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Advice From A Publisher

September 28, 2020-Today, I’ve taken a page out of my book Advice from a Publisher  (Insider Secrets to Getting Your Work Published) to talk about Synopsis’. This is critical info if you want a shot at being published!

How to write a synopsis: Do you want to know what will make a publisher absolutely lose their mind and throw their laptop onto their front lawn? Read on to find out. No, I don’t mean read on to find out; I mean, when authors say, “Read the book to find out!” Let me explain: The job of a synopsis is to tell the publisher what happens in your book from beginning to end. It’s a snippet of the big picture and gives us the information that we need to know. If you remember from the previous chapter, How to Properly Query, you’ll know that a query letter is a sales pitch. A synopsis is an overview of your book which allows the publisher to identify any major problems with your manuscript, lets us determine if your book is a good fit, and helps us decide if your work is exciting, intriguing, and fresh enough to publish.

Your synopsis must include:

The main character and why we should care about them. What is at stake, and what motivates this character to take action?

The conflict. How does the main character succeed or fail in dealing with the conflict?

Conflict resolution? How is the conflict resolved, and has the character changed or learned anything? THIS IS THE ENDING! DO NOT PUT READ ON TO FIND OUT because your letter will be recycled, and you’ll never hear from us again. Seriously, this drives us crazy.

DO NOT:

Summarize each scene or every chapter. This will take way too long, and you must get your summary across quickly and concisely.

Write this with the tone of a book jacket or back cover. It’s not a marketing piece for readers that builds excitement.

Make your synopsis longer than one page.

Get weighed down with specifics such as supporting character names, detailed settings, and descriptions.

Talk about character back story. We don’t need to know, and frankly, we don’t care. Yes, even for you sci-fi writers, leave it out!

Get wordy. Don’t use eight words when four will do.

For examples of good and lousy synopsis’ check out chapter 7 in my Amazon Number 1 Best Seller book found here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/advice-from-a-publisher-insider-secrets-for-getting-your-work-published/

Insider Secret: Write your synopsis in the third person narrative even if your manuscript is told in first person. Write in the present tense and remind the publisher of the category and genre of your work. Reveal EVERYTHING and never use; it was all a dream endings or beginnings.

Best of luck! I can’t wait to read your work.

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E-Books (The Future of Publishing?)

September 25, 2020– I attended the London Book Fair in England a few years ago, and I was fortunate enough to participate in many classes to continue my education. One of the subjects that came up was e-books, and how they are changing the face of publishing. Here are four reasons why electronic books are essential to offer your customers if you’re an author, especially a self-published one:

  1. Portability. You’ve just bought a new book series to read while on vacation-did you pack your paperbacks, or did you download the books onto your phone, tablet, e-reader, Kindle, Kobo, or laptop? I’m a fan of paperback books, don’t get me wrong, but when I’m on vacation, I like to lounge by the pool and read. I can’t fit all of the books I can read in a week in my suitcase, so I choose to download them instead.
  2. Sharable. A lot of e-books contain bonus information such as additional chapters or new release teasers via hyperlinks. We add hyperlinks to our e-books because our readers can click on a link and be brought to our website where they can find similar titles they may be interested in. Plus, e-books can be shared with friends.
  3. Highlightable. Non-fiction books especially fall into this category. Most people skim the contents looking for things that are relevant to them, and they can highlight which parts they want to remember or refer back to without ruining or damaging the book like they would have if they had highlighted a paperback.
  4. Environmentally friendly. There is no paper or ink or shipping materials used for e-books, which is an absolute advantage to the environment. There is no waste and nothing to throw away.

I’m not saying that I prefer e-books over print books by any means \(nothing beats the textile nature of holding a book in your hands, flipping the pages, and the smell of them). I’m saying that they have their advantages and have a place in publishing. As an author, make sure you’re offering e-books to your readers; it’s essential to give them as many options as possible to enjoy your work. If you search any of our books on Amazon, you’ll find a paperback version and an e-book version; this is just one of the ways we commit to serving you better.

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Wherever You Go (There You Are)

September 24, 2020– Before COVID happened, I popped into an Indigo bookstore in my city. Bookstores are my happy place, and I love to browse the different sections and topics; I always seem to find my way into the children’s area. Often, the store has local author visits where writers can set up a table and sell their books to customers in-store.

