One of the burdens of writing true crime books is the massive amount of documentation you accumulate in the process. After ten true crime books, I have three large file cabinets packed full of files on the stories I’ve written.
The rule of thumb is that an author should maintain all of the documents as long as the books are still in print. Since none of my true crime has gone out of print, I’ve got a dilemna. I don’t have room for another file cabinet. I suspect my only option is file boxes stored in the attic or garage.
I did recently receive some very good news from legal. I can jettison the stack of VHS tapes in the photo above. While I wrote Written in Blood, my book about the death of Kathleen Peterson, I could not be in the courtroom for every day of the five month trial of Michael Peterson. Fortunately, Court TV provided gavel to gavel coverage. The end result is that stack of tapes. Every single day is in there. I recorded the days that I couldn’t make it into the courtroom and my husband pressed the buttons on the days I was in Durham, North Carolina.
An in-house attorney at St. Martin’s Press said that because the court transcripts are all available, I have no further need to retain the tapes. I got rid of them all. I think I’ll toss my old videotape player while I’m at it.
Now, on to the next case–I have a big empty drawer in a file cabinet just waiting to be filled.