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WishWords
09-18-2007, 04:42 PM
What do you all think of using an excerpt from your memoir or writing a short fictional story based on your memoir and trying to get it published before you submit your memoir? Is it worth the trouble for the publishing cred? Does it have adverse effects on your memoir?

Twizzle
09-18-2007, 06:07 PM
*watching this thread closely*
:)

I've done it, but in reverse. Wrote shorts I'm turning into a memoir. I haven't heard anything suggesting it's a bad thing--actually the opposite. I'll be curious to see what others say...

Shwebb
09-18-2007, 06:45 PM
I'd think it would have a positive effect. You can build up a fan base, you can show there's a market for your work, and you will be able to leave the readers wanting more, hopefully.

But that's just my opinion. :)

WishWords
09-18-2007, 07:23 PM
Thank you. I think I will search out some markets. I'm not used to non-fiction, but this memoir has taken over.

I didn't know we could post in that section for critiques and advice...

Thank you.

Sohia Rose
09-23-2007, 07:59 AM
I don't know about anyone else, but I wouldn't want publishers/editors/readers using the word fiction/fictional in the same sentence as my memoir, not with the whole James Frey thing.

As a reader, if I heard that an author created a short fictional story based on their memoir, I'd think the memoir was boring and I wouldn't read it. If they used an "excerpt," I would read it.

WishWords
09-23-2007, 03:12 PM
I came to the same conclusion. I've submitted one excerpt to Newsweek and a second will be on its way to Common Ties in a couple of days. Once the book is closer to done I will probably submit a couple more excerpts to a few places. We shall see.

johnrobison
09-23-2007, 04:36 PM
WishWords, one suggestion about memoir excerpts . . . .

If you sell excerpts to magazines on your own - prior to selling the book itself - you may impair its marketability.

In addition, publications like Newsweek may not be all that receptive to submissions from unknown authors.

I'd suggest you sell the book to a publisher and then work with their publicity department to offer excerpts to magazines. They are able to get them read, and their editorial staff can decide which parts are appropriate for which markets in such a way as to not compromise the book.

In my case, for example, we SOLD certain unique serial rights to the Times in London (to use one example), and then we GAVE certain excerpts to other markets in order to promote the book. Had I handed out excepts on my own none of that would have been possible.

Rich
09-23-2007, 05:07 PM
For what it's worth:

I had been thinking about this same thing, starting about a year ago--without any idea of how it would fly. I emailed a friend who's been editing well known magzines for the past 20 years, and also author of three YA books.

This is a piece of our communication:



Me: "Hi Nina, In a nutshell: This past week I started writing pieces of from 1000 to 2000 words on my particular slant on growing up in downtown Brooklyn. I've been putting it off for along time because I anticipated it as too much of a tragicomedy, but once I started writing it, the paragraphs flowed. It hit me that I could put together a book--a first draft--within six months or so. So far I have 3 pieces, some 5,000 words. My plan is to submit single pieces to magazines, (always maintaining the copyright) and hopefully have a a goodly number of acceptances from decent magazines before I put together a book proposal a few months down the road. "


Nina: "...in putting together a book proposal you'll need the following:1) some sample chapters. yes, it would be great to have them published as articles, but beware: book publishers do NOT like to publish a book that reads like a string of magazine articles. the book itself (a memoir, i presume) needs to have an arc, a flow, a beginning middle end for it to be attractive to agents/publishers.... "

Twizzle
09-23-2007, 06:36 PM
For what it's worth:

I had been thinking about this same thing, starting about a year ago--without any idea of how it would fly. I emailed a friend who's been editing well known magzines for the past 20 years, and also author of three YA books.

This is a piece of our communication:



Me: "Hi Nina, In a nutshell: This past week I started writing pieces of from 1000 to 2000 words on my particular slant on growing up in downtown Brooklyn. I've been putting it off for along time because I anticipated it as too much of a tragicomedy, but once I started writing it, the paragraphs flowed. It hit me that I could put together a book--a first draft--within six months or so. So far I have 3 pieces, some 5,000 words. My plan is to submit single pieces to magazines, (always maintaining the copyright) and hopefully have a a goodly number of acceptances from decent magazines before I put together a book proposal a few months down the road. "


Nina: "...in putting together a book proposal you'll need the following:1) some sample chapters. yes, it would be great to have them published as articles, but beware: book publishers do NOT like to publish a book that reads like a string of magazine articles. the book itself (a memoir, i presume) needs to have an arc, a flow, a beginning middle end for it to be attractive to agents/publishers.... "

She gave phenomenal advice. A memoir needs to be that, a memoir, and not a string of articles. A good author can certainly pull out an excerpt from a whole, as well as the reverse- weaving articles to form a whole, though. She's good to caution and point this out.

I suppose the question for WishWord is more, does prepublication of an excerpt hurt the whole in marketing it to agents/publishers? John's advice is interesting, and certainly something to consider.

My book is a bit different, in that it's originated from published shorts, expanded and turned into a whole story--so different. But not. I still can excerpt, as well. so...still keeping a close eye on this thread. :)

WishWords
09-23-2007, 11:31 PM
I got the idea from reading about Jamie Ford. His book, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet," is based on his short story, "I Am Chinese," which was a finalist with "Glimmer Train."

I'm thinking that the excerpts must be kept short, to only one scene, very, very few, and perhaps not be word for word as that particular scene in the book.

Rich
09-25-2007, 01:34 AM
Whooosh!