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Writing & Selling Your Memoir

When you think about writing your memoir, making it “marketable” might not be your first priority. You’re probably more focused on prose, structure and voice. While those elements are crucial, in today’s marketplace publishers are looking for writers who can deliver “the total package” – excellent writing combined with a marketable story.
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Writing & Selling Your Memoir
by Paula Balzer
Writer's Digest Books, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59963-135-6
$17.99, paperback, 240 pages
Order now from the Writer's Digest Shop. Enter offer code WDS231 to save 15%

Read an excerpt
Literary agent Paula Balzer discuss finding your voice in this excerpt from her book Writing & Selling Your Memoir.

About the book
There’s more to writing a memoir than just writing your life story. Writing & Selling Your Memoir talks readers through process of telling their most personal stories in a compelling, relatable, and readable manner.

Drawing on her experience working with New York Times best-selling memoirists, literary agent Paula Balzer carefully explores the genre and provides readers with step-by-step instruction on how to:

  • Identify strong opening and closing points
  • Find and develop a strong central hook that readers can relate to
  • Structure a memoir to maximize readability
  • Use dialogue and pacing to enhance intimacy
  • Approach honesty and truthfulness
  • Build a successful author platform around their memoir
  • Get an agent’s attention

Unlike other books dedicated to the art and craft of writing memoir, Balzer teaches readers how to approach the genre with love, respect, and know-how without sentimentalizing it. A memoir isn’t one long diary entry. Rather, it’s a well-crafted story about a crucial—often exceptionally difficult—time in someone’s life. Writing & Selling Your Memoir gives readers the knowledge and skills they need to turn their most important stories into meaningful reading experiences for others.

About the Author:
Paula Balzer is a literary agent for New York Times best-selling author Alexandra Robbins, Oscar-award winning writer Diablo Cody, and “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson amongst many more. In addition to her day job being a literary agent, she is the cofounder of Ad Hoc Mom (Ad Hoc Mom http://adhocmom.com) a popular, humorous blog centered around juggling being a parent while having a career. A recent transplant from Brooklyn, she lives in New Jersey with her family.

Free Webinar!
When you think about writing your memoir, making it “marketable” might not be your first priority. You’re probably more focused on prose, structure and voice. While those elements are crucial, in today’s marketplace publishers are looking for writers who can deliver “the total package” – excellent writing combined with a marketable story. Publishers know that this is the combination that spells success. This webinar will show you how to make your memoir more desirable to publishers and agents by heightening its marketability.

What You'll Learn:

  • The Anatomy of a Good Hook: Mastering the Crucial Difference between Hooks and Themes, How to Find your Hook, How to use a hook to catch an agent's or the media's attention.
  • How to Manage Your Material: How to self-edit so that your memoir isn't over flooded with details, descriptions and stories.
  • Using Structure Creatively: How the structure you choose for your story can add to the marketability of your memoir.
  • How to do Market Research Like a Pro
  • How to Have a Platform Before You Pitch Agents: How Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms can give you an edge on getting an agent.
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