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Writing Prompt

We’re currently travelling to Arizona, and we’ve passed a lot of fun billboards on our route, particularly one that said Meramec Caves explore Jesse James’ hideout! Let me give you a bit of background about the caves and their connection to the American outlaw.

Meramec Caverns is the name for a 4.6 mile cavern system in the Ozarks and is the most visited cave in Missouri, with around 150,00 visitors a year! The caverns were formed from the erosion of limestone over millions of years. Mike and I counted around 50 billboards pertaining to the Caverns, and I can certainly appreciate their commitment to marketing:) Speaking of marketing, in 1935, Lester B. Dill introduced the caves to the public as a tourist attraction and promoted the attraction by inventing the very first bumper sticker! How cool is that?

Meramec Caverns was also an important station on the Underground Railroad that housed thousands of slaves on their way to freedom.

According to local legend, James and his partner in crime, Frank, used the caves as a hideout in the 1870s! The caverns have also provided a setting for Hollywood in movies such as Tom Sawyer and Deep Impact.

A fun fact about Jesse James is that he handed out ‘press releases’ to witnesses at the scenes of his crimes; one read: “The most daring robbery on record. The southbound train on the Iron Mountain Railroad was stopped here this evening by five heavily armed men and robbed of ____ dollars… The robbers were all large men, none of them under six feet tall. They were masked and started in a southerly direction after they had robbed the train, all mounted on fine-blooded horses. There is a hell of an excitement in this part of the country!” *source historyhit.com

Also, after his death, his body was exhumed and proven to be him due to the missing finger bone that he had accidentally shot off while cleaning his pistol.

For today’s writing prompt, I’d like you to write a 1,000-word story using the photo prompt below, written in the third person narrative using crime as the genre. Feel free to submit your stories to pandapublishing8@gmail.com for your chance to have your story featured on our blog!

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Update to Blog Subscription!

close up shot of a typewriter

January 2, 2022– Dear friends, I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that you rang in the new year in whichever way you enjoyed the most! My wish for all of you is that you have a prosperous, healthy, and happy 2023. This year I’m switching things up-here’s what you need to know:

  1. If you’d like to continue to receive exclusive subscriber content about author marketing tips, neuromarketing strategies, and more, please know that the price has been increased to $1 per post, which works out to $20 per month. There is a ton of new information that I’ve added to my arsenal to help authors of all types, from beginner to intermediate.
  2. Exclusive subscriber content will not be posted on this blog. Your content will be delivered via email directly to your inbox. This blog will be dedicated to writing prompts, upcoming events, author interviews, book spotlights, and updates.
  3. To purchase the subscription to exclusive content, click here: Exclusive Subscriber Content – Pandamonium Publishing House

Thank you for being a valued subscriber! Check back often to see what’s happening at Pandamonium Publishing House and join in the writing prompts to keep your creativity flowing.

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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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Bring This With You

January 17, 2020– Here’s a throwback video on our Youtube Channel about what you (authors) should bring with you to a book signing! I’ll be doing a ton of signings at events over the coming year, so stay tuned for an official listing of when and where to find me.

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Is Your Character a Psychopath or Sociopath?

May 7, 2018- If writing thrillers, domestic noirs, or mysteries is your thing, it’s important to know the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath so that you can correctly portray your character. This is where credibility as an author comes into play and this cool infographic from healthtopia.net is the perfect tool to help you craft your character.

Psychopath Vs Sociopath. I'm an actual psychopath. Not like the people saying "oooh im a psychopath I'm so edgy." I actually am.

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Publishing 101 Course at the Hamilton Public Library Sherwood Branch

December 9, 2017- I’m happy to say that the turn out to my last class, Novel Writing 101 was great last week. Lots of brilliant minds with excellent ideas for stories that are fiction and non-fiction. On Monday, December 11th, at 7:00pm, I will be teaching a class on Publishing 101. The course will include the major differences between self and traditional publishing, the benefits, and setbacks of both avenues as well as the question that is on everyone’s mind…MONEY! This is a class that you won’t want to miss! I look forward to seeing some familiar faces as well as some new ones. See you Monday, December 11th at 7pm at the Sherwood Branch of the Hamilton Public Library.

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