Posted in Cool Stuff, pandamonium publishing house

Exploring Genres…Part 1 of 3

I’m really excited to do this three part segment about exploring genres. As many of you know, I write and also publish different genres that include, but are not limited to: Picture Books for Children, Middle-grade Novels, and Adult Thrillers. Well, today I’m excited to talk about one of my guilty pleasures, but I’ll get to that in a second. I think that as an author it’s imperative to explore genres that are outside of your realm of writing. Not only does it make you a better writer but it also allows you to open up your mind to some really fun possibilities.

Most writers are voracious readers, it’s all part and parcel of what we do! I’m not a huge fan of sci-fi or fantasy books, but I do put effort into reading them every once in a while.

So, let’s dig right in and talk about one of my recently found favourite genres when you need something that is light, uplifting, and cozy! The genre we’re talking about today is called Cozy Mysteries or just Cozies. A Cozie is a subgenre of crime fiction where violence is downplayed, and the crime and detection take place in a small town that is a socially intimate community. I stumbled upon this genre when I was looking to take a break from some of the heavier, violent, mind-bending thriller fiction that I was writing and reading. It was time to find something a bit lighter and, well, cozy. Cozy mysteries are perfect for the beach or in front of a crackling fire or sitting by the window with a cup of tea as you listen to the rain tap at the window. These books make you want to snuggle up and disappear between their pages.

If you haven’t tried Cozy Mysteries just yet, I urge you to do so. It’s a great way to take a break, to have fun and read something a bit more relaxed than usual fiction. I particularly like the author Laurie Cass and her book Borrowed Crime. It’s a really cute book and the cover has a picture of a cat and a bookmobile…SOLD!

I hope that if you haven’t already, that you’ll check out this genre and expand your reading list a bit. It’s refreshing to read something that doesn’t make you overthink or keep you up at night. Try it and tell me what you think in the comments below!

LLB

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Posted in Cool Stuff, News

Tips to Succeed at Events as a Vendor/Business Owner…Part 3 of 3

March 27, 2017-I hope that you’ve enjoyed this mini-series of tips to succeed at events as a vendor/business owner and that you’ve started incorporating them into your game plan.

Here are the final keys to success!

7) Make friends with the vendors and the event organizer-You never know who you’ll meet at any of these shows so it’s best to arrive early and set up so that you can take a few moments before the show starts to scope the place out. I’ve had more vendors buy my products at shows than I can even count. People want to know what you’re selling, but more importantly, they want to make a connection with you. All of us have something in common, we’re all at the same show and we’re all trying to make money and contacts. At every single show, I gather business cards from other vendors tables to keep in my files. I’ve made so many contacts this way and have even hired people to do work for me because I liked what they were selling. I also hand out MY business cards in case I have something that another vendor is interested in. Maybe they aren’t but know someone who is. The opportunities are tremendous! Be sure to thank the organizer for having you and keep in touch with them, so they’ll invite you to their upcoming events in the future.

8) Have a draw at your table-A chance to win a prize is always a cool way to draw people to your table. I NEVER do a draw for the product I’m selling on my table because people say, “Let’s hold off buying the book in case we win the draw!” See the problem? You want people to buy your product, but you also need people to come to your table. If they come to your table and you engage them, they’ll probably buy what you’re selling. I use a prize draw at my table for two reasons, 1) To entice people to come to my table and 2) to collect information about my customer. Here’s how it works: I’ll do a draw for a $25 gift card to either the movies or for a pre-paid Visa card. The chance to win is displayed clearly on my table, and I have cards laid out with some pens so that people can enter the draw. On the draw card, I ask for their name, phone number and e-mail address and a little box that they need to check off saying it’s ok for me to contact them via e-mail. The customer fills it out and drops their entry card into a fishbowl. I contact them later to say thank you for entering the draw, I let them know if they won the prize and also invite them to follow my blog. 99 times out of 100 they’ll follow! This info is invaluable to your business but be careful not to break any privacy laws.

