A New Writing Project

by Laura Crum

After giving myself a couple of years of breathing space since turning out twelve mystery novels in my series featuring an equine vet, I’ve finally settled in to my new writing project. I knew I wanted to write a memoir, but I wasn’t sure what the point would be. I didn’t want to waffle on about my memories, I wanted to target some unique aspect of life that I was fitted to convey. Uhmm, it took awhile to work this out.
In the meantime I wrote a brief memoir in a series of blog posts for the Equestrian Ink blog, about my life with horses. This piece of work ties into my mystery series and essentially gives the background from whence the books sprang. It was lots of fun to write and it will be up on Kindle shortly (as soon as I get the cover worked out) as a 99 cent special.
Since then, I read a book (The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaimon) that clarified for me the subjects that I really want to write about. And that would be life, death, magic, old spirits and God. Not that I have the skill to write about these things. But I have the desire. I am quite sure that my memoir will fall far short of Neil Gaimon’s wonderful book, but that’s OK.
So I’ve begun, and I am really enjoying writing the book I want to write, constrained by no one’s concepts but my own. To tell the truth, I have grown quite tired of concocting a crime and then a plot that contains just enough excitement…etc. I am interested in writing the truth as I see it, whether or not it pleases anyone else.
One of my friends asked if I would try to sell this upcoming book. I laughed. Because one of the things I am done with is trying to sell a publisher on my work, and I’m also pretty sure that this book will not appeal to a publisher. It doesn’t fit any popular niche. But…
Because of Amazon and Kindle, I can put my memoir up myself, and because my backlist has a steadily growing readership, there are probably readers who will buy my new work. So yes, in a sense, I will sell my book.
I have heard of authors who deplore this new system, and I have to ask: What is it you don’t like? What is bad about getting a 70% royalty on every book sold? What is not to like about getting a check every month that pays for the groceries? I have never been anything other than a mid-list author, and I am still a mid-list author, but for the first time in my writing career, my books are bringing in a steady, useful income. What is bad about that?
So yes, my memoir will eventually be for sale on Kindle, and I will suffer the one or two star reviews (no doubt) from those fans of my mystery series who can’t fathom what the point of my plotless memoir about magic could possibly be. And that’s OK. Because these same fans have rated most of my backlist between four and five stars, and been a big help in increasing my grocery money every month.
So today I’d like to say a big thank you to every reader who has reviewed my books on Amazon. I really appreciate you. I hope you will enjoy my memoirs, and if you don’t, and wish I would return to writing mysteries, I understand. If, just by chance, you have enjoyed my mysteries and haven’t yet posted a review, well, all I can say is that these reviews on Amazon are terribly important to authors nowadays. Every single one is appreciated…and I think I can say that this is true for every author out there. Feel free to give your own thoughts on this subject.


2 Responses

  1. Good for you, Laura. I keep telling myself I ought to do what you’re doing, not so much for the world at large, but for family, as my parents did. My father did it for your kinds of reasons, though with no intention of publishing it to the world. (Of course, he was writing long before that tempting 70%.)

    My mother didn’t particularly want to write her own, but he wouldn’t let her read his until she did, so as not to influence what she might say. He had a point. If a memoir means anything, it has to come from the person who writes it. But she used to grouse to me about it when we were out walking. The day I knew she was thinking like a writer was the day she said, “If I ever write my memoirs, I’m going to start by saying I’m only doing it because my husband made me!” And she did.

  2. Sara–It is true that I am writing these memoirs primarily for my family, just as you say. If anyone else ever reads them, well, it is just the icing on the cake.

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