Today we’d like to introduce you to Jody T. Morse.
Jody, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
After twenty-five years as a performer (singer/dancer/actor), my husband and I bought an 18-acre ranch on the far northern outskirts of Houston. We longed to be surrounded by nature…and have horses. While the private, rural setting helped soothe my soul in some ways, it also encouraged my retirement from my successful career in the theater.
Six-months into this new adventure, my sweet husband said, “Honey, I’m concerned. Your eye is twitching. I think you need to find a new creative outlet.”He was right. My creative juices were building up and verging on flood status. Seeing as my father had been a journalist and editor, I decided that since this vein of creative work was in my blood, I’d give it a go. I’m so glad I did because I fell head over heels in love with writing.
This life-shift occurred back in 2015. Over the past three years, I’ve had over three-dozen magazine articles published. been through two fiction-author pen names, launched a writing prompt empire, and founded a boutique publishing house (Bountiful Balcony Books) to produce my own book-length works, as well as, those of other new and emerging writers. It’s been a wild ride but one I wouldn’t trade for all the MFAs and Broadway starring roles in the world.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Good question. It’s gone as smoothly as the Universe wanted it to. The pot holes have taught me a lot about myself and the publishing industry. One lesson learned: be careful about picking your pen name. After eighteen months publishing fictional works as T. Haven Morse, I shifted to J.T. Haven–which meant overhauling all of my marketing materials and social media accounts, redoing my website, and re-releasing two books.
People often ask, “Why take a pen name?” There are many reasons but, in my case, it came down to the fact that there was already a successful YA writer named Jody Morse out there. I didn’t want to step on her toes or for us to compete for SEO and Google search status. It’s a long story why I shifted from T. Haven to J.T. but suffice it to say, the change needed to happen, Better at eighteen months into the journey than eighteen years in.
So, I’d say the split personality struggle would be my biggest hurdle to date. Everything else has been expected: learning the ins and outs of a new industry, finding my voice as a writer, and building a literary tribe of fellow writers and readers. The adventure hasn’t necessarily been smooth, but it’s been awesome.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Bountiful Balcony Books story. Tell us more about the business.
When I finished the last poem of my persona poetry collection “Flooded By,” I began the search for a publisher. After a chorus of “we’d love to publish this collection; however, it won’t come out for two years” and “sure, we’ll publish your book for 80% of the profits” and “we love it but we want to change it completely”, I decided that self-publishing (aka Indie publishing to some people) would be the way to go. Being the self-motivated Virgo that I am that meant not just publishing one book but launching a small press. Go big or go be a beach bum is one of my mottoes! (As much as I love the beach, I’m not ready for bum status yet.)
This is how Bountiful Balcony Books was planted, sprouted, and harvested. We’ve published six books to date. Sadly, two have been pulled and are being re-launched in 2019. But the experience has been invaluable and quite a few copies of all six books have been sold.
My goal with Bountiful Balcony Books is to help writers, like myself, who’ve written wonderful manuscripts and collections, but are struggling to find a publishing home for them. I’m very picky about who I work with now and who i want to work with in the future. Bountiful Balcony is a young literary family on the up and up, both in our morals and in the direction we’re headed. Who knows what the future holds, but this company will be one I’m proud to be Editor-and-chief of.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’m not sure I believe in luck. However, I can say that–lucky or not–I have been rewarded for my hard work, loved my years as a performer, and now find myself networking in the best publishing and writing circles. I wake up every morning grateful for the opportunities that I’ve taken advantage of and people I’ve chosen to spend my short time on this planet with. Most would say, I think, that I’m a pretty lucky gal in life and business.
- Editing and Professional Beta Reading work ranges from $5-$25/page
- Copies of Bountiful Balcony Books range from $6.50-$15 – available from Amazon and our website
- Freelance Writing work ranges from $.25/word to as much as you’d like to pay me
- Address: Evergreen. TX
- Website: https://www.bountifulbalconybooks.com/
- Phone: 832-978-2280
- Email: jody@BountifulBalconyBooks.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bountifulbbooks/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BountifulBalconyBooks/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/books_bountiful
All photo rights belong to Jody T. Morse without required credits.