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Business not Busyness

June 22, 2021-Author mindset is our theme this month and today we’re talking about “busyness”. We all know that being busy does not always translate to being productive; in fact, being busy is often just a front for procrastinating on the big tasks.

When I ask fellow authors about how things are going, more often than not they’ll say something along the lines of, “I’m so busy it’s not even funny,” or “It’s insanity as usual!” I know what those statements are code for because at one time, I was saying the exact same thing.

The truth is the only reason why we feel like we’re barely keeping our heads above water or that we’re drowning in our work is because we’re focusing on too many small tasks that do not bring us the type of results that we’re looking for! Authors are creative people who are prone to experiencing overwhelm and I find that when this happens, we turn away from the big projects and hard work to focus on meaningless day to day things that can quite simply and effectively be delegated.

LEVERAGE is your best friend as an author. But what does leverage mean? It means that you’re using your resources in such a manner to free up your time so that you can focus on what’s most important!

With a positive author mindset, you know that time and results are important to your ongoing success, so why not help yourself turn down the burner on stress? Here are three ways that you can use leverage to get excellent results in your writing life:

1. Delegate. The best bosses know how to delegate. This means that we match the right person to the job that is most likely to benefit from their skill set. For example, if you’re a self-published author you could delegate your sales numbers, taxes, accounts receivable and payable to an accountant. This is one high stress item off your plate that frees up mental and physical space so that you can do things that are more pressing.

2. Outsource. As an author are you wasting your time editing your own work? Maybe you have a great idea for a book but you don’t have time to write it? Do you need help with your schedule? Hire an editor or ghostwriter or virtual assistant to help out! Outsource anything you can so that you can focus on creating more opportunities for your writing life and expanding your network.

3. Use resources available. A lot of authors work from home and this carries a whole other host of responsibilities. We see the laundry piling up, the dishes in the sink, and the empty fridge. These unfinished, need-to-do tasks play havoc with our heads and we find ourselves washing dishes instead of writing. There are plenty of resources available to take some pressure off your plate (and clean them!). Use things like grocery delivery service, or a housekeeper to come in and clean once a week, or a student that’s looking for volunteer hours or back to school cash to mow the lawn. There are plenty of resources out there that can help you free up time to focus on your writing life.

You may think that all of this sounds expensive; there are initial costs involved, but leverage is used to free up your time so that you can do things that bring you more money and time. YOU ARE WORTH IT! Authors struggle with this undeserving mindset because they feel like they don’t deserve to hire any help or that they can’t afford it. Look at your budget as an author and find out where your money can be best spent! Make an investment in yourself and your future by focusing on the big picture, big moves, and big results.

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Editing: The Greatest Challenge to my Writing by guest blogger, Paul Moscarella

April 30, 2021-Today we wrap up our theme of Pushing the Envelope in our writing! Thank you to everyone who read our posts and special thanks to my authors for sharing their methods and ideas in how they push the envelope in their own books. Paul Moscarella, author of Machinia, is our guest blogger today.


​The writing process for me has always been a peculiar outlet that demands my obedience yet gives no instruction for compliance. This manifestation of my active imagination into words began when I was in grade 4. I had selected a book on the shelf of our art class, The War of the Worlds, because the cover art intrigued me. It was a difficult read, but the tale of the Martian invasion had me riveted. After reading that book, I knew that I wanted to share the things that I imagined into something others could experience. But right away I saw that there was a limit to what I could express, mostly because at age 9 emulating the classic writing style of H.G. Wells was beyond my ability! It was a challenge, but I gave every story I submitted in my English class that extra effort that went well beyond what was required. The endeavour paid off as my submissions were always given praise (and high marks). Those were the exciting days, when what was put to paper rarely saw revision greater than a few erased words. The written word was magic, and my pen was the sorcerer’s wand.

​Since that time, the greatest challenge to my writing has been the revision process. Imagination for me has always come easy. Shaping the rough draft into a cohesive well-written form takes continuous effort. Too little self-editing and the rough edges mar the prose. Too much, and the creative inspiration becomes a bland stream of clarified beige. And then, more challenging still, the editor’s feedback! I can get a sentence or paragraph rewritten to the point where I feel it is perfect only to get comments that ask for clarification or a slash through the writing with a simple “No!” So, following the advice I was given numerous times, I’ve learned not to fall in love with sentences, or paragraphs, perhaps even whole pages.

​When the first draft of Machinia was completed in 1992, I never dreamed that a novel of over two hundred thousand words would ultimately be subjected to a thirty-year editing cycle. It eventually emerged as a ninety-thousand-word triumph. It taught me that no piece of writing worth reading ever reaches the published page without the struggle and meticulous challenge of revision. In many ways writing is revision, and each reread gives clarity to what we truly wanted to say in the first place. And whether it takes hours, days, or decades, I’ve learned to treat the revision process as if seeing the prose for the first time.*

*author’s note: this submission was subject to several revisions and my wife’s editing notes.

Get your copy of Machinia here: http://www.pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop/Machinia

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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!