Posted on Leave a comment

The Best Time For a Book Launch…

April 8, 2019– Saddle up, partners! I’m about to provide you with a goldmine of information if you’re a self-publisher. Let me back up for a sec, you’ve written your book, it’s ready to sell, and you’re ready to launch , but now what? I know some of you are screaming at your screen, “WHAT? I HAVE TO KNOW WHEN TO LAUNCH ON TOP OF THE MILLION OTHER THINGS I HAVE TO KNOW AS A SELF-PUBBED AUTHOR?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” Yes. And I’m sorry, not sorry. You’ll thank me in a second because I’m about to gift wrap the info and hand it to you on your choice of platter. And away we go…

January: Self-help, goal setting, motivational and inspirational books

February: Love, romance, and poetry books

March: Baseball, sports, spring, books for women

April: Religious, memoir, Easter, WW2 fiction

May: Summer reads, history, and parenting (Mothers)

June: Contemporary fiction, parent/fatherhood

July/August: Fiction (especially heavy themes)

September: History, politics, school/college

October: Mysteries, horror, thrillers, and yes, kid’s books lol!

November: Holiday, cookbooks, kid’s books, religion

December: DON’T LAUNCH ANYTHING THIS MONTH

So there you have it! The best times to launch your self-published work during the year. Sticking to this schedule will add to your success and that’s my biggest wish for you as a fellow author.

If your self-published work is struggling and sales aren’t where you want them to be, drop me a line at pandapublishing8@gmail.com any time this month for a free, 30-minute consultation. Let’s see how we can help!

X LLB

Posted on Leave a comment

Character Sketches and Why You Need Them

March 6, 2019– Character sketches are essential to writing because characters are the people in your book that your readers care about the most! If you don’t have a strong, character-driven story, chances are that people won’t continue to read your work. While writing, authors try and develop characters that readers can relate to. We want characters with real-world struggles of the human condition that intertwine us and make us comrades in this life. As readers, we want to look at a character and see parts of ourselves.

So what exactly is a character sketch? A character sketch is simply writing down everything that you need to know about a character from what their favourite food is to what motivates them. It may sound silly, but I always encourage my authors to write down absolutely EVERYTHING about their characters even the stuff that won’t make it into the book, because knowing their character intimately allows their quirks and personality traits to bleed into their writing. For example, Jenna may hate spaghetti, but the reason behind it may be because it was her abusive ex-husband’s favourite dish.

Let’s elaborate and use Jenna as a character sketch:

  1.  32 years old
  2. divorced
  3. no children but two pit bull dogs
  4. Aquarius
  5. loves old movies
  6. hates spaghetti
  7. favourite food is roast beef
  8. tall 5’8
  9. brown eyes and blonde hair from a bottle
  10. second born of three children (Older brother, her, younger brother)
  11. parents are dead
  12. biggest fear is being alone
  13. listens to opera music but only while in the shower
  14. a non-reader other than gossip rags
  15. spare time is used to scour antique shops
  16. mid-level income
  17. American Italian
  18. biggest goal in her life is to find true love after four failed attempts

I think that’s enough examples and you guys get the point! So, where does this information come in handy? Let’s use this to create a scene.

Jenna threw her keys into the dish on the counter. She scoured her brother’s almost bare fridge for anything edible but the only thing left was day-old spaghetti. She chucked the pasta in the trash with such force that the container burst open and some noodles stuck to the wall. Memories of her cheating ex-husband came barrelling to the surface as she held back tears. It was his favourite meal and the first meal they shared as husband and wife. The cold, stringy pasta was a horrible reminder of the man who betrayed her trust and slept with her best friend.

How in the world did we get all of this from spaghetti? See what I mean? This was going out on a ledge, but we must remember that people have their reasons for everything that they do or don’t do. They don’t do, or like, or hate things for no reason, there is always an explanation.

So, I hope you’ll take the time to sketch your characters! It will make a world of difference in your writing. X LLB

Posted on Leave a comment

Quick! What’s Your Elevator Pitch?

November 23, 2018– I remember it like it was yesterday. I was having a lunch meeting with an up and coming author that I was about to sign on to my publishing house, when the waitress stopped by our table, “How is everything? What are you guys working on?”
I said, “We are discussing his book.” The waitress said, “Oh wow! Tell me about it!” That’s when things went to hell in a handbag.

