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The Power of Hash(tags)…

April 10, 2019-LOL! This has to be one of my most favourite blog titles to date. Seriously, too funny! As a business owner, author, and entrepreneur, I know how ESSENTIAL it is to be on top of things like hashtags. If you’re an indie author or a business owner, you need to know the power of hashtags! And if you’re not using them or using them incorrectly, you aren’t only hurting yourself, your business, the environment, and baby animals everywhere. Honestly, sometimes I just throw in nonsense to make sure you’re paying attention. I know that for some of you, hashtags, social media, and marketing can seem daunting, but let me assure you, with a bit of help you can do it!

Let’s start from the beginning, what are hashtags? It’s the pound sign (#) with a word or phrase after it. They’re used on social media and they identify specific messages or ideas. Get it? #hamont (Hamilton Ontario) which has been hashtagged 1.7 MILLION times. People use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase in their Instagram post/Tweet/Facebook Post to categorize those messages/tweets/posts and help them show more easily in social media searches. Clicking or tapping on a hashtagged word in any message shows you other tweets/messages/posts that include that hashtag. Hashtags can be included anywhere in a tweet/message/post.

Hashtags are a great way to build your brand, boost your marketing, and keep in touch with your audience! Interestingly enough, using hashtags in your social media posts can greatly increase your engagement and Twitter reported that brands who use hashtags see a FIFTY PERCENT(!) increase in post engagement. See why this is essential?  Tweets, Instagram Posts, and Facebook updates that include hashtags were 55 percent more likely to be retweeted and shared by other users.

If you’re not hashtagging your social media posts, you are seriously missing out! Get on it today.

If you want more help with which hashtags to use and how not to annoy your audience by hashtagging everything, send me an email at pandapublishing8@gmail.com and I’ll send you our package pricing.

X LLB

 

 

 

 

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This Could Be The Shortest Blog Post Ever…

April 3, 2019– Did you see the image that goes along with this blog post? It says, How to Sell Books Without Marketing. I’m going to tell you exactly how to do that in two simple words, YOU. CAN’T.  It makes me crazy when people go around spewing incorrect and irresponsible advice to self-published authors who really want to sell their books.

Marketing is the catalyst that moves EVERY business, not just the book business! Without marketing, how are prospective readers ever going to find out about your work? Without marketing how can they find where to buy your book? Where can they find out about you as an author and how can they find out about new releases you have coming out? ONE WORD. MARKETING. Let’s explore a couple of different options for the best ways to market your self-published book.

  1. Word of mouth. We all know that word of mouth is the best way to sell anything; from movie tickets, insurance, books, and everything in between, word of mouth is the most trusted source of marketing. Word of mouth marketing is the most effective form of marketing because people trust the opinions of others (their peers, friends, relatives, and their immediate circle of people). Let’s say that you’re out on the weekend with some friends and one of them tells you about a fabulous new restaurant in your town; they talk about how excellent the service was, how fast their food came out, and the stunning decor of the restaurant. They also tell you that it was the best steak they’ve ever had and that you must try it! What are you going to do? You’re going to check it out of course! Same goes for books, readers who liked your book are more likely to tell others about it, this will lead to more sales of your title and at the very least, more hits on your website!
  2. Interactive marketing. This is also known as event-driven marketing which means that your readers have a two-way communication channel to connect them to your company. You as the author interact with your readers on many different levels and some of these include, shows, book signings, skype sessions, library talks, and any time you’re out in public. Interactive marketing is essential to your success because it lets your readers know that you care about them and what they have to say. It lets you meet them face to face and create a two-way relationship!

The above two types of marketing are obviously not an exhaustive list of all the options that are available, but they are an excellent and most important place to start.

Self-Promotion for Self-Published Authors

March 11, 2019– Hi friends! Today we’ll be giving you five easy tips about self-promotion for self-published authors. Click on the link below to listen to our podcast and remember to subscribe to our monthly newsletter by sending an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9nex3-a9d4c5

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Where to Get Great Ideas…When Great Ideas Aren’t Coming

October 26, 2018– Content is hard to come by, for me anyways. I often wonder how many other bloggers have this problem, especially those who write daily. I blog three times a week, or twelve times a month and let me tell you, it can become difficult. I know it’s hard to think, but sometimes it feels as though we’ve run out of things to talk about. The truth is, there’s always something to talk about, and there are still lots new ideas for content, we just aren’t being creative enough, and we aren’t thinking outside of the box.

I hate rehashing the same old stuff over and over, so that’s why I try my absolute hardest to come up with new and exciting tips and topics! Here are a few of my personal tips about where to get great ideas:

  1. Shower. A lot. Seriously, some of my best ideas come to me when I’m standing there in the shower with the water beating down on me. Apparently, this is a thing, and there’s even science to support it! Brains give us our best ideas when a lot of dopamine is released, and dopamine is released by, you guessed it, taking a shower! Dopamine equals happiness and the next great idea.
  2. Subconscious. This is a true story; when I was in college, I remember doing some crazy math problem and no matter which way I tried it, I couldn’t figure out the formula. I finally said screw it and went to bed. I swear to you that when I woke up, I had the answer and the formula was as clear as day in my mind. Yep, to this day, I never go to bed without asking my subconscious a question and rarely does it not answer or work out a solution. Try it, it works!
  3. Study. Read everything you can get your hands on. The newspaper, magazines, online, books, tutorials, instruction manuals, and so on. Why? Because this alone will trigger an idea to write about. You can write about the time you were so blocked in your writing that you became desperate and read the instruction manual to your vintage VCR. But seriously, read it all. Especially stuff that is regularly out of your genre. That’s where some of my greatest ideas have come from.

