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The Upside of Disaster…

November 1, 2019-I read an article somewhere that talked about the calming effect of acting instead of waiting. It was about a group of soldiers (special forces) that became super calm when they heard that they were just about to experience an overwhelming attack from the enemy. Why? Most people when put in any situation that is hard (let alone facing the threat of death) would immediately panic, so why didn’t the soldiers?

  1. They had a plan of action.
  2. They had a sense of mastery and relied on their training.
  3. They knew they were in control of their next move.

All of the things above made them feel less anxious than just waiting around, waiting to see what could happen. Now, I’m not comparing being an author to the insanely important job of being a soldier. What I’m saying is that we can take a lesson from those who protect our freedom.

Let’s use a real-life example. I had an author friend who I was chatting with tell me that they just suffered an enormous set back. Their book was being bounced from their current publisher and their deal got squashed at the last minute for a much anticipated sequel from a more well known writer. My friend told me that she was absolutely beside herself with anxiety and panic because she had just been completely blindsided and rejected once again after so much promise. What would YOU do? Here’s what I would do using the special forces way of thinking.

  1. My plan of action would be to get to the bottom of what happened. I would see if there was a way around the situation and I would find an alternative route. If there was no alternative route available (there almost always is) then I would move on to my next step:
  2. Rely on my training. I’ve submitted manuscripts to hundreds of publishers over the course of my writing career which has made me a master at querying and the submission process. I’d rely on my training in this area (I’ve taken probably fifteen if not more, courses on querying to publishers) and get started submitting to other Houses. Then I would:
  3.  Remember that I’m in control of my next move. I can start sending out submissions or I can wallow in my disappointment. The soldiers were probably filling sandbags and cleaning their weapons. They were probably stockpiling ammo and getting whatever else ready before an attack. I would get out my submission list, check the requirements, and start the querying process. The point is, I’m in control of my future, no one else. What do I want? And how am I going to build a plan of attack to get it?

The point is, there will be disappointments. But the upside of disaster is that sometimes something better comes out of it-self reliance, a better deal (in my friend’s case), knowledge of self, inner strength, and confidence in knowing that you can handle anything that comes your way.  We would just like to say Thank You for your service to each person who protects our freedom.

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Why My Opinion Doesn’t Matter…

October 18, 2019– Recently, I received an email from someone who submitted their work to me for consideration. There was one line in the email that hit me, “I’ll take your opinion to heart.”

I’m here to tell you NOT to take my opinion to heart when it comes to your writing. Why? Because it’s my opinion and not absolute, undisputed fact. Let’s face it, I have to send out a ton of rejection letters each month and it’s up there with being one of the worst parts of my job, but that’s the nature of the business. I find that sometimes, aspiring writers tend to get so discouraged when they get a rejection letter from a publisher that they stop writing altogether and that’s the worst thing that can happen. Yes, it’s difficult to accept that people don’t appreciate your work the way that you do, but art is subjective and writing is art. There are a hundred of reasons why your work may have been rejected and sometimes it just comes down to the House being full with upcoming projects.

Never stop writing, write the story that you want to read, and take all criticism with a grain of salt. Now, I’m not talking about being arrogant and saying that the professionals in the business have no idea what they’re saying and that you’re the greatest writer of our time and that we’re all idiots and that you’re the next Poe…(that’s a true example by the way) I’m talking about taking the criticism and doing something with it to improve your writing. A lot of times publishers don’t offer critiques and they just don’t respond at all, in that case, try and get an opinion on your story from a third party, not someone who is related to you or thinks you hung the moon. Get a beta reader group, ask an editor, or find someone that doesn’t like you, (I’m serious, they’ll tell you the truth) and have them read your manuscript and offer feedback.

Never give up. Continue to improve your craft and I promise that the magic will happen. The universe is in love with stubborn hearts.

X LLB

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Fall Writing Challenge…

September 27, 2019- Fall is here! I absolutely love this season from the boots, to the wardrobe, to the colours, to the weather, I’m here for ALL of it.  Check out this awesome fall writing challenge below from our friends at shortandsincere.com. I’ll be working my way through this list too:) Enjoy!

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Photo Writing Prompt…

September 25, 2019-This stunning photo writing prompt is full of inspiration! Look how gorgeous the landscape is! Will your story be romantic fiction? Will it be a mystery or psych thriller? Will it be poetry? There is no limit to creativity with this piece. I challenge you to write a story in 500 words.

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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!

An Interview with Giuliano Enciso…

August 12, 2019– We’ve got a very special, super-exclusive interview with author, Giuliano Enciso, On Blank Pages. This will NOT be on our podbean channel, you can only hear it here! Click on the link below. Please ignore the intro, we couldn’t edit it out:(

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Publisher’s Corner…

August 2, 2019– Here’s the question of the week and it’s a great one!

Q: “Lacey, I’ve set goals for myself as writer and I’ve reached a few of them. I really want to be a famous author, but I can’t stay on track no matter how hard I try. Should I throw in the towel and do something else with my life?” 

A: Whoa, this question is deep; first of all, congratulations on reaching some of your goals, you’ve proven that it can be done and if you’ve done it once, you can certainly do it again! I’m a firm believer in never giving up no matter what and I know that some of you reading this will say it’s easier said than done. But, if we all gave up when things got hard, none of us would accomplish anything. Today, I’m not going to talk about tips to stay disciplined or organized in your writing routine, nor will I give you my opinion on what you should and shouldn’t do with your life because frankly, it doesn’t matter what I think. I’m going to dive into the WHY part with a super simple exercise.

