Being a ghostwriter, quite a few people have asked, “Should I write my memoir?” They often share their ideas and dreams with me about writing a book. I enjoy helping people fulfill their ambitions and complete their lifelong goals.
Many people who want to share their life story really aren’t sure how to go about starting.
Does that sound familiar?
If so, here are a few questions to consider:
What makes a good memoir?
This is a question many people fail to ask themselves. A book that seeks revenge or shares a horrific upbringing as its theme isn’t a book that should be written. That’s a common memoir mistake. Only write your book if you would still be proud of it in five years.
Here are some elements to think about as you consider writing a memoir, whether it’s for posterity or for all to read:
Will my book uplift others? Really, at the end of the day, you want to create a book that will inspire others toward greatness. You want to encourage them to live their lives to the fullest, and learn from your experiences.
Do I have an interesting story to tell? A story is made up a series of incidents tied together by an overall theme. These incidents flow on a path, which follows a message and purpose. If you really only have an anecdote, even if it is hilarious, moving, or powerful, it isn’t enough for a book. It could make a good short story though!
Is my story unique? If you have a powerful viewpoint and a story with lots of action, you have the makings of a riveting book. But it’s equally important that the author has done something which would intrigue and educate the reader. Adventures are fun, but when it comes to memoir readers expect to take something positive away from your life experiences. They want to learn from your example.
Should I self-publish?
If you’re a celebrity or have been the topic of a strong news story recently, you might be able to write a good proposal, find an agent and get a good contract with a publisher. Otherwise, it’s unlikely (but not impossible) that you will land a decent publishing contract. And keep in mind that this process takes time and can be difficult. In addition, if you’re a first time author, don’t expect to get an advance. Most likely you’ll receive a 10% royalty, which will only kick in once the book starts selling and that could be years later.
In this day and age, especially with the advent of eBooks, you can do very well as a self-published author. You’ll have to learn a little about the industry, but if you can pull together a marketing plan, you can sell your book on Amazon.com and other popular retailers.
Should I hire a ghostwriter to write my memoir?
The answer really boils down to time, money, and skill. Writing a book on your own takes time and skill, but will save you a lot of money. Hiring a ghostwriter will alleviate your concerns over time and skill, but will cost you money upfront.
These are the top questions I receive from readers and clients specifically regarding writing memoirs. I’d really encourage you to explore your goals in writing a book. If your purpose is to help others, you will probably do well.
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