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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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Putting the Pieces Together

July 17, 2020– She’s one of our own and we love her to bits! You know her as the author of Pants and Unfrogged, Tamara Botting; she’ll have two more books coming in 2021, so be sure to look for them in stores, on Amazon, and on our site. I’m thrilled to have her guest blog for us today!

I’ve had a longstanding love of Disney’s animated masterpiece, Beauty and the Beast. I wore out my first VHS copy of the film (yes, I’m that old and yes, it can be done). I bought the DVD as a teen, then bought the DVD again a few years later when the special collector’s edition came out. (So far, I’ve resisted the siren’s call of the Blu-ray). To this day, I can quote the opening of the film verbatim.

So, when I found a 1,000 piece Beauty and the Beast-themed puzzle, I decided to splurge a bit. (Hey, it’s not like I was going out, so why not bring a little entertainment home?) The thing is, as much as I like the idea of puzzles, I’ve only worked on a few over the years, mostly when I’m at a friend’s house, and they have one in progress.

Now that I’m working on one all on my own, I realize it’s a much bigger task than I’d anticipated. There’s a lot to work with, and a lot of pieces to try and fit together. And sometimes it takes a really long time to realize that what you thought was part of Belle’s dress is actually Beast’s waistcoat.

In a way, working on a puzzle is sort of like working on a book. Sometimes you find it’s easier to work on the framing; other times, you find yourself diving right into the middle of it. Sometimes the piece you thought should go in one place actually belongs in an entirely different spot.

It can be really easy to get discouraged when you have part of it coming together in one spot, part of it coming together in another, and for the life of you, you can’t figure out how those two parts come together.

But if you keep picking away at it, keep coming back to it, and keep on just telling yourself that you’re going to stick with this and get it done, eventually the parts will fit together. The bits that seem to have no home prove to actually be really important parts of the whole picture.

And once you have it all put together, you get to enjoy not only the completed project, but also the fact that your table is now clear, and you have room to work on a whole new project.

Because let’s be honest – whether writing or puzzles, it’s pretty hard to stop at just one.

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Our Guest Blogger is…

September 11, 2019– Today, our guest blogger is Tim Ford. Check out his post below about his work, current and upcoming projects, and some insight into his success.

My name is Tim Ford, and I am a writer. I believe everyone has a story inside them to tell.  For yours truly, I have several. Having said this, it took many years to realize my words, or thought process was not just some mumble jumble of words on paper. 

Three things specifically helped me to move forward:

# 1, Confidence in myself. Like with anything in life, confidence is either your best friend, or worse enemy. I have never taken a course on creative writing, in fact when I was in high school, it was all about the girls, sports, partying. Hey, it was the 70s.

# 2, Music. Now just bear with me. When I hear a song, or even a certain note, it consumes me. I am drawn into it like a dream. I can feel the pain, joy, violence, sexuality. When I write, I also need the perfect song to draw me in.  To put me into almost a manic mode, riding that note like a surfer would to shore.

# 3, Editor, this is what completes me as a writer. They tie up my loose end. The majority of my writing takes place at nighttime, and I mean right up till the sun comes up. The fatigue will open up another dimension of writing, but sometimes I am throwing darts all around the bulls eye, but I can’t nail it. The perfect editor, they guide my hand, and put me in the bulls eye.

I currently have several projects on the go. On February 7, 2016. I released the first book in a series called “Strong, A Warriors Journey Through Hell And Back. It is about the making of a career criminal. That book is title Santa Dies Once Again.  The opening scene takes place in 1991. Main character is being interviewed by the cops, they give him the option of the electric chair, lethal injection, or become a rat. The whole series goes back to how and why he got himself into this clusterfuck of a mess.  Other published books in the series are “Summer of Love – Fall of Hate”, “A Jungle Is Still A Jungle”, “Criminology 101”, and to be released this fall, “Chasing Dragons – Slaying Demons”. I am currently in book 12 of this series.

I was also lucky enough to pitch an idea to Lacey Bakker of Pandamonium Publishing House about a DNA conspiracy book. So many twists, you will need a chiropractor after reading this. This book is being written 3rd person along side Lacey… Something I have never done before, but with Lacey’s guidance, and yes support, things are progressing quite well.

