WHY WRITE MEMOIR ANYWAY?
WHY WRITE MEMOIR ANYWAY?
#6 in the Memoirabilia podcast series on How to Write Memoir
NOTE: This post is NOT a transcript of the actual podcast…just a taste of it!
When you tell someone for the first time that you’re thinking of writing a book, or that you’re actually working on a book, the first response is almost always “Oh wow…how exciting! What’s your book about?”
If your answer is “a mystery novel”, a “thriller”, or “romance” eyes light up and your listener wants to know more. After all, fiction is the most popular genre. It’s also the most overloaded of all genres with millions of books to choose from. And that’s why publishers have “slush piles” a mile high with a ton of staff scanning the books looking for something that might just be the next “50 Shades of Grey” or “The Hunger Games” or “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”.
Now, knowing that, you might think you have a better shot at getting a publisher for your memoir, right? Wrong. That could be even harder. Why?
Well, unless you’re a famous celebrity of “someone of consequence” as it were most publishers won’t even look at memoirs. Bummer eh? But you have to remember that publishers are looking for money makers. It costs plenty to put out thousands of books and market them. The first thing they think when they see a manuscript…in any genre…is how many people are interested in this and can it make them money! If what you plan to write is your life stories, those happy memories your family is urging you to write for the children and grandchildren, don’t be too heart-broken if a publisher passes on your memoir. And don’t think for one moment, that it’s not worth writing: it is…for those who know and love you. You can always self-publish! What a gift you can give those who matter to you the most.
But there are are some memoirs that many folks want and need to read, and for which you might just find a publisher. Those are the ones that tell of your personal battle with and victory over some major trauma in your life e.g. the death of a child, losing someone you love to cancer, being the primary care-giver for someone with dementia, getting on top of multiple-sclerosis or scleroderma or any number of crippling diseases. And then there are those memoir that are horribly hard to write, the ones that deal with sexual, mental, or physical abuse. Or coming out as gay, or lesbian or transgender or whatever! These are real life situations thousands the world over are facing daily and about which there might be tons of clinical and statistical information on the net. But what folks want to know more than that is how it FEELS to live with such things. That’s where your memoir might be one of the most important books ever written. If you have a story like that, WRITE IT!
Don’t let anyone, including your own inner critic, tell you otherwise. Now, listen to today’s podcast of Chapter 6 of “Don’t Write your MEmoir without ME” to get more motivated and believe that yes, indeed, you should write your memoir because MEMOIRS MATTER!
The Memoirabilia Podcasts can be listened to on this site using the provided player above, or you can subscribe to the Memoirabilia podcast at any of the links below: