Blog, Guest Post

“Mages Unbound” by Laura Engelhardt Book Tour, Giveaway and Guest Topic with Laura Engelhardt, Pine Enshrined Reviews and iRead Book Tours.

MAGES UNBOUND by Laura Engelhardt
MAGES UNBOUND by Laura Engelhardt

It’s ironic to find out your whole life has been a lie when you’re married to a truth-teller.

If only Mary could find some humor in it. She’s drowning her sorrow in vodka and song when a surprise visit from her youngest sister jolts her into accepting the magical reality hidden from her for fifty years.  


Mary’s epiphany can’t come soon enough because her fresh start may be the only thing that can save her siblings and the world from an utter melt-down.

As the two Bant sisters grapple with sirens, faeries and the FBI in America, their brother is trapped in a high-stakes game of mage politics in Australia. Meanwhile, middle-sister Amy’s malfunctioning mage-sight forces her to seek help from the very same mages who tricked her once before

Can Mary pull herself together in time to rescue her family from the coming war?
Mages Unbound is a paranormal women’s fiction novel, told from the perspective of the Bant family members. This is Book 2 in the Fifth Mage War Series, a magical epic about sirens, fae, and family ties.

Mages Unbound: Book 2 of the Fifth Mage War Series 
by Laura Engelhardt
Series:  Fifth Mage War Series
Category:  Adult fiction (18+), 480 pages
Genre:  Paranormal Women’s Fiction
Publisher:  Laura Engelhardt
Release date:  Nov 18 2020
Content Rating: PG-13 + M for battle sequences, bad language including F-words, and adult-themes mildly referenced. Euphemisms are used in lieu of graphic descriptions of sex/violence. There is NO sexual violence or child abuse.

Pre-Order the Book:
release date: Nov 18, 2020
Amazon

Meet the Author:

Author Laura Engelhardt

An avid sf/fantasy reader, Laura Engelhardt writes the kind of book she likes to read: fantasy with intricate worlds and complex characters facing moral dilemmas. She started writing plays in college, then moved to Germany, where she continued to write while teaching ESL to executives. After moving back to the U.S., she supported her playwriting by teaching ballroom dance and working retail. Deciding that living in her parents’ attic wasn’t for her, Laura went to law school and then spent the next seventeen years as a lawyer and compliance officer in New York City. In 2017, she quit Wall Street and began helping people resolve disputes as a mediator and arbitrator. She now lives in New Jersey with her family.

connect with author: website ~ facebook ~ goodreads

Laura Engelhardt Guest Post

Which Way Do I Go: Indie or Traditional?

Congratulations! You’ve finished your first book. It’s your baby. You’ve slaved over it for months, years, even decades. You have a solid draft. Maybe you’ve even shared it with a few friends/readers, who wax enthusiastic. Now what?

While the budding author, Emily Starr, from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic series tossed her first novel in the fire after realizing it wasn’t up to par, most of us aren’t as willing or as able to let go like that.

The truth is, most first novels are flawed. If you ask writers today about their first published books, they’ll often cringe. Sometimes DECADES later, they even release a re-write, that never manages to elevate the book to the same caliber as their later novels. Writers, like any professional, have to gain experience. Sure there are exceptions – like the one-hit wonder, Catcher in the Rye – but for the most part, authors have to train like athletes. You can’t expect the same level of skill from a rookie pitcher in the minors that you do from a seasoned veteran in the majors!

So what to do with your admittedly imperfect first novel? Do you shop it with traditional publishers, hoping to catch an editor’s eye and be raised out of the slush pile where 99.9% of submissions dissolve into illegible goo? Do you let it die in your desk drawer while you wait for a yes? Do you burn it? Or do you publish it yourself? Because unlike Emily Starr, modern aspiring authors CAN publish on their own. The question is … should you?

I’ve compiled a list of ten questions to ask yourself in making this decision for you and your novel. Because at the end of the day, it comes down to the kind of book you wrote, your goals, personality, and world-view.

  1. Is my book “commercial?” 

Before you put pen to paper, did you thoroughly research the kinds of books in your sub-genre that are on the best-seller list today? Does your story fit within the word count and tropes of that market, while having a slightly unique spin on the plot/characters/story that will set it apart? If you didn’t do this research before you wrote it, do it now. If you didn’t “stay in your lane” and parallel the books that are on the bestseller list RIGHT NOW, your odds of being picked up by an agent or publisher are very low.

  1. Is my book “unique?”

Maybe you didn’t fit within the relevant tropes because you’ve written something utterly different. Maybe you started with a mystery, but instead wrote a genre-busting, satiric allegory. It fits a unique and timely niche that a select group of specialty publishers might be interested in. Maybe it’s worth a shot! Delay your indie publication and investigate the smaller publishing houses. Work on your submission letters, work on your agent outreach. Set a realistic deadline to re-evaluate the traditional path if you haven’t gotten traction.