Also started a stand-alone book about a 39-year-old strait-laced Canadian who has an affair with an 19 year old American hippie. This takes place in 1969. And it also has to do with the music scene back then. So, you know my heart and soul is truly going to be into this.

Thanks for having a look.

Keep Rocking, Tim Ford. 

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Publisher’s Corner…

August 16, 2019– Let’s dive right into the question of the week!

Q: “Lacey,  As a writer how do you keep yourself from getting overwhelmed? How can you possibly stay organized with all of the books and projects you have?” 

A: There are certainly days where I feel overwhelmed at times, but then I take a deep breath, remind myself that nothing is a crisis that can’t be handled, and I immediately stop what I’m doing to do something else. It’s very important that when you start to feel the walls closing in on you, that you change anything. Change your space, change your position in the room, stand up if you’re sitting, get a fresh perspective and stop what you’re working on! This is your brain’s way of telling you that you need a few minutes to regroup. Take as much time as you need, take the afternoon off, go do something wild or out of your comfort zone, do whatever it takes to make sure that you’re ok. You can’t be any good to yourself or anyone else if you’re burnt out and uninspired. It is ok to rest, it’s ok to let go, it’s ok to shut off your devices. It’s essential to your wellbeing every once in a while to just be. 

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have pretty amazing systems in place that take a lot of the pressure off. I have a social media scheduler that allows me to plan my posts for 30 days at a time, I’ve got a dry erase calendar in my kitchen that has all of my things to do for the week in order of importance, and I use technology to streamline as many processes as possible such as pre-planning my blog posts and YouTube videos. If I had to post every day without this help, it would be near impossible to do so and would be a time-consuming pain. 

Find ways that you can help yourself get organized and how you can make your life a bit easier and less stressful by putting systems in place that become automatic.  X LLB

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Publisher’s Corner…

June 21, 2019– Wow, this is an excellent question! Let’s dive right in.

Q: “Lacey, my family doesn’t support my dream of becoming a writer. They tell me that I won’t make any money and that I should focus on getting a real job. Writing is something I love, but I understand that I will need to pay my bills at the same time. How do I convince them that I’m doing something that I love and that this will pay off?”

A: Whoa…for a second after reading this, I was at a loss for words. I’ll break it down because there are a couple of hidden questions in here and I don’t want to miss them.

  1. My family doesn’t support my dream of becoming a writer. Sometimes, families aren’t supportive of our dreams. They mean well, but then again, some of them don’t. Some families don’t support the arts, and they don’t understand or appreciate any form of artistic expression. This can be very difficult. You have to follow your OWN path and whatever journey that leads you on. No one can decide what you should do with your life. If you want to be a writer, by all means, do it! Find others that will support you in all of your endeavours no matter what they are.
  2. They tell me I won’t make any money and I should focus on getting a real job. I can tell you from first-hand experience that this has been said to me time and time again. “Writer’s don’t make any money,” “How are you going to pay your bills?” “No one is going to buy your books,” “Who do you think you are?” Yep, it hurts. But, that’s what makes victory so sweet. The fact is, there are millions of writers out there who make plenty of money writing books. And there are so many ways to make a living writing! You can write for magazines, you can do copywriting, editing, content creation, blogging, journalism, and hundreds of other things that revolve around writing. Focus on honing your skills and getting as much experience as possible. Last time I checked, which was 56 seconds ago, writing was a real job.
  3. How can I convince them that I’m doing something I love and that this will pay off? You can’t and you never will convince them so stop trying. Do what you want to do because YOU want to do it. Life is way too short to be living your life based on what other people want you to do, say, or think. Getting up in the morning is a gamble, crossing the street is a gamble, travelling is a gamble, and the list goes on. There are no guarantees in life except that we only have one shot at it. Don’t spend your life wondering what if. If this is what you want to do, you don’t need anyone else’s approval. I can’t tell you that this will pay off, but what I can tell you is that you won’t regret trying. We only regret the chances we never take.

Keep your head up. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?

If you have a question you’d like answered, please send us an email to pandapublishing8@gmail.com.

