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Practice Distraction

July 20, 2021– We’re talking about public speaking all this month for authors and today, we’re going to touch on a subject that happens often enough, but hopefully not too frequently! As authors, we know it’s part of the job to give talks, book signings, workshops, and live readings, but along with an audience comes distraction.

What do I mean? I mean that anything done in front of a live audience runs the risk of hiccups! Whether it’s tech issues, a crying baby, a restless elementary classroom, coughs and sneezes, or a pinging phone, there will inevitably be distractions. Yes, even with a room full of adults, there will be things that happen that you can’t control.

So, how do we remedy this? Preparation is necessary and going into your speech/presentation, EXPECTING distractions will help prepare you the most. Instead of derailing your speech, you’ll stay focused and on topic. Here’s how to practice distraction:

  1. Turn up the volume. Turn on the television, turn up the radio, and set a timer on your phone so that it goes off every few minutes. By practicing your presentation with distractions on a huge scale, you’ll be able to handle the little ones that will, no doubt, come up during your speech. If you can stay focused with all of the noise going on in the background, you’re ready! If not, keep practicing until you can.
  2. Enlist your family. Ask your family to fill in as your audience as you perfect and practice your speech. Get them to cough, shift in their seats, whisper to each other, and receive notifications on their devices while you’re presenting because these are things that happen in reality presentations. This will prepare you for when these things happen to you during your public talk.
  3. Get winded. Practice your speech while exercising. Why? Because when most people step on stage to speak to an audience, their heart rate elevates, their pulse quickens, and they get winded because of the adrenaline rushing through their body. Exercise is the best way to mimic what happens to most people on stage, and if you practice your speech while walking or running, you’ll dull the sensation/anxiety, and your brain will say, “We’ve been here before; it’s all good. I know what this is and why it’s happening; we’re just exercising, no need to panic.” Plus, if you use the space of the stage you’re on effectively, you’ll move around (not too much to distract from your message) and gesture to your listeners.

Practicing distraction is an excellent way for authors to stay focused and on track during their presentations!

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Benefits of Public Speaking

July 12, 2021-I hope you’re enjoying our theme this month of public speaking for authors and that you’re learning a lot!

Today we’ll talk about 3 benefits of public speaking for authors, let’s dive in:

1) Career advancement-You never know who will be in your audience! Maybe there’s a new client, a new reader, or someone that can book you for a speaking engagement at their company. The possibilities are endless and overnight your career can advance if you put on an engaging, exciting, and interactive chat. Plus, public speaking is a great way to build credibility as an author and be seen as an expert in your field.

2) Boost Confidence-By doing the things that scare us the most (public speaking for 90% of people), our confidence grows. Public speaking is just the thing that can take authors out of their comfort zones and help them grow and flourish in their writing careers. We turn our weaknesses into strengths by pushing the limits of what we find uncomfortable and doing it despite the discomfort.

3) Better Writing-Preparing a speech or developing a presentation is no easy feat even though we are professional writers. We need to have a message, but we also need to tailor that message to meet the needs of our audience so that they get a ton of value from what we’re saying. By sitting down and working out the details of our speech, we become better writers who are more concise, fluid, and organized in our thoughts and what we need to accomplish.

You can open yourself up to a whole world of opportunity, by publicly speaking as an author, that can quite literally take you and your books around the globe. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to write a speech and best practices. Stay tuned!

 

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Things are EXACTLY as they appear to be

June 24, 2021-In about a week we’ll be all wrapped up with our theme this month which is Author Mindset! I hope you’ve enjoyed the content this far and that you’ll continue to join us for more tips, resources, and information.

Today we’re talking about something that is very important for author mindset and that is…our outward appearance. Now, I know you may be thinking that perhaps I’m being shallow or that it’s what’s on the inside that counts (that’s 90% of it!) but what you project and portray on the outside is just as important to your success!

The truth is, as humans we make snap, subconscious judgements whether we mean to or not. Let’s say that you walked into a Publishing company for an interview and the interviewer looked like they just rolled out of bed; wrinkled clothing, chipped nails, unbrushed hair, and they looked as if they haven’t slept in five nights-what would you think? Be honest with yourself. You’d probably think, this person doesn’t look like they have it together, so what does this say about the company as a whole? It looks like they can’t be bothered and that they don’t respect themselves.

Contrast that with someone who makes an effort toward looking their best! No one is perfect and we all have our flaws, but first impressions matter. How you present yourself to the world is a direct indication of how you feel about your self on the inside. I know that for me personally I always feel better, think better, act better, and I’m more confident when I look my best.

As an author you will be thrust into the public eye, whether you like it or not; book signings, school visits, public speaking, and events put you in front of people, there are no two ways about it. Your appearance is part of the whole package.

Here are three ways that you can look and feel your best that will get you into the right author mindset to take on the world!

1. Put on your best outfit. This is the clothing choice that makes you feel confident, able, and unstoppable.

2. Accessorize. Whether it’s a favourite watch, stunning scarf, or a fabulous piece of statement jewelry, accessories can elevate any outfit. Plus, if it’s an heirloom piece, you’ll employ the energy of the person who gave it to you!

3. Details. Wrinkled clothes, chipped or dirty nails, and clothing covered in animal hair or lint do nothing to help your confidence. People notice small details like fallen hems and missing buttons, so be sure to give a once or twice over to your reflection in the mirror.

When I was a kid someone very close to me gave me the advice, “Don’t walk into a bank looking like you need a loan, walk into it looking like you own the place.” This advice has stuck with me for life! This means that you should have the mentality, mindset, and energy that elevates you not only in your eyes, but in other people’s as well.

