Writing & Selling Your Memoir: Bonus Materials

Check out bonus material from Paula Balzer's Writing & Selling Your Memoir.
Author:
Publish date:

AN INTERVIEW WITH LAURA MUNSON
by Paula Balzer

In my work as a literary agent, I've found that some writers tend to let everyday obstacles get in the way of achieving their goals. You had great success with This Isn't The Story You Think It Is even though you were busy raising a family in Montana. What advice do you have for writers who still need to hold down a full time job and may not live in a place that has a tremendous amount (perceived anyway) of opportunities for writers such as New York City?

If you are truly a writer, if you live at that intersection of heart and mind and craft, if you know the obsession and can’t NOT write…then you will do it wherever you live and no matter what’s going on in your life. I’ve written five-eight pages a day since 1988 in all kinds of situations—urban, suburban, rural—when I worked three jobs, with small children, and even on the road doing book promotion. It is my practice, my meditation, my prayer, my way of life, and sometimes my way TO life. My advice is simply this: if you are a writer, write.

Your story is an incredibly personal one. What advice do you have for other memoirists who are apprehensive about sharing their stories? Was there a certain point during the process where you realized telling this story was going to work out okay? Did you have any reservations?

If you write with responsibility and compassion, you can write about anything. I have had little to no criticism from family and friends about sharing my personal story. When in doubt, tell the truth and tell it with all your heart. You are a writer. You mine your life. That’s your job. Let go of the rest.

I always tell clients and other writers that the actual writing of the book is really only half of a writer's job. The other half is publicity. Did you find this to be true? What do you do to keep your book moving off of the shelves?

I feel that the real work is the work. The writing work. After that, yes, it’s a business, however I haven’t been in the position until a few years ago to hone this side of my life as a writer. It’s important to know yourself on the page and have that balance deep in your core before you start sending out books. I’m glad my publishing success didn’t happen until my forties. I have that balance in my life now, so I’m ready to do promotional work. I love that the trajectory is finally being met. I work hard to connect with my readers on the internet and in person, and it’s all very natural. It has to be. When it’s natural, you know you are doing what you are meant to do.

Download a bonus imprints list
This handy list covers today's major publishers and which imprints belong to each of them.

Moral Compass

Moral Compass

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about someone with an unfailing moral compass.

Daniel Levin Becker: On the Forgotten Art of Letter Writing

Daniel Levin Becker: On the Forgotten Art of Letter Writing

Author, translator, and editor Daniel Levin Becker discusses his hopes for future letter writing like those featured in the new anthology, Dear McSweeney's: Two Decades of Letters to the Editor from Writers, Readers, and the Occasional Bewildered Consumer.

e.g. vs. i.e. (Grammar Rules)

e.g. vs. i.e. (Grammar Rules)

Let's look at the differences between e.g. and i.e. with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

20 Authors Share Their Biggest Surprise in the Writing Process

20 Authors Share Their Biggest Surprises in the Writing Process

Experienced writers know to expect the unexpected. Here are surprises in the writing process from 20 authors, including Amanda Jayatissa, Paul Neilan, Kristin Hannah, and Robert Jones, Jr.

Ruth Hogan: On Infusing Personal Interests in Fiction

Ruth Hogan: On Infusing Personal Interests in Fiction

Author Ruth Hogan discusses the process of learning a new skill in writing her new novel, The Moon, The Stars and Madame Burova.

Do You Find an Editor or Agent First?

Do You Find an Editor or Agent First?

It's a common question asked by writers looking to get their first book published: Do you find an editor or agent first? The answer depends on each writer's situation.

writer's digest wd presents

WDU Presents: 7 New WDU Courses, a Chance at Publication, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce seven new WDU courses, a chance at publication, and more!

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

What Is a Professional Editor and Why Should Writers Use One?

Editor is a very broad term in the publishing industry that can mean a variety of things. Tiffany Yates Martin reveals what a professional editor is and why writers should consider using one.

From Script

How to Find the Right Reader for Feedback, Writing Female Characters and Tapping into Emotionally Authentic Characters (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script Magazine, read film reviews from Tom Stemple, part three of writing female characters, interviews with Free Guy scribes Zak Penn and Matt Lieberman, The Eyes of Tammy Faye screenwriter Abe Sylvia, and more!