Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

All Hail the Presidential Memoir

Take a look at past presidents’ memoirs.
Hail to the Presidential Memoir
Since newly reelected Barack Obama already is a best-selling author, we can probably expect him to pen a presidential memoir when he finishes this next term. Most modern presidents do and there’s certainly a market for the first-hand presidential account. Bill Clinton’s memoir, the 900-page, unoriginally titled My Life, has sold in the neighborhood of 2.25 million copies, and sales of George W. Bush’s Decision Points are rivaling that record.
But the champion of presidential memoirs in terms of critical acclaim, you may be surprised to learn, is Ulysses S. Grant. His autobiography focuses more on the war than on his presidential years and had the advantage of Mark Twain as an editor or, some suspect, a ghostwriter. The book stands out for its humility; Grant readily admits to errors and lets hindsight guide him toward an objective evaluation of his actions. Pretty much every other president uses the memoir as a means to justify decisions, self-promote or spin the facts. An apt example is James Buchanan, who was our country’s first president to publish a memoir. And “Silent Cal”? Calvin Coolidge lived up to his nickname, penning the shortest presidential memoir at just under 250 pages. But perhaps the most “silent” was Richard Nixon, who wasn’t one to self-reflect and glossed over the Watergate scandal in his memoir.
Not to be left out, we may see Michelle Obama write her own account of White House life. Both Nancy Reagan and Betty Ford published autobiographies that outsold their husbands’ memoirs, while Hilary Clinton’s Living History has topped $10 million in sales. Time will tell.

Since newly reelected Barack Obama already is a best-selling author, we can probably expect him to pen a presidential memoir when he finishes this next term. Most modern presidents do, and there’s certainly a market for the first-hand presidential account. Bill Clinton’s memoir, the 900-page, less-than-originally titled My Life, has sold in the neighborhood of 2.25 million copies, and sales of George W. Bush’s Decision Points are rivaling that record.

But the champion of presidential memoirs in terms of critical acclaim, you may be surprised to learn, is Ulysses S. Grant. His autobiography focuses more on the war than on his presidential years and had the advantage of Mark Twain as an editor or, some suspect, a ghostwriter. The book stands out for its humility; Grant readily admits to errors and lets hindsight guide him toward an objective evaluation of his actions. Pretty much every other president uses the memoir as a means to justify decisions, self-promote or spin the facts. An apt example is James Buchanan, who was our country’s first president to publish a memoir. And “Silent Cal”? Calvin Coolidge lived up to his nickname, penning the shortest presidential memoir at just under 250 pages. But perhaps the most “silent” was Richard Nixon, who wasn’t one to self-reflect and glossed over the Watergate scandal in his memoir.

Not to be left out, we may see Michelle Obama write her own account of White House life. Both Nancy Reagan and Betty Ford published autobiographies that outsold their husbands’ memoirs, while Hilary Clinton’s Living History has topped $10 million in sales. Time will tell; it always does.

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Then just set up a chapter and start writing your memoir. Don’t worry about rules. There are no rules to writing your memoir; there are only trends. These trends are based on techniques and features identified in current top-selling memoirs. At best, they’re the flavor of the month. If you’re capturing your life in print for your family, for your own gratification or to inspire readers, rather than aiming to set off Hollywood screenplay bidding wars, these trends don’t even apply to you. You’ll write the memoir that suits you best, and it will be timeless, not trend-driven.There are no rules, but there are four steps:

1. Theme/framework
2. Writing
3. Editing/polishing
4. Self-publishing

You’ve researched this, too, and you’ve been shocked at the price for getting help with any one of those steps, much less all four. That’s because most memoir sites promise to commercialize your work. They’ll follow a formula based on current memoir trends, because they want to convince you that they can turn your memoir into a best-seller. These sites overwhelm you with unnecessary information not to help you, the memoir author, but to address Search Engine Optimization (SEO) algorithms so they can sell more.

That’s not what we do at Write My Memoirs. Our small community of coaches, writers and editors are every bit as skilled as any you’ll find, and we charge appropriately for their expertise and the time they’ll spend helping you craft a compelling, enjoyable read. But you won’t pay an upcharge for other websites’ commercialization, the marketing that follows, and the pages of intimidating “advice.” You can sell your book if you like—we have ISBNs available for you—but our organic process of capturing your story takes a noncommercial path.

If you want help with any or all of the four steps above, choose from our services or save money by selecting one of our packages. If you’d like to talk about what’s right for you, schedule a call. One year from now, you can be holding your published memoir in your hand. And at that point, it will be a big deal!