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Social Currency

October 27, 2020– You can also find this blog post topic on our Podcast today click here to listen: https://jidwkx.podbean.com/e/social-currency/

What is Social Currency? In the most simplistic terms, it’s information shared by people as they go about their lives talking about brands, products, services, and events. We use social currency to make ourselves seem more educated or knowledgeable, more interesting, more attractive, more fun, and more influential to others that we come in contact with.

Social currency is what people say about our books, brand, and business when we aren’t around; it’s what they talk to their friends, neighbours, acquaintances, and colleagues about. For example, when is the last time you talked to someone about toothpaste, coffee, or an oil change? Those things probably don’t sound that interesting and probably don’t make you seem any more educated, attractive, or fun, but each day 100,000 conversations consist of people talking about such items and brands. Why does this matter for authors? Because social currency is what can make or break your books and business. If people aren’t talking about your books, they certainly aren’t buying them. Tip of tongue=top of mind. You want people to talk about your books, to get excited about your new releases, to say good things about you to their friends and family, and to spread the word about your business. So, how do we get people to do this?

  1. Give them something to talk about. Let’s say that you are looking for readers to review your newest thriller; you send them out one copy of your book, but also send an extra one for them to pass on to a friend who might be interested in the same genre. Why? Becasue the story of getting 2 of the same book in the mail (when you were expecting 1) and giving it to a friend is a repeatable, talk-worthy story.  It also gives the book reviewer social currency by making them feel important and telling people that they are trusted to provide an honest review of your work. It makes them seem like an expert or that they’re privy to inside information.
  2. Guerrilla marketing. Do something big. Something totally unexpected. Like the time McDonalds painted a gigantic box of french fries on the street at pedestrian crossing; imagine you’re walking across that intersection with your kids and they see a massive box of fries…guess where you’re going? To the nearest McDonald’s to get a Happy Meal. For an example of what I did for my own Guerilla marketing campaign, listen to the latest episode of my podcast here: https://jidwkx.podbean.com/e/social-currency/
  3. Out of the box thinking. Remember Snapple? The juice drink that came in a glass bottle with a metal lid? Under the lid hid fun facts such as Kangaroos can’t walk backward and a glass ball will bounce higher than a rubber ball. These facts (all true) are fun, repeatable, sharable, and interesting. The same kind of thing needs to be done for your books; could you include a few fun facts at the end of your story? Could you create a contest online that gets people talking and sharing? What if you had an online treasure hunt with a massive prize where the clues could only be found within your books?

People love to talk, but only 7% of word of mouth marketing happens online. The real publicity of your brand/books/business happens in person. Remember that advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for and social currency is what customers “Hurray” for.

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Work, Work, Work, Work, Work

October 19, 2020– “To have something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.” I’m sure you’ve heard that saying before, but are you putting those words into practice? If you’re like most people, probably not. What does the quote above mean? It means that to get what you really want, you have to do things differently than you’re doing them now. Old ways won’t open new doors. So take a good look at your writing life and see if you’re where you want to be; if not, then things need to change.

A new, self-published author sent me an email with this question: “I’ve recently self-published my book, but it’s not getting any traction. Do you have any tips on how to increase sales?”

So, I went on to ask them what they were doing so far…their response? “I wrote the book and published it.”
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. We live in a world where the rewards come AFTER the work, and the price of success needs to be paid in FULL before we see any results. I consulted the author on how to put forth an effort to reach his sales targets and his response was, “That seems like a lot of work.” That’s when I knew that his book was doomed to remain in obscurity. It’s not what you wish for, it’s what you work for.

It drives me absolutely crazy when people say, I want, I want, I want, I want…but won’t say, I will, I will, I will, I will.
I have some homework for you:

  1. Make a list of the MAIN goal you want to reach this year with your writing life e.g. best sellers list, sell x number of copies, have it read by a celebrity, be interviewed on television about your book etc.
  2. Brainstorm ways to make your goal happen e.g. I will send press releases of my book to all major media outlets, I will go to schools and set up author visits, I will visit bookstores to see if they will carry my book etc.
  3. Take action. This is the single most effective thing that you can do to be successful. If you merely write a list and then forget about it, what’s the point of bothering to write the list in the first place?

Put the work in and you’ll reap the rewards. Plain and simple.

