What Happens After a Book is Published?
My mother’s memoir, We Were Not Spoiled, had been five years in the writing and had gone in and out of my focus. When I started to interview my mother and write the text, she had been participatory—but by nature she was not introspective so it was often hard to get her to draw conclusions. I would often make one for her and she would respond something like, “Well, of course, I felt that way. Wouldn’t you!” But, left to herself, she did not produce any wrap up statements: “This is what I think it meant.”
Mostly because I was writing a number of other memoirs “for hire” during that time and my mother’s book was a gift that I wrote at night and on weekends, it took me that long to write and package. (By the way, this is probably like many writers who participate in this blog and in the forum.) I didn’t relate to We Were Not Spoiled in a clear, definite way other than that it was a gift. It was not, and will not be, an income producer. Nor was it a book that felt like a literary book that I poured my ego into. No, it as a gift, to my mother and my family. Something I wanted to do to memorialize my mother for her family.
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A Significant Accomplishment
Interestingly, the product book in hand has proven very satisfying. I feel it is a significant accomplishment and I have found myself proud to have produced it. I had already written about my two paternal grandparents each in a separate 45 page booklet, and now I also had the opportunity to include my maternal grandparents in We Were Not Spoiled.
The book is of the first 30 years of my mother’s life and she was amazed that I created text that added up to 206 pages from those years. Great pictures, too. Can you tell I feel the effort was well worth it! But, I quickly realized I wanted the book to also portray an era and a culture. So, I was very aware of placing her story in the context of the BIG PICTURE.
Launching the book
In that context, I was asked to present a program (not quite a reading or a signing) that featured Business Boy to Business Man (my uncle’s memoir that was published in October) and We Were Not Spoiled. Obviously this involved a lot of compare and contrast. The program was held at the University of Maine in Lewiston-Auburn and was sponsored by the Franco-American Collection there. About 50 people attended and a number of these bought a copy of the books. The discussion was lively—with many people sharing their experiences and memories of the times and the individuals.
Just wanted to share the fun with other writers. I hope you will share with me how a book project of yours added up for you. I hope it was equally good. (Did you read the post by Maggie Roy on her memoir of her mother Aurore / My Franco-American Mother?)
For copies of We Were Not Spoiled.