  1. Do I know anyone in the “industry?”

Like everything else, the publishing world revolves around “who you know.” Is your best friend’s uncle an editor at Ballentine Books? Get an intro, get on his calendar, and get his thoughts on your book. Personalized advice is ALWAYS better than following a generic blogger’s suggestions 😉

  1. How optimistic am I?

The odds of being traditionally-published are slightly higher than your odds of winning more than $25 on a scratch-off lottery ticket. If you pursue this path, you may indeed get your book published, but it’s far more likely that your first novel will languish in your desk drawer, while you write book #2, and book #3. Maybe, you’ll interest an agent in book #4! All of the other books you will have written up to that point will die unread. Perhaps you’ll pull one of them out years from now & re-write it. But more likely, you’ll have moved on to other characters and stories.

  1. How do I want to spend my time?

Would you rather put your non-writing time into (a) finding a traditional publisher, writing query letters, researching agents, investigating the industry, etc. OR (b) hiring an editor, cover designer, print layout firm/software, marketing, distribution channels. YOU WILL SPEND HOURS/DAYS/MONTHS working on the non-creative aspects of writing to get published – whether traditionally OR independently. You will learn a lot about the business aspects of publishing either way. Would you rather learn about how to make a succinct/catchy pitch, or how to write ad copy? Would you rather learn what commercial publishers think will sell, or would you rather work with a cover artist?

  1. How much $$ am I willing to spend?

The cost of independently publishing will be substantially more than traditionally publishing. Traditional publishers will pay you for your book. They will take the risk of selling it and you will make an immediate profit. If you are independently publishing any kind of book other than erotica, please be aware: first, second, and even third novels will be loss-leaders. You will not recoup your costs. You will spend more than you make. You will not turn a profit. If you publish traditionally, you will only be out the cost of postage and any editorial advice you seek before finding an agent/publisher, even if you don’t wind up publishing at all.

  1. What kind of rejection/criticism do I want?

Reviews are sometimes unduly kind, sometimes quite valid, sometimes unfair. They are always public. You can learn a lot from what readers who bothered to leave a review liked/didn’t like about it. But there’s nothing you can do about reviews after they’re written, and a book with an average 3-star rating will not be purchased or read. Rejection letters will mostly be form-letters, giving you no insight into how to improve or what caused the editor/agent to reject you. But they are private. Would you rather get knocked around in public, but find out what you need to do to become a better writer, or would you rather get bland rejections privately?

  1. Do I like reading indie books?

Do you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription? Do you read books on an eReader? Do you subscribe to a newsletter where you download free books onto your eReader? If you don’t answer yes to any of these questions, you probably haven’t read an indie book. Before going in this direction, read some of the “bestseller” indie books in your genre – preferably ones with more than 100 reviews. That will give you a sense of what you might aspire to if you publish independently. THEN read a book with under 25 reviews, preferably an author’s first book. While the quality of the writing might be as good as a traditionally-published book, you are more likely to notice flaws. BUT a good indie novel often breaks with conventions/commercial trends and can be fun to read. 

  1. How do I rate indie books?

If a book costs $9.99, do you have the same expectations for it that you do if it costs $2.99? Traditional publishers charge more for ebooks than indie publishers. If you expect the same quality of writing in a $2.99 book that you do in a $9.99 book, and don’t “grade on curve,” then indie publishing probably isn’t for you. 

  1. Do I need to publish?

Indie authors range from hobbyists to people who long to be traditionally published. If you’re still reading, you probably fall on the latter end of the spectrum. Is it important to you that people read your work — even if it’s not many people? What kind of motivation do you need to keep writing? If you need the satisfaction of seeing your books in print, of knowing there are at least a few people out there who enjoy your work, then maybe indie publication is something to consider. But if you’ve got the internal drive to keep working, the perfectionist streak that would allow you to burn your book-baby if it’s not good enough, then the traditional path is the one for you.