X LLB

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It’s Who You Know…

November 28, 2018– I know that authors are usually introverts who enjoy spending a lot of time alone. If we didn’t enjoy our alone time, we’d never get anything done. Spending time in solitude is essential when trying to finish your novel, but spending too much time by your lonesome is detrimental to your business and sales.

Networking is essential to your business of writing, whether you’re traditionally or self-published. Aligning yourself with like-minded individuals allows you to connect and build relationships, and after all, isn’t that the point? Here are some tips below on how to get networking:

  1. Join a professional association. I am a member of three writing associations that make sense for what I write about.  I urge you to do the same. Do a quick Google search for writing associations that you can apply to. The first association I belong to is the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) in Canada, the second is The SOA (Society of Authors) in the United Kingdom, and the third is Sisters in Crime, the American National Chapter. All of these associations have publications that I subscribe to, and they offer networking opportunities around the world. For example, this coming February I will be attending a weekend conference in New York City with the SCBWI, where I am excited to meet my colleagues to build new and existing relationships. All of these have local chapters which I drop in on from time to time. Joining professional associations has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because not only does it help sell my books, it also allows me to keep on top of what is going on in the industry and has unlocked many new doors and opportunities. You never know who you’re going to meet that can change your life or who’s life YOU can change!
  2. Join your local Chamber of Commerce or BNI. BNI stands for Business Network International, and it’s a very valuable source of referrals for people. I just recently became a member, and after the first meeting, I had three people ask me about what services I offer and if they could get a price quote on some special projects. Your Chamber of Commerce is also a great place to network and meet new people who could be looking for your services as a writer, or even wanting to read your next book. Don’t forget, wanting referrals is great, but you MUST build meaningful relationships first. It’s not only about what other people can do for you, but it’s also what you can do for them too.
  3. Give back. Support a cause that you believe in. At Pandamonium Publishing House, we support a lot of causes that are close to our hearts; AAA minor hockey for a local team, Concussion, and Brain Injury clinics, kids derbies of all kinds, and of course, animal rescues and charities. Doing this fills our bucket, and we meet a ton of people along the way. Give freely without expecting anything in return. Talk to people, enjoy their company, and make a difference at the same time.

So go! Get out there and start connecting with people, you’ll be so glad that you did.

X LLB
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All About Writing for Magazines!

October 29, 2018– I’m happy to say that I’ve been published in various magazine publications dozens of times over the years. It’s pretty cool to see your story on the magazine rack and know that it’s going to be circulated to hundreds of thousands of readers! If you want to be successful, look at your work through the eyes of a magazine editor. Here are some things to keep in mind before you submit to your favourite mag:

  1. Does the story I’ve written belong in this magazine? I know that this seems painfully obvious, but a magazine about cooking is probably not interested in an article about construction sites. Check out what the magazine has printed in the last couple of years to know if what you’re writing about works for them. If you can’t find out if your idea would work or not, just go ahead and submit, what’s the worst that could happen?
  2. Have they done a story similar to this before? And if they have, how recent was it? If it’s too recent, you’re wasting your time, and it would be better to set your sights on a different topic. If it’s been long enough, at least make an effort to put a fresh spin on things!
  3. Do you know what sells? If you thumb through any magazine on your coffee or end table right now, I can just about guarantee that there’s a diet story in every issue, especially if it’s any type of magazine for women. Why? Because that’s what sells. If you know your market and what sells, you have a better chance of being published, because what you’re writing about, sells copies! Do your research before you submit.

I hope that you get the chance to write a piece for your favourite magazine, it’s so much fun and I think it’s a pretty cool experience to work towards!
X LLB

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Just a few of the magazine issues that I’ve been published in! 
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Why You Should Diversify…

October 22, 2018– As authors, sometimes we leave a lot of stones unturned especially while first starting out. It can be scary to make the leap from full-time whatever to full-time writer, it’s a massive leap of faith, financially, emotionally, mentally, and socially.

Here are three ways to generate income while still working on your next great Canadian/American/Wherever you’re from, novel.

