Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Working With a Ghostwriter on Your Memoir? Don’t Lose Your Voice

Make sure you approve of every word of your memoir even if you’re not actually the one writing it.
Working With a Ghostwriter on Your Memoir? Don’t Lose Your Voice
I watched a battered Ryan O’Neal squirm through an uncomfortable interview on the Today Show this morning. I felt bad for the guy. He was promoting his new memoir, Both of Us: My Life With Farrah, which details his rocky relationship with the late Farrah Fawcett. Matt Lauer did what any interviewer would do: he asked the autobiographer about particularly disturbing or explosive passages in the memoir. O’Neal was exceedingly candid, at times he seemed almost unfamiliar with his own words from the book.
Lauer read one passage that ended, “…because our lives felt so pointless.” Ryan acted surprised. “Did I say ‘pointless’?” he asked Matt, who confirmed it, and then Ryan sidestepped that description and spoke about the rest of the passage. Quoting another passage, Matt asked Ryan about his account of Farrah spending long periods staring into the mirror, upset by the aging process. Again, Ryan cushioned the quote and addressed ancillary topics.
Ryan is listed as the first of three authors of the book. There’s no shame in having a ghostwriter or two; many celebrities and ordinary people may be great at what they do professionally but are simply not writers. When you hire a ghostwriter, you’re still the main author. Make sure you’re comfortable with your writing partner, you communicate freely with the writer and you approve of every word in the book. No matter who does the crafting, this is your story, your voice.

I watched a battered Ryan O’Neal squirm through an uncomfortable interview on the Today Show this morning. I felt bad for the guy. He was promoting his new memoir, Both of Us: My Life With Farrah, which details his rocky relationship with the late Farrah Fawcett. Matt Lauer did what any interviewer would do: he asked the autobiographer about particularly disturbing or explosive passages in the memoir. O’Neal was exceedingly candid but at times seemed almost unfamiliar with his own words from the book.

Lauer read one passage that ended, “…because our lives felt so pointless.” Ryan acted surprised. “Did I say ‘pointless’?” he asked Matt, who confirmed it, and then Ryan sidestepped that description and spoke about the rest of the passage. Quoting another passage, Matt asked Ryan about his account of Farrah spending long periods staring into the mirror, upset by the aging process. Again, Ryan cushioned the quote and addressed ancillary topics.

Ryan is listed as the first of three authors of the book. There’s no shame in having a ghostwriter or two; many celebrities and ordinary people may be great at what they do professionally but are simply not writers. When you hire a ghostwriter for your memoir, you’re still the main author. Make sure you’re comfortable with your writing partner, you communicate freely with the writer and you approve of every word in the book. No matter who does the crafting, this is your story, your voice.

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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!