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People Hate Change…So Who Gives AF?

April 22, 2019– Happy Easter, everyone. I trust that you enjoyed the time spent with your family over the long weekend and around here, our weekend was also about enjoying playoff hockey! Whatever you ended up doing, I hope that you had a nice time. Today’s blog post is about change and why humans hate it. It’s a bit of a rant on my part, so buckle up.

Recently I started going to a personal trainer because I want to get my endurance back and some strength back that I had lost over the past year. Someone who will remain unnamed, said the following right to my face, “Oh dear, I hope that you don’t get too bulky and start to look masculine.” WOW! Can you believe it? It took everything in me not to throw this person a beating. But, I digress. People don’t know how to keep their mouths shut and they seem to think that everyone is entitled to their opinions whether asked for or not.

So what if I get super ripped? So what if I start to look better and feel better about my strength and endurance levels? Does this person know that about a year ago after my concussion that I could barely stand? Do they know that I could not lift my left arm higher than my waist because the pain was excruciating? Do they know that I wasn’t able to exercise for a year without having massive anxiety attacks? Of course not. People only see what they want to see and they don’t ever have all of the facts.

The point is, people are judgemental idiots no matter what, but ESPECIALLY when the people around them start to change. People fear change. They fear it because they are uncomfortable with it and if you change too much, they may have to change too; they’re quite content doing what they’re doing and being who they are. They don’t want to have to step up their game or put in the work, or deal with change because that would require being uncomfortable on their part. They like things just the way they are.

That’s why people are going to say, “Oh, you’re writing a book? Isn’t that hard?” Or “I’ve heard it’s super hard being an indie author and most of them don’t make more than a few hundred dollars a year.” Or “How are you going to write a book, take care of your kids, and go to your job, isn’t that a bit selfish of you?”

The bottom line? Who Gives AF? Do what you want to do because life is too short. There will always be people who say you can’t do something or that you shouldn’t do something or that it will be too risky or too hard. Those people are showing you THEIR limitations, NOT yours.

So as they say in hockey, “Keep your chin up, kid,” and do whatever you want to do anyway. Never apologize for trying to be the best version of yourself no matter WHO you make uncomfortable.

Go Bruins, X LLB

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Things You Should Know…

February 25, 2019-I had a fantastic trip to New York this month, and I learned so much at the SCBWI conference. The Society of Book Writers and Illustrators is just one of the many excellent organizations you can join as an author; the guidelines and specifications are online, so be sure to check them out if you’re interested in becoming a member.

Being an author is a tough business, but you should never give up if story writing is your dream. Here are a  few things that you should know:

  1. You are way more capable than you believe. You can do this, you can deal with the rejections, you can write something special and meaningful. Some days it may seem like you’re banging your head against the desk because the words won’t come, but I assure you, you can do this! Keep going.
  2. Lots of people believe in you and want to see you succeed; they also want to help you in achieving your goals. Your family, friends, community, spouse, loved ones, and teachers all want to see you make it! They’re cheering you on, and if you ever need help, all you need to do is ask them, and they’ll be thrilled to do so. We can’t be in this business alone, and we won’t get very far by ourselves.
  3. You have a choice. You can choose to listen to those who want to try and change your purpose, your work, your ideas, your vision, and your path, or you can go with your gut and keep writing and sharing the stories you want to tell.
  4. The truth is, the publishing and writing industry is contradictory at times, and you never seem to get a straight answer. Keep digging for information and advice and go with the choices that speak to you. If you’re a children’s author and you think you need an agent, don’t hesitate to go with your gut even when you get conflicting information.
  5. This is a business. Our business is books and storytelling. Our job is to tell the stories and then sell the stories.

I hope that you get the chance to visit New York and see all that it has to offer! From museums to sporting events, to Broadway and beyond, the arts and inspiration are around every corner. X LLB

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One of the breathtaking pieces of art that I saw at the MET, Alexander the Great
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Why Two Heads are Better Than One…

December 17, 2018– You’ve seen it on bookshelves across the country; James Patterson and Bill Clinton, Stephen and Owen King, and soon enough, yours truly with an author I have yet to introduce you to. (I’ll talk about this next year because I know how you guys love waiting for surprises;)

Co-authoring is on the rise so let’s talk about how to do it right because there is a whole pile of ways to do it wrong! Here are some ways to destroy your chances of collaborating successfully and how to ruin your working relationship with the author you’ve chosen to pair up with.