I wandered over to the author’s table, and the woman looked up at me as she was sitting there reading a book. I was the first to engage in conversation; I asked her how it was going, and if she had been busy with customers. She told me she hadn’t, and she wasn’t really into the “sales part” of writing and that she preferred to write the books and stay “behind the scenes.”  I asked her what she thought would happen after she published her book, and she said that she hadn’t thought that far ahead. I asked her about her sales goals and if she had a plan for her book going forward. Again, she said she “hadn’t thought that far ahead.” She went on to tell me that she had spent a pile of money self-publishing her book and that now she had a garage full of unsold copies that she wasn’t sure what she was going to do with now. She also said that she wished she had more sales and that she wanted to, at minimum, break even.

I see this a lot, and it’s a shame because her book was quite good and the subject matter was interesting. As an author, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you where you want to be?
  2. What are you doing to get there?
  3. What can you improve?

If we use the woman above as an example to answer these questions, here’s what we come up with:

  1. She is not where she wants to be. What she wants is more sales, she wants to break even, and she wants to get rid of the inventory of books in her garage. She should be specific about her goals.
  2. She is going to book store events, but not much else. She needs to start brainstorming about how she can sell her books—Eg. Online platform, other book stores, schools, festivals and events etc.
  3. There are a lot of things she can improve; the first thing is engaging with customers when she has them in front of her, hand out literature, talk more about her book, get on social media etc.

You can’t hit a target that you can’t see. So are you where you want to be as an author? What goals do you have for your work? How will you get there? What plan of action will you take? How will you improve your current situation? These are important questions that need answers.

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We Love Our Clients <3

June 15, 2020– We are thrilled to work with our ideal clients on special projects. We’re also so grateful that they choose us to help publish their work even though they have many companies to pick from. We just thought we’d share this super-special letter with you from one of our favourite clients. A huge thanks to Alex Goubar for her illustrative talent and for being an essential part of our team! Thanks for the beautiful letter, Joanne! X

May 28, 2020
Dear Lacey, I want to thank you and Alex for helping me achieve my goal of publishing The Adventures of Carlos: Carlos Goes on Vacation.   Thank you for your encouragement as well as being there for me every step of the way.  I will never forget the thrill of seeing my very first published book!

Lacey, Working with you has been an absolute pleasure and I am so glad that our paths crossed! Making the investment to contract with Pandamonium Publishing House to self publish my children’s book was a big decision, but was also the best decision I made! Your professionalism, mentoring and guidance in publishing The Adventures of Carlos was impressive!  As you indicated in our early conversations, the goal of purchasing your firm’s marketing package is to teach the author how to self publish for immediate and future projects as well as the handling the book illustration process; not only did I learn and gain invaluable knowledge of the publishing world, but it also helped me develop some confidence in a field I knew nothing about.  Being a savvy and successful entrepreneur is surrounding yourself with highly competent individuals; Pandamonium Publishing House delivers on that! 

Alex, My sincere thanks for making The Adventures of Carlos look so amazing!  The way you captured the character of Carlos and brought him to life in the story was pure magic!  I feel so fortunate to have had the pleasure of having you illustrate this story; I hope that we can work together again on the next book in the series, Carlos Goes to the Hospital. 
It has been such a great experience working with you both! Thank you for welcoming me into your world at Pandamonium Publishing as well as that of published authors!

Sincerely, Joanne (Frenchie Publishing)  

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You Are What and WHO You Publish

March 4, 2020– The strength of a company lies in its authors.  We are what we publish, and more importantly, WHO we publish, and I stand behind that statement with all of my heart. I will NEVER publish something or someone that I don’t believe in, and that’s a fact. It doesn’t matter if it’s one of our own projects, or if we’re consulting on a self-published author’s work, if I don’t believe in it, I don’t get on board. It’s about having integrity and setting standards.

I think that there are a lot of questionable companies out there that aren’t interested in publishing quality content and are just interested in getting as many clients as possible, publishing mediocre stories with a payday as their primary goal. Now, publishing is a business, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something to be said about selling out. That is something that I will NEVER do at Pandamonium Publishing House because I believe in my authors, our stories, and, most of all, my team. I would walk across hot coals for them because I know that they would do the same for me. And whether they’re right or wrong, I’m behind them one hundred percent of the time. Most importantly, if they are attacked (which they sometimes are by the public for their work), it’s a personal attack on me because I handpicked every one of them.

I’ve read recently that there are some publishing companies that are infringing on other author’s copyrights and plagiarizing their work. This is not only despicable but absolutely cowardly. If you didn’t create something, you don’t get to take credit for it. That’s how it is, and authors/artists deserve more.

Some people are willing to sign on with the first company that they see. I urge you to check out your options, see if you’re compatible, and see if the company is a good fit for you and your work. Because at the other end of the table, you should have someone staring back at you, wondering the same thing. They should be asking if you’re a good fit for them, if your story works well for their lineup and if they believe in it enough to publish it.

