where I share my experiences with the art of writing, publishing, and book marketing

where I share my experiences with the art of writing, publishing, and book marketing

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Represent with Good Editing 
Originally posted June 7th 2014 on ShadowPortal.blogspot.com

Editing—that tedious task that grinds on and on until it seems that it takes longer to edit than to write.  Over and over again through the same manuscript, until you are in danger of hating your own words.  Are you a struggling indie author who lacks the funds for such luxuries as a professional editor?  Me too.  So, let me share something that I learned the hard way.  Edit— edit until your eyes bleed and your fingers are numb.

My first book was well accepted.  Those who read it gave it good remarks and a passing grade.  All but one and that review was  scathing.  Why?  Because it was poorly edited  and the reviewer was sick and tired of indies not following through with editing.  I think I broke the camel’s back. She suggested I should have paid for a professional editor.  Believe me I wanted to, but as I said that is a luxury for me.  There were other factors in my life at the time too that caused me to rush the process, but those factors are now eliminated and we live and carry on.  In retrospect I should have waited for life to level off. I just wasn’t sure I’d ever see it in print if I waited, so I pushed it through.

 I found it interesting that most reviews spoke to the story saying it was a page turner with solid plot and good character development, but this woman ripped it apart.  Some reviewers  are kind and don’t want to say negative things about a book, unless it is pure garbage.  So I feel safe to say my story was good, but the editing left something to be desired.  Not pure garbage, but it didn’t smell quite right. I was surprised at first; I was feeling good about the book until that review, but she was right.  I had some spelling errors, and misplaced commas (what I affectionately call my identifying pen stroke), and a misused word.  In the overall picture of 296 pages that might not seem like much, but it bears on my reputation with editors, agents, and publishers. 

When I write I have a hard time extracting myself from the “fan” equation.  Do I write more for me or for them?   I write for the fans, including myself,  but I edit for the editors, agents, and publishers.  As an indie author the road is rough enough; I will take the road more slowly and carefully from now on.  I may never get the attention of a publishing insider, I am not sure I want to, but the payoff is that my fans get a better product, and I can feel  better about my reputation.

My second book is getting good reviews and it has been mentioned that it has solid editing.  I am proud of that because I worked hard at it.  Spelling may be the most important element in the editing process, but DO NOT rely on spell check. I have auto correct turned off now, so I am forced to look at each and every word without the boon of underlined words, or the bane of wrong spelling that is not underlined because spell check didn’t understand what I was trying to say.  After I go through once I turn spell check back on.  Then I go through again to be sure we understand each other .  After that I  go through and check the grammar.

Since I haven’t actually said it you should know—  I HATE editing.  I find grammar to be a bunch of arbitrary rules, but in the written form a misplaced comma can cause a reader to stumble, so I have made it a priority to learn more about it, of course I still have to write so I am learning on the fly.  I am far from a grammatical genius.  My degree is in Design, not English, so I have acquired The Norton Field Guide to Writing, and Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. They have helped me through some rough spots.  I rely heavily on my thesaurus,  and  I have posted notes over my monitor about transitive verbs.  After that I’m on my own and rely upon my ear to tell me if the prose is flowing or rough.

These are just a few of the things I have done in an attempt to better my craft. I hope that I have encouraged those of you travelling along the indie publishing road without an editor to stop and really look at what you have written.  You will be better off for it in the long run.

Thanks for your consideration,

Nance Bulow Morgan

Thursday, April 24, 2014


As posted to Amazon:
By MissyDevoursDelishReads on April 18, 2014
Minstrels' Gambit: A Minstrels' Tale Mystery by author Nance Bulow Morgan is a delightful debut first in the series. I was kindly provided a complementary copy in exchange for review. With an enthralling and descriptive web of adventure and murder mystery, the author did quite a fine job of hooking my interest with an interesting and eventful journey, on both land and sea. We meet some crazy but loveable fearless main characters willing to partake in anything or nothing to complete their mission. They face dragons, beasts, dwarfs! This book has a lot of creativity, enveloped with magic, and I was constantly drawn in with a never ending adventure throughout the pages. I really enjoyed the depth the author had with the storyline, it not only had great editing, but excellent plot development leading up to book 2 and 3 in the series. I look forward to continue this amazing series and see what is next in store for characters I have grown to love. I would highly recommend for lovers of adventure fantasy with murder mystery.