  1. Moving too fast. Writing with someone is essentially like getting married; it’s a terrible idea to get engaged on the first date and let’s face it, people who do this aren’t likely to last. Same goes for collaborating with another author; read their stuff, get to know their style and strengths, and allow them the time to do the same for you. Also, be sure to decide if the person you want to work with is a good fit for your personality; you guys will be spending a lot of time together and the last thing you need are major personality clashes. That won’t work for anyone.
  2. Not planning. Planning is quite literally the thing that either supports or inhibits your success while writing with someone else. If you don’t have a plan, you’re screwed. I’m a massive fan of outlines, and I use them always, that’s why I recommend 3 frameworks when collaborating: A) General outline of the book from start to finish, B) An overview of what author number 1 is working on C) An overview for what author number 2 is working on. Your outlines should include deadlines because if they don’t, what’s the point? We both know it will never get finished. This outline had better include what the marketing expectations are for both parties once the book is published or you’re going to have a killer headache sorting things out at the end of it!
  3. Lack of communication. Not clearly defining the expectation of both parties is a recipe for setting yourself on fire. You don’t want to burn, and you don’t want the other person to burn either, you guys are a team; decide how often you’re going to communicate and how the communication will be sent. Also, make perfectly clear who is responsible for what. Communication is key, and if you can’t communicate properly with the person you’re going to collaborate with, how the hell are you going to co-author with them?
  4. No Genre. For the millionth time, you can’t hit a target you can’t see. If you don’t know WHAT you’re writing, HOW are you supposed to write it and market it? You can’t. Pick a genre and stick to it. The writing marketplace is structured by genre; where will you put your book on the shelf when it is finally finished if you don’t know which genre it falls into? Your book isn’t for everyone, and if it is, your book is for no one.

Collaborations on any type of work can be risky, but that shouldn’t deter you from creating fabulous art with your fellow writers. Just make sure you follow the above tips and work with someone who is as awesome as you are!

Here’s to your success!
X LLB

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Happy Birthday, Walt!

December 5, 2018– Ok, so today is Walt Disney’s birthday and I know he wasn’t an author, but he was one hell of an entrepreneur! We talk a lot about entrepreneurs on this blog, and as authors and illustrators, well, we are entrepreneurs. Walt was an artist, producer, and game-changer. To celebrate his birthday, let’s look at some interesting facts about the man behind the magic!

  1. He failed. A lot. Legend has it that Walt failed an epic 320 times before getting the financing for his dream of Disneyland. Imagine if he had of given up!
  2. He helped with the war effort. Even though the Disney Company was not in a good financial position at the beginning World War II, Walt decided it was vital that he and his company help in the war effort.  Walt Disney Training Films unit was created which were instruction films for the American military and propaganda films for the American public.  He won an Academy Award in 1943 for his short propaganda film, Der Fuehrer’s Face.
  3. He learned to draw by doing this. Walt spent most of his time at school doodling. He learned to draw by copying newspaper cartoons, specifically from an American Midwest newspaper called Appeal to Reason which his father was an avid reader of. Walt wasn’t interested in the political editorials, but he enjoyed looking at the front page cartoons. At this time there were no animated films or comic books, Walt found the cartoons exciting and the style demonstrated in the cartoons would later appear in his own!

Happy birthday to the legend that is Walt Disney!

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Recommended Reading…Make Your Bed

November 14, 2018– We read a lot of books around here at Pandamonium Publishing House, as we should because we are writers. I’m a firm believer that the more you read, the better you write.  We like to read all types of books including books that aren’t always in our genre. I’m currently reading an interesting and pretty short book that’s non-fiction and it’s written by Admiral William H. McRaven (talk about a cool name) who is retired from the United States Navy. The book is called, Make Your Bed, Little things that can change your life…and maybe the world.

