Writing a memoir, no idea how to proceed

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a_story_to_tell

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Greetings all, I am new here and needing a little assistance.

I am not a writer, but have recently become a somewhat public figure, and I have a very interesting story. Numerous PR people have suggested that I write a memoir, which I intend to. I spoke to a published author, who interviewed me for one of his own pieces, who suggested I find a co-author who can help draw the story out and craft it, which is perfect since I do not have the time or skill to do this on my own.

In the meantime, I researched the art of queries, and drafted one per all the suggestions here, and sent it to about 20 agents who specialize in non-fiction and memoirs. Most ignored it, several sent rejections, one asked for a proposal, which I researched and presented, but he ultimately declined.

I have no idea where to start looking for a co-author, or whether I should focus on trying to find an agent, or basically where do I go from here. Any suggestions appreciated.
 

Kerosene

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If someone isn't knocking on your door wanting to write or hire someone to write your memoir, I suggest you write it yourself.

Though, I'm not knowledgeable with memoirs and the specific business surrounding them. I just know there's many people on the forums learning how to write so they can write their own.
 

T Robinson

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Memoirs

Take all the following as free advice.

1. You get what you pay for.
2. When you get to 50 posts, see the FAQ's to learn why this is a requirement, you can submit part of the proposal you drafted in Share Your Work (SYW) and get opinions as to why it was rejected.
3. What you define as a very interesting story may strike others as something else. It depends on your market
4. Since you have not filled out your profile, no one knows anything about you.
5. Tour the boards, introduce yourself, critique others in SYW.
6. Read the FAQ's about memoirs and author platforms.
7. If you are considering writing a memoir simply to make money, the odds are slim. Not impossible, just very slim.
8. You say you don't have the time or the expertise. Expertise can be learned or paid for. It is not cheap either way.
9. You say the published author suggested you get a co-author. The cynic in me, which is always very close to the surface, is demanding that I ask, if it was so compelling a story, why didn't that person want to help you?
10. Time is money. Ghostwriters can and have been paid thousands for celebrity memoirs. I know of a non-celebrity who paid $10,000 for his because he did not have the time or the expertise.
11. Consider the previous, listen to the suggestions you may get from others and decide on the best course for you.

Good luck.
 

cornflake

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Greetings all, I am new here and needing a little assistance.

I am not a writer, but have recently become a somewhat public figure, and I have a very interesting story. Numerous PR people have suggested that I write a memoir, which I intend to. I spoke to a published author, who interviewed me for one of his own pieces, who suggested I find a co-author who can help draw the story out and craft it, which is perfect since I do not have the time or skill to do this on my own.

In the meantime, I researched the art of queries, and drafted one per all the suggestions here, and sent it to about 20 agents who specialize in non-fiction and memoirs. Most ignored it, several sent rejections, one asked for a proposal, which I researched and presented, but he ultimately declined.

I have no idea where to start looking for a co-author, or whether I should focus on trying to find an agent, or basically where do I go from here. Any suggestions appreciated.

Hi -

I think you need to do a lot more research into what you're interested in.

Generally, you query completed works. You send proposals (which, again generally, include full outlines, possibly sample chapters, etc.) for non-completed, non-fic works.

I don't know what you're looking for an agent for, exactly - you don't have anything for one to sell. Also generally, ghostwriters are matched with subjects by publishing houses.

You can go find one on your own and hire him or her, but it'll cost likely $15k+, depending.

I'm not an expert in this area or anything, so take this with a grain of salt. There are people who know the ins and outs, including those who have ghostwritten. If you ask around in the memoirs section, you might find more help from those who know more, but I'd definitely recommend more research.
 

Wilde_at_heart

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I find it odd to write a memoir primarily because PR people have suggested doing so. It would be one thing if you felt you had a story that absolutely needed to be told... unless they are PR people who work within the publishing industry (which wasn't obvious in your OP) I'd take the advice with a substantial helping of salt.

As others have suggested, either get to your 50 posts and submit your query to QLH, or research the segments of the forum here under memoirs, etc. that might be useful for you.
 

Little Ming

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Greetings all, I am new here and needing a little assistance.

I am not a writer, but have recently become a somewhat public figure, and I have a very interesting story. Numerous PR people have suggested that I write a memoir, which I intend to. I spoke to a published author, who interviewed me for one of his own pieces, who suggested I find a co-author who can help draw the story out and craft it, which is perfect since I do not have the time or skill to do this on my own.

In the meantime, I researched the art of queries, and drafted one per all the suggestions here, and sent it to about 20 agents who specialize in non-fiction and memoirs. Most ignored it, several sent rejections, one asked for a proposal, which I researched and presented, but he ultimately declined.

I have no idea where to start looking for a co-author, or whether I should focus on trying to find an agent, or basically where do I go from here. Any suggestions appreciated.

Depends on what your goals are.

As others have said, it looks like you're looking more for a ghostwriter than a co-writer. Ghostwriters are paid upfront regardless if you ever become published. $10k-15k seems, to me, to be on the lower end for a good ghostwriter; be prepared to pay more. Also, be prepared to not make any of it back if you never get published. ;)

I suggest looking through the non-fiction section for more info specifically on memoirs.
 

Old Hack

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I've ghostwritten a couple of books, and am of the opinion that writers should not hire ghostwriters for themselves.

It's expensive (if you work with a good one: and why would you work with a bad one?) and there's no guarantee that the resulting book will ever be published.

If you are famous or notorious enough for a publisher to be interested in hiring a ghost to work with you on your book, you should be able to get a literary agent interested too. That agent will protect your interests and make sure you get the best deal possible.
 

Jamesaritchie

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What Old Hack said. If your life story is interesting enough, you should be able to attract a literary agent, who can, in turn, attract a publisher. If it is interesting enough, and if the publisher thinks there's a good enough market, they'll provide a ghost.

Outside of this, write the book yourself. I've done quite a bit of ghosting, but I would never do so for an individual. There's too big a chance that I'm just taking his money for a book that will never see the light of day. This may or may not apply to an individual who plans to self-publish right from the start. It isn't a situation I've been faced with.

No one is a writer until they start writing, and no special requirements are needed, other than the ability to use the English language reasonably well. You might surprise yourself at how well you can write the book. Seldom a year goes by without some great book being published by someone who wasn't a writer until they decided to sit down and write a book.
 

Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

If you want to learn how to write it yourself, I suggest Tristine Rainer's Your Life As Story. And start practice writing.

If you want to find a ghostwriter here, you'll need to be more social on this site and more open about what it is that makes people think your story is worth telling.

If you want to learn how to write a good proposal, you can get Elizabeth Lyon's book (the name of which escapes me at the moment).

If you want to find a top notch ghostwriter and are willing to pay the price, you can hire an independent editor who always ghostwrites.

www.wordintoprint.org and www.bookdocs.com have good editors. You can use them as mentors and/or editors for both proposals and manuscripts. Some of them ghostwrite. These are good, but they are not cheap.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

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