My name is Elizabeth Beeton, writing as Moriah Jovan, and I operate B10 Mediaworx (B10, Beeton, get it?), a publisher, ebook formatter, and provider of other author services. Please forgive my foray into my authorial history, but that’s where the foundation of B10 Mediaworx was laid.
I started querying my work in the early 1990s, and would get phone calls from editors telling me they loved my work but couldn’t publish me for one oddball reason or another. Now, regular rejections I could deal with. It was the close calls (four times with four different books) I couldn’t take anymore. In addition, I had been working on a novel I couldn’t make work no matter how I twisted it and turned it. So between the two, I stopped querying and writing after my second agent gave up. Then I got married and had a child and was making some decent money as a work-at-home production transcriptionist.
My husband was upset that I’d quit writing (although I’d quit long before I met him), and urged me to publish myself. I told him he really didn’t understand just how impossible that was. So he urged me to query. I did, reluctantly. When the rejection letter came back, I trashed it and burned all the paper copies of my books and packed away the floppies (yes, floppies). That was in 2004.
In 2006, my work was sucking my soul and I had no creative outlet, so I created a needlework design company, Effervescent Designs. It was my hobby that I adored and wanted to do something with. I learned web design, shopping carts, and other manufacturing/retail things. It was not shameful to produce and publish your own patterns; in fact, it was the mark of a professional. I was marginally successful at that, but it got boring really fast and had the effect of killing my total love of needlework.
One night in early 2008, when I had worked at my regular job very hard for a long time with little money to show for it, I was exhausted, feeling hopeless about my professional life. The work was going away and the wages were going down. I was working harder and longer for less and less money. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I was looking into being my own sweatshop. For whatever reason, which I don’t remember now, I pulled out the last book I’d written (1997), the one that got me my last agent, and started reading.
It was August 2007 and the first time I’d read it since 1999. I was up all night reading, and it was like someone else had written it and because of that, I could say, “This is good (if dated).” But that made me more depressed because then I wondered why I’d given up on myself.
I finally went to bed, and when I woke up, I knew how to solve the problem with that novel I’d had so long before. It involved much gutting, but I was willing to do it. And I started writing again.
But then I wandered into the publishing sphere. Mind, I’d been out of the game for 10 years or so, I hadn’t been reading much romance either, I wasn’t part of any online reading groups or communities, and I had no idea how publishing had changed. I was shocked at how much worse my odds were of publishing now than they had ever been.
After a couple hundred rejections, I finally made the decision to publish myself. My time with Effervescent Designs had prepared me emotionally to make this transition. I was still afraid, still insecure, and still hoping my work didn’t totally suck, but I did it anyway.
B10 Mediaworx was established in 2008 as a way to publish my own books. I had a vague idea I might publish someone else someday possibly, but…probably not. My only real goal with my own books was to make their costs back.
After I’d learned how to format my own ebooks, I knew it was a service I could provide that would subsidize the publishing of my books, but I dreaded the necessity of “selling” those services. Little did I know that all my whining and complaining on Twitter would get me as much attention as it did, and it wasn’t long after I’d published The Proviso that I had my first formatting client.
Theric Jepson approached me some time in late 2009 with a proposition that intrigued me and a project (The Fob Bible) I thought simply needed to exist, whether it made money or not. We virtually shook hands, made a “gentlemen’s agreement,” and voilà! Peculiar Pages was born. Soon after that, Theric became my editor.
Last July, I had to make a decision whether to continue on with transcription or switch to full-time formatting. The work (especially at my level and rate) was all but gone. I’d been formatting on the side and having a nice side income. But then the day came when I transcribed for six hours, and then switched over to formatting and realized how much formatting I could’ve done in that six hours and for how much more money I could’ve made. I was afraid it wouldn’t last, but I really had no other choice.
So now it’s August 2011, and it was almost exactly four years ago I began this journey. I’ve been a panelist at the Writer’s Digest conference in January, was asked to speak at Tools of Change (turned that down), have just returned from Utah where I was a panelist at the Sunstone Symposium, and will be a panelist at the upcoming South by Southwest (SXSW) conference in March.
Peculiar Pages has a tiny but impressive list. Under Theric’s direction, it has done things that are extraordinary and, in my opinion, important to Mormon lit. The Fob Bible is a work of art. Out of the Mount was used for English 362 at BYU this past semester. Fire in the Pasture and Monsters & Mormons are both in the works and I expect really good things will come of those.
The B10 list still consists only of my work, but it would have a couple of others’ entries if I ever found the time to get to them, as I’m always swamped with formatting work. I could use a little down time now and again, but generally, I love what I’m doing.
I tell people that good things started happening when I followed my bliss.