What Are You Writing Now?

by Laura Crum

I get asked a lot, “What are you working on now?” Or, “Are you writing another book?” Reasonable questions for sure and indicating (probably) an attempt to show interest in my life by a well-meaning acquaintance. But I kind of flinch when I hear this predictable overture.
Because no, I am not working on another novel. I set out to write a dozen books in my mystery series featuring equine veterinarian Gail McCarthy, and I achieved that goal with the publication of Barnstorming last spring. The book seems to me to be a fitting conclusion and there is some serendipity about it all. I wrote the books over a twenty year period and the series covers twenty years in the life of this character. The protagonist goes through many of the life changes I have gone through over the course of these years and books. And yes, I think I have come to the end of what I had to say about her.
It all feels fine to me, but there seems to be a certain segment of the population who thinks I OUGHT to be writing more books. If not about Gail, about something else. Some of these people are legitimately fans of the series and I do understand their feelings. But others have probably never read one of my books in their lives. Some of these (possibly authors themselves) seem motivated by some sort of Puritan writing ethic. In their eyes it is a failure not to be working at a writing project.
I answer all these people the same way. I am working at writing, I tell them. I’m just not writing fiction. I’m writing blog posts and such. I’m writing to help make folks aware of the twelve novels I’ve already written. Most of my writing is reaching out to the horse world—because my novels are, let’s face it, aimed primarily at those who have at least a passing interest in horses.
And guess what? The writing I am currently doing is giving me a much better income than I ever had during the twenty year period when I worked hard to turn out a new novel at least every couple of years. Thanks to Kindle sales, and to the fact that my blog posts have been able to reach other horse people through the connected network of horse blogs, I’m now making a useful, steady paycheck from my existing novels. And yes, this is a novelty (excuse the pun) for me.
The truth is that I enjoy writing horse themed blog posts and it is SO MUCH easier than writing fiction. I think there will always be horse people in the world who haven’t yet discovered my mystery series and my writing time is better spent reaching out to them through the very pleasant medium of the horse blogs as opposed to trying to craft yet another novel. You may call me lazy and I think this may be true. I am definitely seeking the easier path.
But I find it so rewarding to be working on small writing projects that come easily to me and that are creating a steadily increasing income stream. I have to say that all those years of writing fiction (which was so much harder for me to write) and being paid so little for it did wear on me. I never did it primarily for the money, but those who are authors themselves will understand when I say that the money I am making now is very welcome.
I may not be getting rich (far from it), but at least my work as an author is currently paying some of the bills. This is very cheering.
So today I would like to say thank you to Perseverance Press for helping me to achieve my goal of a dozen published novels in the Gail McCarthy series, and for being by far the most author friendly publishing company that I ever worked with. And I would also like to express my gratitude for the current changes in publishing, which have allowed my backlist to become available again in a form that is actually making me a little money. Yay!
Fellow authors, I’m sure you have all experienced something similar. Any thoughts?

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2 Responses

  1. Good for you, Laura, taking control! Of 17 published books, and 2 more in the pipeline, I have the e- rights to only ONE! Be glad you were smarter! And the very best of wishes to you for your future endeavors.

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