Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Guest, Mystery Author, Marilyn Meredith, Tells Us About Changes in the Writing World

THINGS KEEP CHANGING IN THE WRITING WORLD, according to my guest today, Mystery Author, Marilyn Meredith. Here's what she has to say:

Marilyn Meredith

I’ve been at this longer than most and I’ve seen a lot of changes in the writing world, enough to know that nothing ever stays the same.

When I first started writing, I did it in long hand then transcribed it on a typewriter. So I would have copies when I began with a new page, it was paper, carbon paper (had to be sure to put it facing the right direction), and another piece of paper. It was awhile before copying machines came along.

When sending out a manuscript, I had to have two boxes, one with my return address and postage to put inside the larger box so that my manuscript would come back to me if it was rejected. After all, I didn’t want to type all 500 words over again.

Eventually, I would have to retype the manuscript, though, because after being sent out and returned from about five different publishers, it would become rather shop-worn: bent pages, coffee stains, and smelling like cigarette smoke. When I retyped I often also rewrote. (By the way, my first book was rejected nearly 30 times before it found a home.)

Electronic typewriters came along, ones with a correction ribbon. Oh, what a wonderful discovery. By this time, there were also outfits that had copying machines, so for about 5 cents a page, I could get a copy of my manuscript.

Personal computers were the biggest gift to a writer yet. My first one had two places for floppy disks—and these were big and really floppy—one was for the program being used, the other for your story. Neither held very many words. To learn how to use it, the fellow who sold it to me had to come to my house—he also received a lot of phone calls from me.

I have no idea how many other computers I’ve had since then—each one far better than the one before it. You could even have your own printer, copier and fax included.

The next great change was the Internet and email. Sending a whole manuscript via an attachment to e-mail was wonderful! Think of all the paper I saved. Wow!

The first notion of e-books came along about then—10 years or so ago. I had an e-book published before there was such a thing as an e-reader. Not only did that mean anyone buying the book had to read it on a computer, but purchasing it was not easy. The Rocket e-Reader came along and it was great. Ebooks were easily purchased and downloaded. And of course everyone knows how the ebook revolution has taken over with all sorts of eReaders available. Not only that, people can publish their trade paperbacks and their own e-books in various ways

I recently heard that for 150 ebooks are being purchased for every 100 paper books.

Change is coming faster than ever before and it makes me wonder what’s next.

Bears With Us by
Marilyn Meredith
 My latest book is Bears With Us and Deputy Tempe Crabtree has her hands full when bears turn up in and around Bear Creek, a young teen commits suicide and his parents’ actions are suspicious, a prominent woman files a complaint against Tempe and her preacher husband Hutch, a love affair from long ago comes to light, and a woman suffering from dementia disappears.

Available from the publisher as a trade paperback and most e-book formats at: http://mundania.com/book.php?title=Bears+With+Us/

The link at Amazon is


All my books are available as trade paperback and e-books. You can see what I have on my website: http://fictionforyou.com/

My books are also available at Barnes and Noble, and can be ordered through your favorite independent bookstores.

Marilyn Meredith is the author of over thirty published novels, many award winning, including the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series. Writing as F. M. Meredith, her latest Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novel is Angel Lost, the third from Oak Tree Press. Marilyn is a member of EPIC, Four chapters of Sisters in Crime, including the Central Coast chapter, Mystery Writers of America, and on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She’s also a been an instructor at many writing conferences including the Maui Writers Retreat, Central Coast Writing Conference and many others.

Visit Marilyn online at http://fictionforyou.com/
and her blog at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/.

Please leave a comment for Marilyn. Maybe you'd like to mention if you've noticed any changes yourself.


  1. Hi, Morgan, thanks for letting me visit today.


  2. Anonymous8:43 AM

    Thanks for hosting Marilyn today. I am old enough to remember using carbon paper. What a change now that I send my submissions via email.

    Congrats on the new book, Marilyn. I loved it.

    For all who stop by, please know that Marilyn is running a contest during her VBT. Read below for details.

    CONTEST DETAILS: Would you like to be immortalized in print? Marilyn Meredith is running a contest during her BEARS WITH US virtual book tour. Whoever leaves a comment on the most blog sites during the tour, will have his or her name used for a character in Marilyn’s next book. Please visit http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2011/08/11/bears-with-us-virtual-book-tour-october-2011/ for her entire schedule. Good luck!