The author then proceeded to tell the waitress almost every damn thing about his book from the complexity of the characters to the interwoven plot that had several twists and turns and was going to be a series. I watched politely as the waitress’ eyes glazed over and the potential author hammered the last nail into the coffin of his would be deal. He kept blabbing and going around in circles trying to prove to the waitress and perhaps to me that he was some kind of literary genius that was only resurrected once in a lifetime. It was way too much and the deal died that day on the spot. The meeting dragged on as he continued to talk about his work and I was grateful when it was finally over.

He was a good enough writer, but he definitely lacked the thing that most authors do…the conciseness of a perfectly perfected elevator pitch. After all, if this author said all this to a waitress, I was willing to bet the business that he would be even worse with prospective readers! Don’t make the same mistake that he did, when someone asks about your book, tell them about it in 1-2 sentences. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Keep it short and sweet.
  2. Don’t forget the hook.

That’s it. It’s that easy. No more and no less. If someone were to ask me about my middle-grade novel, The Old Farmer’s Treasure in the elevator up to the sixth floor of Tiffany’s here’s what I would say, ” Imagine that you’re thirteen years old and you’ve found a deadly secret that your family has been hiding for years. You can have riches beyond your wildest dreams; all you have to do is follow the clues in a  life-threatening race against time.” Short, sweet, and hooked. I guarantee if you follow those rules, that people will want to know more. That’s when you can expand on the information that you give them, not too much, but just enough.

Practice your elevator pitch for your book, you never know when you’ll be stuck inside with a reader or someone who can change your fate.
X LLB

new-york-city-3671887_1280

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Inside the Mind of an MG Reader

September 17, 2018– Middle-grade scripts are what I’m always looking for! There seems to be an infinite black hole in my line-up of offerings for this age group. My middle-grade submissions never close, so if you’re an MG writer, please submit! You can submit your query and one-page synopsis to pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

Now, let’s get inside the minds of our middle-grades, shall we? What is an MG reader? It’s a child between the ages of 8-12, and they seem to live in a world of conflict.

  1. Middle-graders love their families, and they are fiercely loyal to them, but at the same time, they crave independence.
  2. They want to fit in with friends and social groups at school, but they also want to be defined as unique, individual, and special.
  3. They want to grow up, make choices, flex their independence, but they also want to be a kid, be safe, and are emotionally not mature enough to make tough decisions when faced with them.

At this age, MG’s are finding their place in the world and getting their feet wet in different situations; they don’t want to completely abandon their childhood, but they don’t want to be treated as kids all the time either. It’s truly a tough spot to be in, not only for them but also, in relating to them as a writer!

Here’s what you need to know to be a successful MG writer:

  • Tweens are focused on themselves, but they’re also focused on how others see them. Peer opinions are super important to them.
  • Heroes and parents aren’t perfect anymore. MG’s are starting to see them as humans with flaws and all.
  • Things are complex at this time in their lives, and they may be experiencing things for the first time in their lives, e.g., first kiss, first time they’ve been grounded, first time they’ve been in trouble at school, first fight with parents, etc.
  • If there is romance, make it innocent. Crushes are fine but don’t go too far beyond this.
  • To echo the above point, keep it PG and don’t go all the way to Young Adult writing with edgy themes and romantic scenes. There is a very LARGE line in the sand on this one. Keep it clean because the edgier you make your novel, the less chance it has to enter school libraries and conservative households.

Now you know! Here’s to your success.

X LLB

511BdJ3MhsL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
One of my most fave middle-grade novel series! 39 Clues- Check them out today! 
Posted on Leave a comment

I Care About Your Credibility…You’re Welcome.

June 25, 2018-The most important thing a writer can be other than creative is credible. This graph explains the limit of the human body which is essential stuff if you’re writing your character into a sticky situation!

Credibility is crucial because as soon as your reader calls bullshit on what you’ve written you’ve lost them and they’ll put your book down possibly to never pick it up again. It’s different if you’re writing fantasy and building your own world. However, if you’re writing in this one, here’s what you need to know about the limits of the human body.

Interesting to know