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ToTestify
03-26-2011, 07:29 AM
I asked around on another forum before about this and couldn't get a solid answer. So I figure it's probably best to ask those who do the work.

When querying a memoir, is it done in the same fashion? I was told it should be different, though I only know a little bit to be honest.

My assumption is, according to what I've read, that it should be a very brief summation of the book/memoir, and written like the book itself. No introductions to explain the thing, just start writing, and it's supposed to work kind of like an introduction, something to entice the reader to read further.

Becca C.
03-26-2011, 08:05 AM
What I've heard is that a memoir is queried the same way a novel is. Write a query just like you'd write it if your story wasn't true, then at the end say that "TITLE is a memoir complete at XX,XXX words."

As far as I know.

PinkAmy
03-26-2011, 02:50 PM
What I've heard is that a memoir is queried the same way a novel is. Write a query just like you'd write it if your story wasn't true, then at the end say that "TITLE is a memoir complete at XX,XXX words."

As far as I know.

Right. Memoirs are queried like fiction. I did a lot of research on this before querying, because it didn't seem right (but it is).
My query is in the first person, so the agent probably figures out it's a memoir before getting to the end of the letter :D.

TITLE is my 86,000 word memoir.

jclarkdawe
03-26-2011, 03:56 PM
As stated, first person, although it is usually told in past tense. Unlike a novel which is in third person, present tense. But other than that, it should read very much like a novel query.

The reason is that you're selling the story, not how whatever happened made you into the person you are today. Because the query for a memoir should show why the book will be enjoyed by the reader, not why writing was a good excuse for therapy for the writer.

Come over to Query Letter Hell SYW (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=174) and take a look at some of the queries. You can't post, however, until you've reached fifty posts. And as a group, memoir writers find QLH worse than novelists. Because it's all personal, and that can be harder to take.

But for something you can think on before you're able to post, decide why someone would want to read your book. And because you wrote it is not the correct answer. Visualize someone in a store giving you a twenty dollar bill to read your book instead of a pizza and some beer. Because unless your query convinces people your book is better than pizza, you're not going to get anywhere.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Purple Rose
03-26-2011, 08:53 PM
Having so many suggestions about writng it like a fiction query, I did just that - third person, present tense. Two editors have checked it, one of whom is also a reputable literary agent (can't query her; conflict of interest) and neither of them suggested changing it

Best part about a memoir query is you get to skip the author bio. If you think your story is interesting enough for someone to pay to read it, you've said plenty. You probably just need a line or two about what you're doing now.