9) Enjoy yourself-This seems like a silly tip but I want you to know that it’s super important. It’s necessary to have fun and enjoy yourself because people can feel tension. They can sense desperation and if you’re trying to hard-sell them. This is not only a major turn-off for potential buyers but it causes you, the seller, unnecessary stress. Life is too short to be broke and stressed! You’ll be both if you take yourself too seriously. Body language is essential because most of what you don’t say is what people pick up on. Uncross your arms, stand up, smile and engage your customers. Be interested in what they have to say and enjoy the connection with other humans who you might otherwise never come in contact with.

10) Some people are rude, miserable and mean but there’s nothing you can do about it-Anytime you deal with the public you’ll come across that one special human who doesn’t like you, your product, your looks, your qualifications, your voice, your price…you get the picture. You can’t make everyone happy so don’t let the snarky comments of a single person get to you.Never let them dull your sparkle!  For every miserable person out there, there’s five standing behind them waiting and willing to engage with you. You’ll get your share of miserable, rude people at events but that’s a reflection of them, not you. No matter what, remain professional at all times. I was at a show a couple of weeks ago and a woman said to me, “You don’t belong here, you know that right?” Her exact words, I’m not even kidding. I smiled sweetly and said, “Sure I do! I paid my money to be here just like you did and as far as I know, you’re not the event organizer who gets to decide if I belong here or not. I hope you have a great show!” Sure it was a bit on the snarky side but I smiled and looked her in the eye. I wanted her to know that she couldn’t shake me or my confidence. Funnily enough, she warmed up to me later and guess what? She was a part-time writer who needed a publisher…shoot, if she only knew someone! LOL. Be nice that’s all I’m gonna say.

I hope that you’ve learned a couple of things from the tips I’ve shared and that you’re successful in every endeavor that you choose to embark on. Thanks for reading and for following my blog.

LLB

Posted in News

Please DON’T Do This!…

Easter will be here in another few weeks and I just wanted to take a second to say PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t buy bunnies as gifts for Easter. I’m not talking about the chocolate kind of course but rather the real-life kind of bunnies that require love, care, attention and basic necessities to survive and flourish. I know that a lot of people think it’s cute and tis the season but here’s what really happens.

This is a really sad statistic. 95% of Easter bunnies don’t make it to the age of 1. Yes, that’s right, they don’t make it to 12 months old. It’s true that children would be excited to receive a live bunny for Easter but the novelty quickly wears off. A lot, if not most of these creatures are abandoned and neglected. Rabbits are a 10-year commitment and some of them can live even longer. Please don’t take this responsibility lightly and remember that they are a living thing that deserves a forever home. They’re not toys, they’re not disposable, they’re not starter pets, they’re not low-maintenance. They’re living animals with feelings and deserve to be treated as such.

Rabbits are some of the most exploited and abused animals in the world and this fact breaks my heart. Please end the sale of rabbits during Easter and consider adopting a bunny from a reputable shelter during a different time of the year.

This Easter give a stuffed bunny, not a live one!

LLB

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Posted in Events

Tips to Succeed at Events as a Vendor/Business Owner…Part 2

Thanks for joining me for part two of a three-part series about succeeding at events. Let’s dive right into the next block of tips!

4) Get a Square Reader-Honestly, this little device has saved my bacon more than once! A lot of the time people only bring a set amount of cash to events and not every venue has an ATM in the lobby. A Square Reader is a valuable tool for closing the sale, instead of saying, “I only accept cash” and having your buyer say, “Oh…I’m all out, maybe next time,” you can say, “No problem! I also accept all major credit cards.” Never create a barrier for people who want to buy your product. You wouldn’t believe what this card reader has done for my business. It’s portable and plugs into your cell phone where your earbuds usually go. It accepts all major credit cards, and you can choose to e-mail or text your buyer their receipt! It’s super user-friendly and gives you WAY more options of accepting payments.It takes a few cents per transaction as a fee, but the device is FREE and totally worth it. My only beef with the Square Reader is that it doesn’t accept debit…not yet anyways:)

5) Dress the part-I know, this seems obvious, right? Not so fast. The saying goes, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have!” Well, here’s the thing YOU are the business owner, and YOU are the vendor so look like it! Make sure that you’re wearing something that you feel confident in and that makes you look professional. Let’s be real for a second…people judge a book by it’s cover. It’s a fact of life that is sad but true. If you make a bad first impression by the wrinkled clothes you’re wearing that are covered in coffee stains, it’ll be really hard for you to convince people that they should even talk to you. It’s not fair but people are wired this way. Also, make sure that you’re not chomping on gum while speaking to a prospective buyer and that you don’t have anything on your face or in your teeth that shouldn’t be there. You never get the chance to make another first impression!

6) TALK TO EVERYONE-Yes, I put this title in bold because it’s SO important. Again, it may seem simple and obvious but for so many vendors it’s not. How many times have you been to a fair or an event like a home show etc. only to find the people at the booths staring at their phones? Lots. Your job is to talk to EVERY SINGLE, yes, you read that correctly, I said EVERY SINGLE person that passes your booth. I don’t care if it’s, “Hi! How are you enjoying the show?” Or if it’s just a simple, “Hi!” YOU MUST engage people if you want to make sales. A lot of the problem with vendors who complain that they made no sales is that they don’t engage people or are so obsessed with leveling up on Candy Crush that they won’t even make eye contact with their prospective buyers. They expect the people to come to them. This isn’t how it works friends. Sorry to say but people don’t give a damn. They’re busy and distracted and off in a world of their own. It’s up to you to greet them and tell them about your product. That’s the point, isn’t it? Just doing this will INCREASE your sales tenfold if you’re not doing it already…it’s a matter of statistics. The more people that know about your product, the more people will buy it. The best advice I ever overheard was at a Chapters/Indigo book signing. I was NOT the author in store but a customer that day. The author in-store called the manager over to her table and said, “This isn’t working, I haven’t made any sales. You said it would be busy, but no one has stopped by my table!” I stopped dead in my tracks and watched with excitement…the manager leaned over the table and said very gently to the self-inflated author, “Ma’am, maybe if you stood up and said hi to a few people instead of sitting at the table waiting for them to come to you, you’d have more success. No one is here to see you…you’re not James Patterson.” I wanted to clap but I restrained myself and watched the author pack up her fifty copies of unsold books and leave in a huff. Remember this one rule folks and you’ll be just fine. Engage EVERYONE. Bottom line, you are NOT special…no matter what your mom tells you.

Join me on Monday for the final part of this series!

LLB

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Posted in Events

Tips to Succeed at Events…As a Vendor/Business Owner…Part 1

As you know, I do my fair share of events and truth be told there’s no way to say whether the event that you are attending as a vendor will be successful or not. Multiple variables are beyond your control such as the traffic flow in regards to how many people attend the event, the weather if the event is indoors/outdoors, where the location of your booth is and so many other things.

The good news is that the more prepared you are for your events, the better you’ll do regarding sales, connections, and networking. Here are a few tips that have worked well for me and I hope that by implementing the tools and adding them to your arsenal, that they’ll work for you too!

  1. Define success-Success can only be measured by what you say it is. So if getting the e-mail addresses of 100 people means success to you, then, by all means, do it! If it’s selling five pieces of your hand-made art, then strive for that. As you can see success is very personal. Everyone’s definition of success is different so be sure to know what you’re aiming for.
  2. Listen to what others are saying-There are some amazing shows that I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of and other shows that have been really slow. Listen to the buzz around the event and listen to what other vendors are saying as a whole. That doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them, but maybe there is some merit to keeping your ear to the ground. There is someone locally that does shows that are AMAZING! She is organized, an entrepreneur does great advertising and knows how to bring in traffic, and after all, more traffic means more sales! Of course, when I heard about her and got into one of her shows, I knew that I HAD to do more! What she does is magic, and I always do extremely well at whatever she hosts. This works the other way too, sometimes there’s a general consensus that the host doesn’t care if the vendors do well or not and are only lining their own pockets. The point is, try to do as many shows as possible to weed out the bad ones.
  3.  Be prepared-This means have marketing materials, additional tables, chairs, table coverings, signage, your product in ten times the amount that you’ll need because you never know, pens, business cards and whatever else you require to sell your product or service. Always over pack and keep it in your vehicle as a just in case. Also, bring snacks and extra outdoor clothes if the event is outside. I’ve been surprised at this a few times:)

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the first part of this series. Follow my blog and return on Friday for part 2.

 

LLB

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Posted in News

If You’d Like…Here’s How to Follow…

Hi Friends,

Just wanted to let you know some information if you don’t have it already!

You can follow me on:

Twitter: @laceybakker1

Facebook: Lacey L Bakker or Panda the Very Bad Cat

Blog: Thekittycatclan.com or Pandatheverybadcat.com

by email: Lacey_bakker@yahoo.ca

I appreciate every single one of you and I’m so glad that we’re friends:D

LLB

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Posted in Uncategorized

Seabass’ Diary …Day 137…Struggle

Check out the ongoing saga that is Seabass’ Diary…will he ever break free and save the small stupid human?

the kittycatclan. com

March 20, 2017- (Forgive me for missing last weeks post! I was in London England at the London Book Fair and while it was wonderful, I’m glad to be back home. Without further adieu…)

My heart almost stopped at the sight of her.  She was surrounded by hired henchmen and was fighting with all of her might to free herself but it was no use. The tall, thin human let out a laugh and I wanted to destroy her.

“Oh dear!  Look at the petulant soul, trying to free herself to no avail!” she chirped delightedly. She glanced at us and smiled.

I pulled with all of my strength on my restraints once more but there was no chance of getting free of them. I had a plan and I prayed that it was going to work. I looked at Bernard and saw that he had been muzzled upon capture but…

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Posted in Cool Stuff

Hamilton Cat Fanciers…Upcoming Stories

March 20, 2017- I had the privilege of attending the Hamilton Cat Fanciers Cat Show in Ancaster, Ontario this past weekend with my book Panda the Very Bad Cat. I just want to say that the entire event was absolutely inspiring and I loved chatting with like-minded cat lovers. There are so many stories to tell and I look forward to sharing them with you all in good time. Stay tuned for those upcoming posts and I encourage your feedback. There were some really unique cats and cat lovers that I had the pleasure of meeting this weekend and I know that you’ll enjoy their stories as much as I did. Here’s the short list of upcoming stories:

  • The story of a cat that saved her owner’s life while she was having a heart attack!
  • The story of a deaf cat that was able to learn sign language
  • The story of a cat who is an even BADDER (I made that word up) cat than Panda the Very Bad Cat…let’s just say he likes to feed the dog!
  • The story of a cat who SEWS…yes, you read that correctly…he sews! And you wouldn’t believe what he’s creating to help other animals in need
  • The story of a cat who has raised over $32,000.00 for shelter animals! He’s an absolute doll and I had the pleasure of meeting him in person.

So as you can see, we’ve got a lot of great stories scheduled. Stay tuned and I look forward to your comments.

LLB

Posted in pandamonium publishing house

Upcoming Works from Pandamonium Publishing House…

Hello everyone, Just wanted to share some upcoming titles from Pandamonium Publishing House…I’ll let you know some dates closer to the time of publication:)

