When I was first published, I thought all I'd ever do is write... book after book, attend signings, speaking engagements and Book Clubs, submit another manuscript to my publishing house, and start all over again.
A good life - very good life - but then...
1. A story came to me that begged to be a play. It’s impossible to explain, other than to say the characters didn't want to live in a book. They wanted to be brought to life. So I wrote a play for the first time in many years, and a local company decided to produce it.
And I added “play writing” to my daily list.
2. Then my book publisher disappeared. Specifically, the Editor who loved, loved, loved my work and promised to publish everything I sent her for the rest of her life... changed jobs two months after my books came out. And the new Editor was taking the company in a new direction, and my next manuscript came back in the box unopened. And historic fiction became something beneath securing evening cleaning staff on their list. And I knew I should get my manuscripts out to another publisher, but there was something about theatre. Seeing those characters brought to life was amazing. And I loved what every acctor brought to the table – this ever-changing dynamic.
So I decided to take a break from the publishing world and moved “play writing” to the top of my daily list.
Years later: I manage my own production company, Run Rabbit Run. I work with fabulous people, do speaking and teaching engagements once in a while, and submit plays for production or go ahead and produce them myself. This is working well for me, but every once in a while I think about the characters in my unpublished books. If you’re a writer, you understand. They're lonely. They want to be heard, and sometimes they’ll whisper to you: “HEY, why don’t you trying getting me PUBLISHED again, JERK!” Or something like that… never listening that carefully.
Then along came eBooks!
A sea change in publishing occurred. As of 2020, Amazon appears to be calling most of the shots, and their Kindle platform is calling 83% of eBook shots. But still there’s that icky “self-publishing” thing, right? Well, apparently in the last year that’s changed too. In fact, the publishing process is being reversed as we speak: eBooks that sell well are being picked up for “real” publishing by the majors.
Hmm… Suddenly I’m looking like a pretty good bet here, because I…
– Design websites and love to learn new internet tricks. I am, in fact, a Net Geek;
– Love creating video promos, graphics and taking great photos;
– Dive easily into every aspect of marketing (my focus during my Masters in Arts Management studies);
– Have a group of previously published works with solid reviews;
– Never stopped writing, so I have a stack of unpublished manuscripts to send out, as well. Oh, and plays! And nonfiction! And… heyyyyy, this could work!
But now the reality check: the eBook formatting process isn’t easy (a lot of people opt to hire someone to do this for them, and, after mucking around, we’ve been tempted), but I thank heaven daily for my Software Engineering husband, and it’ll get easier after the first one. Next problem: It’s true 99% of eBooks just don’t sell, but there’s no harm in trying, and I do appear to have better odds than some. Besides in this day and age, $20 is $20, know what I’m sayin’?
Finally, I’m one of those people who have always appreciated being my own boss, and eBooks are giving me the chance to manage my own publishing experience and along with the reader's experience. How can I say no to that?
Thus, I decided: to Kindle. And we will see.
Meredith Bean McMath is the Managing Director of Run Rabbit Run Productions, Inc., a prize-winning playwright, award-winning historian and a critically acclaimed stage director.