inspiration comes in all forms; let’s explore:

  1. Setting-Sunsets, trees, trails, staircases, houses, waterfronts are all examples of settings you’ll see on your run that could make it into your story.
  2. Animals-Skunks, foxes, birds, squirrels, coyotes, and rabbits are all animals that I’ve seen on the running trail that would make great characters for stories!
  3. People-runners, rollerbladers, walkers, older adults, middle-aged people, workout buffs, personal trainers, kids, and teenagers are great examples of people to write about.
  4.  Professions-Garbage collectors, construction workers, road pavers, gardeners, roofers, dog walkers, and babysitters are some professions that could start your story off right.

Looking at this list inspires me! How many ideas can you think of using the list of things above? Happy Writing, X LLB

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It’s Funny

August 5, 2020-No matter what you’re writing, an element of humour should be present. This is especially true for those of us who write mysteries, thrillers, and psychological books. I think Josh Whedon said it best, “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” It’s important when writing heavy subject matter to relieve your readers once in a while! Here are three ways to inject humour into your manuscript:

1) Dialogue-Get your character to say something funny. Have a weird exchange between two characters, get your character to reminisce about something humorous that happened to them.

2) Situation-Put your character in a situation where something funny happens to break the tension (when it fits) such as tripping or ripping their pants, or mistaking one thing for something else. In my book Obsessed with Her, James overheard a conversation he thought for SURE was about the girl he was holding hostage, but it turned out to be a missing dog.

3) Embarrass them. Embarrassing things happen to us all the time and I’m sure to me more than others…sigh. Embarrass your character eg. spinach in teeth, static underwear stuck to the back of their outfit, spilling coffee on themselves etc.

The point of adding an element of humour to your writing is to make your characters three dimensional, real, and relatable.

Happy Writing! XLLB

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Ikea and Parkinson’s

July 22, 2020-Do you know about Parkinson’s Law? It states, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” What does this mean? It means that if you give yourself a week to write a blog post, it will take you a week to write it. If you give yourself a year to complete your novel, it will take a year to complete it and so on. However much time we give a project is the time it will take to complete it; that’s one of the reasons we procrastinate. We always get it done on time, so why do it early?

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, has a different approach. He knows about Parkinson’s Law, and to combat it, he shares this idea; “If you split your day into ten-minute increments and you try and waste as few of those ten-minute increments as possible, you’ll be amazed at what you can get done.”

I admit I do this often. When I need to complete a task, especially one that I don’t like, such as social media scheduling, I set a timer for ten minutes. I do as much as I can in ten minutes and then move on to the next thing. It’s not very often that I don’t complete my tasks this way. It’s a simple and effective way to get started and to set and meet deadlines. I repeat this multiple times per day. Don’t worry; it’s not the same as multi-tasking as you’re only focusing on one thing at a time! Give this method a try for your writing tasks and send me an email to say how you made out: pandapublishing8@gmail.com

Happy Writing, X LLB 

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Trey Parker on Writer’s Block

March 6, 2020-Writer’s block…every writer suffers from it. Here’s what the creators of South Park have to say about it!

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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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