Friday, March 18, 2011

Guest Blogger: F. M. (Marilyn) Meredith

It's my pleasure to host Marilyn Meredith, who writes Dark Oak mysteries as F. M. Meredith. She's the author of nearly thirty published novels, her latest in the Rocky Bluff Police Department crime series is Angel Lost.

Angel Lost concerns Officer Stacey Wilbur, who, as she plans for her perfect wedding, is sent out to trap a flasher. The sudden appearance of an angel in the window of a furniture store captures everyone’s imagination and causes problems for the Rocky Bluff P.D. Subsequent events threaten Stacy's wedding.

Changes Happening Everywhere

by F. M. Meredith

The news is full of all kinds of upsets and changes. Of course the biggest ones are in the countries where the people want freedom and are willing to die for that privilege. People in our own country have done that a couple of times.

Now, because of budget cuts, people in our own country are protesting and asking for change.

Because the above is way out of my hands, I’m going to discuss change in the book and publishing world.

With the news about many Borders’ closures and unfortunately too many independent bookstores, it’s not too hard to figure out that there are several things behind this change beginning with the state of the economy. Buying books might not be what someone is going to do with a limited amount of cash. Of course, the advent of so many e-book readers has had an effect too since e-books, in most cases, are so much cheaper than paper books.

Because of the new readers, e-books have become more popular (remember e-books themselves have been around for more than 10 years, there just wasn’t so many easy ways to obtain and read them as there are now) the whole publishing industry is undergoing change.

The New York publishers have accepted the fact that in order to compete they must put their books out as e-book format too. What they haven’t yet realized is that the prices of the books must be lower in order to compete with the smaller e-publishers and the authors who are self-publishing.

For the author the changes presented by the above events bring about the question should he or she find an agent? Are agents as necessary as they used to be? In my own case, over the years I’ve had several agents and none managed to find a publisher for me. I kept on writing and finally decided to see what I could do on my own. Over the years, I’ve published with several small publishers and e-publishers and now I’m with two small presses who do trade paperback and e-books.

Yes, we are definitely in a time of change, but since I’ve been a writer I’ve experienced a lot of other changes such as going from a typewriter to a computer (with several steps in-between), sending queries via email rather than by snail mail with an SASE inside, sending manuscripts as an attachment to e-mail rather than the whole printed manuscript in a box with another box inside with return address and postage.

Another big change is having to do most of the promotion oneself and having your marketing plan ahead of time to submit with your query.

Promotion has made a big change. Though authors still do book tours, most arrange and pay for them. With the closing of so many bookstores, this isn’t going to be so easy.

Much promotion is done online these days with blog tours and all the social networking. Of course this takes time, but personally, I find it enjoyable.

I do have a couple of favorite independent bookstores where I always go and give talks about writing and my books. My favorite in person events are being an instructor at a writing conference, speaking to libraries and social and service groups, book and craft fairs.

As writers, all we can do is figure out ways that we can make the changes in the book and publishing world work for us.

Marilyn is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Internet chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and is on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America.

Visit her at and her blog at

She also has a great Angel Lost book trailer up at YouTube:

Marilyn is standing by to answer questions and read your comments.


Jean Henry Mead said...

Welcome to Murderous Musings, Marilyn. We got a late start due to a Blogger glitch, but I hope eveyone will leave comments or questions.

It's great to have you with us.


Cheryl said...

Thanks for hosting Marilyn today. I've been a fan of her work for the past few years, and it's always exciting to help her promote new releases.

I wanted to let your readers know that there is a trailer for Angel Lost--as well as for many of Marilyn's other books--posted on YouTube. You can find this one at

Thanks again for hosting Marilyn. You have a wonderful blog.


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

Hi, Jean, always glad to be in your company. Of course since I wrote this, we've also had the disaters in Japan. Nothing ever stays the same.

Hi, Cheryl, always glad to see you.


Carola said...

Hi, Marilyn. Thanks for visiting :-)

Anonymous said...

Just checking in to say hello, Marilyn.You're the busiest person I know -- are you sure you lost an hour like the rest of us when Daylight Savings started? All the best to you always --

Pat Browning
Still a one-note band with ABSINTHE OF MALICE but working on that second note.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Thanks for sharing, Marlyn. Today's authors have many choices. On the one hand, it is great to sign with a major publisher. On the other hand, these publishers no longer have the funds to promote their authors. As such, authors are expected to promote their books at their own expense. If the sales numbers don't come in immediately, the author can be dropped. As you said, this is why so many authors are now e-publishing.

As the big publishing houses re-examine their business models and evolve, authors will find themselves with additional options.

Marja said...

Good article, Marilyn. I've been saying for a long time that I thought ebooks were the wave of the future. Best case scenario? The ones who offer both ebooks and trade paperbacks. The world of marketing and promoting due to so many changes is relatively new, too, so I guess we're all learning together.

Earl Staggs said...

Marilyn, you're an excellent example of how hardwork and determination make it possible to get yourself and your books out there. Best wishes to you for continued success.

Caroline Clemmons said...

I have ANGEL LOST, but my husband grabbed it first and I'm waiting for him to finish reading it.

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

Always glad to see old friends, Pat Browning is someone I have met in person and we used to hang out eons ago, oh yes, I lost that hour and many more, Pat. Waving at Carola. Mark, I started with a New York publisher, but I'm quite happy with the small presses I'm with now. Marja's another author I count as a real friend I've actually spent time with. Thanks, Earl, for you kind words. And, Carolina, you'll have to let me know what you and your husband thought about the book.