Admiral McRaven gave a commencement speech to the University of Texas students, which you can view on Youtube. His school of thinking is that if you make your bed every morning, you’ll have accomplished the first task of your day. He also believes that making your bed reinforces the fact that the little things in life matter and if you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

This is my second time reading this book in a year. I read it at the beginning of the year and I’m re-reading it now. This book is fantastic because McRaven is right! I made my bed every single day except for four days over the past year and let me tell you, boy did it make a world of difference when I didn’t! When I neglected to make my bed, I went to bed restless, had a terrible sleep, couldn’t shut off my brain, and felt unsettled. That’s not to say that every day that I did make my bed was a great day, but the point was that no matter what life threw at me, I could come home, get into my perfectly made bed, and disappear from the world. Daily life requires structure and making your bed is the first step.

I hope that you’ll read this book as there are a lot of fantastic stories and lessons within. (My favourite chapter is number four, the sugar cookie story!)

X LLB

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This is Cool and Useful…

October 12, 2018– Ok, fellow writers; I found this online and it’s pretty exciting! Check out this list of bones, organs, cells, and blood in the human body. Why is this interesting and valuable you ask? Because depending on the genre that you write, a list like this may come in handy especially if your characters are going to be fatally injured. Once again it all comes down to credibility in your writing!

Let’s say your character gets cracked in the ribs or needs open heart surgery, now you know a bit more about what you’re talking about and your reader will appreciate your knowledge. Here’s a little taste of a scene I just cooked up; I hit him so hard that the next day in emergency, the x-ray showed I had fourteen broken bones in my left hand. I never thought I’d be a southpaw when it came to fighting, but I guess it was just a matter of survival. 

Happy Writing! X LLB

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As an Author, Are You Doing This Right?

October 10, 2018– Social media in this day and age is of the utmost importance when you’re self-employed. As authors, this includes us, because if we don’t have a proper, effective platform, how are we going to sell books, connect with readers, and participate in discussions?

Anyone who signs on with my company knows that I expect them to start building their social media platform BEFORE their book launches. This is because I want my authors to have a solid space to promote themselves where they can get readers excited about what’s to come. It’s never too early to start talking about your work and about what you do. Authors often question, ” My book doesn’t come out for another year and a half! Isn’t this too soon to start promoting it?” The answer. No. And here’s why it takes at LEAST EIGHT times of humans being exposed to the same message for them to even take NOTICE! Yep, that’s how much noise is coming at us every day and how much of that noise we filter out. So, it’s NEVER too early to start talking about your book.

But, Lacey! What do I post on social media if I don’t have a product? Easy.

  • Behind the scenes looks at your work
  • How you came up with the idea for your book/ inspiration behind it
  • A typical workday for you when writing
  • Sneak peek of the manuscript title
  • Any art sketches if applicable
  • What your goals are with writing
  • What books you’re currently reading
  • What books your book compares to
  • Why you became an author
  • Why your story matters
  • Contests
  • Giveaways
  • And everything else that relates to your book that you can possibly think of

So, here are some tips on building a solid social media presence.  You need to be on Facebook, preferably with business page, Instagram, Twitter, Amazon author profile, and you better have a blog or a website. Now, I know what you’re thinking, Ummm I don’t want to waste my life and time just posting to social media! Trust me, there are days when I want to detox the whole process of this craziness entirely out of my life, but I know how important it is so I don’t. Don’t worry, I got you, there’s a cool tool that can take away the stress!

  1. Hootsuite is a social media posting tool that allows you to schedule posts to Facebook business pages, Twitter, and Instagram. Get the app, it will change your life, I promise.
  2. Stick to a schedule. Figure out what you’re going to post about and when.
  3. Be consistent in your posts. Yes, I admit that sometimes I fall off the face of the social media world, but in a couple of days, I’m back in the saddle, and I ALWAYS answer questions and comments.
  4.  Hashtags. Know what they are, what they do, and use them effectively, ESPECIALLY on Instagram. Why? Because this helps more people find your posts, let’s them know what you have to say, and it leads to more followers.
  5. SEO. If you don’t know what this stands for, learn it immediately and start implementing it on your blog/website NOW.

At Pandamonium Publishing House, we teach this stuff. Drop me a line if you want in on the next custom course, pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

You can do this. It may seem like an impossible hurdle, especially if you’re not part of the generation that grew up with this stuff. It’s never too late to learn. And the more you learn, the more you earn.

