My guest today is Morgan Mandel. She is on a blog book tour for her latest novel Killer Career.
Lillie: Thank you for visiting A Writer’s Words, An Editor’s Eye today, Morgan. Tell us about Killer Career.
Morgan: Changing jobs could be a killer when Julie McGuire latches onto her sexy psychotic mentor, despite the warnings of her best friend and law partner, Dade Donovan. To save herself and Dade, she must face her greatest fear: claustrophobia.
Lillie: I always like to know the story behind the story. Where did you get the idea for Killer Career?
Morgan: Inspiration came innocuously enough. I was sitting at a mystery conference listening to a panel of mystery authors when I thought it would be fun to create an author character who acted on what he wrote. For the setting, I chose a workers’ compensation law firm. Since my day job happened to be an administrative assistant at such a firm, I had information at my fingertips, as well as stored in my brain.
Lillie: Julie and Dade are attorneys with their own practice. Did you call on personal experience for the cases they handle?
Morgan: In one part of the book, my heroine went on trial for a client who got hurt in a designated employee parking lot. I’ve known of such accidents and of the client being covered under workers’ compensation.
Also, I know of instances where employees are off work due to injuries on the job and they’re videotaped by investigators to make sure they’re obeying their doctor’s orders. This practice also plays a role in the book.
Lillie: Julie wants to become a writer, but she is waiting to quit her job first. I know you hold down a full-time job, yet you have successfully published three novels. How do you find the time to write, publish, and promote your books?
Morgan: I never have enough time. I’m always playing catch-up. Giving my heroine the ability to follow her choice is my vicarious way of experiencing a full-time writing career. In the meantime, I make do, writing and marketing on the train, during work breaks, at home after dinner. There’s never enough hours in the day, but I’m thankful I have the opportunity to do what I love, even if it’s not as often as I wish.
Lillie: It seems that you’re everywhere on the Internet. How do you decide what social media to use in promotion and how do you determine what works?
Morgan: Almost every day I hit ping.fm, where a short message travels to my sites at Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal, Hi5, MySpace. It saves me the trouble of going to each myself. After that, I click to mybloglog.com to make sure whatever blogs I’ve got going that day are showing. Next, I post on favorite egroups that accept promo each day. Some of them are: Pump Up Your Blog, An Alternative Read, and Write Publish Market. Depending on the content I’m promoting, I’ll post to mystery and/or romance egroups as well, being careful to do so on designated days. For special events, I also add the information to the main page at Book Place, where I’m the network creator. After the initial round of promo in the morning, I follow it up with Tweets on Twitter off and on during the day. When I get a chance, I use Google Analytics to see how many visitors have stopped at my blogs.
Lillie: I believe you chose to self-publish Killer Career. Please tell us about your experience: what led you to that decision, how you went about it, and how well it worked for you.
Morgan: I chose to self-publish from a chance encounter with Austin S. Camacho, author of the Hannibal Jones mystery series, at the Love is Murder Conference in February, 2009. Although he’d done marvelously well in the small press field and was much praised by his publisher, he’d also accepted the challenge of self-publishing and told me he was doing even better in that regard.
I’d spent a lot of time promoting Girl Of My Dreams and had paid scant attention to getting Killer Career out to the public. I’d only sent it out to a few publishers and all but ignored it. When I realized I’d neglected something important, it was too late. If I decided to send out more submissions, most likely it would take a year for a response, maybe another to get the book published. Too many people were asking when my next book would come out. I didn’t want to make them wait when I had it in my power to act. Also, other projects were lining up awaiting their turn after Killer Career.
I decided to take the plunge. I hired Helen Ginger as my editor; I pestered Austin Camacho and his wife Denise with questions; I read and re-read Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual. Then I signed up with the printing house, Lightning Source, where I hounded my representative with even more questions until I finally got a finished product I could feel proud of. I’ll be delving into more detail about self-publishing the week of August 24 through August 31 at The Blood-Red Pencil, where I’ll reveal the ups and downs I encountered.
As far as sales, it’s too early to tell. The book is just out. With regard to the looks and quality of the product, I’m very well satisfied. I hired the best and did my best.
Lillie: My readers know I’m a big fan of self-publishing. Most of editing clients self-publish, though they typically do short print runs with a printer than print-on-demand. I wrote a series of posts on self-publishing that is now available as a free PDF download. I hope you have as much success with self-publishing as most of my clients do. One thing I always recommend is to make the book available in different formats. Is Killer Career available both in print and e-book? Where can people buy the book?
Morgan: Killer Career is available in print and electronic formats at major distributors such as Ingram, at Amazon.com, Bn.com, Target.com, Mobipocket.com, and By Order at Bookstores. I’ve also just sent in the forms to Amazon to make Killer Career available on Kindle.
Lillie: Where can readers learn more about you and your books?
Morgan: You’re invited to visit my Web site, my daily blog, or any of my group blogs at Acme Authors Link, Make Mine Mystery, and The Blood-Red Pencil. You’re also invited to join my Ning site, Book Place. If you go to my blog and click the link in the left column, you can get my entire tour schedule. Also, each day in the main column I mention the stop of the day with its link.
Lillie: Is there anything else you’d like to share that I haven’t asked?
Morgan: Don’t believe everything you’ve heard about self-published books. You need to judge each one on its own merits as you’d do with any other book.
Lillie: I certainly agree with you on that. Thank you for visiting. I’m sure I didn’t ask everything my readers want to know so I hope you’ll check in during the day to answer questions.
Morgan: It would be my pleasure to respond to comments. Thanks so much for hosting me and picking my brain, Lillie. I had a great time.
I do want to mention, for those following my tour each day, tomorrow’s stop is at L. Diane Wolfe’s Spunk on a Stick, where it’s excerpt day.
Morgan Mandel enjoys variety as an author. She writes romances, mysteries, and even has a dog book in the works. Her latest release is the romantic suspense, Killer Career, published by Choice One Publishing Co.
Morgan is a past President of Chicago-North RWA, presently serves as Library Liaison for MWMWA, and belongs to Sisters in Crime and EPIC. She also freelanced for the Daily Herald newspaper before being published in book form.