There it is, my ideas for creating content. And remember, when you’re stuck, get unstuck by following the above tips.
X LLB

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (And how it helps your writing!)

October 1, 2018– Back when I was an official student of Marketing and Business, (I say official because I still consider myself a student of both, just not in a typical classroom setting) we learned about Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. It was fascinating and captivating to see what humans need and that we are unable to move from one level to the next if there are any gaps in the previous level. Let me explain; as we look at the chart below, we see that the very basics of human need are food, water, and shelter. If we don’t have these needs met, we can’t move on to social stability, achievement, and experiencing our unique purpose.

I know what you’re thinking…umm… thanks for the lesson but what does this have to do with writing? Well, think about the hierarchy below; how does your character fit into this? Does your character lack love and belonging and to they need to resolve this issue before moving on with their life? Is your character dying to be unique? Maybe your character is questioning their morality?

This chart will also make you credible. We know that human nature is to take care of the basics. If we have no food, our first goal is to find food and feed ourselves. Have you ever been so hungry that you can’t even think straight? I’m sure you have, we all have and for various reasons. How are we supposed to think about self-actualization when our stomach is growling so loudly that we can’t hear ourselves think? You get the picture.  Now, I know that some of you may argue the point that someone like Gandhi was able to reach self-actualization because he deprived himself of food, and yes there is merit to that argument. My point is, that with most people, including your characters, we can’t ignore our basic needs and we’ll do whatever it takes to meet them.

Happy Writing! X LLB

 

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

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The Business of Books…

September 28, 2018– A lot of the time what happens in the book business is that new authors don’t treat it as such. I’m not only talking to our self-published friends, I’m talking to our traditionally published peeps as well. The easiest part of being an author is writing the book, and the hardest part is marketing it, hands down, that’s the absolute truth, and that’s coming from someone who has a marketing and advertising background.

I know what you’re thinking, doesn’t the publisher do all the work while I get to sit behind a table at (insert name of bookstore here) and sign copies of my books for all of my adoring fans while they bask in my genius? The short answer? No. The long answer? F#*& No. Newsflash: You are NOT Stephen King, and no one is here to see you.

Harsh but true. Here’s the thing, traditionally published authors are expected to market themselves alongside the publisher. If you’re not willing to put yourself out there and help with the marketing, promotion, publicity, and you’re not willing to put the work in you’re going down in flames, I would bet my business on that. It’s even more of a challenge for our self-published friends! My advice? Get a strong business background first and go from there, learn as much as you can and then implement the good stuff. And if something doesn’t work, you can always pivot and change directions with your marketing plan. In order to become any kind of successful author, or to be successful at anything for that matter, you’re going to have to do whatever it takes, and it’s going to take everything you’ve got.

One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given when I started all of this was, “When you’re writing a book it’s an art. When the book is finished, it’s business. Never confuse the two.” That piece of advice has been instrumental in me making decisions as a writer and business owner.

Keep your chin up, keep writing, remember that this is a business, and take all of the good advice you can get. Remember, you get what you work for, not what you wish for.

Write that on my tombstone.

X LLB

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I Finished My Manuscript and My Book is in Hand! Now What?

May 16, 2018- My book is here! Now what?

I hear this statement all the time from new authors and although it’s a valid question…it makes me cringe. I know that this might sound a bit harsh, but as your big sis in the writing world, it’s my job to bring the rain…I mean truth.  It makes me shudder because it tells me that the author didn’t put in the work BEFORE finishing their ms and they’re about to have one hell of a rough time. Give me a chance to explain.

I’m focusing on one camp of authors, and that is our self-pub’d friends. So, the author has done the work, their book is completed, printed, and ready for sale! Yay right? Hold on a second…now is where the real work begins.

Too many times our self-published friends end up with a garage full of boxes of their books and that makes me sad because it doesn’t need to be that way! It’s not that the book was sub-par, it’s that they didn’t have a clear plan as to what they’d need to do at the selling stage. It’s an amazing feat to finish writing a book, but the truly incredible achievement is getting them into the hands of readers. A lot of the time there are visions of grandeur where tons of people line up to meet the author at book signings. Let me break it to you gently, this doesn’t happen unless your James Patterson or you’ve marketed the S*&T out of your upcoming event/book signing/book.

How are our friends going to sell their book? Where are they going to sell their books? Are the books available in print only or are they available electronically as well? Do they have a marketing plan? Do they have a solid author platform? And so on. See my point?

Let me pass on the best piece I’ve ever received from my mentor, “When you’re writing the book, it’s art. When the book is completed, it’s business-NEVER confuse the two.” That statement will stay with me for as long as I am in this world of publishing and well beyond.

My advice is to finish the manuscript, and then, before getting to the books in hand stage, craft your marketing plan and answer, at the very least, the questions above. It’s harder than it looks in the self-publishing world! Be prepared and remember that I believe in you! Tell your story-the world needs it.

X LLB

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