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Writing Credits…Do they Matter?

August 11, 2021-As we continue with our series this month, which is what publishers want, I wanted to share a question that I’ve been asked more than a handful of times.

“Do writing credits matter, and will they help me get published?”  Let’s start from the beginning!

What are writing credits? Writing credits are basically any accomplishments that you’ve had in your writing. For example, if you wrote a short story for a magazine and they published it, newspaper column, blog post, letters to the editor, or you wrote a play/screenplay that made it to the big (or small screen), you’ve been published before traditionally, or you’ve won a writing contest. Writing credits are usually listed by publication (name of the book, article, contest, or movie), date, issue number (where applicable), page number.

Do writing credits matter to publishers? It depends. It’s seen as a major bonus if a submission comes in with a host of writing credits attached because it means that the author is experienced and they’re probably a good enough writer that we don’t have to spend a ton of time and money on editing. It lets us know that there’s someone else in the world interested enough in what the author has to say that they were willing to publish it and that they may already have a fan base of loyal readers who loved their previous work and will probably purchase their next book. Having writing credits does not guarantee that you’ll be published by the House you’ve submitted to; more factors come into play, such as the story’s strength, character development, and the flow and presentation of the writing. People often compare getting a publishing deal to be less likely than getting struck by lightning.

Writing credits are great for marketing yourself and can look pretty impressive to those who receive them stapled to a query. Let’s put it this way, two manuscripts land on my desk, and both are equally good in the same ways. If one of those manuscripts has a query letter attached that shows the author’s writing credits, I’m more likely to read theirs first versus the other. And if I like both of them, then I lean toward the one with the credentials. Think of it like this; you’re essentially applying for a job as an author when you submit your work, so why shouldn’t you be qualified, just like anywhere else you were looking to get hired.

If you want more advice from a publisher, check out my number 1 best-selling book here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books – Amazon.ca

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August Theme=What Publishers Want

August 2, 2021– We’re starting a new theme this month, and it’s all about what publishers want! We’re going to go through things like queries, synopsis’, frequently asked questions (the questions that we get asked the most), how to find the right publisher for your genre, submission requirements, and more! We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s start with one thing at a time; today, we’ll be focusing on how to find a publisher for your specific genre.

This can seem like a daunting task, and often, authors have no idea where to start. Let’s say that you’ve finished your manuscript and you’re looking for a publisher for your cozy romance novel, here’s what to do in a certain order.

  1. Do what no one else does. What is it? Read the copyright page to see who published your favourite novel. No one cares about the publisher; they care about the author, that is until the author is ready to have their book published! So, if you’ve got a/some captivating new cozy/cozies that you’re reading, flip to the front page and see who published it. Their contact information will be there, and you can find them online.
  2. Go online. Go to the publisher’s website for two reasons: 1) To find out if they’re accepting submissions. 2) To find the submission guidelines.  You’ll be able to answer a bunch of questions just by visiting their site. Do NOT submit unsolicited manuscripts if the publisher does not accept them, and be sure to follow the guidelines to the letter, because if you don’t, your manuscript will end up in the recycling folder and will never see the light of day.
  3. Read the Bible. No, not the actual bible, but the Writer’s Market 2020 Guide, which I consider the author’s bible. Inside this gem of a book, you’ll find all of the publishers across Canada and the US, who publishes what, and who and how to contact them. It’s an essential tool that can be used to start your search. I’ve bought every edition since 2015 and have been adding them to my personal library ever since. There is also tons of valuable information via agent interviews, author takes, and publisher advice.

We’ve got a lot to cover in August! Subscribe to our blog for new content five days a week; you don’t want to miss a thing! To check out my book, Advice from a Publisher, click on the link below:

https://www.amazon.ca/Advice-Publisher-Insider-Getting-Published/dp/1989506143/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=advice+from+a+publisher&qid=1627919801&sr=8-1

 

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Tips for Self-Publishing a Book

March 17, 2021-First off, let me say a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to our very own, Tim Ford! He’s the author of the Mitch Strongbow Series and is coming out with a new book, Freedom, very soon. Stay tuned for details about a release date, but in the meantime, check out his series here: A Jungle is Still a Jungle – Pandamonium Publishing House, Criminology 101 – Pandamonium Publishing House, Chasing Dragons, Slaying Demons – Pandamonium Publishing House, Inside Looking Out – Pandamonium Publishing House.

I hope that everyone is enjoying the theme of this month where I answer your most asked questions about publishing, writing, and being an author. Here is today’s question:

Q: “I’m thinking of self-publishing a book and I’ve got all of the mechanics in place to do so, but are there any tips you could recommend to make the process a bit smoother?”

