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Money, Money, Money, Money, Money, from Public Speaking

July 9, 2021– Today, we’re talking about money! Let me back up for a second and explain a bit further; we’re talking about using public speaking as an author to add an additional revenue stream to your writing career. Public speaking as an author is not only a marketing tool; it’s a money-making opportunity.

As authors, we get paid in many different ways (royalties, freelance pieces, book sales, advances, etc.,) but why not add public speaking to your arsenal of income? Not only can you charge a speaking fee, but if you have your books, courses, or workshops for sale at the back of the room, you can earn even more!

You may be wondering where you can find speaking opportunities as an author; let me help! Here are five great places to start:

  1. Libraries-Some libraries will pay you to offer a talk or a class on your specific area of expertise. Reach out to your local library and let them know what you offer and why people would be interested in learning more. Over the years, I’ve welcomed several new clients to my business by giving workshops on self-publishing and relevant topics at libraries in my city.
  2. Elementary/High School visits– At Pandamonium Publishing House, we charge for author visits. Why? Because we bring a ton of value to the classroom! We talk about age-appropriate topics such as setting, plots, and character development. For the older kids, we add subject matter of relevant interest, such as the business of books, publishing behind the scenes, and my favourite topic, which is book marketing. We donate a copy (or copies) of our book to the school library, and we bring fun activities such as word searches, spot the difference, and colouring pages!
  3. Universities and Colleges– I’ve had so many fantastic opportunities to speak to college and university students across Canada, both in-person and virtually. Talking to budding authors and illustrators in Writer’s Craft/English classes is a rewarding experience for not only me but for them too! They get a taste of the publishing industry and what’s up and coming in the book business, as well as trends in the marketplace, tips on how to get hired by a publishing company, and what employers in the industry are looking for.
  4. Community Events– Writing retreats, weekend workshops, and masterclasses often hire guest speakers, so why shouldn’t it be you that’s getting paid to speak on what you’re an expert in? Seek out events that match your genre, interests, and passions. Remember to bring your A-game so you’ll be invited back. Word of mouth spreads, and if you do a stellar job, your public speaking calendar will fill up fast!
  5. Industry Associations and their events-Are you a member of a writing association, club, or group? Do they have different guest speakers each week? Some great places to explore for earning public speaking revenue include Chambers of Commerce, professional associations, and corporations. Perhaps you’ve written a book on wellness principles that deal with stress relief and mindfulness; high profile executives have a lot on their plate, and those responsibilities come with a ton of stress. You could reach out to the companies in your city to offer to present some helpful tips to remain mindful, calm, and organized to their employees. Bring your book and program with you to sell at the back of the room.

Don’t sell yourself short! Public speaking opportunities for authors are endless; you just have to know where to look.

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Breakdown

November 18, 2020-What are your goals as a writer? What are your financial goals as an author? What are your publishing goals? Many you will answer, but a lot of you won’t because you have no idea what they are. Goal setting can take us from poverty to prosperity, from frustration to fulfillment, and from stalling to success. If you haven’t written down your goals, do it now before we continue.

Let’s say that your financial goal as an author is to earn $1,000.00 a day. There are 24 hours in a day (and don’t tell me that you won’t work 24 hours a day, because technology allows us to make money while we sleep!) so, 1000/24=$41.60 per hour is what you need to hit your target. Wow, Lacey, $41.60 per hour is a lot of money! How can I possibly do that every day? Let’s break that down. If you made $1000.00 per day every day, then at the end of the year, you would have earned $365,000, minus taxes off that, and you’re probably around $140,000 per year, depending on where you live.

So, let’s use the $41.60 per hour. If we need to earn this each hour, we can look at how many book sales that would equal. If each book is priced at $14.99, you’d have to sell 3 per hour every hour.

Now, looking at the number 3…does that seem as impossible as the $1000.00 per day or even the $41.60 per hour? When you break down your goals into manageable chunks, NOTHING is impossible. No more excuses, no more I can’t mentality, get out there and make things happen. Listen, we have the ability to connect virtually with people right now more than ever before! If you have an online store, customers can order your products and services. You can pre-record social media posts and info about your products and schedule for them to run while you’re sleeping or on vacation or to reach new customers in different timezones. Goal setting allows us to reach targets and to focus our attention on small tasks that make a big difference to our bottom line.

