Monday, July 26, 2010
Interview with Author Marilyn Meredith
When she last visited, Marilyn shared great information about the writing craft. This time she is generous enough to share some marketing tips as well as a peek into her recent release, "Lingering Spirit".
Marilyn, you have your finger in so many pies! You have the Rocky Bluff PD series, the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Christian horror novels, and your stand alone paranormal romance, “Lingering Spirit”, just became available.
Is it possible to market so many different series and genres at events? What is your approach?
I don’t always market all my books at every event. The Apple Festival in Springville where I live, a two-day event, I take copies of all my books and do very well. I never know which books will sell.
Recently I was invited to a Jane Austen Festival and I only took copies of my Tempe books and the two latest books in my Rocky Bluff P.D. series. I felt a bit like a fish out of water, but did surprisingly well.
The Springville Library invited me to bring my books to their celebration of 100 years of the Tulare County Library and I knew there would not be many people there, so I just took my Tempe books which are set in a place like Springville. I still managed to sell four books in a very short period of time. When I do an event over on the coast, I take more of my Rocky Bluff P.D. series since it is set on the coast.
You attend conferences, book fairs, craft fairs, and other events. Where do you have the most success selling your books?
I love conferences and conventions but I’m not a big name writer so don’t sell a lot of books, but if I can get on a panel or give a presentation, I do pretty well. Book and craft fairs work pretty well for me. Craft fairs are fun because there usually aren’t many authors and so being a “real” author is a novelty to people who don’t go to bookstores and book events. This year I’ve been to Celebration of the Whales and I’m going to be at the Fourth of July Celebration at Channel Islands Harbor. Because my Rocky Bluff P.D. books were inspired by the Oxnard P.D. they sell well there. I’m also going to the Central Coast Art and Book Festival in San Luis Obispo, which is also a good venue. I go to much smaller fairs too, heading to one at the Lompoc library in August. I’m pretty much “up” for any event like that.
“Lingering Spirit” is a departure from your usual writings in that it includes a paranormal element. Could you tell us about the story and the characters?
“Lingering Spirit” came about because of a tragic event that happened in our family. Though the idea developed from a real and very sad event, the story is fiction. It’s about the death of a law enforcement officer in the line of duty, leaving his young wife a widow and his two daughters fatherless. His spirit remains around for quite some time. Did that part really happen? Not as I wrote it, but there is an inkling of truth in the supernatural part.
This book began as an e-book. I parted company with the publisher and the book was unavailable. The publisher of my Rocky Bluff P.D. books asked if I had older books I’d like her to put on Kindle and I gave her “Lingering Spirit”. She loved it and it’s been available on Kindle for awhile. At the beginning of this year she asked me if I’d like to have “Lingering Spirit” as a trade paperback. Of course I said yes, and she put it on fast-track so it would be available this month.
Many of your books are available both in paper editions and as e-books. You tried e-books before they were such a hot topic. What are the pros and cons of publishing electronically over publishing in print?
I was e-pubbed before there were any e-reading devices. Didn’t work so well back then. Once the e-readers started coming on the market things changed and they keep on changing. Nearly all of my books have been published in electronic format as well as in paper. The two publishers I’m working with now always do both types of publishing.
The e-publishers know what they are doing as far as e-publishing is concerned, where the New York publishers are making all sorts of mistakes—but are slowly catching on. Most e-publishers accept queries and manuscript submission as attachments and the whole submission process is much faster and more personal. The finished product is done in a far shorter time than with a New York publisher. Most e-publishers do not give advances, but the royalties are usually a bigger percentage for either kind of book than the New York publishers give.
What are you working on next?
I have a Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery, Invisible Path, coming out this fall. I have another that I’m finishing up the editing on now. My next Rocky Bluff P.D., Angel Lost, is ready for the first part of 2011. I’m starting another Rocky Bluff P.D. now, and have written four chapters so far. Been hard with all the promotion I’ve been doing for all my books and because I’m the program chair for the Public Safety Writers Conference, which has kept me busy too. I must confess though, I love it. I’m doing exactly what I dreamed about doing when I was younger.
Thank you, Marilyn!