  3. I also remember carbon paper, typewriters and the first moment I heard that click, click, click of fingertips on a computer keyboard. That sound was music to my ears! It's what inspired me to write.

    As overwhelming as change is, it's also fascinating! Great post, Marilyn and Morgan!

  4. Marilyn, I'm always happy to host you. I remember lots of what you mention in your post today. I'm that old!

    Morgan Mandel

  5. And th days of really banging those old Royal typewriter keys... The black fingers from the carbon paper... oh the horror of mistakes and retyping. Yes, Computers are truly a miracle!
    Good luck with your book, Marilyn.

  6. Ahhh, the way of human advancement! I bet you're glad you no longer have to write everything long-handed and re-type now that you can easily save a document. :-) When your story was rejected did the publisher(s) ever leave notes / suggestions for making it better or did you just rework it in areas you assumed needing reworking?

  7. Thanks, Chris, for the good wishes.

    Farrah, back in the day no notes were given, just a typed rejection sometimes on paper or a card. Often the manuscript had spilled coffee on it and smelled like cigarette smoke.

  8. Great post Marilyn. Brought back a lot of memories, both good and well, horrible, too. I remember most the revision I made on page 4 that repaginated all the other 300 pages of the whole damn manuscript. Oh, yes. The good old days.

    I've been busy getting my next book ready to go. But will go on Kindle and download your latest book. I've done pretty good at keeping up.

    Karen says hi.


  9. Old enough to REMEMBER carbon paper? Shucks, I still have a box of it. Do you think it's one of those things that gets more valuable with age?


  10. So much rich history. I'm impressed.

  11. Ah, carbon paper, the bane of my early writing career. How many times did I insert the carbon paper backwards? Far too many.

  12. You've been doing this a while! I remember the five inch floppy disks. Buggy storage devices at best.

  13. Hey, Jim, missed getting to see you and Karen this year.

    Radine, I think your box of carbon paper needs to go.

    Vici--I've been around the block several times.

    Oh yes, Bob, I did that trick too.

    And those five inch floppy discs, they were a trip.

  14. Enjoyed it, Marilyn. Can't wait to read your new release. I remember carbons - I was working for lawyers then. By the time I finally started writing, computers were in use so it wasn't as hard, although the submission process was snail mail. Things are much easier and better today and I'm really looking forward to what's next. I find it all so exciting.

  15. Marilyn,
    I enjoyed your post. Although I haven't been writing as long as you have, you brought back fond memories of all the technology I've had to learn over the years. As someone who began this journey ten years ago, I always believed in ebooks, but never thought I'd actually live to see the "revolution." Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  16. Hi Marilyn,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. What an eye opener. I can't imagine having to type up all those pages. I would be freaking out that my only copy would get lost by a publisher.

    Good luck with you latest release.

  17. Christy, we are so fortunate we have computers and copiers and all this great stuff.

    Hi, Ginger, thanks for reading and posting.

    Celtic Chick, we never even worried about losing the copy we sent to the publisher--at least I didn't, I put my trust in the USPS. (Didn't know any better.)

  18. Can't even imagine the amount of patience writing must have taken before computers!! Thanks for sharing your story. :-)

  19. V.R., we didn't know any better, so we did what had to be done.

  20. Anonymous9:28 AM

    Terrific blog! I still remember how excited we were at work when we got self-correcting typewriters. We worked hard, but had a lot of fun. Thank you for reminding me. And you write such a good series, regardless of the methods.

    Marja McGraw

  21. Anonymous12:42 PM

    Potent reminder, Marilyn, of the bad old days. If it weren't for computers I couldn't write at all because I'm the world's worst typist. Praise be for such things as the backspace key. As for carbon paper--it would just mean duplicated the mistakes.

    The first e-book I ever bought was on a floppy disk. One of my first published short stories came out on floppy too. And now I don't have anything that will play them!

  22. I remember manual typewriters in high school. Then we got electric ones the next year.Like Marja mentions, I also remember the excitement of getting a self-correcting typewriter!

    Morgan Mandel

  23. Oh, yes, Marja, my self-correcting typewriter was a great boon--but by that time you could also go somewhere and get your manuscript copies.

    C.K. I had some books on those floppy discs too.

    Morgan, your comment brings me to the fact that taking typing for 1/2 semester in Junior High was the best class for me though I didn't know it at the time.

  24. Reading this makes me wonder one thing: Are you excited about what may come next?

  25. Jaime, you're right, I wonder what will be next.


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