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Author Archive | Denis Ledoux

memoir writing support

How I Launched Myself Publicly in the Creative Life

Editor: This post first appeared in February 2014 at a time when covid as not part of our lives. It advocates marketing that I undertook in pre-covid days but which I believe will soon be available and viable again.

I believe that implicit in every publication is access to an audience. Whether you hope to support yourself or to merely attract a more substantial audience, this post—written about a time half a life ago—has something for you.

“Is it possible to find readers who will support me in the creative life?” I wanted to know.

One day on 1988, I stood in front of a door, on the other side of which was a group of Foster Grandparents. I had in hand a copy of my book of autobiographical short stories, What Became of Them and Other Stories from Franco-America, which my wife Martha Blowen and I had published through my brand-new imprint, Soleil Press. Soleil means sun in French and Martha who was a paper maker called her studio Moon Papers. So Soleil Press and Moon Papers seemed to us a great combo for a couple (hovering on both sides of 40) who were seeking to live a creative life. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Memoir Writing

A French-Canadian Legacy Podcast with Denis Ledoux

Listen to this podcast on the French-Canadian Legacy Podcast as Denis Ledoux talks about writing memoirs and the memoir he wrote with his mother We Were Not Spoiled. If you’ve had any interest in writing down your story or someone else’s, this is an amazing episode to listen to.– Louise Simoneau

memoir success

Memoir Success: Approaching Neverland

Memoir Success

Over the years, I have worked with many writers to help them create and shape their memoirs. It’s my pleasure to bring to your attention once again the success of one such writer: Peggy Kennedy from San Ramon, California, for whom I had the pleasure of providing coaching and editing help that led to her memoir success

Many readers of this blog have been writing for a while and some are despairing of finishing. There is hope. After a number of years of preparation, Peggy Kennedy’s memoir of growing up in a family with a mentally-ill mother, Approaching Neverland, saw print. (Ordering information at bottom.)

While the information below is from over a decade ago, I believe this memoir success story is dateless. Approaching Neverland did well—and so can you. A review in the magazine the Midwest Book Review gave it five stars. Originally fearful of speaking before an audience, she was a guest on a number of radio and television programs. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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write a memoir

Write a memoir: practical how-to information to ace it.

Over the years, I have both worked with people to help them write a memoir and have heard from people who have done the work of writing theirs.

Often these people had never written anything before—not memoir, not fiction, not creative non-fiction. They did not think of themselves as writers. One day these people—as you are now doing—decided it was time to write a memoir. They set about to compose a lasting record of their personal and family stories in writing. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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place photos in your memoir book

Photos in Your Memoir Book Layout

Where you place photos in your memoir book layout is important.

While it may seem obvious, it bears repeating that where you place photos in your memoir book layout is important.

It will influence how readers appreciate your story. The only way I can grasp that makes sense is to place photos chronologically within the text. Why?

A bit of book-writing talk

There is in reading and writing a phenomenon called “suspension of disbelief.” If I as the reader am constantly saying “This is only a book. This isn’t really happening as I read,” then it is impossible for that reader to get “lost in the story.”

On the other hand, if the reader agrees not to challenge the story—to make as if the story is actually happening as s/he is reading—then there is a good chance the reader will enter the story and experience it as if it were unfolding before his/her eyes.

Now the reader is only one partner of the agreement. The other partner is the writer.  The writer MUST NOT do anything that forces the reader to suspend disbelief.

A famous gaffe [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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share your writing

Dare to Share Your Writing

A critical steps to take as a developing writer is to share your writing with others. Those others might be writers, they might be friends, or they might be family members.

Sometimes you make your writing public by having an in-person audience or a virtual audience. Sometimes your first audience comes in the form of blog readers.

This post is geared to the novice writer and may not apply to a more experienced memoirist.

To Share Is To Grow

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Point of View in a Memoir

The Wrong Point of View in a Memoir Can Throw the Story

In 1996 and 1997, I composed about 200 pages of a memoir of my high school years and then it wasn’t going anywhere more than where it had been—mired in facts and details with no spirit. What I didn’t know was it had a wrong point of view problem

I merely stored it in various computers for years.

In the fall of 2013, I completed my mother’s memoir (We Were Not Spoiled). Because I was looking for a writing project I might devote myself to next, I picked up the high-school memoir again.

(Lest you think that I went to a high school like yours, let me assure you that I did not. I attended a Catholic high-school seminary. No, I’m not writing about sexual shenanigans—there was none of that whatsoever. I am writing about my life there between 1960 and 1964 and how it shaped me. This theme of identity is usual stuff for a memoir, but the setting is exotic in many ways and not at all usual. Almost none of you who are reading this have “been there”—trust me.)

Suddenly, after more than a decade and a half, the memoir spoke to me again!

“Write me! Write me!” it shouted. The text seemed “alive” again. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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publishing independently

My first publication story: publishing independently

Let me share the independent publication story of my first book, What Became of Them. It is a collection of short stories that I had written over a number of years in the 1980s. In 1987, I decided it was time to send the collection out into the world, but I was not ready yet to do publishing independently.I learn to support myself in the creative life.

Taking stock of myself, I knew I had no need to be approved by someone, to have my writing found to be worthy.  I know many writers want to have a “real book,” and by this, they probably mean they want their book to be canonized by someone—the larger the reputation and the more famous, the better.

This sort of approval was not important to me. I was looking for a way to reach my audience which I  knew both existed and would want my book.

I also wanted to earn some income from my writing. I understood that my income would come both from sales of the book and from speaking and teaching from the podium my book would allow me to step up on.

Where to send my manuscript?

I gleaned names and addresses I researched in the library and bookstore. After selecting a few of the more promising—they championed topics which I thought would attract my audience and encompassed a territory where my audience lived.

I sent the book out—and then I waited and waited.

I totally understood how a book has to fit into a publisher’s catalog. (A fruit distributor doesn’t, after all, take on a chicken farmer as a client!) A new book must support the company’s mission and complement books that have already been successful.

In addition, a book must promise to earn the company some income (preferably a large one) from its audience.

A losing proposition

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