  1. Is my book “commercial?”
    Before you put pen to paper, did you thoroughly research the kinds of books in your
    sub-genre that are on the best-seller list today? Does your story fit within the word
    count and tropes of that market, while having a slightly unique spin on the
    plot/characters/story that will set it apart? If you didn’t do this research before you
    wrote it, do it now. If you didn’t “stay in your lane” and parallel the books that are on
    the bestseller list RIGHT NOW, your odds of being picked up by an agent or publisher are
    very low.
  2. Is my book “unique?”
    Maybe you didn’t fit within the relevant tropes because you’ve written something
    utterly different. Maybe you started with a mystery, but instead wrote a genre-busting,
    satiric allegory. It fits a unique and timely niche that a select group of specialty publishers might be interested in. Maybe it’s worth a shot! Delay your indie publication and investigate the smaller publishing houses. Work on your submission letters, work on your agent outreach. Set a realistic deadline to re-evaluate the traditional path if you haven’t gotten traction.
  3. Do I know anyone in the “industry?”
    Like everything else, the publishing world revolves around “who you know.” Is your best
    friend’s uncle an editor at Ballentine Books? Get an intro, get on his calendar, and get
    his thoughts on your book. Personalized advice is ALWAYS better than following a
    generic blogger’s suggestions 😉
  4. How optimistic am I?
    The odds of being traditionally-published are slightly higher than your odds of winning
    more than $25 on a scratch-off lottery ticket. If you pursue this path, you may indeed
    get your book published, but it’s far more likely that your first novel will languish in your
    desk drawer, while you write book #2, and book #3. Maybe, you’ll interest an agent in
    book #4! All of the other books you will have written up to that point will die unread.
    Perhaps you’ll pull one of them out years from now & re-write it. But more likely, you’ll
    have moved on to other characters and stories.
  5. How do I want to spend my time?
    Would you rather put your non-writing time into (a) finding a traditional publisher,
    writing query letters, researching agents, investigating the industry, etc. OR (b) hiring an
    editor, cover designer, print layout firm/software, marketing, distribution channels. YOU
    WILL SPEND HOURS/DAYS/MONTHS working on the non-creative aspects of writing to
    get published – whether traditionally OR independently. You will learn a lot about the
    business aspects of publishing either way. Would you rather learn about how to make a
    succinct/catchy pitch, or how to write ad copy? Would you rather learn what
    commercial publishers think will sell, or would you rather work with a cover artist?
  6. How much $$ am I willing to spend?
    The cost of independently publishing will be substantially more than traditionally
    publishing. Traditional publishers will pay you for your book. They will take the risk of
    selling it and you will make an immediate profit. If you are independently publishing any
    kind of book other than erotica, please be aware: first, second, and even third novels
    will be loss-leaders. You will not recoup your costs. You will spend more than you make.
    You will not turn a profit. If you publish traditionally, you will only be out the cost of
    postage and any editorial advice you seek before finding an agent/publisher, even if you
    don’t wind up publishing at all.
  7. What kind of rejection/criticism do I want?
    Reviews are sometimes unduly kind, sometimes quite valid, sometimes unfair. They are
    always public. You can learn a lot from what readers who bothered to leave a review
    liked/didn’t like about it. But there’s nothing you can do about reviews after they’re written, and a book with an average 3-star rating will not be purchased or read.
    Rejection letters will mostly be form-letters, giving you no insight into how to improve
    or what caused the editor/agent to reject you. But they are private. Would you rather
    get knocked around in public, but find out what you need to do to become a better
    writer, or would you rather get bland rejections privately?
  8. Do I like reading indie books?
    Do you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription? Do you read books on an eReader? Do you
    subscribe to a newsletter where you download free books onto your eReader? If you
    don’t answer yes to any of these questions, you probably haven’t read an indie book.
    Before going in this direction, read some of the “bestseller” indie books in your genre –
    preferably ones with more than 100 reviews. That will give you a sense of what you
    might aspire to if you publish independently. THEN read a book with under 25 reviews,
    preferably an author’s first book. While the quality of the writing might be as good as a
    traditionally-published book, you are more likely to notice flaws. BUT a good indie novel
    often breaks with conventions/commercial trends and can be fun to read.
  9. How do I rate indie books?
    If a book costs $9.99, do you have the same expectations for it that you do if it costs
    $2.99? Traditional publishers charge more for ebooks than indie publishers. If you
    expect the same quality of writing in a $2.99 book that you do in a $9.99 book, and
    don’t “grade on curve,” then indie publishing probably isn’t for you.
  10. Do I need to publish?
    Indie authors range from hobbyists to people who long to be traditionally published. If
    you’re still reading, you probably fall on the latter end of the spectrum. Is it important to
    you that people read your work — even if it’s not many people? What kind of
    motivation do you need to keep writing? If you need the satisfaction of seeing your
    books in print, of knowing there are at least a few people out there who enjoy your
    work, then maybe indie publication is something to consider. But if you’ve got the
    internal drive to keep working, the perfectionist streak that would allow you to burn
    your book-baby if it’s not good enough, then the traditional path is the one for you.
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Kri
Pine Enshrined Reviews
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3 thoughts on ““Mages Unbound” by Laura Engelhardt Book Tour, Giveaway and Guest Topic with Laura Engelhardt, Pine Enshrined Reviews and iRead Book Tours.”

    1. Thank you for being a guest on Pine Enshrined! I loved reading it and finding out about your book Mages Unbound.

      Like

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