A: Sure thing! Congratulations on your self-publishing journey, I can’t wait to see what you’ve written. Here are a few pointers that you don’t want to skip.

  1. Hire a professional editor. It’s easy to spot a self-published book within the first few pages. A lot of self-published books forgo editors to save time and money, but it’s a huge mistake! Editors ensure that the book reads the way that it should and correct grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and flow. Invest in an editor, you’ll be glad you did.
  2. Cover art matters. Don’t skimp on the cover art because it’s what helps sell your book. People look at the cover first when choosing a book, then they flip to the back, and then the inside. The cover of your book is the first impression. Hiring a cover artist, if that’s not your forte, is a wise decision!
  3. Work with the experts. Self-publishing can be a daunting task, but there is no need to go it alone. Work with experts in the field that will answer your questions and guide you in the right direction. We offer consultation services at Pandamonium Publishing House for self-publishers. Send an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com for your custom price quote.
  4. ISBNs are free. Some less than reputable consultants/businesses will say that there’s a charge for International Standard Book Numbers, but there is not. ISBNs are free and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  5. Define your goals. What are your goals for your book? How many do you want to sell? What do you want to accomplish with your work? You can’t hit a target that you can’t see!

Best of luck on your self-publishing quest! If you’d like to check out some of our classes, click here: Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House, Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House, Transitioning from Writer to Author (An Introductory Course) – Pandamonium Publishing House, Course: Get Your Book Noticed and Increase Your Sales – Pandamonium Publishing House

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This or That?

March 9, 2021– We’re continuing to answer your questions this month! All through March, we’ll explore the subjects you care about. To submit your question, send us an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com. Let’s dive in to today’s question!

Q: “I’m a novice writer and I’ve had a couple of pieces published in some magazines that I subscribe to. I’ve decided to take the leap and write a novel. I adore mysteries and romance, but I’m not sure which one to choose to write my novel about. Can you help me decide?”

A: First off, congratulations on being published! That’s fantastic and no small feat, you should be very proud of yourself. As for helping you decide what to write about, I’m afraid I won’t be of much use in helping you answer that question; writing is a very personal thing and only you can decide for yourself. I will tell you that your heart has to be in it and that if you aren’t authentic, it will not only disappoint your readers, but you’ll disappoint yourself with trying to force something that you’re just not that in to. But, what if you combine the two things that you love to read about, you’d have a sub genre of what we call cozy romance. Here is the definition of  a cozy romance according to the Huffington Post: Cozies are fun to read! Murderers in cozy mysteries are generally intelligent, rational, articulate people, and murders are pretty much bloodless and neat. Violence and sex are low-key and supporting background characters bring comic relief to the story. Plus there is/are romantic interest(s) and interlude(s) between characters. A lot of cozy romances are set during holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, and so on. This sub genre is one of my most favourite to read when I need a break from my usual stuff that’s a bit heavier. Here are a few fun statistics for you about the cozy romance market share:
Cozy Romance Novel Sales in 2020
* $1.1 billion That’s roughly one-fifth of all adult-fiction sales.
* 46 percent of romance consumers read at least one book per week. In comparison, the typical American reads five books a year.
Cozy Romance Readers At A Glance:
*Age 30-54
*College/University-educated
*Average Income $55K
*Relationship Status 59 percent are coupled, 84 percent are women, 16 percent are men
*Romance readers are more likely than the general population to be currently married or living with a partner.

I know that perhaps all of this info didn’t really answer your question. The point is to write what you love! And as cliché as it sounds, write the book that you want to see on the shelf. If you want to take your writing to the next level, check out our classes here: Best-Seller Bootcamp – Pandamonium Publishing House  Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House

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Riddle Me This

March 1, 2021-It’s a brand new month and that means that we’ll be talking about a brand new subject! I’ve decided to focus on the most asked questions I get as a publisher from authors, writers, and writing entrepreneurs. Please remember to follow us on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube); we appreciate your readership!

Let’s dig into the questions that matter, asked by real authors:

Q: “I’ve been writing for about two years now and I’ve gotten nowhere. I’ve sent in multiple manuscripts to publishers, stuff to magazines, and even and editorial piece to an editor, but no one answers me back or I get rejected. What am I doing wrong and how long will it take to get published?”

A: Good for you for sticking with it for two years. It’s a long and tough road, but eventually things will happen for you! This is a bit of a lengthy answer so I’ll break it down into parts.

  1. I’ve sent multiple manuscripts to publishers, magazines, editors. Have you followed the submission guidelines as outlined? I know for a fact that if you don’t query properly or follow the guidelines to a T, your manuscript will end up being recycled or put into the slush pile meaning it will never see the light of day or cross a publisher’s desk.
  2. No one answers me back or I get rejected. Personally, we receive approximately 175 submissions per month and we are a boutique publishing house. The big 5 publishers probably receive that many per week or even by the day! Celebrate the fact that someone even had the courtesy to send you out a rejection letter (even if it’s a generic form letter) because now you’re not left wondering. Usually publishers won’t answer or provide feedback based solely upon the sheer volume of submissions. Rejection happens for a number of reasons here are the most common-we don’t have enough room in our roster, our slots are filled with new publications for the upcoming 2-3 years, it’s not a good fit for what we publish, the manuscript needs major work, or we have something too similar already.
  3. What am I doing wrong? Are you following the submission guidelines? Are you addressing the correct person and the correct publisher for your specific genre of writing? Is the publishing house open to submissions? Is your writing fantastic, interesting, fresh, and new? Are you following up? Is your writing up to par in terms of grammar, structure, and industry standards? There are a number of things that you could be doing wrong that would create a barrier to getting published. My advice is to have a beta group read your work or hire a professional publishing company(such as ours, Pandamonium Publishing House) to give you honest feedback on your work. Education can be the key to your success, so enroll in as many classes that you can to help tighten and perfect your writing. Sometimes we receive such poorly written manuscripts that no amount of editing can salvage them.
  4. How long will it take? Publishing is a process and can take years before you have success. There is no time limit and to put one on yourself is unnecessary and stressful. Keep writing, keep submitting, keep honing your skills, and educating yourself and it will happen! Success is not an overnight thing, keep working at it.

To get more info on what publishers want, check out my number 1, best selling book on Amazon here: Advice from a Publisher (Insider Tips for Getting Your Work Published!): Bakker, Lacey L., Goubar, Alex: 9781989506141: Books – Amazon.ca

To send in your publishing/writing question, email pandapublishing8@gmail.com

 

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Advice from a Publisher

December 10, 2020-Today I’ll be dishing out advice! I love getting questions from aspiring writers and here’s a great question from one of our readers. Pick up your copy of Advice from a Publisher (Insider tips for getting your work published) here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/advice-from-a-publisher-insider-secrets-for-getting-your-work-published/

Q: “Lacey, I’ve written a book about the history of baseball and want to use photographs throughout my book, what do I need to know and is this possible?”
A: Great question! This whole copyrighting issue can get a bit messy at times, so let me explain how it works when wanting to use images that you don’t own. 

  1. Stock Images: You can use stock images that have no attribution required. There are multiple sites online that have stock images that you can use however you’d like. No attribution required means that you don’t have to give credit to the photographer or the owner of the image.
  2. Public Domain: Did you know that all images published before January 1, 1923, in the United States are now public domain? See if the images you’d like to use are in this category, because you may not need permission to use them.
  3. Buy Photos: You can always buy photos from the photographer on sites like istockphoto.com, Shutterstock, and Fotosearch.

For the rest of my answer and more insider tips, check out my book Advice from a Publisher here: https://www.amazon.ca/Advice-Publisher-Insider-Getting-Published/dp/1989506143/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1607423469&sr=8-1

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Advice from a Publisher

November 18, 2020– Let’s take a page out of my own book Advice from a Publisher (Insider tips for getting your work published!) available here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/advice-from-a-publisher-insider-secrets-for-getting-your-work-published/

Q: I’m working on a couple of novels simultaneously, and I’m having a problem keeping things straight! I’ve mixed up my characters and plots in a few places during the story and am driving myself crazy! How do I fix this? 

A: Kudos to you for working on two novels! Don’t worry; it’s an easy fix.

  1. Sticky notes are your friend. Before sitting down to work on either one of your novels, take a sticky note and write the main character’s name in BOLD, BLACK marker. Stick it to the screen of your laptop. This is a visual reminder of what you’re working on and which character/book requires your attention.
  2. One thing per day. Section your week into specific days that you will work on each project. For example, I write Becoming James Cass on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, I work on my other book, I am Jessica Westlake. It’s much easier to write on certain days rather than spend the morning of each day working on project one, and the afternoon working on project two. You’ll be less inclined to make a mistake…unless, of course, you’re like me and never know what day it is!

Please send me your questions! I love helping aspiring authors.  You can reach me at pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

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Query Me This

August 10, 2020-Do you know what a query letter is and what purpose it serves for a publisher? If not, you’re missing some important information! Publishers expect several things when an author submits their manuscript for consideration, and one of those items is a query letter.

By definition, a query letter is what introduces you and your work to a publisher. Its primary purpose is to get the publisher interested in your book so that they want to read more! Well written query letters whet the publisher’s appetite and pique our interest, poorly written ones make us recycle your query and move on to the next one.

