Updated Tuesday, 24 April 2011

Who is Pandora Poikilos?
As Peace from Pieces has increased in hits (which I am very, very thankful for so please keep them coming) I have also received some "get to know you" questions. So, here's a peek at the questions that have been asked, and the random ones that no one asked but I felt like answering anyways, in no particular order.

Contact info is as follows
email - pandorapoikilos@gmail.com
twitter - @PandoraPoikilos
facebook - Pandora Poikilos
facebook page -  Peace from Pieces
(more networking options are available at "More Of Us" - left sidebar)

Most popular question, is Pandora Poikilos a real name?
- Now, if it's real or not, after having it broadcast all over the internet am I really going to tell one individual who asks me in a blog comment? Some pseudonyms I have used include, Marjorie Abraham and Andrea Nelson. 

What do you think was the most difficult part of growing up and why?
- Not too sure if I'm all grown up (loads more to grow mentally) but I'd have to say the most difficult part is learning that people you trust can betray you for the smallest of returns.

How old are you?
- Old enough, 17 April 1976

What’s the ideal dream job for you?
- What I have right now. To write.

Have you been writing for long?
- As long as I can remember, thankfully. My work previously centred around book reviews, product reviews, feature articles, ghost writing e-books and as many writing opportunities that crossed my path. These days, it's a bustle between my finishing my third novel, Orangeberry Book Tours and churning out more topics for Dora's Essentials.

If you had to describe yourself using three words, it would be
- Damaged goods
- Quirky
- Loving

Are you dying?
- Last I checked, we all are. I was diagnosed with BIH in November 2003 and treated with repeated lumbar punctures till I had my VP Shunt done in September 2010.

Why did you create Orangeberry Book Tours?
OBT was created in October 2010. A few writers and I were working on a three month long book launch festival, book tours were my contribution to the festival. The demand was increasingly high and I spent quite a bit of time adjusting the tours to meet the requirements of participating authors and bloggers to what it is today.  

How does Orangeberry Book Tours work and what have the results been for authors who've used it?
The main goal of OBT is to raise awareness for the author and his/her book via social media. This means OBT offers more than blog stops. Hence, the name - BOOK tours not blog tours. I run Twitter Blasts, blog stops and other types of smaller social awareness campaigns which focus on both author and the book.

I understand that a big budget is not something we all have when starting our writing careers, hence, there is a free book tour package (Orangeberry Basic) which allows authors to have a free book tour but they have to host other authors in return.

For those who pay for book tours, the money is then used to finance the Orangeberry Goodie Bag which distributes gifts to blog hosts and the site’s visitors.

Results wise, most authors have experienced increased sales although the exact quantities vary. Some have experienced sales as low as 20 books a day and others have had more than 200 total sales during an Orangeberry Phoenix book tour which lasts for 30 days.

I do want to stress that results differ for each book, and I do point out glaring formatting errors or content issues to authors.

What's the most important thing a self-published author needs to do to help their books gain traction in the marketplace?
First and foremost, pay attention to what others have done - the mistakes they’ve made, the things that have worked for authors such as Amanda Hocking, John Locke and JA Konrath.

Your journey will not be the exact same one as theirs, but work on something that works for you. Be it a writing project, a marketing programme or an advertising campaign, we’re all not going to achieve the same results.

Set your own trail. Be consistent. Keep away from negativity. And then work even harder.

If you’ve started out and you’re still not sure where you’re heading, join up Facebook author support groups such as the Indie Author Group, Author Central and the Indie Exchange. Each have their own “governing” rules but you’ll find loads of support be it from book covers to editing within these groups.
Most importantly, don’t expect overnight success. Rome wasn’t built in a day and people who tell you overnight success is achievable are lying because it just doesn’t exist.  

What are your goals going forward?
Personally, I would like to spend more time writing, even if it’s not to sell my books I would like to just sit in a corner and write. I would like to stay focused on my health and I look forward to helping others with rare diseases similar to mine.  

Work wise – I would like to see OBT grow into a community but I expect that this would take another few years. For my books, as minimal as the target readers may seem, I would like to think that I am able to reach more readers.

What’s your working method?
I must have pen and paper. Traditional and old fashioned I know but my words will not come otherwise. Once it is written out, it is typed out, edited and so on. Also, I do set aside writing time which is uninterrupted time solely for working on my current book, short stories or my non-fiction pieces (also known as Dora's Essentials).

What’s the single biggest mistake made by beginner writers?
They give up too easily. They write to a few B-I-G publishing companies, get turned down and then they tell themselves it's not worth the effort. Imagine if Dickens believed everything people said about him.

To what extent are grammar and spelling important in writing?
I think it makes the difference between an easy read for the reader and a good writer who conveys his story. Neither can happen without good grammar and spelling. Understood, that all books cannot be perfect and errors can be found but when you find a spelling error in every sentence, what does that tell you of the writer and will the reader keep reading?

How much do you revise your MS before sending it off?
To the point that looking at it makes me want to throw up. I only send it off when I am sick of it. As long as I am turning the pages making changes, I'm not done with it and I'm not happy with it. And if I'm not happy about it how will my readers enjoy the book?

As a writer, to what extent do you think genre is useful in the publishing world?
I think it is very useful. It provides a sense of direction. You can't just write a book and say I wrote about 'everything'.

