I spent a lot of time this past weekend at a writers' conference talking to people who were writing memoir, and I want to share some conversations we had.
First of all, it seems that a lot of people feel the need to combine their memoir with self-help information. In other words, a person will write a book that 1) tells their experiences of taking care of a child with down syndrome, but also 2) has chapters on what down syndrome is, how medicine for it is changing, etc.
Combining these two categories - memoir and self help - is not recommended because publishers aren't looking for these types of books. There is a market for both, but not when combined. If you really want to focus on your personal story, it's a memoir, and people can easily take something away from it. Or - you have a more business-like self help book that is instructional.
Choose one; not both.
Early Bird is the memoir I'm
reading right now.