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.
Author:
Publish date:

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.
From the Practical to the Mystic: 7 Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

From the Practical to the Mystic: 7 Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

Bestselling author Erika Robuck provides her top 7 tips for creating an engaging historical fiction novel.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 559

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a short poem.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 24

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to create a new myth.

Richard_2:23

Crafting Animal Characters like an Expert

Whether your work-in-progress features a witch's familiar, a talking animal sidekick, or a companion pet, WD editor Moriah Richard gives you the basics on how to create an animal character.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti quotes | Time wears down the pencil

8 Lawrence Ferlinghetti Quotes for Writers and About Writing

Here are 8 Lawrence Ferlinghetti quotes for writers and about writing from the author of A Coney Island of the Mind, Poetry as Insurgent Art, and Pictures of the Gone World. In these quotes, Ferlinghetti covers time, craft, passion, and more.

Russ Thomas: The Beginning and Ending of Writing

Russ Thomas: The Beginning and Ending of Writing

Mystery and crime novelist Russ Thomas discusses why he believes character is the beginning and ending of writing and what inspired his latest book, Nighthawking.

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 23

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write something based off a random word.

Amara: Market Spotlight

Amara: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at Amara, a single-title romance imprint of Entangled Publishing.