Different Versions of Memoir?

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CoriSCapnSkip

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One for family and friends with real names and one possibly for wide distribution with perhaps made-up names? I don't want to fake names when I'm not saying anything bad about the person, but will ask as many as I can get in touch with, if they want real names used.

What I want to know is, can I at some point e-publish or make the whole thing available through POD or something to those who want it, but still sell "the interesting parts" as a "real book" (that is, assuming there are enough interesting parts)? Would the publishers be upset that part of it appeared in another form, or would a wildly successful e-book impress them? I guess this is okay as it's two different versions of the same thing, but...is it okay?
 

cornflake

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One for family and friends with real names and one possibly for wide distribution with perhaps made-up names? I don't want to fake names when I'm not saying anything bad about the person, but will ask as many as I can get in touch with, if they want real names used.

What I want to know is, can I at some point e-publish or make the whole thing available through POD or something to those who want it, but still sell "the interesting parts" as a "real book" (that is, assuming there are enough interesting parts)? Would the publishers be upset that part of it appeared in another form, or would a wildly successful e-book impress them? I guess this is okay as it's two different versions of the same thing, but...is it okay?

I'm not sure I understand what you're asking specifically.

Are you proposing self-publishing a memoir with real names, then attempting to trade publish the same memoir, just with the names changed, or part of the self-pubbed one?

That would be a hard sell, as the first rights would be gone. On rare occasion, if something is wildly successful, yes, trade publishers may be interested in something in which the first rights have been burned, but we're talking tens of thousands of copies sold.

If you mean can you self-publish two versions yourself, sure. If you're asking about e-publishers specifically for both I dunno.
 

Siri Kirpal

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Self publishing is rarely ever the way to win a publisher's heart, if that's what you're asking.

Yes, you can send the real names copy to friends and family and a fake names copy to publishers...but don't do it if the real names copy is available online to all and sundry.

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Siri Kirpal
 

T Robinson

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Check with a good publishing attorney before you do anything like that. With a memoir, if they are not "public" figures, you need written, signed releases. I would think about the public ones also. If you send copies to friends and family with real names, you have opened yourself up to a mess, even if you changed names and locations in the other. Even if you said good things about a person in the book. Do some checking on permissions. You might be surprised at how convoluted it can be.
 

CoriSCapnSkip

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Right now I am just going for as complete and accurate as possible without trying to be all "literary." To that end I would want family and friends to see the real-names version to see if they either have anything to contribute, or want their own names changed in any possible published version. I don't want anyone to freak out thinking what I'm doing now is final and for publication, but I don't want to rule out publishing at some point. So it's hard to know exactly what to ask.
 

Siri Kirpal

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What I did was check with everyone for accuracy and asked if it was okay to use their name. In all but one case, it was. That person got removed from the story completely.

If you're not doing anything literary at this point, don't sweat it. Show to people, get their comments. You may learn some interesting things. I sure did. Then, if/when you decide to do a literary version, decide what your personal character arc it (ie what your story is about) then remove all the bits that don't fit the narrative or are only of interest to family and friends. By then, you will already have the approval from people (or will know who to remove).

Hope that helps.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

CoriSCapnSkip

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Thanks, Siri, that's basically what I decided to do--including the part about checking for accuracy and asking if it's okay to use real names. (The only part where it gets sticky, but I haven't come to that yet, is I want to use my mother's real family name--which is the name of all descendants in the male line--even if I change some first names. As for my aunt's kids, I may just leave their name out of it and call them my aunt's kids.) I am "writing long" just to preserve the memories, but it occurs to me many of these may be of interest to family and friends, and I want to check with them to see if they can shed any light on what I remember. A lot of people may end up being removed from a "literary" version as I only remember a few things about them which may not relate to the main subject whatever it may prove to be. Thanks for the advice.
 

