Everyone has a story to tell...
Read on: http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/n...-memoirs_N.htm
In an age of reality TV and personal blogs, an older form of personal confession — the memoir — is booming.
As a percentage of books and in absolute numbers, more memoirs than ever are being published. They are outpacing even debut novels.
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Makes you realise why 'vanity' publishing is booming. And as long as they tell the truth about their dealings and the authors' expectations, they have a very valid place in the market.
I don't think USA Today had vanity publishers in mind when writing that article.
I just heard this "Fresh Air with Terry Gross" interview the other day with that father-and-son team of memoir writers in the photograph at that link, both books are about the son's addiction and recovery (you can listen to the interview online at the link):
Originally Posted by JennaGlatzer
The interview covers a lot of ground, but one aspect I found interesting (they spend a few minutes talking about this) is the son got "sober" without getting the belief in God that everyone around him said he'd have to have to get and stay sober. Both father and son said they are atheists.
Interesting how many of the memoirs mentioned in that article are about alcoholism/drug addiction and recovery: Frey's "A Million Little Pieces," Burroughs' "Dry" and then these two books by the Sheffs.
And of course "A&D/Recovery" memoirs are far from new, there's Kitty Dukakis' "Now You Know," Dr. Martha Morrison's "White Rabbit," Nan Robertson's "Inside Alcoholics Anonymous" (though it's as much about AA as about her personally), and Betty Ford's "A Glad Awakening." Oh and there's a new-in-the-last-year memoir by guitar god/recovering alkie/addict Eric Clapton, I haven't read that one yet.
But "recovery-related" memoirs aren't the only ones I've read. One of the most memorable was Nichelle Nichols' "Beyond Uhura" about her being on the original Star Trek. She wanted to quit the show, but she met Martin Luther King, Jr., who talked her out of it. It was worth the read just for that story.
And of course I've got my own I've been threatening to write for months and months...
practical experience, FTW
I wasn't sure where to post this question, so I'll jump in here.
I've been contacted by an elderly gentleman who has an interesting background. Through a series of fascinating events, he ended up serving first in the German army during WWII, and for the remainder of the war in the US Army.
He has contacted me because of his interest in having this memoir ghostwritten.
This genre is completely new to me. Ironically, I've also been contacted by someone known in the public speaking realm regarding ghostwriting a non-fiction spiritual/inspirational non-fiction book.
I recently finished collaborating on a novel, which is currently under consideration by an agency, but the non-fiction genre - specifically with such an historical slant as the WWII memoir - is new territory.
Where would I start researching the market potential for such a unique WWII-inspired memoir? Or, is this not unique and I simply haven't been successful finding similar stories via Google?
If this is indeed unique, perhaps contacting the History Channel or similar print publication is a good place to start?
Many thanks in advance for any thoughts and suggestions.
Last edited by nccreative; 08-14-2008 at 02:53 PM.
practical experience, FTW
Thanks for the article, Jenna
It's wonderful to see memoirs becoming so prominent. They are such a powerful way to learn about the human condition. As for why this wave at this particular time, I doubt people are reading memoirs just because of reality television. More likely, both forms scratch the same itch -- the desire to see and know each other.
Originally Posted by nccreative
I know this answer is a little late, but I would start by interviewing the man who contacted you. Take things he tells you that you find interesting and research them (on line, in books, in other interviews). When you get stuck or need more story or simply don't know exactly what he has told you has any teeth/legs, interview him again. Talk with him a lot.
I think you are extrodinaryly lucky to have this chance. I'd love something like this. I've done short pieces (1200 wds or so) but a book would be great.
Two months ago I couldn't even spell freelance writer
and now I are one.
practical experience, FTW
Thank you, Stephanie...
After meeting with this amazing gentleman for an entire day, I created a game plan, and have him off and running! He is actually in touch with others - in Germany - who went through some of these experiences with him in the late 30s and 40s. This may end up being a rather interesting collective memoir (if there is such a thing). It's fascinating.
I feel confident in the collaboration and editing process. It is the where-to-market-him question that still lingers, though it doesn't have to be addressed at this stage. I haven't even had a chance to research editors or publishers yet. I may try to find a publisher with a division in Germany.