book, education, Pandamonium Publishing House

How (Easter) Egg-Citing!

May 18, 2021-Today we’re talking about a subject that I absolutely love adding to my children’s books when I write them and when I make notes/suggestions for the illustrator. I’m talking about Easter Eggs, not the chocolate kind (I love that kind too)! Let’s take a closer look.

Easter eggs are metaphorical; they can be symbols or messages hidden within your book that can connect your author works, be used as a branding tool, or foreshadow something in upcoming books. Easter eggs are meant to be fun! We use pandas throughout ninety percent of our kids’ book collection because it’s our brand. Young readers will find a stuffed panda on a character’s bed, or a shelf, or on a piece of clothing, or even as a Christmas tree ornament! This also serves as weaving our books together through many titles and authors.

Another way we use Easter eggs in our books is to announce upcoming titles; we did this in Panda the Very Bad Cat; if you look at the bookshelf scene, you’ll see a piece of paper floating to the floor that says Panda 2 Coming Soon! It’s subtle, and most people miss it until they do a couple of read-throughs.

Here are some fun ways that you can add Easter eggs to your children’s picture book:

  1. Cross over a character. Let’s say that you’ve written a brand new book that features a dog and you had a previous series of books that feature cats, be sure to include one of the cats from your other books either hidden away or in plain sight for the reader to find. When they pick up your collection,, they’ll make the connection!
  2. Hide an object. In our book Miranda the Very LOUD Mouse, illustrated by Erin Cutler, we hid pieces of cheese on every page for the kids to find. We get so many comments from our readers about how much they love looking for it! It adds an element of interaction.
  3. Make an announcement. Announce your next book, a new character, or a new series! This is an entertaining way to let readers in on your secret of releasing a new book.

Think of how much fun it would be for readers to stumble across Easter eggs in your books. It’s a fun feature that keeps them wanting more and excited to own the books in your whole series!

For more information on how to write for kids, check out our master class here: Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House

education, Pandamonium Publishing House

Pare it Down and Blow it Up

May 3, 2021– Today, we kick off a month-long series about writing kid’s books! We’re going to teach you what you need to know when writing for kids and this whole series complements what you’ll learn in our Children’s Book Writing Masterclass available here: Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House

Here are three not so typical ways to find inspiration for writing kids books:

  • Take an idea and pare it down to the bones. What is your child struggling with? What are they afraid of? What questions do they ask? Chances are that if your child is asking these questions and has these challenges, that other children are too. Take a complex idea like bedwetting and break it down into a single, simplified idea.
  • Blow it up. Make things larger than life. I’m talking about whales in swimming pools, pizzas that are so large they could feed an entire town, and seven-foot ants that are terrorizing a city. The bigger, the better.
  • Don’t be afraid to go there. Talk about death, talk about bullying, talk about step-siblings and any other issues that can be sticky but matter. Kids are a lot smarter than we give them credit for, and while we don’t want them to grow up too fast, we need to touch on subjects of importance to them. Keep it age-appropriate and speak to them in a way they will understand, but don’t dumb it down.

Using the above information, let’s do an example; feel free to write your own after brainstorming a few ideas!

Bare Bones Idea: Bedwetting

Blow it Up: A monster that struggles with bedwetting but has a solution (a checklist before bed), e.g. No drinks after a certain time, favourite stuffed animal, nightlight, a flashlight to check in the closet and under the bed, signing a nice song, and reading a fun book etc.

Go There: Nightmares. The monster has nightmares, and that’s why he wets the bed.

Synopsis: Cliff is a big, green, furry monster who needs help at bedtime. Some nights Cliff has bad dreams about giant slices of pizza chasing him, and sometimes Cliff has accidents. But with the help of his monster mom, he has a special trick for chasing the bad dreams away and making bedtime fun!

Of course, this was off the cuff and something that I thought of quickly. It would need to be refined, but you get the idea. So, start writing! What are you waiting for?

education, Pandamonium Publishing House, Publisher's Corner

I’m All Out of Inspiration

March 25, 2021– Happy Thursday, Friends! We’ll be wrapping up our most asked questions in the next week, and we hope that you learned some new things. On April 1st, we’ll be starting a brand-new theme called, “How to push the envelope in your writing” and we certainly hope you’ll join us.  Let’s jump into today’s question.

Q: “Lately I’ve been feeling really uninspired in my writing. I want to write a children’s book, but I can’t seem to come up with any good ideas. You’ve written a lot of kid’s books, where do you get ideas from?”

A: Sometimes it’s hard to be inspired I agree, but if we look around, we can find plenty of ideas. A lot my children’s book subject matter comes from real life experience and people that I’m close to. My nephews and niece inspire me like crazy; they range in age from 17 years old to 3 months and the toddlers tend to have amazing ideas that make it onto my books. For example, most recently I wrote a book called Cakes for Snakes and it came about at my kitchen table in the Pandamonium Publishing House Tour Bus; my three-year-old nephew, Denver asked, “Auntie, who makes cakes for snakes?” I grabbed a pen and started taking notes. We’re formatting Cakes for Snakes in a whole new way as a full colour comic book for kids with the one and only Alex Goubar, stay tuned for more information on a release date! Check in with your friends and family (especially the kiddos) and think about changing your environment. You can head to the park, the outdoor bike/walking trails, the mall, and other places to find inspiration around every corner. Be sure to ask yourself questions. I wrote The Extreme! Supreme! Dogwalker, Darlene after walking my own pup, Luna. I thought to myself, what would make someone an ultimate dogwalker? What tools would they have to make their job easier? What would they do to keep the dogs occupied? Etc. Jot down every idea because you never know where it will lead. Keep in mind when writing for kids, the crazier the plot and the bigger and more exaggerated the story, the better. Another tip is to pick up books that inspired you as a child and read them once again; what did you love about them? What parts spoke to you the most? And so on.

If you need help with writing for kids, let me mentor you! Check out my masterclass here: Children’s Book Writing Master Class – Pandamonium Publishing House

Remember, discipline beats motivation every single time. Even though you aren’t inspired it’s important to sit down and write. Put the words on the page. Happy Writing! X LLB