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The choice of using real names is entirely up to you. According to this article there are two things you need to be concerned with: disclosure and defamation. From the article, simply changing the names isn't sufficient. You need to disguise the names and biographical data and make sure that no one can identify the subjects from your description.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor...l-i-get-sued-if-i-use-real-names-in-my-memoir
 

CoriSCapnSkip

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Well, geez, if I change the details that makes it fiction and it's no longer a memoir.
 

CoriSCapnSkip

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No one said anything about changing details?

Then what does "You need to disguise the names and biographical data and make sure that no one can identify the subjects from your description" mean?
 

cornflake

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Then what does "You need to disguise the names and biographical data and make sure that no one can identify the subjects from your description" mean?

That means if you're thinking about publishing it, you change Aunt Martha, who is a 60-year-old woman in Des Moines, to Zoe, an older woman who lives in the midwest or whatever.

That doesn't change it from memoir to fiction.

People do this all the time - names have been changed to protect the innocent. You change a name and disguise someone's specific data so that they're not obviously identifiable to outsiders. That doesn't change the events or happenings.
 

CoriSCapnSkip

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Can I use the names of my town or school as long as peoples' names are changed?
 

cornflake

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Can I use the names of my town or school as long as peoples' names are changed?

Well, you can do whatever you want, but saying you went to Blarksville High in East Blarksville and telling stories people will be able to identify, but changing Aunt Esther's name to Zoe seems kind of useless.
 

CoriSCapnSkip

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Yeah, I guess the best I can do is tell it like it is and ask legal advice before it goes to print should it reach that point.
 

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One for family and friends with real names and one possibly for wide distribution with perhaps made-up names? I don't want to fake names when I'm not saying anything bad about the person, but will ask as many as I can get in touch with, if they want real names used.

What I want to know is, can I at some point e-publish or make the whole thing available through POD or something to those who want it, but still sell "the interesting parts" as a "real book" (that is, assuming there are enough interesting parts)? Would the publishers be upset that part of it appeared in another form, or would a wildly successful e-book impress them? I guess this is okay as it's two different versions of the same thing, but...is it okay?

I used to think about things like these a lot when writing my stories. I've even thought about changing my story into a work of fiction in order to save everyone's feelings and to keep from making anyone upset. But I don't think like this on the matter any longer.

What I've found is simple enough; no matter what you do, no matter what you write, there are always going to be those who do not agree with you. There are always going to be those you are going to make angry by what you said. You can put all the sweet, creamy butter, and flowers and rainbows and sparkles and sprinkles you want on that thing--and someone is still going to hate you for what you've done.

The more I write, the more I reveal, the more I like it (another reason it has taken me so bloody long to get my story told. I've rewritten some of the same stories twenty times, all with different themes and angles and insights). The down and dirtier I get, the more I like it. The more detail and insight I uncover and put into words, the more I like it.

The bottom line is this: It's my story, and I'll tell it.

If someone doesn't like it, that's too bad. If someone doesn't like it, don’t read it, don’t complain; instead put fingers to keyboard and let's hear your version of what happened.

In "Confessions Of An S.O.B.", USA Today media mogul Al Newharth wrote his story without holding anything back. If that wasn't interesting enough, he'd also asked members of his family to tell their side of things, without holding back, before he published his story. The stories they told were published, unedited, in his own book. Now, that takes some guts. Not everyone had nice things to say about Al.

It's not like those you are trying to protect can't have their say. They most certainly can. And you might learn a few things about yourself when and if they do tell their side of things. And if you really want to protect them, then it is probably a good idea not to publish your memoir at all.

It's like saying J.D. Salinger should not have written "Catcher In The Rye" because Mark David Chapman might get his meaning all twisted up in his mind and shoot John Lennon as a result.

It's like saying journalists shouldn't tell the truth, because it might offend or make vulnerable the evildoers they are trying to expose in the first place.