There are four essential parts to a query letter:

1) Title, word count, genre, and category-Including a working title is fine as well as where you would place your book in the market. The rest is self-explanatory for this first step.
2) Brief description of your story and the HOOK-The hook is what gets us hooked on your story! What does your character want? What will they do to get it? And who is preventing them from getting it? Remember to include the ending of your book. We don’t like to be kept guessing.
3) A bit about yourself-Credentials, awards, classes, continuing education etc. And why you wrote the book that you’re sending to us and any other relevant information.
4) Thank you and a closing line-Thanks for reading my manuscript. I hope to hear from you soon. Nice and clean and simple.

For more information on how to properly query, check out my book, Advice from a Publisher (Insider tips for getting your work published) here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/advice-from-a-publisher-insider-secrets-for-getting-your-work-published/

Query letters are essential! Don’t let this one page be the thing that stands between you and a publishing deal. X LLB

book cover publisher

 

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Advice From a Publisher

June 12, 2020– As many of you know, I have a non-fiction book out titled, Advice From a Publisher (Insider secrets to getting your work published), that is packed full of information for people who have questions about publishing. Here’s a sample of what’s inside!

Q: “You have a ton of content on your site, how do you think of fresh ideas all of the time? I seem to write about the same old things and sometimes I have trouble finding ideas!” 

A: Thank you for noticing first of all! I try so hard to bring fresh ideas and new things for us to talk about! Some days it can be a struggle; that’s for sure, especially when we have a blog, YouTube channel, podcast, and various social media to keep up with. I do my best not to duplicate content, so you won’t get a podcast that has the same info or material as on our blog, etc. When it comes to finding inspiration for content, here’s what I do:

  1. I scour the news. Yep, it’s depressing at times, but I look for things that I can talk or write about, especially when it comes to creative writing. Sometimes the headlines can inspire a book idea or a skewed perspective for a topic that I can share.
  2. I listen to conversations. Eavesdropping? Check. When I’m out getting coffee or I’m shopping, or anywhere in public, I listen to the people around me. Sometimes waiting in line at a place can provide lots of great ideas!
  3. I read trade publications like Writer’s Digest and subscribe to magazines in my field of work. This allows for a lot of ideas on topics that are relevant for our readers and writers who visit and subscribe to our content. It also means that staying up to date on all things, publishing is essential in bringing the most relevant topics to our media.

The book is packed full of useful information about self-publishing, hybrid-publishing, and traditional publishing; you can order it from our site www.pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop

book cover publisher

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We Will…We Will…Reject You

January 31, 2019– Listen up fellow writers, what I’m about to tell you is absolutely imperative to set you on the path of successfully getting published, not only with my company but also, with other potential agents/publishers. Here’s the thing, writing is hard work, and we receive approximately 175 submissions give or take per month, so narrowing down the field of manuscripts is essential. Here is what will cause your work to be automatically rejected.

  1. You didn’t follow the submission guidelines.  When a potential author doesn’t follow the submission guidelines that are posted on every publisher’s site, you give us the clear indication that you cannot follow instructions. If you can’t follow directions, how are we going to work together longterm? Easy answer-we can’t. Here’s a link to our submission guidelines: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/about/
  2. You sent your entire manuscript in an attachment. I don’t open attachments. Ever. Next.
  3. Your query letter/synopsis didn’t grab me.  If you don’t know how to query a publisher, I suggest that you find information online that is accurate and trustworthy. Also, your synopsis is something that is your HOOK! It is exciting and makes me want to read more of your manuscript. It’s like a movie trailer for an upcoming attraction.  For expert help, you can click on this link to our products page to find out how to write the perfect query: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/mini-course-crafting-the-perfect-query/
  4. Your opening pages were boring. The first few pages in your writing must be attention-getting not only for me but for your readers! If the opening of your story is dull, if it starts with a cliche (it was a dark and stormy night), or if it starts out as a dream, your chances of getting a publishing deal have pretty much vanished. Understand that yes, introductions to stories can be fixed, but you only have one chance to make a first impression. If I read your first five pages and I do not love it, what’s going to make me think that the rest of the book is any better? Start where the action is; the rest can be explained later and sprinkled throughout your story.
  5. You weren’t patient. You decided to call my bluff (or not) and say that another publisher was interested in your work, and you tried to rush me into making a decision. You needed an answer in two days or by five o’clock, or before Cinderella’s carriage turned back into a pumpkin, these things take time, and when I’m pushed to decide in a rush, my answer will always be no. Please understand that it takes between 4-6 weeks for me to review your work, sometimes longer based on how many submissions I have. Your patience is appreciated, and I will always respond, either way, so you know where you stand with your submission.

So, those are five ways to get rejected. We hope you’ll follow our advice, X LLB

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