  1. Editing services. Chances are if you’re a writer, you can edit pretty well especially if it’s someone else’s work. Editing our own stuff is the hard part. Check into your area to see how much others are charging for this service and price your services accordingly.
  2. Public Speaking. Yes, you need to charge for this because what you have to say is important. The list of topics to talk about is endless. As an author, you could speak about establishing a writing routine, how to outline a novel, how to make money on the side while writing, side hustling, as I like to call it, and of course, where ideas come from while writing. Everyone is an expert on something, and people will pay to hear your advice.
  3. Copy Writing. No, not copyright-ing, the other one. Writing copy is important for ALL businesses, and as a writer, you’re a fountain of words. Use your wordsmith skills to generate copy for companies and to fund your bank account. Look for real estate agents, restaurants, law offices, and wherever else you think your services could be used effectively.

Of course, this is not a complete list by any means, and there are a TON of other ideas to generate income. The only limit is your imagination, and as an author, we know that this is NOT in short supply! Find ways to get creative and make the income you need to keep writing! Here’s to your success! X LLB

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All GOOD Authors Are Streetwise…

October 8, 2018- Trust me when I tell you this, all authors are streetwise. Well, the good ones anyway. When people ask me what I do, I usually answer, “Whatever it takes.” To be a good author, not only do you have to be a good writer, but you have to be a good publicist, an excellent salesperson, a ruthless business owner, and a brave performer. Authors are streetwise because we have to be. We trust our guts, go with our intuition, and chase down ideas for stories that lead us down darkened alleyways, into sketchy situations, and across the ocean in pursuit of them. It’s the willingness to do what needs to be done in order to succeed. Every author I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting has always had this drive, desire, and gleaming personality that could charm the toughest of customers into buying their work or at least engage them into talking to them!

We’re streetwise because we don’t have any other option, especially when it comes to self-publishing because if we don’t do it, who will? Us authors have a willingness to go through hell and back to reach our goals. We do most things in pursuit of the end game, in pursuit of selling one book, or in selling one-more-book. We fight hard to have our voices heard, to have our books displayed, to be best sellers, to cement and earn our reputations as wielders of words. We are ferocious, dedicated, and our biggest critics. We do this because we love it and because we believe our stories need to be heard. We do this because we believe in something bigger than ourselves and because we want to leave this earth with something that outlives us.

So, as any type of author, traditionally published or self-published, let me remind you of your importance in this world; the world shines brighter because you’re in it and because of the stories you tell. The world is a better place because you’re willing to do what it takes to realize a dream. Don’t ever forget your purpose; to tell stories that change lives.

So here’s to all of my streetwise colleagues, I salute you.

X LLB

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So You Want to Run a Writing Business…

September 19, 2018– So you want to run a writing business, congratulations! Do you know what you really want?

A lot of authors branch off into offering writing services to the general public. It may be editing or consulting, helping someone flesh out ideas for their book, or it can even be assisting self-published authors with the long publishing journey ahead. Whatever it is, before you begin, make sure you have a head for business.

I’m not going to mention money or charges or price structure in this post because that is entirely up to you! What I am going to talk about are the most important things you need to do before you even THINK about pricing your services.

As I own a full-service publishing house, I have some tips on running a successful writing business:

  1. What are you offering? Make sure that you’re clear about what you do and what you don’t do! Do you offer line editing? Revisions and re-writes? Manuscript consultations? Blog hosting? YOU have to know what you do before anyone else can.
  2. Who is your ideal client and what qualities do they possess? When you work with clients you love, you’ll genuinely enjoy the job you’re doing, and that’s when you do your best work! Make a list of the traits your ideal clients have. Are they bright? Resilient? Courageous? Big thinkers? Rapid responders?
  3. Identify your target market of ideal clients. What do you specialize in and who is your niche? Choosing your target market is essential because to reach the people you’re meant to work with, you’ve got to know where to find them. Maybe your writing business is ghostwriting for medical professionals, make a list of where to find the people who need your services!
  4. Determine the biggest result your clients get. What is the number one outcome that you help your target market achieve? Do you help self-published authors get their book from an idea into physical form? Potential clients within your target market must see your services and products as opportunities to receive a return on their monetary investment. What kind of ROI will your clients get from working with you?

It’s imperative to your success that you answer the above questions before getting started. Because as I always say, you can’t hit a target you can’t see. Here’s to your success!

X LLB

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