At my House, if I like your work, that’s only the first step. I have to meet with you face to face and see if we’re compatible, to know if you believe in yourself and in your story, and to know if you’re a good fit for my entire team, not just me. It’s part of the process that I refuse to pass over, it’s too important. We are what, but more WHO we publish…and we only work with the best and brightest. X LLB

 

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Actual footage of me with my authors

 

 

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We Don’t Do Drama or Distraction

March 2, 2020– Happy March, Friends! I trust that this will be a good month because you will make it one! I get a lot of emails each week from authors looking for advice, and this week, I got a doozy of a letter. Let me share it with you.

“I’m having a tough time with a couple of things. The first thing that’s really getting to me is people (friends and family) saying that artists can’t make a living and the arts are a waste of time (I want to be a writer), and second, I’m letting their comments distract me from writing, and they’re getting into my head. I’m spending more time defending my position than I am writing. How do I fix this and get back on track?”

Girl, let me help you, please send me their address, and I’ll teach them a lesson they won’t soon forget, but seriously, please remember that you are a BADASS, a talented writer, and an artist who is GOING TO MAKE IT.  And you’ll probably make more money as a writer than all of those people COMBINED, who bring you down.

Here are somethings that you need to do IMMEDIATELY to get back to where you need to be.

  1. Get rid of all distractions. Put the phone down, get off social media, and recalibrate yourself. We spend so much time being distracted by what’s going on online that it destroys our creativity.  Every notification is like a virtual tap on the shoulder that takes our attention away from tasks that are much more important, like living in real life and washing our hair. Focus, girl- you’ll be so glad you did.
  2.  Get rid of negativity. When I was recovering from my concussion, I knew that I could not afford to have another negative thought enter my mind if I was going to heal. The same goes for you; you cannot afford to have negative people around you because they will bring you down and will stifle your progress and stop you from becoming the writer you could have been. They will make you a shadow of who you could become. I am insanely protective of who comes into my space, onto my team, and into my life, and if we can’t build together, we can’t be together. Focus on the positive and take care of your needs first, if someone drains you, cut them loose and cancel them from your life, you’ll be better off, and if you can’t completely get away from them,  limit your time with them severely. You can’t pour from an empty cup, being the best for you, will help you be the best for yourself, your readers, and for the people that believe in you.
  3. Chew, Chew, Chew, because they hope you choke. Prepare, that’s what this sentence means. Some people don’t want you to become all that you’re capable of becoming because it’s not comfortable for them. Some people want you to fail, and they want you to see you f*ck up. That’s how some people feel better about their own lives, I guess; how pathetic and sad for them. When I say chew, chew, chew, I mean that you need to make sure you don’t fail, that you don’t choke, that you properly arm for success by setting yourself up to succeed. Plan what you need to do, show up every single day, learn everything you can, and be better than you were the day before.

So, to the people who don’t believe in you, to the ones who think you’ll never make it, I have two words that you need to hear. I think you already know what they are. You’re either on our team or in our way and you will be treated accordingly. No matter what, dear writer, never give up.

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Bankrupt.

February 17-2020– Last week, when I was conducting interviews for a position on our team, the coordinator asked me a very interesting question, “How is the landscape of publishing changing? I’ve recently read in the news that more and more publications and publishers are filing for bankruptcy!”

Yes. A lot of publishers are indeed closing their doors because of the change in how people read and find information. But, that means that we have to evolve with the needs of our readers.  Here’s what we’re doing to ensure that we stay in the book business for a very long time.

1) Every book we write is available as a digital download. We know that books are read on Kindles, iPads, phones, and other devices, so we MUST have our books formatted in a digital version for those who choose to read in this manner. Let’s face it; it doesn’t matter what kids read on; it matters that they’re reading.

2) We’re a boutique. I am very selective about what we publish and how we release books. We keep our title line small so that we can control the output and not end up with hundreds of boxes of overstocked books. We publish up to ten titles a year, and we don’t plan on getting too big, too quickly. Plus, with being a boutique, I get to meet our readers at local events, I get to speak with my authors and illustrators directly, and I know what’s going on in my House.

3) We do our very best to connect with our readers. We love our readers to the moon and back because we know that without them, there would be no Pandamonium Publishing House. We take their feedback seriously, and we continually try to bring their suggestions and ideas to fruition.

4) New ideas and innovative illustration techniques are what we strive to bring our readers. Especially with our children’s book collection! We’re moving in a direction this year that will show a range of unique characters with different abilities. We’re also going to show a mystical, mythological, darker side to our children’s books. Not to worry, they’ll still be rated E for everyone.

