What is your memoir or biography about?

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Ruth2

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Mine is about my friendship with the Slovenian Bob Dylan -- Vlado Kreslin. It's both memoir of how we came to know one another, and biography since no one here (except up in the Cleveland area) knows who he is.
 

E. S. Lark

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If you look through this forum, you'll find a lot of memoirists have already posted about their projects. What is yours about? You haven't told us yet.

As for me, my memoir covers a very bad year of my life, set between the death of my father and my adoption over a year later. I won't go into detail as I believe I've posted about it before, but that's the general idea.

It's currently out with betas and once those come back, I'll edit and then start my querying process.
 

benbradley

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A lot of mine will be about a seven-year period when I learned about "unconditional love" and other "spiritual" things, and had about two acquaintances a year who committed suicide.
 

sonyablue

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If you look through this forum, you'll find a lot of memoirists have already posted about their projects. What is yours about? You haven't told us yet.

I know, I just thought it might be nice to have a single thread where people talked about their topics. And since this is not a terribly active forum, I wasn't sure how many of the older posters are still active and posting on here.

At any rate, mine is a ghostwriting/collaborative writing of my husband's memoirs of his time with the NYPD in the 80s. I'm not sure if it's ghostwriting, exactly - I get the material from him in everything from semi-finished drafts from just conversation notes and am turning it into story/book form. I supposed that qualifies as ghostwriting, although he's doing a fair amount of writing himself. We're still in the first draft stage, and I've learned a lot about the writing and editing process through these forums.
 

janwyl

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Ah,a timely question.

I'm not sure. It's the journal my wife and I wrote during our first year in Africa. We volunteered in reserves, then trained as safari guides, and ended up guiding in a South African reserve.

But what's it about? I'm not sure it's about anything. It's us sharing the interesting / funny things that happened to us, and the interesting things we learnt about nature, evolution, and living in South Africa.

Which is giving me a headache, because I'm not sure what to do with it anymore. It's not a story, because there isn't a single thread of conflict and then resolution. It's possibly a collection of short stories, but some are more like essays with anecdotes thrown in.

So I guess I'll get back to you...
 

Wayne K

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My first, Street Life, is about my time after prison in the pornography industry and as a male escort. The second, Black Dark, is about my involvement with the west side Irish mob, and the third, Out of the Darkness, is about my life with a witch high priest in NYC....yanno, boring stuff
 

Ruth2

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My first, Street Life, is about my time after prison in the pornography industry and as a male escort. The second, Black Dark, is about my involvement with the west side Irish mob, and the third, Out of the Darkness, is about my life with a witch high priest in NYC....yanno, boring stuff

Good grief, you've had a boring life.... ;)
 

benbradley

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We've been trying to give Wayne some interesting things to write about in the Derail thread...
 

Al Stevens

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Mine is about my life as a jazz pianist. Not about the music itself, but about the people, the ones who influenced me and those who did peculiar, funny, and otherwise remarkable things. Drugs, booze, murders, and other really funny stuff.

Each chapter can stand alone, although I have organized them as a loose chronology.

It's a long-term WIP with the working title "Saloon Piano Player." I work on it as time allows and hope the project doesn't outlive me.
 

Purple Rose

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This is what mine is about, and these sentences are also the opening paragraph in my query which has had nothing but "no thanks" or no response. The title is Praying To The Goddess Of Mercy.

In one of the world’s most global, competitive and unforgiving cities, people still believe a manic rage is due to demon possession and depression is punishment for bad deeds. Achieving success in such an environment while navigating life with dizzying highs and diabolical lows should have been an improbable dream. I made it my reality.
 

PinkAmy

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Think of Dave Barry...then start counting the money, Ken :D.
 

ResearchGuy

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Think of Dave Barry...then start counting the money, Ken :D.
I LIKE the way you think!

Erma Bombeck sometimes comes to mind as I write . . . and she did ok.

--Ken

P.S. Although the publishing agreement is not yet signed, I expect to publish a memoir by a woman who tells of her life with serious physical disability, progressive since birth. She is now in her fifties, with a bachelor's, master's, and years of employment, including as a state department director. It is an intimate, detailed, and revealing book that will open eyes. I've done a lot of preliminary work on the manuscript and design; we have just not gotten around to a signed agreement yet. Not MY memoir, but maybe of related interest here.
 
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Chrisla

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Mine is not so much a memoir as a story of my family, set against the backdrop of WWII and its aftermath. It started as a journal for family, but I kept adding pictures, old letters and other documents, and by the time I printed it, I had over 400 pages in an 8 1/2 by 11 book, double columned.

It got a lot of interest. It spread from immediate family to distant family, then friends of family, then their friends, with all of them telling me "It's a page turner. I couldn't put it down. It's an amazing story. You've got to publish it."

Tell that to the agents and editors. There is absolutely no interest. It's been on the back burner now for more than two years, despite query letters to numerous agents and small presses.

I'm not sure, though, that anything else would be more marketable in today's world of publishing. I keep writing. What else would I do with my time?
 

PinkAmy

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Mine is not so much a memoir as a story of my family, set against the backdrop of WWII and its aftermath. It started as a journal for family, but I kept adding pictures, old letters and other documents, and by the time I printed it, I had over 400 pages in an 8 1/2 by 11 book, double columned.

It got a lot of interest. It spread from immediate family to distant family, then friends of family, then their friends, with all of them telling me "It's a page turner. I couldn't put it down. It's an amazing story. You've got to publish it."

Tell that to the agents and editors. There is absolutely no interest. It's been on the back burner now for more than two years, despite query letters to numerous agents and small presses.