It’s called 7 Whys…(I ended up calling the person who sent me this questions and went through this with him, with his permission, I’ve posted his actual answers and he definitely gained clarity).

  1.  Start with a statement of what you want for your life: I really want to be a famous author. 
  2. Why do you want to be a famous author? Because I want people to read what I have to say.
  3. Why do you want people to read what you have to say? Because what I have to say is important and I want to make lots of money at the same time.
  4. Why is what you have to say important and why do you want to be rich? Because I’m tired of being silenced and not respected by friends and family and I’m tired of just being barely able to pay my bills.
  5. Why are you tired of being silenced and not respected by friends and family, why are you tired of barely being able to pay your bills? Because they look down on me, I don’t have as much education as them and they think my opinion and voice doesn’t matter. Because I want to control my life and I don’t want to make decisions based on how much money I do or don’t have, ever again.
  6. Why do they think your opinion and voice doesn’t matter and why do you want to be in control of your life? Because I’ve never stood up for myself before, I usually just go along with whatever they say. I want to be in control because I’m sick of being controlled and decided for.
  7. Why do you go along with whatever they say, why are you sick of being decided for and controlled? Because I don’t trust myself and because I don’t believe in my own capabilities. I’m sick of being controlled because I know that I can do better and that I can make better decisions. I want my family to stop being ashamed of me and I want to make them proud, I want to make myself proud.
  8. Why do you want to make yourself and your family proud? Because I know that  I can do better than I currently am. I’m just as able as my brothers and sisters to make something of myself.

I honestly felt like crying after this conversation. It was difficult for him to answer the questions, but he tells me he’s glad he did.

So in essence, this person wanted to be a writer because he wants to make himself and his family proud and he wants to make something of himself and his life. This is his ultimate reason for writing and when the dark days come, he can look at his reason why and keep going. The other reasons before this one were superficial at best. They wouldn’t be enough to keep him on track.

Wow…we dug deep, didn’t we? The point of the exercise is during the first few whys, the brain gives a nice, neat, acceptable answer, but after the 5th why, it starts to get subconscious. Write down what you want and ask yourself why 7 times, building on the previous answer. Don’t go any further. You have your reason to continue or your reason to quit.

X LLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

July 5, 2019– Check out the question for this week!

Q: “Lacey, how do you manage to keep positive when people tell you they don’t like your work? I wrote a short story and my colleagues didn’t care for it. They were nice enough, but I could tell that they weren’t being completely truthful so I pressed them and they told me the truth finally. I was pretty upset and hurt. Maybe I should quit writing…” 

A: “This is a good question! I get hate mail all of the time telling me that I’m a terrible writer, that people don’t like my books, and that I should stop writing because I have no talent. It’s something that comes with the territory and this business has given me a thick skin!” Here’s how I manage to stay positive:

  1. I remember that everyone is entitled to their opinion. That’s just it, it’s their opinion and not the truth or reality that I choose to focus on. They can hate me and my books and I’m ok with it because writing is art and art is subjective.
  2. I stay in my own lane and focus on my own craft.  I don’t pay attention to what other people say about me. You will never be criticized by someone doing more than you. Read that again. If I worried about what other people thought of me, I’d never write another word.

The point is, keep writing because you want to write. Who cares what anyone else thinks? The only person’s opinion that matters is yours.
X LLB

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I Don’t Know…

April 29, 2019– Many years ago there was an ad in a very famous newspaper of a stern-looking executive in a suit with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face. The copy read:

I don’t know who you are, I don’t know your company, I don’t know your company’s product, I don’t know what your company stands for, I don’t know your company’s customers, and I don’t know your company’s reputation…now what is it you wanted to sell me? 

Whoa, talk about powerful and true. We’ve all been in situations where we are approached by someone trying to sell us something and sometimes it feels icky. It feels that way because we don’t know the person, the company, or the product. This happens to me on Instagram, constantly; someone will either slide into my DM’s or they will comment on my post about how I should buy their product, or sell their product or follow them or their friends. It’s obnoxious and leads me to more often than not blocking them and the person they’ve recommended. Harsh? Maybe, but I don’t have time for BS. The bottom line? People ONLY buy things from people they feel comfortable with, from people they trust, and from people that their friends recommend.

If you’re an indie author who is trying to sell your book please keep in mind that it’s a long road and you’ve got lots of work and years ahead of you. This isn’t to discourage you, but to remind you that you’ve got to spend time building relationships before anyone will be interested in buying your work. Relationships are the key to everything and they must be authentic.

And if you own a business, you need to make sure that people know who you are, that they know about your company, your products, what your company stands for, who your customers are and what your reputation is! Only then, can you begin to even THINK about selling.

X LLB

 

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Hey, Kiddo…It was a pleasure meeting you!

February 28, 2019– I had the absolute pleasure of meeting author Jarrett J. Krosoczka at the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators conference in New York City. He was the keynote speaker and in my opinion, one of the best speakers at the event bar none. His story was moving, emotional, and hard to listen to at times. I hope that you’ll check out his YA graphic novel, Hey, Kiddo, it’s fabulous and beautiful. Here’s a video of Jarrett talking about his book. Enjoy!