 

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Don’t Let This Happen to You

April 27, 2020– Did you know that most self-published authors sell less than a total of  100 copies of their book? That’s around $1000-$2000 for lifetime sales which is pretty dismal if you ask me. People write books for a lot of reasons some of them being: It’s a bucket list item, because they have a story to tell, or because they want the ability to say, “I wrote a book,” or “I’m an author,” and the list goes on. I suppose it’s because I’m a publisher, with a marketing and advertising background, that I look at the book business a little bit differently than if I was solely an author. But, just because you’re a self-published author, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t think of your writing as a business, IT IS.  Here are some tips on how to ramp up your book sales:

  1.  Build a platform. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Dig your well before you’re thirsty?” This applies here. I hope that you built your author platform before you published your book. If not, you can start right now. Pick the social media platforms that work for you, be it Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube etc. and be sure to engage with your audience. Let people know why you wrote your book, what inspires you, what books you love, and where they can get yours!
  2. Build a network. Join a  group, build relationships, and connect with people. It’s important to be surrounded by people who are just like you, but it’s even MORE important to be around people who are different than you. Why? Because you’ll learn the most from them. They’ll have ideas and suggestions that will push your thinking out of the box. The most brilliant ideas I’ve ever had for selling my books came from people who were NOT in the book business.
  3. Build your brand. YOU are the brand. Make sure you represent your book well.  Is your message consistent and clear or is it conflicting? The way you dress, the way you speak, how often and what you post, all matter. When you go to events and visit schools/businesses to present your book, your brand matters. Your marketing materials need to be branded in your colours, with your logo, and with the proper fonts and messages to get people interested in what you have to say.
  4. Build your list. Where do you want to see your book and how do you get it there? Do you want to see it in airports around the world? What must you do to make that happen? Do you want to find your book in all major bookstores? Who do you need to contact and what happens next? Which publications do you want to be interviewed by? Build your list of where to sell your book and be relentless in going after the things, people, and places that you want!

Of course, the above list is not extensive. Selling your book is a huge undertaking, but don’t be one of the many self-published authors who make little money. If you have self-published a book and don’t know where to start with marketing it, drop us a line because our team of experts can help! Email us today at pandapublishing8@gmail.com for a price quote.

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Our Guest Blogger, Jake Evanoff

January 24, 2020- Today, I have the pleasure of introducing fellow author, Jake Evanoff, creator of the children’s storybooks Jacob’s Ladder and Oswald’s Surprise. Check out what he has to say, below. Be sure to click on the links to purchase your copies!

https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/jacobs-ladder-by-jake-evanoff/

https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/oswalds-surprise-by-jake-evanoff/

Hey there! My name is Jake Evanoff and I’m really excited to be able to share my story with you, but first I’d like to express my sincere gratitude to Lacey Bakker and Pandamonium Publishing House for making this possible.

I was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario and I’ve had a love for storytelling ever since I was a child. I shot my first film on my parent’s camcorder when I was 7 years old and I’ve been hooked ever since. All throughout high school, my friends and I filmed and posted comedic shorts to YouTube, which eventually brought me to Humber College where I took Film and Media Production. After deciding that I still didn’t quite know what I wanted to write, I went back for one more year to attend their Television Writing and Producing program. It was in this program that I discovered my passion for writing children’s content. I started out by writing spec scripts for my favourite kids’ shows and from there moved onto some original concepts.

After school, I knew that I wanted to be writing children’s content and I also wanted to get it out into the world in a way that would give me full control of the entire process. That was when I decided to start self-publishing my work. The first book I wrote was ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ – It’s about two best friends, Jacob and Halley. They meet up in Jacob’s treehouse every day after school to start their next adventure, but one day Halley doesn’t show up! We follow Jacob on his mission to find out just how far he’ll go to find her. The entire process from jotting down my first idea to physically holding a copy in my hands was about 7 months in total. I couldn’t believe how much I had learned in that time! From editing to working with an illustrator, to marketing not only my books but myself as an author
Writing Jacob’s Ladder was such a fun and exciting experience because it was something new to me. I was used to writing scripts for films and tv shows, where you had all of this time to lay down exposition and explore the world you’ve created at any pace you see fit. Whereas with kid’s books, you’ve got this extra challenge because you’re typically working with 24 pages of content and that’s it. Now, I’ve always written in a non-linear fashion, so what I’ll do first is jot all of my ideas down onto cue cards. It could be anything from a single word or phrase, to a specific interaction between characters or even just what I want the underlying message to convey. From there, I start to move them around like puzzle pieces until I find my story. I remember when I was doing this for Jacob’s Ladder, I wanted to be sure that every single page had value. So I wrote out all of my cue cards and if one could be removed without being a hindrance to the progression of the story, it would be scrapped. I’m incredibly happy with the way the book turned out, and if you want to check it out for yourself it’s available on the Pandamonium Publishing shop along with so many other wonderful books! I also just released my second book ‘Oswald’s Surprise’ and it’s about a golden retriever that wants nothing more than a family that will love him with all of their hearts. He finds just that when a young couple adopts him from the shelter, but over time he worries that his parents might be getting ready to bring home a new puppy and Oswald isn’t sure if he’s quite ready for a new sibling. It’s a story that I hold dear to my heart because it’s actually true!

