Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Why We’re Drawn To Biography, Part IV

The new self-help memoir is a popular new genre
Why We’re Drawn To Biography, Part IV
So far in this blog series we’ve been focusing on famous authors. But they’re not the only ones who write popular memoirs. Just this past Sunday, the New York Times Book Review section featured an essay on the “self-help” memoir. Because there are now so many of these books, they have formed a “new subgenre,” maintains the essay’s author, Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, who says that the modern self-help memoir is a “a kind of long-form personal narrative fused with life coaching.” The author of such a memoir, typically not a famous person, has achieved a positive change and writes a book coaching readers in how to do the same. “The selling point is not that their challenges are exceptional, but that they are common,” Tuhus-Dubrow writes. “Like us, the authors are just trying to find true love or raise good kids or enjoy life more.”
Some of you who are crafting your stories on WriteMyMemoirs fall into this group. You write your memoir not only to document the facts of your life, but also to share with friends, and perhaps the world, how you managed to achieve a level of happiness or peace of mind.
“The journey from wretchedness to redemption is one of the most common narrative arcs in memoir,” write Tuhus-Dubrow. “But rather than redemption, the self-help memoir culminates in improvement….The self-help memoirist goes from suboptimal to systematically upgraded.” By writing out the steps of progress, the autobiographer gives readers a method to duplicate the achievement.

So far in this blog series we’ve been focusing on famous authors. But they’re not the only ones who write popular memoirs. Just this past Sunday, the New York Times Book Review section featured an essay, “I Change, You Change,” on the “self-help” memoir. Because there are now so many of these books, they have formed a “new subgenre,” maintains the essay’s author, Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow, who says that the modern self-help memoir is a “a kind of long-form personal narrative fused with life coaching.” The author of such a memoir, typically not a famous person, has achieved a positive change and writes a book coaching readers in how to do the same. “The selling point is not that their challenges are exceptional, but that they are common,” Tuhus-Dubrow writes. “Like us, the authors are just trying to find true love or raise good kids or enjoy life more.”

Some of you who are crafting your stories on WriteMyMemoirs fall into this group. You write your memoir not only to document the facts of your life, but also to share with friends, and perhaps the world, how you managed to achieve a level of happiness or peace of mind.

“The journey from wretchedness to redemption is one of the most common narrative arcs in memoir,” write Tuhus-Dubrow. “But rather than redemption, the self-help memoir culminates in improvement….The self-help memoirist goes from suboptimal to systematically upgraded.” By writing out the steps of progress, the autobiographer gives readers a method to duplicate the achievement.

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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!