View Full Version : Memoir novelsÖ.the truth about getting an agent & publisher

11-29-2007, 07:45 AM
I am a nobody amateur writer who has a true story about a medical miracle that happened to me. I believe the thing going for me is my story is so amazing and the very illness that almost made me die is popping up in national news more and more lately as itís increasingly beginning to taking lives. A few US Senators are currently working on getting Congress to pass a bill for more education and a creation of a new medicine to prevent this epidemic. I feel that is my true way in to getting published.

I am trying to determine the correct way to get a memoir of this type to an agent & publisher. Iíve read where agents speak that you need a proposal for nonfiction writings, but for memoirs, they are treated like a fiction novel and you must have it completely written first. Then I also read where other agents want a proposal. Itís all over the fence.

Before I started researching how to get published and found out you need a proposal to get a nonfiction book published, I did email the synopsis of my story to approx 8 agents just to see what would happen. Out of the 8 agents, 1 responded back to me. This agent requested the first 3 chapters and nothing else. I never responded because the agent was in Minneapolis and I thought only the real agents are in NY, so I didnít want to waste my time. From my research, it sounds like there is neither rhyme nor reason to presenting a memoir story to an agent, as long as you follow their submission requirements, submit to them if they represent that type of work, have good writing and a story of interest.

The long and short of what I am asking is, for a memoir, do you need to write the full novel first or a proposal in order to get representation & published?

Thanks in advance for your info.

11-29-2007, 06:13 PM
You'll save yourself a lot of stress if you write it first. Even experienced writers sometimes get stuck and horrified at how fast deadlines are approaching. There are many reasons for writing this story besides getting it commercially published, such as self-satisfaction, things you'll learn about yourself, about writing, about other people and about this disease by writing about it. At the very least, you'll have a story to share with friends and future generations of your family. So, don't be afraid to write without a contract.

Don't be afraid to write without knowing whether it will ever be published. Just do it. Write it. Face the future bravely and trust that the same sort of miracle that kept you alive will get the manuscript in the right hands when the time is right.

11-30-2007, 08:00 AM
I too suggest you write the book, then seek publishers. If you've never written a book before, people will have all manner of questions: How will it end? Can she finish it?

Those questions are all answered with a complete work. And that's how I wrote Look Me in the Eye.

My next book is sold on the basis of a proposal, but for the second book the questions about what I could do had already been answered.

Don Allen
11-30-2007, 08:11 AM
I was writing a book for 20 years, never wrote a word, people stopped believing that I would ever do it, then I did it, it was a hell of a lot easier to talk about it for 20 years than it was to sit at a keyboard for 10 hours a day for 6 months and write the damn thing. These posts above me are dead on, write it then worry about publishing it, BUT by all means I encourage you to write it, whether it gets picked up or not is regardless, you'll have created something about yourself or your incredible story that will live forever...

12-01-2007, 04:09 AM
Thanks for info all.