Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Prison Experience Inspires Memoirs

Here are five memoirs written in prison in case Rod Blagojevich is thinking about an autobiography.

When former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick announced from prison his intention to write a memoir, MLive.com blogger Jeff Wattrick responded with a list of his top five jailhouse autobiographies. Now that my own former Governor, Rod Blagojevich, has been convicted and likely faces incarceration, I thought I’d review Jeff’s list in case Rod wants to start writing.

  1. In the Belly of the Beast, by Jack Abbott, who had help from Norman Mailer in publishing his book. Six months after being released from prison, Abbott killed a man and was sent back to jail, where he committed suicide.
  2. Soul on Ice, by Eldridge Cleaver, the Black Panther leader who authored this late 1960s fresh look at race relations that became a classic.
  3. Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes. More autobiographical novel than memoir, the book and subsequent Broadway musical provided insight into the minds of those who tilt at windmills.
  4. The Gulag Archipelago, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This one’s autobiographical history, giving readers an education about Russia, freedom and suffering.
  5. Son of Hope, by David Berkowitz, also known as Son of Sam. His memoir prompted New York and other states to pass “Son of Sam??? laws to keep criminals from earning profits from their memoirs.

Next week I’ll discuss what motivates prisoners to write memoirs behind bars.

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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!