X LLB

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All GOOD Authors Are Streetwise…

October 8, 2018- Trust me when I tell you this, all authors are streetwise. Well, the good ones anyway. When people ask me what I do, I usually answer, “Whatever it takes.” To be a good author, not only do you have to be a good writer, but you have to be a good publicist, an excellent salesperson, a ruthless business owner, and a brave performer. Authors are streetwise because we have to be. We trust our guts, go with our intuition, and chase down ideas for stories that lead us down darkened alleyways, into sketchy situations, and across the ocean in pursuit of them. It’s the willingness to do what needs to be done in order to succeed. Every author I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting has always had this drive, desire, and gleaming personality that could charm the toughest of customers into buying their work or at least engage them into talking to them!

We’re streetwise because we don’t have any other option, especially when it comes to self-publishing because if we don’t do it, who will? Us authors have a willingness to go through hell and back to reach our goals. We do most things in pursuit of the end game, in pursuit of selling one book, or in selling one-more-book. We fight hard to have our voices heard, to have our books displayed, to be best sellers, to cement and earn our reputations as wielders of words. We are ferocious, dedicated, and our biggest critics. We do this because we love it and because we believe our stories need to be heard. We do this because we believe in something bigger than ourselves and because we want to leave this earth with something that outlives us.

So, as any type of author, traditionally published or self-published, let me remind you of your importance in this world; the world shines brighter because you’re in it and because of the stories you tell. The world is a better place because you’re willing to do what it takes to realize a dream. Don’t ever forget your purpose; to tell stories that change lives.

So here’s to all of my streetwise colleagues, I salute you.

X LLB

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Picture Prompt…

September 21, 2018– I love picture prompts! Picture prompts are images that inspire you to write creatively; they’re useful for a couple of reasons:

  1. They get you out of your comfort zone. More often than not, the image won’t match what genre you usually write in. Today’s picture prompt is especially true for me because I’m not a fantasy reader or writer.
  2. They help you focus. Picture prompts force us to focus on an idea, and they don’t allow us to write randomly. They provide the bones for a story and allow us to branch out from there. They give us a bit of structure to get started.

Here is today’s Picture Prompt; Happy Writing!

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How Well Do You Do This?

August 27, 2018- You are a self-published author. I want to know how well you do this one thing. It’s something that some of us shy away from, it’s something that can be uncomfortable for most, but it’s something that is imperative to your success.

Some of you may be saying, “Of course I do this!” But, for others, death is more welcoming than completing this task.

What is that one something that is imperative to your success as a self-published author? It’s self-promotion! Here’s usually what happens:

  1. Author writes the book. Edits are done, cover designed, etc.
  2. They get someone to print it.
  3. Hundreds of copies of their book sit idle in their garage.

I’ve broken this down to the simplest point. Of course, there is much more that goes into the in-between of writing to print. So, let’s get to the meat of the conversation and talk about the hundreds of copies that just sit idle in the author’s garage and what to do about it! Self-promotion is the key to your success. If people don’t know about you and your book how the heck do you expect them to buy it? Your biggest problem is obscurity. Once people start to take notice in what you’re saying they’ll take notice of what you’re selling.

  1. You MUST create a marketing plan BEFORE your book comes out. Why? Because you need to know where you’re going to know when you’ll get there. Set goals, but develop a comprehensive marketing plan. Author platform is also crucial, but that’s a whole other blog post:)
  2. Self-Promote. Yep, I said it. Get used to talking about yourself, your book, and your work. Get ready to start promoting your book to everyone you come in contact with. Get ready to pound the pavement, have doors slammed in your face, and get ready to be told NO a thousand times. You have to develop a thick skin. There are a lot of haters out there and do you know why? Because they can’t do what you do.
  3. Believe in yourself and your work. You must believe that what you’ve written is valuable and that people want to know about it!  I remember reading the 10 X Rule by Grant Cardone, and one thing in the book stuck out in my mind, it went something like this: “I don’t want to push my product on people!” and Grant Cardone said, “It’s a shame you have a product you don’t believe in.” This hit me like a ton of bricks, and I NEVER hesitated again to approach someone with my books. Do you believe in your words? Do you believe in yourself? If not, don’t bother writing another word. If you don’t care, neither does anyone else. Stop, go get a different job, and chase another dream. Let me tell you something though, believing in yourself is the only way to make your dreams come true. It starts with that. The second thing is taking action. That’s it. It’s that simple.

So, how well do you self-promote? How much do you believe in yourself? How much action do you take?

X LLB

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