In 1996 I self-published my mother’s autobiography, “Dancing On Mara Dust”. I knew that no publisher would be willing to take a risk on a non-celebrity’s biography in this day and age, hence the self-publishing, but the hurdles put up by the major bookstores and my tiny profit sadly prevented me from ordering another print run, even though the book was very well received and sold out very quickly.
Amazon’s Kindle has come to my rescue, so five years down the line, I’ve finally been able to put “Dancing On Mara Dust” into Kindle format, and you’ll find it for sale at £1.15 (including VAT) in the UK, and at whatever that translates into where you are (probably about $1.60 in the States). When I heard about Kindle, it seemed an incredible opportunity for people like me to make a book available to everyone. I bought a Kindle reader, and I must say I read it as much as I do physical books now, but I realise it’s not a format that appeals to everyone. However, it does mean that well-written books with something to say that the larger publishers won’t ever consider are now on equal footing with the mass market leaders.
“Dancing On Mara Dust” by Nancy Mathews and Vivien Smith is my mother’s autobiography, co-written by me, and spans the period from Victorian England when my grandfather was born, through the war years in England to the 1990s in South Africa. In between there are snapshots of famous people (including royalty) who flit in and out of the story, a six-month trek in a donkey-wagon, bushveld adventures, scenes from African tribal life, incredible encounters not seen anywhere else with baboons, leopards and other wildlife, and above all, the tale of a pioneering family and their life in the bushveld. And it’s all true!
I would say it’s a good read, wouldn’t I, but others on this forum who have read Dancing On Mara Dust have been very kind in their comments:
Dave Wilton who also emailed me: “What a wonderful book!”,
languagehat: “I highly recommend it”,
lionello: “It’s a fascinating read - hear, hear”. Thank you all.
Here’s where you can find the book on Kindle:
Dancing On Mara Dust by Nancy Mathews and Vivien Smith
A last word - I was very close to my grandmother who died when I was seven. I made a little promise then that one day I would tell her story to the world. Granma, I’ve kept my word.
Many thanks to Dave for allowing this post.
edit: updated link