June 15, 2020-Did you know that it’s easier to come up with twenty ideas than it is to think of ten? Let me explain. If you’re thinking of ideas for storylines for your novel and you can’t think of ten ideas, then you’re putting way too much pressure on yourself. Perfection is the enemy of ideas. Stop stopping yourself and go ahead and write down those terrible ideas! How does this help?
1) It forces you to get uncomfortable. The bad ideas never have to see the light of day, so don’t worry about them coming to fruition, just get the ideas down on paper. Your brain will scream, NO! THIS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA! YOU’RE GOING TO EMBARRASS YOURSELF! Who cares, write it down.
2) A great idea will come from bad ones. The more bad ideas you write down, the better! Once we get the bad ones out of the way, there’s more room for the good ones. Sometimes we just need to get out of our own heads and stop overthinking. Here’s a terrible idea-Snow White and the Seven Sins.
3)You’ll take action. So, you’ve written down your ideas (good and bad), and now what you need to do is write down the first steps to take. Do this for ALL of your ideas, even the bad ones. Snow White and the Seven Sins: Step 1-Research what the seven sins are and leave it at that. Move on to the next idea and next step.
This method of idea generation has led me to some of the best ideas I’ve ever had and I know it will work for you too. Happy writing, X LLB
March 1, 2019– I was boarding a flight in Toronto recently, and while we were getting on the plane, I overheard a woman and her son talking about a book. Of course, I’m always interested in book recommendations, so I continued to eavesdrop. The young man said quietly to his mother, “This book is amazing, it’s easy, straightforward, and I think this will work for what I’m trying to accomplish!” The book that he had in hand was titled, Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results. I headed to my seat and took out my phone because the boy had piqued my curiosity. Of course, I had no idea what he was trying to accomplish in his life, but I thought the book sounded intriguing and he sure seemed to believe in it!
I looked up the book jacket info on Amazon and read some of the reviews; they were pretty impressive. I downloaded the audio version and plugged in while we waited on the tarmac. The book, in a nutshell, is about how most of our behaviour happens on autopilot and if we set small goals such as a single push up, once we’re in position, we’ll always do more. Eventually, these small goals will become habits, and we will operate from a place of automation instead of force. So, how can mini habits change your writing life? I’m so glad you asked!
- You’ll exceed your goals if you start small. When I first became an author, I created mini habits unbeknownst to myself; I would write every day for only fifteen minutes. Soon those fifteen minutes each day became a habit and the fifteen minutes turned into an hour or more. I have an author friend who started writing only fifty words per day. Soon, his fifty words per day multiplied into fifteen pages per day. The point is, if you set a small goal and stick to it, you’ll reach your goal, and you’ll be motivated to do more.
- You’ll create discipline without out even realizing. If you create a mini habit of listening to a business audio book every time you get in the car, or a mini habit of reading one page of a book per day, you’re creating discipline in your life and discipline equals freedom. You would have a massive amount of knowledge in one year if you read one page per day or listened to something while traveling! These mini habits will translate into big results because they will become as automatic and as disciplined as brushing our teeth before bed. Why do we brush our teeth before bed? I don’t know, because it’s a habit that we’ve had since childhood and we just do it. See what I mean?
- You’ll get out of your comfort zone. I make it a mini habit of handing out one business card per day. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but over the course of a year it sure adds up! You can cover a lot of ground and grow your writing business if you just implement this one small thing. You could use this approach for sending out queries, submitting manuscripts, connecting with a stranger, or meeting new people. Having a mini habit is an excellent way to get you out of your comfort zone and into a better writing life. Imagine sending 300+ queries out to publishers or agents in a year? That’s a lot of action, and statistically, something is bound to happen!
Start with small mini habits and watch them grow into something amazing! In a later post, perhaps we’ll talk about taking this concept one step further with habit stacking. Stay tuned!
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.