Questions About Writing Memoir…

Q. I’m a first time author, and have written a memoir about my autistic  
son.  How important is having a platform for a memoir?  I keep  
hearing that memoir is treated like fiction.  I’m wondering if my query letter might be the reason for rejections.  I’m getting no response.  Can I re-query with my new query letter?  What is the standard word length for memoirs?  Mine is 53,000 words.
        – Hank

A. Lots of questions.   Let’s take these one at a time.
        A platform is attractive, but not totally necessary.  Memoir is essentially treated like fiction, so if you’re written an amazing, touching manuscript, you are golden.  However, a good platform could help your case if the manuscript is only “very good” and not “outstanding.”  I am a fan of writers creating mini-book-proposals for their memoirs to help set their work apart.
        Hank, if your queries are getting no requests for a partial (sample pages), then yes, the problem lies with the query itself.
        I would wait at least a year or two before requerying the same agent.  Change the title and completely overhaul the query letter before you do so that agents will approach it with a fresh eye.
        Memoirs usually run the same length as a novel – 70,000 to 100,000 words.  Yours seems a bit short.  Push it to more than 60,000 words and then start querying.

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