This review comes from a very well read blog reviewer at http://missydevoursdelishreads.wordpress.com/ 
This woman must read just about everything on the planet!  I am honored to have such a great review from her.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Talk about questioning yourself-- check this out!

In a recent conversation with my husband he suggested that I reveal what is most important to me about my writing and my life. We thought of it as an opportunity to connect more with my readers.  I wasn't quite sure how I would approach that but I knew an article wasn't the thing.  An interview then?  How arrogant is that?! That format intrigued me though and seemed like a good vehicle for such a thing, almost like a conversation.  So here it goes: 

Where did I grow up, and how does this influence my writing?
I grew up in a post WWII development that grew and became a far suburb of Chicago, Carpentersville, Illinois. I had a very 1960's upbringing. We had old sensibilities in the face of a rapidly changing culture. It was the cause of some angst for sure, but the family survived it and became very close despite our differences.There was little worry about any danger to us, except what we could cause to ourselves. I was free to play outside until the street lights came on and was watched out for by the whole neighborhood. I had many great adventures in the quarry, woods, or farms that surrounded the community with my friends and even alone. Those early days gave me a sense for adventure. Many of the events I experienced then find themselves into my writing in snippets that build a character, scene, or event.
When did I first start writing? 
Around 8 years old. I fell in love with it the very first time I had to tell a story about a picture on the board in 3rd grade. Thanks Miss Rholof, and please forgive me if the spelling of your name is off a bit.
What is the greatest joy I get out of writing?
Exploration: I get to explore aspects of the human condition and put my own abstract spin on them.
What's the story behind my latest book?
In Minstrels' Gambit I wanted to have a musical element to the story so the main characters are minstrels. I didn't want to have a typical seek the powerful magic item story, so the items, musical scores in this case, are actually a puzzle to a greater dilemma. You'll have to read it to find out more.
What do my readers mean to me?
Everything! I want them to enjoy what they read and find something of themselves within the characters. I write for more than my own enjoyment, and hopefully a few bucks. My hope is that as I evolve as a writer that my writing can give perspectives that the reader may never have thought of, but I want to do it in an escapist environment so that the effect is almost subliminal. I say almost, because I still want the reader to realize their perspective came from the writing.
What motivated me to be an indie author?
I worked in the print industry most of my adult life, and I have a web design degree now too. I am reasonably adept at graphic design. I wanted to see what I could do if I put my writing together with that background. My first book, Legend Destiny was produced by an outside source. Minstrels' Gambit is all mine. My first cover could be a little better, but I am pleased with it.
How do I approach the cover design?
I try to convey a scene or a composite of scenes from the story, preferably something with some emotion behind it.
Since I find marketing difficult, what techniques have worked best for me?
Iinternet marketing, such as free offers, contests, free chapter samples and discount codes.
Who are your favorite authors?
Every interviewer seems to ask this so...There are many but here are those that come to me first Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart, David Eddings, Clive Cussler, Robert A. Heinlein, Morgan Llywelyn, Robin Hobb.
What do I read for pleasure?
Mysteries are my favorite. I especially like those with many suspects. I still love Agatha Christie. I also like a good action adventure story. It can have elements of fantasy in it, but that is not necessary. Clive Cussler is a good example of what I like to read in that genre.
What are my next projects?
I am finishing the second of the Minstrels' Tale Mysteries, Minstrels' Covenant and then I will go into the third book, Minstrels' Prize. I have several other projects in various stages, but I really enjoy writing the characters in the Minstrels' series, so I may continue with that for awhile. I'll see what moves me when I finish Minstrels' Prize.
What inspires me to continue writing?
I don't think I would be happy if I wasn't creating something.  Writing is my favorite and most comfortable medium. 
When I'm not writing, I'm...?
Working at creating a homestead in my backyard or hiking when I get the chance. I get a lot of scene inspiration from places I have hiked.

Comments on this experiment are more than welcome.  Too self serving, or a good tool to connect with?  I'd really like to hear what you think.  Thanks for your consideration.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The first Minstrels' Gambit Interview

Today Kyra Dune the host of The Shadow Portal blog site posted an interview that she conducted with me. The interview went well and was posted much earlier than expected. Kyra has put together a nice promotional piece for me and I am very grateful for her support.