In my own experience with this, I had always wanted to tell my story from my own unique standpoint, but the biggest problem I ran into was the thought of saying anything bad about my mother. The standing, unspoken order of things was this: dad was an evil bastard, and mom was the goodly saint always trying to do the best she could with what she had, only she was being deprived and tortured by his madness. True enough, that was the case. But it’s also true, the matter that I refused to acknowledge in the outset of the project, was that it takes two to tangle. The truth be told, mom is a jealous rat who had her own insidious ways of doing things and getting what she wanted at the expense of others, just like dad. She is also a liar, pure and simple. She lies like a rug. She's also perpetually in denial. I had always wondered, growing up, where in the world I got these habits myself. When I finally faced the music and was willing to face reality, I understood that I got all of these things from my mother. She taught me well. Just because someone doesn't run around drinking booze and beating people up don't mean they aren't capable of their own brand and style of evil. My point is, how in the world will I tell my story 'from my own unique standpoint' without telling the truth about everyone--including myself. It's not like I didn't screw up and pull a few shenanigans of my own. I sure did.

Say what you came to say -- or don't say anything at all. That's how I feel and think about it. If you can’t speak your mind and tell the truth, you’re the one who’s in danger, you’re the one you’re trying to protect.

Besides, people like dirt. It sells. Every time I need to plant my garden again, I need to go out and buy a truckload of the stuff. Dirt is good. Dirt tells others who are dirty they are not alone. Everyone is dirty. No family is perfect. I’ve been involved with the so-called “perfect family” on many occasion, met a ton of them. I found them, for the most part, to be goofier than my family ever was--and to think they lacked all the excuses my family fell back on! They didn't even have the booze, drugs, and denial baloney to work through!

And yes, you can self-publish any way you like, in as many different versions and formats as you like. I would imagine a wildly successful anything would impress the publishers.
 
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khobar

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I agree with Blackfish - you have to tell the story according to you.

I would only add that there's a difference between the raw truth and one's interpretation of the truth, especially if it's been festering a while. Instead of calling so-and-so an a-hole, show how he was without calling him anything at all. ;) Maybe that's stating the obvious, but from what I've read it doesn't seem so.
 

Blackfish

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I agree with Blackfish - you have to tell the story according to you.

I would only add that there's a difference between the raw truth and one's interpretation of the truth, especially if it's been festering a while. Instead of calling so-and-so an a-hole, show how he was without calling him anything at all. ;) Maybe that's stating the obvious, but from what I've read it doesn't seem so.

Putting things in a raw state all the time isn't good for the reader, nor is it good for you. At the very least, it's boring. Gets old and tiresome. People won't finish reading the book.

Part of being a writer is finding your own voice and saying what you want to say with that voice. Gushing out facts about this and that just because they are true isn't where it's at. It's a memoir, not a newspaper (not that they tell the truth in newspapers anymore -- they don't -- but you get the idea.).

Agreed. Some things are shown better than they are said. A good friend of mine who wrote her memoir about fifteen years ago and had it published once worked as a courtesan in a famous brothel. She serviced many famous people. One of them was a famous politician. She didn't come right out and say who he was, for fear of retaliation, but she left plenty of clues in her story so that anyone who really wanted to know who he was could pretty easily figure it out. There had been one near successful attempt on her life as it were. She didn't want or need another.

Let's face it, there are things you know you don't want to talk about, for whatever your reasons may be. No one needs to know every gory detail of your life. It's not necessary. In fact, sometimes it's not even relevant to the story.

In light of all the government spying that goes on all over the world these days, especially in America, a popular question people are asking, especially cops, is "Why can't we spy on you? You got something to hide?" That, of course, is one of the dumbest questions ever asked by anyone. So dumb it doesn't even deserve consideration, let alone an answer.

No one needs to know every beautiful detail of your life either. I have many precious moments with people in my life that will not be shared in a book. I don't even want to try to describe them. They might lose their impact on me. And these are things I don't want off my conscience.
 

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