Friday, October 11, 2013

Changes I’ve Seen in the Publishing Industry, by Marilyn Meredith

Hello, folks.

Please join me in welcoming the very prolific, multi-award-winning author, Marilyn Meredith to Murderby4 today. I've read Raging Waters, of Marilyn's Tempe Crabtree mystery series, and just loved it, having become particularly enamored with the great characterization and fascinating setting. 

As you'll see below, the person who comments the most on Marilyn's virtual book tour will be eligible to win a very cool prize - having a character named after them! Isn't that neat? I hope you comment like crazy and win. Be sure to let us all know if you do, so we can watch for you in Marilyn's next book. 

Aaron Paul Lazar

copyright 2013, Marilyn Meredith

Aaron asked me to address this topic, and I’m a good one to do so since I started on this journey long, long ago.

When I began, the only hope one had of getting published was by one of the big New York publishers. Back in the day, it was possible to get an unsolicited or unagented. manuscript (we called it over the transom then) manuscript looked at and even accepted.

My first manuscript (and several others) were produced on a typewriter and the only copy was made with carbon paper. Each page had to be perfect, assembled into a box with return address and postage on it, then put into another box with the publisher’s address. If the manuscript was returned, it might be usable at the most four more times. Often the pages were returned smelling of cigarette smoke and with coffee or wine stains. Then the manuscript had to be retyped.

After nearly thirty rejections, many rewrites and retyping, my first book was finally accepted by a major publisher. The next one was not.

By this time, many co-op and publishers for pay cropped up and unfortunately, many of them were crooks. My second book was published by one of these. (Yes, he really was a crook and ended up in jail.)

Personal computers came on the scene. In my opinion, this was the best thing that ever happened for an author. I bought one of the first ones—much more complicated than what I use today. I had lots of help from the man I bought it from. I was still submitting on paper—but it was much easier to make corrections and copies.

Then the second best thing for authors came along, the Internet. Using the Writer’s Digest Marketplace book, I found a publisher who wanted police procedurals. I submitted the book via email and it was accepted. When I read the contract I found out it would be published electronically. At that time there was no such thing as an e-reader and though the book looked great, it was far too hard to purchase and no one wanted to read on a computer.

Along came the Rocket eReader and e-books began to gain some popularity and I had several e-books published by various e-publishers. The Rocket was bought by Sony who did nothing for too long a time.

Print on demand publishing came along and the e-publishers began producing paper books too. Some folks looked down their noses at POD publishing—but that has certainly changed as even the big name publishers use the same process for their trade paperbacks. Small independent publisher popped up all over the place.

Amazon started selling books and may or may not have put many independent books stores out of business. (Some say it was really the economy that did it.)

Other e-readers came on the market, with Kindle being the most popular. Then guess what, Amazon started publishing books, both trade paperbacks and e-books for the Kindle.

Those are just the highlights of what has been going on in the publishing world. There are so many ways for an author to get published today—and I have no doubt that we’ll keep seeing changes.

As for me, I’ve tried just about everything. At the moment, I’m quite happy with my two small publishers, Mundania, who does my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, and Oak Tree Press, publisher of my Rocky Bluff P.D. series. I barely have time to write and promote two books a year, I don’t want to try to fit in all the chores of self-publishing too.

Blurb for Spirit Shapes: Ghost hunters stumble upon a murdered teen in a haunted house. Deputy Tempe Crabtree's investigation pulls her into a whirlwind of restless spirits, good and evil, intertwined with the past and the present, and demons and angels at war.

Bio: Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, including the award winning Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. She borrows a lot from where she lives in the Southern Sierra for the town of Bear Creek and the surrounding area, including the nearby Tule River Indian Reservation. She does like to remind everyone that she is writing fiction. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. Visit her at and follow her blog at


The person who comments on the most blogs on this blog tour will have the opportunity to have a character named after him or her in the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery.

Tomorrow I’ll be visiting at:


Anonymous said...

It is interesting to hear how publishing has changed from one who has been there through it. I think in many ways it is good how it has given so many good authors a chance to publish. On any given day I can discover a dozen new, good writers. On the downside, there are so many, fewer can make a living at it. Good for the reader bad for the writer.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

First, thank you, for hosting me on my blog tour, Murder by 4. And second, Kate Eileen, you are so right. I'm lucky to get enough off of royalties for a nice dinner out.

Billie Johnson said...

Great post, Marilyn! I always enjoy your perspective on things!


Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Marilyn, thanks for being here on MB4 today! We always enjoy your articles. Have a great Columbus Day weekend!


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Thanks for commenting, Billie. I think I've probably experienced more publishing changes than most. And I remember how people would naysay when I told about epublishing.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Marilyn, and what a terrific summary of the changes in publishing. Looking forward to reading your new book. Yikes. Two different books per year. How do you do it?

My best,


Kathleen Kaska said...

Nice post, Marilyn. It was good to review all the changes, although sometimes I feel that more changes seem to occur daily.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Like you, I've gone through the different stages of publishing. The computer has made things so much easier--from making changes in text to sending mss to editors. It's also made it easy for anyone to write and put out a book.

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Publishing is a long hard road, but you seem to have found a bright path that casts sunshine along the way for others! Thank you, Marilyn!

Mary Montague Sikes

Jacqueline Seewald said...


This is an excellent post. Your experiences mirror my own. I agree--learning to word process on a computer was the best thing that ever happened to me as a writer.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I've been off talking to a reading group, was tickled to come home and read so many comments. Thanks for stopping by Jacqueline, Monti, Marilyn L., Kathleen and Paul. When I look back over my publishing history, I wonder what made me keep going.