Let’s use another example; we’ll say that your goal is to write an 80,000-word novel in 12 months. We’ll do the math again, 80,000/12=6666 words a month/30 days is 222 words per day. That’s it. Only 222 words per day. What’s your excuse for not finishing your book? Whatever you’ve accomplished up until this point in time is only a FRACTION of your potential.

I have an author on my team, Tonya Cartmell who has set an amazing goal of selling 1 MILLION copies of her book, The 12 Days of Rescue (which you can get here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/the-12-days-of-rescue/) and I have no doubt that she will reach her goal!

Math and hard work don’t lie. And whatever your goals are, they can always be broken down to show that they aren’t that intimidating! Don’t let big goals scare you, the bigger the better! They are more than manageable when you break them into easy, bite-sized chunks.

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Kids in Poverty

October 23, 2020– Why should a good education be exclusive to rich kids? Schools in low-income neighbourhoods across the US, specifically in communities of colour, lack resources that are standard at wealthier schools — things like musical instruments, new books, healthy school lunches and soccer fields — and this has a real impact on the potential of students. Kandice Sumner sees the disparity every day in her classroom in Boston. In this inspiring talk, she asks us to face facts — and change them.

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The Power of Colours…

May 22, 2019- Colours evoke powerful emotions. When designing your book cover, illustrations, and website, colour plays an important role! Let’s take a look at what each of the colours below, stand for:

RED: Courage, power, glory, love, drive, passion, inner strength, romance & violence.

ORANGE: Speed, dedication, loyalty, change, harvest, warmth, friendship & family. 

GREEN: Growth, renewal, intelligence, money, luck, envy, greed, nature & survival. 

BLUE: Peace, flexibility, water, depression, empathy, respect, honour & trust. 

WHITE: Cleanliness, purity, coldness, light, & hope.

BLACK: Glamour, security, power, wealth, mystery, intrigue & sophistication. 

For my book cover Obsessed with Her, we chose a black background (Mystery & Intrigue)  with red and blue writing for the title (red= violence) (blue= depression). You may have thought it as a coincidence, but every single thing we do is calculated and with purpose. There is also a MAJOR give away (the ending) in the shape of the title. (No spoilers here, sorry!)

Using colour is essential because you are getting your reader to subconsciously find clues to give them some insight into the type of book you’ve written.  

I hope now that you know about the power of colour, that you’ll use it wisely and use it to add to the reader’s experience!

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All Of Your Books Have Money In Them…

April 1, 2019– It’s the first day of April! Yay! Let’s hope that spring is in the air and that we’ll finally be able to venture outside sans parka. Today, I want to talk about the value of the books that you already have on/in your bookshelf, Kindle, iPad, phone, and digital libraries; it may seem crazy to think that every single book you own has the potential to make you a lot of money. I can’t remember who said it, maybe it was Mark Cuban, but whoever it was said, “Each book I read has at least one, million-dollar idea inside.” How do you find the money? Let’s explore!

  1. Inspiration to write your own book. This is definitely one way to make some dollars especially if you’re already a writer with an established reader base, but even if you aren’t, you can always find ideas to write about that could be the key to unlocking a potential book deal with a publisher!  Looking through books you already have can spark a new idea for a book of your own. After all, where do new ideas come from, right?
  2. Advice you can follow. If you have books about investing, the stock market, how to save money, and other financial advice, imagine implementing just one idea and how far ahead you could be this time next year! This happened to me personally when I read the book titled Profit First-it changed the way I budget for my business and I’ve never looked back!
  3. An idea that you can implement. Let’s say that you’re a cat lover/expert and you’ve got Modern Cat Magazine strewn across your furniture and on every nightstand in your home; it may be enough to spark a new idea that can make you money such as developing a new toy for cats, or a cat sitting business, or hosting a cat show that you’re going to spearhead in your city. Maybe you know enough about cats to query the magazine for a writing gig; you never know when inspiration can hit like a pound of catnip!
  4. A new view on an old perspective. This happens a lot in medical journals with new information coming to light all the time. First coffee was bad for us (this sentence was difficult to write and totally blasphemous), now it’s good. Then it was too much sleep, too little sleep, cell phones are bad, cell phones are good (debatable), and the list goes on and on.  Sometimes all it takes is a different perspective to open up a new side of your brain and spark an idea. By solving new problems, you can make a lot of dough. For example, you’ve been doing a lot of reading on the benefits of essential oils, perhaps you could host a workshop where people can make their own combinations or host a talk at your local health food store about how essential oils changed your life! The possibilities are endless.

