So many people are not sure whether the story of their life or one episode of their life is special enough to be “memoir-worthy.” If you’d like to document your life so that your family and friends will have all the facts straight, every story is memoir-worthy. But what if you’re hoping that your book will land on the best-seller list or provide the foundation for a hit movie?
This is the first of two guest blog posts by memoir author Lani Cox, who supplies guidelines for knowing whether your story has the potential to sell.
How can you tell if what you want to share is worth telling? In a word: feedback.
I’ve written two memoirs. I self-published the first one, and for the second one, I’m trying to learn from the mistakes I made the first time around, so I’m taking my time. But with both, I’ve gleaned valuable insight from various sources.
Share it with a writers’ group
When I first started writing for public consumption, I joined a writers’ group. Most people were supportive, and if you have a negative experience, please don’t let that put you off. These days there are many avenues.
When I lived in the expat community of Chiang Mai, Thailand, I started my own group. My ad went unanswered for a long time—so long that I forgot about it until the day that a fellow writer contacted me. The group grew from there, and it was a wonderful experience. I’m still friends with the ladies I met through the group.
If there aren’t any writers’ groups in your town (as it is currently for me), try online groups and websites like Wattpad.
Share it on a blog
Something else I did was start a blog, uploading a chapter at a time. I started getting comments, emails and shares as I was writing about the alternative world of Waldorf education, maybe because there wasn’t a lot of other information about it at the time.
A second blog about my expat experiences has led me to explore even more topics. Being part of a writing community is a great way to learn about other people and see what resonates with them. You also can learn a lot about putting yourself out there. These days, that is so important.
Share it with your friends
Before the internet took over our lives, I listened to the stories my mom and grandma would tell. I retold them to friends and to anyone who would listen. This was a more organic approach and planted the seeds of my storytelling future as a writer. You most likely already do this but, if you don’t, I’d encourage you to open up to others. Making connections is one of the most rewarding aspects of writing memoir.