How a new indie publisher made Calendar Girl a serial smash

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Meredith Wild’s entrepreneurial tech background helped her build up marketing plans for her publishing firm

A self-published writer is the driving force behind a new firm that takes on works by other self-published novelists and the company is already riding high with a phenomenally best-selling series.

Romantic novelist Meredith Wild had a lot of sales success with her own ebooks and she set up Waterhouse Press initially as a route to get her print books into bookshops, which are generally reluctant to deal with individual independent authors.

In 2015, she decided to add other authors to her Waterhouse imprint and she signed up writers, including Helen Hardt and Audrey Carlan, where she thought she could build up brands.

Carlan’s Calendar Girl series was republished by Waterhouse last year and it’s been a smash hit, making well over a million sales and being a permanent fixture on the best-seller lists.

The extent of Carlan and Waterhouse’s success is shown by the fact that all 12 titles in the Calendar Girl series are currently in the Kindle US Store Top 100 best-selling ebooks — January at No 15 while February is in 29th spot, April at No 42, March at 47th and May at 51st, June at 65th, July at 75th, August at 76th, September at 82nd, October at 84th, November at 89th and December at 92nd.

Wild has a technology background and has owned her own internet and graphic design businesses, which gave her the inspiration to write and publish Hardwired, the first in the Hacker series. The book had a precisely targeted marketing campaign using online advertising and sales soon soared.

The Hacker series proved so successful that she was signed up by Forever Publishing, part of Grand Central Publishing, in a staggering $6.25 million deal for five books. But despite the massive amount of money, Wild has decided to self-publish her current series, The Bridge, with Waterhouse.

Wild and Waterhouse CEO David Grishman have since set about searching for series authors who get great reviews but not such great sales because of lack of marketing. The Waterhouse Press imprint has already built up a decent-size list in buying over 30 books from Helen Hardt and taking on all Audrey Carlan’s current output plus a deal to write more than two dozen books.

You can read an interview with Meredith Wild and other small publishers making an impact in the New York Times