Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Self-Publishing Secrets: Interview with Morgan Malone, author of 'Taking Control: Rick's Story'

Morgan Malone is the pen name of a retired lawyer who turned in her judicial robes to write romantic memoir and sexy contemporary romance, which always features silver foxes and the independent women who tame them.

Morgan fell in love with romantic heroes after reading her mother’s first edition of “Gone with the Wind” when she was 12 years old. Rhett Butler became the standard by which she measured all men. Some have met the mark, most have failed to even come close and one or two surpassed even Rhett’s dark and dangerous allure.

Morgan lives near Saratoga Springs, NY with her beloved chocolate Lab. She can be found on occasion drinking margaritas and dancing at local hostelries, but look for her most often in independent book stores and the library, searching for her next great love in tales of romance, history, adventure and lust. When she can’t find the perfect man, she retreats to her upstairs office and creates him, body and soul, for her pleasure and for yours. Remember: love, like wine, gets better with age.
Her recent novel is the contemporary romance, Taking Control: Rick’s Story.



Thank you for this interview. You self-published your latest book, Taking Control: Rick’s Story. Would you please tell us why you chose the self-publishing route? 

Taking Control: Rick’s Story, is the second book in what will be a three-part series, Love in Control. The first book, Out of Control: Kat’s Story, was originally published by Turquoise Morning Press, which is, sadly, no longer in business. There was a demand from readers of Kat’s story to learn what happened to Rick. I wanted to get the book out while there was interest and not have to go through the traditional publishing process, which can sometimes take a year or more. And I did not want to give up my rights to Out of Control to a traditional publisher, if Taking Control prompted a traditional publisher to want to publish the series.

Take us through the process. You had an idea for your book, you wrote it, and then you decided to find a publisher. What were your experiences with that?

I knew I had to write Rick’s story even while I was still writing Out of Control: Kat’s Story because Rick was such a compelling character. My publisher at the time was interested in subsequent books in the proposed series, so it seemed natural that Rick would get the next book. Actually, Out of Control was not my idea; it was the idea of Kim Jacobs at Turquoise Morning Press, to compile a collection of “50 Shades of Gray” type novels to coincide with the release of the first 50 Shades movie in February 2015. I wrote Out of Control for that collection. It was a great experience to be asked to write a book, though it was initially difficult for a new author to craft a story following guidelines that had been determined by someone else. But, it was a tremendous learning experience and I am so grateful to Kim Jacobs, the publisher, and Dee Mullin, who is still my editor, for the opportunity.

What different online stores carry your book?

I wanted to try something different with this book, so I went through D2D, Draft to Digital, for the release of Taking Control: Rick’s Story. My book is available at most online stores, including, Amazon, Kobe, Barnes and Noble and iBooks.

Do you think that having your book self-published makes any difference to the media?

National media certainly pays little attention to most self-published authors. I am fortunate that my local press has had a continued interest in my work. I get a few local interviews or features, especially when I do a reading and book signing at our local independent books store, Northshire Book Store in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Are they open to interviewing self-published authors or reviewing their books? 

I’ve been interviewed before for USA News, but that was my only national exposure. Local press with whom I have a relationship are interested in interviews. I ask for reviews on my Facebook page, my website, Twitter and in my newsletter. I have also had good luck with promotions run by Pump Your Book and Ryan Zee.

Authors who go the traditional route have an edge over self-published authors in regards to distribution to bookstores. How did you handle that as a self-published author? 

I let my local independent book store know when I have a new release and I’m usually scheduled for a reading and book signing, then they stock copies of the book in their (small) romance section. When I travel, I look for independent book stores and bring in a few copies for them to sell on consignment.

On the other hand, self-published authors have the edge over traditional books in the regards that the author has all the control.

Being an independent author gives me great freedom to choose the subject-matter, the length, the cover, the release date and everything else.

I’d like to begin with your cover. Did you make it or did you have someone else design it? 

All my covers are designed by the fabulously talented Kris Norris. I’m a klutz when it comes to Photo Shop or any design work. I tell Kris about my story, give her a few details and she manages to create a cover far better than I could even imagine.

Did you get someone to format it for you or did you do that?

My editor, Deelylah Mullin, not only edits and proofs all my books, but she formats them for me, too. On a computer, I’m pretty good with words but not much else.

What was the hardest challenge for you to self-publish your book?

I am retired after 30 years as an administrative law judge and counsel to a government agency, so I am fortunate not to have to try to find time to write while working a full-time job. But without deadlines imposed by a publisher, I need to discipline myself to sit down and write. As I mentioned, I have a great team to rely on with Dee, Kris, my Beta-readers Sue, Sue and Katie, and my webmaster, Nick. But I have to fit my writing into their schedules to some extent. Even with great ideas and great support, it is expensive to self-publish. That is the biggest challenge: budgeting funds for editing, cover, printing, and marketing. And the expenses that you don’t think about up front, like postage, bookmarks, attending conferences and book-signings.

What steps are you taking to promote it? 

I sent out a newsletter when Taking Control: Rick’s Story was first released. I sponsored a luncheon at a reader-author event and offered the book at a discount at the book-signing that followed. I use Facebook ads on my author page. And I used Kindle Romance Review and Pump Up Your Book to set up blog tours and interviews.

Do you have any advice you’d like to share with other self-published authors?

Write the best book you can. Give your book to the best editor you can afford for at least two edits and one proof-read. Nothing will kill your sales more than sloppy writing, poor grammar, mis-spelled words and an ending that doesn’t make sense. You need an objective eye to tell you where you’ve made mistakes, where you can improve your story and how. Once you have a book you love, then network, advertise, participate in workshops, conferences and book signings.

And give back to the writing community and groups and causes who have helped you. The work of the Saratoga WarHorse Foundation created a pivotal point in Taking Control: Rick’s Story. The Foundation matches vets with PTSD and retired thoroughbred racehorses in a unique program that has helped 1000 veterans to overcome the effects trauma. I am donating 25% of my profits from the sale of Taking Control: Rick’s Story to Saratoga WarHorse Foundation.