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!
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.
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!
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
January 16, 2019– Shall 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:
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.
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.
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
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:
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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!
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!
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:
Author writes the book. Edits are done, cover designed, etc.
They get someone to print it.
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.
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:)
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.
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?
August 24, 2018- Are you up for the 30-day writing challenge that I’m about to propose? I promise that if you complete all 30-days, not only will you be more inspired to write, but you’ll accomplish a ton of writing, and you’ll become a better writer because nothing beats daily practice.
Ready? Here we go!
Day 1- Your favourite place
Day 2- What the world needs more of
Day 3- The best day you’ve ever had
Day 4- Dear Future YOU
Day 5- What are you proud of?
Day 6- What are you ashamed of?
Day 7- If you could meet one famous person alive or dead who would it be? Why?
Day 8- One Moment that changed your life forever
Day 9- Your biggest fear
Day 10- Your biggest accomplishment
Day 11- A life lesson and how you were taught it
Day 12- A surprising turn of events
Day 13- The worst day of your life
Day 14- If you could invent something what would it be and why?
Day 15- Describe the person next to you, in front of you, or behind you
Day 16- Who are you?
Day 17- What is your earliest memory?
Day 18- What does friendship mean to you?
Day 19- Who is your best friend and why?
Day 20- Your bucket list
Day 21- If you had one super power what would it be and why?
Day 22- Describe a place you want to travel to but have never been
Day 23- Describe your lunch as if you were a restaurant reviewer
Day 24- Write about time travel either forward or backward 1000 years
Day 25- You’re on a desert island, who do you bring and why?
Day 26- What is your weakness?
Day 27- If you robbed a bank what would you do with the money?
Day 28- Who do you love and why?
Day 29- Your arch enemy
Day 30- If your pet could speak what would they say?
April 2, 2018-This is a really cool how-to infographic on creating epic characters. The info below is something that doesn’t need to be told to the reader, but rather, the writer should know these things about their character so that it will naturally bleed into their writing. Pick bits and pieces that you want to share and leave the rest to the reader’s imagination. The more you know about your character, the better and more invested your readers will be!
December 9, 2017- I’m happy to say that the turn out to my last class, Novel Writing 101 was great last week. Lots of brilliant minds with excellent ideas for stories that are fiction and non-fiction. On Monday, December 11th, at 7:00pm, I will be teaching a class on Publishing 101. The course will include the major differences between self and traditional publishing, the benefits, and setbacks of both avenues as well as the question that is on everyone’s mind…MONEY! This is a class that you won’t want to miss! I look forward to seeing some familiar faces as well as some new ones. See you Monday, December 11th at 7pm at the Sherwood Branch of the Hamilton Public Library.
Pandamonium Publishing House, We make reading and writing exciting!
Are you having trouble knowing what to say and how to say it? Do you need help with organizing your thoughts, words, and ideas? You’ve come to the right place, we make writing easy and take away all of the guesswork.
Whether it’s blogging, copywriting, ghostwriting, editing, content creation, speeches, toasts, newsletters, a corporate storybook, social media posts and hashtagging, or a catchy tagline for your business, we’ve got you covered!
Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 905-979-4949 for a full list of services and a free quote.