If there’s one thing I can leave you with it’s that if you’ve got a story inside of you, I would strongly encourage you to share it in any way you can. Whether that’s with a book, or music, even an interpretive dance! Let’s all take a moment to put down the screens and pick up the pens because there’s a whole world out there waiting to hear your story.
-JE

 

 

 

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3 Simple Things You Can Do…

August 30, 2019– It’s ME! In this video I talk about three simple things that you can do to market yourself as a self-published author. Subscribe to our channel on YouTube Pandamonium Publishing House if you want to see more content!

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Pitching Your Self-Pub to a Literary Agent…

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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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

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As a Self- Pubished Author, Are You a Bad Decision Maker?

August 17, 2018- This is for all of my self-published author friends and colleagues! I want to know, are you a bad decision maker? I know that in the past, I certainly have been. It is imperative to be a good decision maker when self-publishing because so many things require your attention! Here’s what I’ve learned along the way in my own publishing journey:

  1. You base your decisions on ego. If you think that you know it all, you’ve got a problem. Let’s say that your an expert in a specific field like illustration, you may assume that your expertise in that field will translate to every other area in bookmaking such as marketing, advertising, and writing. Well, my dear friend, you would be wrong. Instead, assemble a team of people whose expertise rounds out your own and reap the benefits of multiple perspectives.
  2. You rely on the momentum effect. Yes, I do believe that some past events can predict future events, BUT this is not always written in stone, and there’s a problem with thinking this way! The world is continually changing and evolving. If you’re only relying on your tried-and-true methods and are blind to other options, you’re going to be in trouble. It’s important to learn from the past, but to keep your eyes on the future. Know what’s going on in your industry so that you can continuously pivot and be on top of your game.
  3. You’re Lazy. If you’re a self-published author, then I have news for you, you’re an entrepreneur whether you like it or not. Entrepreneurs have to be curious and hungry and always on the lookout for new opportunities. If you only make decisions based on how comfortable you feel and refuse to try anything new, this industry will chew you up and spit you out.
  4. You’re indecisive. Ugh. Nothing makes me cringe more than people who can’t make a damn decision. Yes, there are some decisions that need to be thought about carefully, but let’s face it, most decisions can be made in a matter of seconds! If you can’t decide where you’re going on your self-publishing journey, then why would it matter when you get there? You can’t hit a target you can’t see. Make a decision and stick with it whether it’s right or wrong. You’ll find out eventually and remember that indecision is a decision!
  5. You see the trees and not the forest. Take a look at the big picture! Good decisions are always made with the big picture in mind, but if you’re always worried and focused on putting out fires and solving minor problems, you’ll never be able to properly plan ahead. Don’t Major in Minor things. You get me? Delegate the smaller decisions to those who are in your corner. You don’t need to worry yourself with minor details that don’t really matter in the long run.

So, the good news is that if you do any of the things above, you can choose to stop doing those things immediately and become a better decision maker! It’s not always easy, but it can be done. Trust me, I’ve done it.

Here’s to your writing success,
X LLB

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I Finished My Manuscript and My Book is in Hand! Now What?

May 16, 2018- My book is here! Now what?

I hear this statement all the time from new authors and although it’s a valid question…it makes me cringe. I know that this might sound a bit harsh, but as your big sis in the writing world, it’s my job to bring the rain…I mean truth.  It makes me shudder because it tells me that the author didn’t put in the work BEFORE finishing their ms and they’re about to have one hell of a rough time. Give me a chance to explain.

I’m focusing on one camp of authors, and that is our self-pub’d friends. So, the author has done the work, their book is completed, printed, and ready for sale! Yay right? Hold on a second…now is where the real work begins.

Too many times our self-published friends end up with a garage full of boxes of their books and that makes me sad because it doesn’t need to be that way! It’s not that the book was sub-par, it’s that they didn’t have a clear plan as to what they’d need to do at the selling stage. It’s an amazing feat to finish writing a book, but the truly incredible achievement is getting them into the hands of readers. A lot of the time there are visions of grandeur where tons of people line up to meet the author at book signings. Let me break it to you gently, this doesn’t happen unless your James Patterson or you’ve marketed the S*&T out of your upcoming event/book signing/book.

How are our friends going to sell their book? Where are they going to sell their books? Are the books available in print only or are they available electronically as well? Do they have a marketing plan? Do they have a solid author platform? And so on. See my point?

Let me pass on the best piece I’ve ever received from my mentor, “When you’re writing the book, it’s art. When the book is completed, it’s business-NEVER confuse the two.” That statement will stay with me for as long as I am in this world of publishing and well beyond.

My advice is to finish the manuscript, and then, before getting to the books in hand stage, craft your marketing plan and answer, at the very least, the questions above. It’s harder than it looks in the self-publishing world! Be prepared and remember that I believe in you! Tell your story-the world needs it.

X LLB

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