If you are interested you can check it out here:

Kyra is also an author. In the interest of fair play, I encourage you to check out Kyra Dune herself at: http://kyradune.weebly.com/

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My pursuit of Press Release Distribution-2

I decided to go with a Press Release distributor.  
They present my Press Release to interested internet and traditional media (press and radio) for eight weeks.  I receive the interested media responses via e-mail and then acknowledge with an email
response.  My distribution began on Tuesday.  Today is Wednesday and I have already sent out two books for review and possible followup interviews.  I have submitted one blog interview and been allowed a free promotion day on another blog.  
 Bonus, now I have time to focus on the writing again.
I chose to go this route to free up the time it would take me to submit requests and then follow up. Now I just follow up with interested parties filtered to me by the company I am working with.  They also follow up with the people they have submitted to by phone one week after the initial contact. If they are interested and have not responded they are encouraged to do so in a timely manner.  If they are not interested they remind them of my background and what the book is about, so I don't have to sell myself, which I am bad at.
Recommendation to follow
I will still reserve my recommendation until I have more time with this process.  At the time if all is well I will reveal the company I chose to work with.

Happy hunting, and thanks for your consideration,

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My pursuit of Press Release Distribution

I have my media kits ready and ten sample books to send out to interviewers and or reviewers. I have spent the last several days pursuing services that will take some of the load off of this starving author.  I wrote my own Press release through PR Log and I probably should have done more research on the front end of this but I am a one man jerk of all trades right now and my learning curve on this aspect of the biz is huge.

Once The Press Release was posted on PR Log I began to receive requests from companies to serve me in submitting the release to media outlets.  Hurray!! I could stop searching for current book editors at every major paper and magazine in the U.S.; or so I thought.  One thread leads to another and I still have some unravelling to do.

What to do, what to do?  
There are companies out there who will gladly take your money and distribute your press release for you.  Here are some things to be aware of when approaching these companies for their services:
*Who exactly are they distributing to?  Are the contacts genre specific.  I'm certain a DIY editor is not interested in seeing my Mystery Novel.  I saw a review of one company where an editor was simply ignoring emails from a service because they sent ALL of their clients' press releases to them.  Editors are busy people.  They don't have time to sort through for genre specific releases.
*Where are they distributing: Locally, Regionally. Nationally, Internationally?  Be sure you know what you are paying for.  Each list and additional service can cost around $100
*What information are they supplying to the editors?  A book name and your phone number or email? Or are they supplying web site links and book trailers if you have them.

Another way to go..
Purchase UP TO DATE media lists that have current book editors names, email contacts, phone numbers and mailing addresses. This can be a good way to go if you have time and don't mind contacting the editors with a brief (1page) cover letter about who you are and why you wrote the book to go along with the press release.
These lists are available by state, type of media, ( for example newspapers, TV, radio) so do your research and be confident that you are purchasing what you need.  You can purchase lists seperately from these companies for around $100.
Again there are several companies that provide these services and although I cannot recommend one over the other; I found a good source was www.easymedialist.com 
they allow you to pick and choose from their list so you only pay for what you want. I recommend checking them out for no other reason than to get a feel for what is out there.
The link for their newspaper book editors is here:
They have a sister company that expands on their lists through membership. http://www.mondotimes.com/  browse their site to see what they have to offer, from a free membership to professional.

Search for news media guides and or Press Release Distribution
There are several companies that offer these services. I am not recommending any of them, but my research has caused me to ask the questions I have laid out for you.  Search for news media guides and or Press Release Distribution and they will come up for you.

I am in the process of weighing my options at this time, but wanted to share my thoughts so far, so those of you going through this might have an easier time.  I will write again in a few days to share my decision and experience.  Perhaps at that time I will have a  recommendation.

Happy hunting, and thanks for your consideration,

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Try a free sample of Minstrels' Gambit chapter 1

Follow this link to read a short excerpt.  If you are interested you will be taken to a form that will generate a link where you can then load a free PDF of Chapter 1.  I hope this will encourage you to purchase the entire book either through kindle or in paperback format.  Either way I hope you will enjoy what you read and keep me in mind when looking for an escape through reading.