We know that knowledge is freedom, but did you know that knowledge is also financial freedom if you act on it? Here’s to your success now and always! X LLB

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Pitching Your Self-Pub to a Literary Agent…

February 20, 2019– So, you’ve self-published a book, and now you want to pitch your book to a literary agent. This is a tougher road to submission versus the traditional route because publishing is all about sales figures. It can be confusing and frustrating so here’s how to do it right and get your query read!

  1. Sales. Yep, the almighty dollar. Publishing is a business and should be treated as such. How many copies has your book sold? This does NOT include FREE downloads. Please do not query an agent unless you’ve sold 2000-3000 print books or 10,000-20,000 ebooks.  Agents look for books that encompass money and success, you must show that your work is above the millions of other books that are self-published each year and one way to do this is to put your money where your mouth is. Prove that your book is saleable with the cash it’s already raked in.
  2. Media attention. Amazon reviews don’t count so I’ll stop you right there. Query an agent only when your book has received reviews from mainstream media such as newspapers, magazines, and tv shows. The bigger, the better!
  3. Bring on the accolades. Has a high profile author or celebrity said something nice about your book? Has an expert in the field you’ve written about endorsed your work? If not, don’t approach an agent until you’ve got some attention from notable names! A blurb or endorsement from a well-known person is an invaluable marketing tool that will better your chances of an agent wanting to represent you.

Eventually, we will delve into the how-to of getting a literary agent to represent your work, but that’s for another blog post down the road. Start with this and when you fulfill the above requirements, we’ll talk. Happy writing! X LLB

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You are NOT Shakespeare…(Poetry is a hard sell)

January 16, 2019Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.  

Sigh. Talk poetry to me. Another sigh, as I cup my chin in my hands and gaze adoringly into your eyes. Ok, we aren’t Shakespeare, far from it, I’m speaking for myself anyway even though I would beg for a fraction of the talent that he had. What’s the deal with poetry in the marketplace? Why is so hard to sell? Why doesn’t it get published as often as other genres? These are just a few of the questions that I get pretty regularly. Here’s are some answers:

  1. Poetry has a very niche audience. In mainstream publishing, there’s a small market for poetry books. Even established, well-known poets don’t sell thousands of books – maybe not even hundreds. I know what you’re going to say…”But, what about The Sun and Her Flowers or Milk and Honey?” Yes, those books did sell thousands, but they are the exception to the rule.
  2. Poetry doesn’t sell. Let me rephrase that, poetry doesn’t sell as well as mainstream fiction does. I believe that the world needs poetry and poets, but I also believe that I don’t want to take an enormous financial risk in publishing an unknown poet’s poems. The cold, hard truth about traditional publishing is that publishers want to make a profit. This is our business and our livelihood. The cost of publishing a book is in the thousands, to begin with, and as publishers, we want to make damn sure that at the very least, we get our investment back. Publishing poetry is one gamble that I’m not willing to bet on. We are in this business to make money just like anyone who is in any business is.
  3. Poetry is subjective. You may hate Shakespeare (perish the thought, he is an absolute genius and I am a huge fan of his work) but there are those in the world that would fight you to the death defending his sonnets. You may love Robert Frost (again, what’s not to love?), but others may find his poetry dry and outdated. Poetry is art and art is subjective. Yes, writing is art, but mainstream writing is less subjective. You can say, “I love thrillers!” and cover an entire genre, whereas, with poetry, it’s much more specific.

The point is, if you love to write poetry, keep writing! Write for yourself and your friends and family. There are a few publications that are still accepting poetry submissions and a quick Google search will let you know where to send your work if you’re so inclined. Here’s to your success! X LLB

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It’s Who You Know…

November 28, 2018– I know that authors are usually introverts who enjoy spending a lot of time alone. If we didn’t enjoy our alone time, we’d never get anything done. Spending time in solitude is essential when trying to finish your novel, but spending too much time by your lonesome is detrimental to your business and sales.

