LitStack Interview: Meredith Wild

Meredith Wild is a #1 New York TimesUSA Today, and international bestselling author of romance. After publishing her debut novel Hardwired in September 2013, Wild used her ten years of experience as a tech entrepreneur to push the boundaries of her “self-published” status, becoming stocked in brick-and-mortar bookstore chains nationwide and forging relationships with the major retailers.

In 2014, Wild founded her own imprint, Waterhouse Press, under which she hit No. 1 on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers lists. She has been featured on CBS This Morning, The Today Show, the New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, Publishers Weekly, and The Examiner. Her foreign rights have been sold in over 20 languages.

Waterhouse now publishes nine authors (including three #1 New York Times bestsellers), regularly ranks as a top-selling imprint among booksellers, and has secured both global distribution and record-setting foreign rights contracts. As founder, Wild splits her time between writing romance and working behind the scenes, helping discover, publish, and promote other talented authors.

Living on Florida’s Gulf Coast with her husband and three children, she refers to herself as a techie, whiskey-appreciator, and hopeless romantic. When she isn’t living in the fantasy world of her characters, she can usually be found at www.facebook.com/meredithwild. Find out more about what projects she’s working on next at www.meredithwild.com.

 

LS: Meredith, thank you so much for stopping by to chat with us. Let’s start off by talking about the past and your early influences. How has your personal history informed your writing?

My background working as a woman in tech inspired my first novel, Hardwired, which ultimately turned into a five-book erotic romantic suspense series. Being able to incorporate a lot of my experiences from business—some good, some bad—inspired themes that are recurring in my writing, including doing my best to create strong female characters who my readers can relate to and look up to.

 LS: What is your writing process and has that changed much over the years?

 My writing process has been consistently inconsistent from the beginning. I carve out a few hours at a time wherever I can, either when my kids are at school or late at night once the house and my email is finally quiet. I often write to music, sometimes only to drown out distractions. I find it impossible to write when I’m hungry, so snacks and caffeine are pretty essential. Diet Mountain Dew is my poison. I fall somewhere between pantser and plotter. I write my first draft on my laptop, reread my chapters ad nauseam, edit on a desktop with dual monitors, and then send my near-final copy to my betas and editor for notes and feedback.

LS: What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

I heard somewhere that your editor is always right. So it makes sense that all the best advice I’ve received has come from my editor, Helen Hardt. She’s a master of her craft, and I try to pick up a new tip or technique with every edit. She was the first person to challenge me to take my work to the next level, really tap into what my characters were feeling, and bring my readers deeper into those points of view.

LS:  What’s the worst?

I honestly can’t think of any.

LS: You began your career in the tech industry. What prompted the shift from your internet businesses into publishing?

After a decade in tech, challenging clients and projects had started to take a toll on my quality of life. I was ready to start a new chapter and pursue a long-forgotten dream of being a writer. Writing my first novel was such a thrill, I immediately made it my goal to try to replace my income with only writing, and that once I did, I would write full time. I was able to make that transition within a year of publishing my first book, and I haven’t looked back since!

LS: You started out as an indie author. What do you think made your career trajectory different in terms of success from other authors? How did you prepare for the businesses of writing before you first began publishing and what plans did you implement to ensure personal success?

Coming from a business background, I understood all too well that writing a good book wasn’t the only hurdle between me and a successful career as an author. I’d been a fan of romance, so of course I considered what kind of story I would like to read and studied the market. I knew right away that I had to create a strong brand, find and actively market to romance readers, and support the book writing effort in all the ways that you would any other “start-up” company. I found an editor well before I hit publish, and I had a basic plan for marketing the first book before it released. Publishing wasn’t exactly in my wheelhouse back then, so everything felt a little risky and uncertain at the time, but having entrepreneurial experience helped give me the confidence to put myself out there and explore different ways of growing my readership.

LS: Two years ago there were many indie authors, like yourself, who entered the publishing industry with a bang and who were hugely successful early on. Now that trend has waned a bit and, in fact, books sales on the whole are declining. Do you think this is the impact of an over-saturated market? How can an indie author grab the attention of readers to avoid this slump?

From what I can tell, there was definitely a “sweet spot” when there was far less competition in the market and several authors were able to make names for themselves in indie romance. When the market became more saturated, it forced all authors to consider new and creative ways to reach readers. In my view, it forced authors to start treating their careers as small businesses, including challenging them to invest in their brands more seriously to stand apart. As with any industry, success will favor those who innovate, create quality work, and are prepared to seize great opportunities when they arise.

 LS: Tell us about Waterhouse and the kind of books your imprint is looking to sign.

I founded Waterhouse initially to support the marketing and distribution of my own books. As my team and our infrastructure grew, I decided that I could use my resources to help publish other authors whose work would resonate with my readers and the growing romance demographic. Almost four years later, we have nine authors on our roster, including three #1 New York Times bestsellers. While we are focused on the romance market right now, we are open to exploring new genres with hungry readerships.

LS: Tell me one lie and one truth about yourself.

Meredith is my middle name and I sleep with a teddy bear. You decide which one’s which.

Leave a Reply