Marilyn Meredith now lives in the foothills of the Southern Sierra, about 1000 feet lower than Tempe’s Bear Creek, but much resembles the fictional town and surroundings. She has nearly 40 books published, mostly mysteries. Besides writing, she loves to give presentations to writers’ groups. She’s on the board of the Public Safety Writers Association, and a member of Mystery Writers of America and three chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Central Coast chapter.

marilyn #3

Taking What the Publishing Industry Throws at You

This is the last topic for my blog tour for Not as it Seems, and a fitting subject to end with.

When I first dipped my toes in the publishing pool, it was a much different business than it is now. This was back in the days of typewriters and carbon paper. There were only a few major publishers to go to, and every submission had to be sent in a self-addressed box with return postage inside of a larger box. A self-addressed envelope would be included too in the hope that instead of the return of the manuscript, an acceptance letter would come instead.

Small publishers began to pop up and could be found in the big Writers Digest book of agents and publishers.

As time went on, big conglomerates bought the larger publishers bringing them down to even fewer places to submit.

The Internet came along and e-publishing was born and along with it publishing on demand. What a change that made. Small publishers could compete with the bigger ones.

The birth of Amazon brought about the biggest changes of all. Some good and some not.

Many authors have become self-published mainly so they don’t have to split their income with anyone but Amazon or Barnes and Noble or one of the other online bookstores.

To bring this down to my own personal journey, my first book was accepted by a New York publisher. 2nd one turned down by that house, and I found a small press. I had several agents over the years, but none ever found a publisher for whatever they were representing. I found several small publishers on line, a couple turned out to be crooks, three died, three quit the business, I met publishers at conferences who gave me contracts. I’m with two of those now and content.

Mundania Press publishes my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, and I met the publisher at a conference. When the former publisher decided she no longer wanted to be in the publishing business, Mundania signed me on. Needless to say, I’m happy with them.

As for the self-publishing, I’ve tried it and it’s not for me.

Writing and promoting take up enough of my time, I’m happy to leave the final editing, formatting of the book, and doing the cover to the publisher. As for the promoting, no matter who you are published by, the major part of the promotion is up to the author.

This is how I’ve handled what the publishing industry as thrown at me, and I suppose it all comes down to accepting what I’ve had to and making the best out of the rest.

I’d love to hear other’s opinions about this subject.

–Marilyn Meredith




  Not as It Seems Blurb:

Tempe and Hutch travel to Morro Bay for son Blair’s wedding, but when the maid-of-honor disappears, Tempe tries to find her. The search is complicated by ghosts and Native spirits.

Character Naming Contest:

Once again, I’ll name a character after the person who leaves a comment on the most blogs.

This is the last place on my blog tour. I’ll be figuring out who won the contest and naming them on my own blog in the next few days. Keep an eye on



  2. Amy M. Bennett

    Your publishing story closely mirrors mine, except I haven’t tried self-publishing. I got my “big break”, after writing for over 20 years and collecting numerous rejection letters, when I submitted my first mystery novel to a contest. I didn’t win the first one, but I did the second one! Whenever I get asked by fledgling authors how to get published, I always tell them to try submitting to a contest… it worked for me!

    1. margaretmendel Post author

      Great information, Amy! Yes, and to keep writing through it all, no matter what the response from the publishing world. Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  3. Susan Oleksiw

    I enjoyed reading your history in the world of publishing. I do remember those boxes with return postage, and I’ve kept a large envelope of rejection slips, some smaller than a postcard. Despite all the changes, however, things don’t feel very different. It’s still work finding someone to publish a novel, and most writers have “additional” sources of income. LIke you, I have very mixed feelings about publishing. Good luck with your newest title.

    1. Marilyn Meredith

      Hi, Susan, if I were writing for the money, I’d have quit long ago. Of, course, in the beginning, I expected that I’d become famous and be like some of the writers I so admired. Now, I write because I have to, pleasing myself and the fans I do have. Thanks for your comment.

  4. Elaine Faber

    Hi Marilyn. so nice to hear your story of publishing from the typewriter until now. Isn’t it interesting that everyone has a different ‘journey’ in publishing, even though we all work within the same parameters. So glad that you found success at the end of journey… no I didn’t really mean… END.. I meant success! For many authors, the advent of self-publishing is the best option for them, but, indeed, there are many paths to take.

  5. Lorna Collins

    We currently do a presentation for writing groups and book clubs called, “The Times, They Are A’Changiin'” about the differences in publishing since we began in 2005. It’s a whole different world!

  6. Nancy LiPetri

    I worked for an automotive manual publisher near San Diego in the days of typewriters and carbon paper. I was one of their first employees to learn to use a computer. We’ve come a long way! Decades later, when I finished my first novel, one of the older local publishers here in North Carolina asked me to box up the paper ms, unlike all the others. His ways were antiquated, but his encouragement and insight into the “marketing nowadays” part of the business were priceless.

  7. Jeri Fink

    Great read – however, your story brings back some not-so-fond memories. I’m a hybrid author for better or worse. I agree – amazon was probably the biggest boon to authors and publishers. Amazon – the people I love to hate.

    1. Marilyn Meredith

      Jeri, I can tell you that my publishing experiences have been varied and sometimes terrible. I ran into so many crooks in the early days. Also good intentioned folks who didn’t know what they were doing.

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