Networking is essential to your business of writing, whether you’re traditionally or self-published. Aligning yourself with like-minded individuals allows you to connect and build relationships, and after all, isn’t that the point? Here are some tips below on how to get networking:

  1. Join a professional association. I am a member of three writing associations that make sense for what I write about.  I urge you to do the same. Do a quick Google search for writing associations that you can apply to. The first association I belong to is the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) in Canada, the second is The SOA (Society of Authors) in the United Kingdom, and the third is Sisters in Crime, the American National Chapter. All of these associations have publications that I subscribe to, and they offer networking opportunities around the world. For example, this coming February I will be attending a weekend conference in New York City with the SCBWI, where I am excited to meet my colleagues to build new and existing relationships. All of these have local chapters which I drop in on from time to time. Joining professional associations has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because not only does it help sell my books, it also allows me to keep on top of what is going on in the industry and has unlocked many new doors and opportunities. You never know who you’re going to meet that can change your life or who’s life YOU can change!
  2. Join your local Chamber of Commerce or BNI. BNI stands for Business Network International, and it’s a very valuable source of referrals for people. I just recently became a member, and after the first meeting, I had three people ask me about what services I offer and if they could get a price quote on some special projects. Your Chamber of Commerce is also a great place to network and meet new people who could be looking for your services as a writer, or even wanting to read your next book. Don’t forget, wanting referrals is great, but you MUST build meaningful relationships first. It’s not only about what other people can do for you, but it’s also what you can do for them too.
  3. Give back. Support a cause that you believe in. At Pandamonium Publishing House, we support a lot of causes that are close to our hearts; AAA minor hockey for a local team, Concussion, and Brain Injury clinics, kids derbies of all kinds, and of course, animal rescues and charities. Doing this fills our bucket, and we meet a ton of people along the way. Give freely without expecting anything in return. Talk to people, enjoy their company, and make a difference at the same time.

So go! Get out there and start connecting with people, you’ll be so glad that you did.

X LLB
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Freelance Writing for Money…

November 19, 2018– You read the headline correctly; you can make money by freelance writing…IF you do it correctly. Here’s what you need to know about starting your own writing business: (Also, I don’t think that I need to mention that you should be a writing professional in some capacity before starting your own writing for money business).

  1. Decide what you are going to offer. Are you going to start a resume writing service? Are you going to edit people’s manuscripts? Are you going to write copy for a business such as a real estate office or medical center? Are you going to edit e-books before publication? There are so many things to choose from. I recommend choosing something that you’re really familiar and comfortable with to start, as your skills continue to develop, you can expand into new territories.
  2. Set a price point. How much will you charge for your services? What is the timeline in which your work will be completed? Will you have a contract? Will you charge per word or per chapter or per project? Will you charge by the hour or a lump sum? I recommend having a clear idea of what your price includes and what it doesn’t and being straightforward with your clients so that there is no confusion and you aren’t spending hours working for free.
  3. Find clients and writing projects. Now that you know what you’re offering and how much it will cost, you have to find clients for your business. Start by putting an ad on sites like Kijiji and Craig’s list. Also, get business cards printed and leave them wherever you go, like when you’re going out to dinner, leave a stack at the library on the front desk, hand them out to friends and family and encourage them to spread the word. Use social media to your advantage, put up samples of your work and your contact information as well as pricing. Brainstorm a list of businesses that could use your services if you’re offering copywriting. If you’re offering resume writing services, approach colleges, and universities. Make a list of all the people you know who could use what you have to offer and talk to them!
  4. Ask for referrals. Once you’ve got your first client under your belt and they’re happy with your work, ask them if there’s anyone they know who could also benefit from your services. You can also ask them to post a review on social media with a link to your email or website; this will lend to your credibility and people tend to work with people that others have recommended and trust.

Remember, there are a lot of ways to get paid to write and we only touched on a couple of them in the above post; don’t forget that you can be paid by magazines and publications who are looking for submissions! Here’s to your success, happy writing!

X LLB

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