We constantly strive to bring our best work. We won’t stop bringing you stories until we have nothing else to write. And I’d like to think that that day will never come. Thank you for all of your continued support of our House and for showing our authors, illustrators, and artists that you care.

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The History of Writing…

September 13, 2019- This YouTube video about the History of Writing is awesome from Extra History! Check it out below. Remember to follow our channel Pandamonium Publishing House on YouTube for writing tips, tricks, and marketing advice for authors!

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Fortune Favours The Bold…

August 23, 2019– Quick, what is something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t done? Too often we have a list of things that we set out to accomplish, but the list never gets finished, or worse, we never start. Today, I have an exercise for you to complete! Check it out below:

  1.  Dream BIG! The bigger the better! Decide what you want to do and make sure that it’s huge. Examples could be, sign a publishing deal for your manuscript, to have an article that you wrote featured in a major magazine, or to travel internationally to a writing conference. Whatever it is, make sure you really want it!
  2. Set a timeline. I personally use the 30-day rule. I set a goal and give myself 30 days to accomplish it. It’s realistic and gives me enough time to get to work on what I’ve set out to do. Without a timeline, you don’t have anything to work toward and even if you don’t fully reach your goal, you’re going to be a heck of a lot closer than you were!
  3. Be bold and take steps toward your goal every day. Remind yourself of your goal constantly and do at least one thing each day to help yourself reach it! Let’s use the example above and your dream is to sign a publishing deal for your manuscript, what have you done today to help realize that dream? Have you made a list of publishers to query? Have you polished your query letter? Have you done your research on which publishers fit with your submission? You get the point!I challenge you to dream big and take the necessary steps to turn your dream into reality! Get started today, you’ll be glad you did.  X LLB

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Our Guest Blogger Today Is…

August 7, 2019– I’m thrilled to invite author, Samantha Nemeth to our blog to guest post today! She’ll be talking about all things Terrible and she’ll give you a sneak peek of her book! Check out her post below:

Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a vivid imagination and I’ve loved telling stories; I didn’t want to be read to, I wanted to do the reading. Before I could even read I’d sit with a book and come up with my own stories from the pictures. I’d write plays with my friends and force our families to watch, and our favourite game was “spies”. We’d come up with these crazy stories about people being kidnapped with us being the heroines to save them. Before you ask, yes we roamed the streets not-so-sneakily “spying” on passersby who were our imaginary kidnappers and then run away giggling when they noticed us. So, I guess you can say that being an author, creating something from nothing but a thought, is somewhat of a childhood dream of mine.

My book “DJ the Terrible”, is definitely inspired by my friends and I and all the trouble we got ourselves into, but the original idea for it came from a drawing. My now-fiance and I were being silly one night coming up with the funniest sounding names we could, and drawing pictures to match them. Our favourite was titled, “Djeaneautha, la Terrible Jeune Fille”, who had crazy hair, a unibrow, and a evil genius cat named Godfrey. After that, I just couldn’t stop thinking about all the chaos that this terrible girl and her cat would have caused and from there, DJ grew into this wacky, fanciful character who reflects all the awkwardness, burning curiosity, and complete comfort with herself that my friends and I grew up with.

The story follows DJ as she navigates the roller-coaster ride of being the new kid in a suburbia where everyone plays by the rules, no one has any uniqueness, and they haven’t even heard of deep-fried waffle tacos. When she realizes that these people don’t like her because she’s different, she quickly decides to go undercover with her sidekick Godfrey the Super Cat to assimilate with her new neighbours, AKA “The Borings”, gain their trust, then turn the town on it’s head! The only thing is…blending in simply isn’t DJ’s strong suit. With her inventive, mischievous mind, wild hair, and clumsy demeanour, Terrible trouble follows this Terrible girl wherever she goes!

I was lucky enough to grow up in a time before social media and its high standards really hit its peak and I was able to truly be myself, let it all hang out, and simply be a kid; mistakes, tangled hair, unfashionable hand-me-downs, and all. Along with making kids laugh, and sparking creativity, I hope that “DJ the Terrible” can help show today’s youth that it’s okay to be yourself, to be different, and in fact, our differences are something to be celebrated, not hidden away. I would love for at least one reader to walk away from the book knowing that what matters isn’t having the most friends, or the coolest hair, or following the trends. What matters is staying true to yourself, and everything else will fall into place.

Her book DJ the Terrible will be available on October 1st…but we have a special announcement coming soon!