Everything starts internally and as authors need to put our best foot forward. When we respect ourselves, look respectful, and are confident in our appearance and abilities, other people have no choice but to believe it too.

YOU are your author brand, what message do you want to convey?

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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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YET.

June 17, 2021-As we continue our theme of author mindset this month, let’s look at the power of yet in this epic YouTube video! https://youtu.be/hiiEeMN7vbQ with Carol Dweck. This will translate to your writing life as an author by reminding yourself through every challenge-not yet!

https://youtu.be/hiiEeMN7vbQ

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90% of Authors Fear THIS

June 11, 2021-Author Mindset us our theme this month and I certainly hope you’re getting lots of valuable information and putting it into action! I’m going to tell you something that most authors dread…they hate it so much and it scares them to death.

Today we’re talking about the Fear of Selling! This is a HUGE barrier for most authors and takes a toll on their positive outlook and mindset indeed.

When authors think of selling their books they equate the practice with that of a used car salesman; it gives them an icky feeling and most of them don’t realize how much harm this is doing to their book sales, confidence levels, and growth as an author. Plus, used car salesmen trick people, sell them things they don’t need, and are deceptive. Authors are none of those things.

People buy YOU first and then they buy your book. This is the first rule of selling.

So how can authors be more confident when talking about themselves and their work and selling their books? Here are three tips:

1) Focus on your target. Authors struggle with selling and the reason is this: THEY ARE SELLING TO THE WRONG PEOPLE. Instead of focusing on their target customer (specific demo and psychographics and those most likely to buy), they think they should talk to everyone. Not only is this exhausting, but it’s highly ineffective. Don’t offer people your book who aren’t interested or don’t have a need for it! Simple. For example, if you’re selling a children’s picture book at a book signing, you’re not going to approach a teenager and ask them to look at your stuff. They have no need or want for it. This is why it’s ESSENTIAL to define your target so that you don’t waste your time and theirs.

2) Let them decide. It’s not your job to make judgements about your customer and whether they will or won’t buy your books. Your job is to make a connection with the person, educate them about your work, and offer them the opportunity to take your book home.

3) Remember this. Authors have said to me, “I don’t want to bother people with my book, I don’t want to be a pest.” And to them I say, “It’s a shame you have a book you don’t believe in and even worse, that you don’t believe in yourself. There’s a person out there who needs your book and it’s unfair that you’re not willing to share it with them.” This is the reason why you became an author-to tell your story and inspire others to do the same!

Don’t be among 90% of authors who have a fear mindset about selling. Remember that you are enough. If you’re struggling, we can help. Check out our course here: https://pandamoniumpublishing.com/product/course-get-your-book-noticed-and-increase-your-sales/

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Pushing the Envelope with (the one and only) Tim Ford

April 28, 2021-I am so excited to wrap up this month’s theme of pushing the envelope in your writing! I hope that you will enjoy our guest blogger Tim Ford, who is the author of the Mitch Strongbow series! If you haven’t read his work yet, you’re missing out on a brilliant mind and even more brilliant storyteller. Here what he has to say:

My name is Tim Ford, and I am a writer. Well, truth be told, I am a storyteller, the editor truly makes me a writer. For me, my whole writing career has been a challenge, a challenge that I met head on, no surrender. I never graduated high school; in fact, I don’t even have grade 10 English. But as I stated above, I am a storyteller, self-taught.
Approx. 14 years ago, I was working night shifts over the Xmas holidays. I truly felt pissed off leaving my family, and heading to work. Everyone was enjoying Christmas dinner, and for me, well mine was packed up and taking to work to be nuked.
I have always had this storyline, character in my head. From time to time, I would write some stuff out, put it away until I felt the need to write out more of the story. So, while working over Christmas, I could have sulked, felt sorry for myself and turn that 12-hour shift, into a shift that seemed to never end, or do something that truly made me happy, my joy to my world, my celebration. Pulled out my notes, brought up a Microsoft Word page, and started to bang away on the keyboards. The feeling was rather euphoric, I felt so alive. Time meant nothing, that crazy Irish imagination of mine was firing on all cylinders. And you know what, I couldn’t wait to my next shift. To bring more of Mitchell Strongbow to life.
Now confidence is either your best friend, or worst enemy. I thought I had a solid storyline, but I realized, my lack of education quickly rose to the surface, we are talking warp speed. The fear was real.
Luckily for me, several curious coworkers asked what all was I doing pecking away on the keyboard like a chicken. I explained my story. I could tell I intrigue them by my storyline. They would ask for me to send them some stuff. Nervously I did, and the feedback was outstanding.
Originally my storyline was just this 17-year-old asking out a classmate to a New Year’s Eve party. Now, heck, I am in book 17 of the series.

My new challenges are not repeating the same storylines. Remember who all the characters and plotlines are, and also for each contract kill Mitch performs, it has to be unique, not the same bang-bang their dead.
I have also recently retired. I preferred to work night shifts. I would say 80% of my writing would take place between 22:00 and 04:00. My thought process would peak during these hours. Now, no way can I stay up that late. So, I need a new peak writing time, that has been a bit of a challenge, discipline will be the key for me.
And also, the Covid world, it is truly a dark world, not much sunshine in the world these days. The Strongbow series gets very dark at times. It was hard going down the Strongbow rabbit hole as when I came back up, the world much like Mitch’s world, still surrounded by darkness.

Check out his collection here: http://www.pandamoniumpublishing.com/shop

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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.