Many authors see marketing as a bind. What's your opinion on this, and how do you deal with it?
This is a frequent and ongoing discussion isn't it? I think to a large extent the publishing industry has become a much wider circle than it used to be. But with this comes a large supply that may or may not have a demand for it. Hence, the process of coercing the supply towards the demand. I've had my moments when marketing has really got to me but utilising social media has been a wonderful tool in aiding my marketing efforts. But as with anything in life, social media marketing has to be consistent before successful results are seen.

What sort of displacement activities keep you from writing?
Noise. I get distracted easily with phones ringing, dogs barking. While this is not an activity it definitely flushes out ideas from my head.

What support, if any, do you receive from family and friends, or a writing group?
I have a few close friends I can go to and there is my partner (Peas as he is known to my readers) who becomes my virtual 'punching bag', critic and idea bag. I think it is important for any writer to have people like these around. It's one thing to have someone close to you read it and say, "that's a great piece" but it's completely another for them to say, "you can do better". Sometimes we become complacent and we need people close to us to nudge us along.

Is presentation of the MS as important as agents and publishers suggest?
I think it is. A well presented MS usually means effort. If the writer doesn't make an effort on his own MS, again, how will the reader be affected?

How long does it take you to write a novel?
About 3 months, it's the editing that takes me longer.

Who or what inspires your writing?
My partner, Peas. Call him a muse if you must but our conversations have sparked more than just one or two chapters of my work.

If there’s a single aspect of writing you find frustrating, what is it?
None that I can think of.

Is there a particular feature of writing that you really enjoy?
Reaching out to people. Nothing in the world tops the feeling of communicating with a reader who has something to say about your book.

Do you believe creative writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?
I think it's a little of both, a pleasant mix if you must. It comes naturally then you tame it with some training and chances are, a masterpiece is born.

I find this blog offensive and you do not respond to my emails?
- I am sorry that you are offended, please move on. And I do not respond to any email that call me names I wouldn't care to repeat on 'Peace from Pieces'

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would you get?
- Cereal, preferably Banana Nut (Post Cereal)

Why do you promote other blogs?
- Why not? We all know what it's like to start a blog and crave for at least one reader comment. If I can help someone else achieve this (through Blog-A-Licious and the various buttons), I'd like to think, I tried.

How long have you been blogging?
- Peace from Pieces started in May 2010.

A bit more about your first novel Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out?
- Edited and compiled from some of the blog posts made at Peace from Pieces with many more newly added chapters it comes after a tremendously long trail of rejections, one VP shunt surgery, seven years of lumbar punctures, a very rare medical condition and the realisation that comes with getting your priorities in order. To say, I am thrilled to bits is truly an understatement. 

Are you single?
- No. I'm in a relationship I'm very thankful for.

Do you and Peas have children?
- No.

A bit more about Peas?
- He's in the food and beverage industry which is good for us because I'm a horrible cook. He's five years older than me and he makes me laugh.

How did you and Peas meet?
- We literally met over mixed salad at a dinner. I was working on a World War 2 piece at the time and he genuinely found it interesting, I was dazzled. This was followed by coffee, well tea for him and coffee for me. There weren't stars in our eyes or anything like that, we both just knew that we wanted to get to know more of each other and so we here we are.

You write so much about inspiration, who is the one person who has inspired you the most?
- Steve Jobs, Apple

How can you be this positive, it doesn't seem real?
- Hmmm. Tough one. I have my down moments, like everyone else. But I make sure it doesn't evolve into self-pity. That's the worst parasite you can have living within you. Five minutes a day, rant, moan, cry - then, move on.

What is one goal you’d like to accomplish during your lifetime?
- For the longest time, my goal has been to get published. Now, that it has happened ... hmmm, I'll need to chew on this one a bit more. 


Inspired Montessori said...

I usually go for just the pictures but it is your words I like!
More than well done.

Cindy Wade said...

Crisp and honest. I like your writing style...and your choice of inspirational people.

Mel @ Trailing After God said...

I enjoyed reading through this. Love your honesty.

L. Avery Brown said...

What a terrific site you have here! I've enjoyed sifting through the various posts you've got on here! I hope to stop by again very soon.

Kudos to you!
Avery Brown

William said...

God bless you, Pandora. (Even if that's not your real name: I expect He knows who you are.) In addition to exercising your own creativity, you're providing practical encouragement to others, to exercise theirs. Some of us are such hams that we don't need much prodding; but others need a little encouragement. Keep up the good work, sister.

irishcalypso said...

Please respect people's privacy on Facebook by converting your profile to a Facebook Page!

Pandora Poikilos said...

@Irishcalypso - Thank you for stopping by. I do have a Facebook page "Peace from Pieces". Also, my Facebook profile for readers who want to interact that way does not allow for others to "view" who is on my friends list. Hope this helps? Best wishes - Dora

flin said...

Thanks for having me on this journey.I'm on my way, the road may be bumpy and the weather rough but I'm calm in the storm.Join me at 'The Heavenly Road Trip' short story ebook anthology going to Asia, Eastern Europe as well as England. I really must be home for Christmas.

Dawn said...

As always, you rock my socks. This is really cool, and congratulations on all the hits you are getting. As you are a blessing to others you will be blessed.


Adele Park said...

Hi, Pandora
You have a very intriguing background. I truly hope that you have made a full recovery from BIH or that you are at least feeling healthy and happy.
The Peace from Pieces Blog is very interesting! I'm so glad that you formed Orangeberry Tours -- I'm looking forward to working with you.
Adele Park

Cinta GarcĂ­a de la Rosa said...

So wonderful to know more about you, Pandora. My birthday is also April 17th!! Such a coincidence :D

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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom



Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife


My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo



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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun


Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max

Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry


My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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