Upcoming works from Pandamonium Publishing House

7 Picture books

  • Deer Diary– Duncan the deer is obsessed with writing in his diary. He writes down EVERYTHING! Follow him through the woods as he meets friends with very different, hilarious problems.
  • Panda the Very Bad Cat (is at it again!)– Panda the Very Bad Cat has grown up a bit and looks a little different…but he’s still on a mission to bring chaos and mayhem to everyone in his household! Will he change his naughty ways?
  • Panda the Very Bad Cat meets Santa Claws-Panda the Very Bad Cat meets Santa Claws! Prepare to be amazed at how badly the meeting goes but in the end will Panda learn a very important lesson or will he continue causing chaos for his human?
  • Miranda the Very Loud Mouse-Everyone knows the saying, “As quiet as a mouse” Everyone except Miranda that is! She is always making noise even when she supposed to be quiet!
  • The Day it Rained Jelly Beans-What would you do if it started raining Jelly Beans? One day Mason is playing in the yard when it begins to rain but instead of raindrops, it rains jelly beans! How will he collect them? What will he do with them? And how many can he eat?
  • Martin the Tap Dancing Frog-The most talented animal in the forest is a frog named Martin. Martin has a very special skill…he is the world’s greatest tap dancer! Follow along as he tap dances his way around the forest in an amazing show that he puts on for the woodland animals!
  • Penelope the Super Spoiled Hamster-Penelope is SPOILED! She’s an only hamster that gets whatever she wants whenever she wants it. One day after throwing a tantrum she happens upon a magic mirror that changes her into a bunny with tons of brothers and sisters and shows her that being spoiled is never a good thing.

3 Middle-grade novels (Possibly 4…I’ve got something in the works that I’m waiting on!)

  • The Chronicles of Cassidy Clarke Book 1-The Cruise Ship Mystery (this will be a series of books)–Cassidy Clarke is an eighth grader who loves mystery novels. As she unwillingly embarks on a cruise ship adventure with her dad and her dad’s stupid girlfriend Angela (who she has affectionately nicknamed Angeduhh) she finds herself wrapped up in a mystery all her own! She’s accused of a crime that she didn’t commit and the only way to prove it wasn’t her is to find the real criminal! She’s in a race against the clock as she has to rely on her own sleuthing skills to solve the case.
  • The Chronicles of Cassidy Clarke Book 2– The Curse of the Cupcake Cook Off-Cassidy Clarke is on the case once again! Her best friend Sofia Hainsworth has been selected to participate in a televised cook-off. When things start to happen to the contestants and some of the front runners become very sick, Cassidy has to figure out who’s behind it before it’s too late and before Sofia is the next target!
  • The Old Farmer’s Treasure-Every summer it’s the same old thing, a two-week stay at Grandpa’s farm up north. Nothing ever changes and Adam, Jack, and Mike are bored once again. This summer something changes…the boys embark on an adventure that is sure to change their lives forever. Will they risk everything they have to find a treasure beyond their wildest dreams or will they die trying?

3 Adult Thrillers 

  • Untitled– An accident. A hospital bed. Blood. Jessica Westlake had it all, a beautiful home, successful husband and a new life growing inside of her. On the day of her final ultrasound appointment, she finds herself a victim of a deadly hit and run. Her perfect on the surface life is torn to pieces and Jessica begins to unravel the twisted secrets in her increasingly abusive marriage. Was the hit and run that almost took her life really an accident?
  • Untitled-What would you do if you found a body washed ashore? Lyndsay Richman is a travel blogger who just inherited her aunt’s house by the sea. One morning while out for her daily run she sees something on the beach. She gets closer and finally makes out the image. The body of a man with the hands and feet severed. She calls the cops and they identify the body to be Cliff Whitely a prominent real estate agent with a long list of enemies who’s been missing for months. The only problem is…Lyndsay was the last person who saw him alive.
  • Untitled-Tabitha Kane is broke, jobless and is in the midst of an ugly divorce after finding her husband screwing around on her with a woman he met at the gym. She thinks that this point in her life is rock bottom but everything is about to become much worse. She comes home to find that her apartment has been ransacked and there are intimate photos of her stuck to the walls. She immediately calls her ex-husband and he tells her that he knows what the thieves are looking for. He tells her that he is in danger and is about to be killed. Just as he’s about to tell her what it is she hears gunshots and the line goes dead. Tabitha must figure out what the thieves are looking for because her life depends on it.

Looking forward to releasing these! Stay tuned!

LLB