I'm not sure, though, that anything else would be more marketable in today's world of publishing. I keep writing. What else would I do with my time?
Did you have any beta readers who don't know you and don't have a personal investment in you and your story? Sometimes you get much better feedback from strangers who know nothing about the story. 400 pages is way too long for what agents are looking for today. I started out at 96,000 words and was told to cut 20k- I ended up cutting 15k then adding5k so I have about 87,000. I'd get 3 or 4 betas whose writing you admire, who don't know you.
Did you write an awesome query letters? Sometimes people miss the mark. QLH is a great place to get feedback on your query.
Good luck.
 

Chrisla

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Did you have any beta readers who don't know you and don't have a personal investment in you and your story? Sometimes you get much better feedback from strangers who know nothing about the story. 400 pages is way too long for what agents are looking for today. I started out at 96,000 words and was told to cut 20k- I ended up cutting 15k then adding5k so I have about 87,000. I'd get 3 or 4 betas whose writing you admire, who don't know you.
Did you write an awesome query letters? Sometimes people miss the mark. QLH is a great place to get feedback on your query.
Good luck.

Yes, I had unknown beta readers, and worked for months on the query letter. The story probably is too long, and I thought about cutting it down, but the simple fact is that an agent told me he could not take it because he cannot sell it in today's market.

What kind of response are you getting on yours? I hope you have better luck.
 

PinkAmy

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The first month I queried I had a 50% success rate for asking for fulls or partials. Then nothing for three months. I tweaked my query and my first few pages, to make sure I was drawing the agent in quickly enough. Then I basically tweaked my whole manuscript for tighter writing. I've just started to requery w/o much luck. Every time I get a rejection I sent out another one.
Is there something you could do to make your book more appealing?
Remember that only 1 agent said that he can't sell it in today's market--he doesn't speak for every agent. I went to the book store and found memoirs similar to mine, then in the acknowledgements section I copied down the name of the agents and queried some of them (who were taking MS)-- at least I knew they were interested in my type of book. I'm sure in the history section of barnes and noble you might find books similar to yours. Maybe you need to market it more like a history book "one family's story of....." rather than a straight up memoir?
 

FocusOnEnergy

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My memoir is about a devastating environmental disaster that took place last summer in one of the world's most famous small towns (because of generations of children sending in their boxtops to cereal giant Kellogg). It is about the people of the community affected and the people of the company company responsible, and what I learned about both.

It was intended to be transformational and spiritual, because that's my personal journey I was chronicling, but my hard-nosed betas held out for edits that turned it into the sort of gossipy tell-all that I'm known for. It is still a story of unlikely friendships.

Focus
 

Evelyn

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I have been doing Fine Art and Craft Shows for fifteen years.

My memoir is the story about how I got into doing shows in the first place - I had no idea what I was doing and had no business applying to one of the most prestigious shows in the country. I got in, of course, which set me into a panic. Mostly because I only had eighteen pieces of artwork to sell. (I wasn't too smart.)

I've enjoyed writing about the people I've met, the discovery that it's not all that easy to sell your own artwork (but it's wonderful when you make a sale to someone who just LOVES your work), and the twists and turns that my carreer has taken. I believe that I'm the only person who - within a five-year span - got into fairs with 2-D, then Ceramics, and then with Metalwork and Jewelry.

I'm about halfway through a (final?) revision. I plan to start querying soon...hope, hope, hope...
 

Rane

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My memoir is about working in customer service for over 15 years. A little about me, but mostly stories about crappy customers. :)
 

Pistol Whipped Bee

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Well - here's a review. I think it speaks better for me than I can for myself.

"I bought 'Saturation' in an ongoing attempt to find hope for a loved one, and to offer hope to her mother. Little did I dream when I ordered the book I would see myself in its pages - and not be altogether proud of the sight. 'Saturation' will take you on one incredible ride after another, until you simply won't think the author can possibly survive one more day... and then she does. And she realizes she's got enough to live for that she finally makes the choice to save herself.

It was as I suspected for my loved one. She has to do the choosing - no amount of our wanting a clean and sober life for her will make it so; but 'Saturation' gave me the hope I'd lost that she'd ever do so. After thirty years of addiction, I didn't think there were any chances left. I was wrong: as long as there's breath, there's hope.

'Saturation' is one of the most difficult 'easy' reads I have ever had. Ms. Place tells her story with no-holds-barred, straight out, not excusing nor varnishing the tale or any one's part in it - including her own. Your heart will ache for her, and you will be so very glad for her, too... especially if you, like me, love someone with the same addiction.

In the end, 'Saturation' helped me - it helped me understand both the reality of alcoholism and the never-ending, ongoing struggle to live with it long after the last drink. It helped me accept that *I*, no matter how badly I might want to, can't make the choice for sobriety for my loved one. And it gave me insight into the 'battle and the war'.

I fully recommend 'Saturation', especially if there's an alcoholic in your life. You will learn; you will understand; and it might even reawaken the compassion you thought had died."
http://www.goodreads.com/search?query=saturation
 

Steve Collins

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I did two back-to-back memoirs which were published in 1997 - 98 'The Good Guys Wear Black' and 'The Glory Boys' both covered my time as a team leader with a police special operations team, in London.
 

PinkAmy

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My memoir is about working in customer service for over 15 years. A little about me, but mostly stories about crappy customers. :)

So I assume it's a comedy? :D
If you were doing an anthology I'd have a few stories for you--working with the public sucks.
 

LKWatts

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Memoir about travel

Hi,
My memoir is about travelling Australia and New Zealand for twelve months. I'm currently writing a second one about travelling Canada.
 

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