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Author Archive | Denis Ledoux

audience for my memoir

Who Will Be the Audience for My Memoir?

Writers ask me all the time: “Who will want to read my memoir?” Recently someone said, ”If I were to write my memoir, it would probably be of no interest to you or anyone else. There is no audience for my memoir!”

Your memoir has a niche audience.

Wondering about the available audience for your memoir is legitimate and necessary. At the core of the effort most writers commit to is a deep desire to share with others—to reach an audience. Certainly this is true of a memoir writer also.

This is the challenge: stop thinking that no one will want to read your memoir. It may be true that I may not be interested in your memoir, but someone in this wide world certainly is. There are some billion people on this planet who read English. Surely you will find there will be “an audience for my memoir” among that billion!

Find your niche

The name of the game for an unknown memoir writer seeking an audience is niche writing and marketing.

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memoir theme

Three Ways an Inauthentic Memoir Theme Will Trip You Up

As you articulate your memoir theme, ask yourself if this memoir theme is really yours—does it reflect your present understanding of your story and of life itself? Or is it a residue of the accepted “wisdom” of someone else: a parent, another adult figure, society at large?

1) A theme that is authentically yours makes for better writing.

It comes from your center of experience. Writers who recognize, acknowledge, and explore their authentic memoir themes in their writing are more apt to present us with clear, to-the-point stories than those who repeat inherited memoir themes or who think they can ignore the issue of theme.

Early in our lives, you and I were naturally and rightfully the recipients of someone else’s—a parent’s or grandparent’s—understanding and interpretation of life. As long as these interpretations correspond to our own adult views, we can write easily within their context. What often happens, however, is that we continue to espouse a point of view inherited from another without realizing that it has ceased to correspond to our own. When challenged, we will say “Well, I guess I really don’t believe that anymore. Isn’t it something how I wrote (or said) that!”

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The Memoir Network

How Long Does It Take to Write a Memoir?

Sometimes, years after I’ve heard from someone that he is writing a memoir, I will connect with the writer again. Perhaps it’s three or four or five years later, but the writer is working on the same memoir. I don’t get it. So I ask politely, “What has snagged the memoir?” In short…

I has taken that writer too long to write his memoir!

How long does it take to write a memoir?

Well, I don’t actually know the answer  to “how long does it take to write a memoir?” What I know is a memoir needn’t take so long to compose. A memoir—and interesting and meaningful one—can be written in 12 to 24 months.

If that’s so, then why do some memoirs drag on?

Here are some reasons your memoir may be taking you too long.

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too much backstory

Too Much Backstory–Are you making memoir writing more difficult than necessary?

How much backstory is too much? Today we will discuss how to avoid too much backstory in your memoir.

I hope this is not you…

You are memoir writing about a time when you—alas—got fired from your job. As you write about this, you throw in your college studies, how much you loved your major and how eager you were for the workplace. Then you go on to write about the catty politics of the office from which you got fired. You even throw in a vignette about your boss’s spouse who came onto you and another snippet about the wasteful (and tasteless) redecorating your boss commissioned. For good measure, you describe the company’s history and…

STOP!!!

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using a memoir ghostwriter

Using a Memoir Ghostwriter – Three Doubts You Needn’t Let Stop You

Is hiring a memoir ghostwriter a good idea?

You’ve lived a life that you feel merits a memoir. Perhaps you’ve risen from poverty to riches, perhaps you have done a “first” and you want people to know it was you, or perhaps you want to celebrate a lost world, a world that has since disappeared. Should you write yourself or should you use a memoir ghostwriter?

You try your hand at writing but you realize that it is too difficult and that the learning curve is too steep. Perhaps you have begun to write and are lost in the shaping of an interesting memoir. (What does it mean to “shape” and “pace” a book?) Or, perhaps you could write the memoir but you are so busy with other things that you hardly have the time to devote to it.

These scenarios call for a ghostwriter who can guide you through the process and write the book as per your instructions. But, you don’t feel comfortable with that. You have reservations.

1. Isn’t using a memoir ghostwriter a bit like cheating?

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save on ghostwriting fees

Five Ways to Save on Ghostwriting Fees

There are Ways to Save on Ghostwriting Fees

Finding ways to save on ghostwriting fees can be pressing when the story needs to be told but you have to cut costs. Hiring a ghostwriter or co-author is, no questions about it, an expensive proposition.

There are ways, however, to cut the costs by doing some of the work yourself. Before doing that work, however, you would do well to ask the writer you have hired about how to turn the work in in a format that s/he can most readily make use of. Here are some suggestions:

1. Write as much of the text as you can.

It does not need to be particularly well written — just as  good as you can make it. Perhaps that will be in snippets or even in outline form. Type the text into a computer file to send it to the ghostwriter. (The ghostwriter would have to charge you to enter text into a computer file so this is a step that can save on ghostwriting fees right in the beginning.) Your writer can rewrite or polish what you send. What I love about receiving this sort of text is that it gives me your “voice” and a whole set of your vocabulary to use.

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working with a memoir ghostwriter

Working With a Memoir Ghostwriter – Six Tips

Get the most out of  working with a memoir ghostwriter

What a relief to have finally decided to start working with a memoir ghostwriter. The future of your relationship will depend, however, on how well and clearly you agree on the financial and procedural aspects of your collaboration. Be sure you come to an agreement on the following topics.

1. Work ought to be performed by the hour rather than by the project.

While it is tempting to choose a per-project fee, a project-fee arrangement is a troubling one. As the payer, you want more for your money. As the provider, the ghostwriter wants to minimize changes to the manuscript so as to be able to fulfill the project objectives in a way that is profitable for him/her. A project fee leads to conflict. A per-hour fee, while it would seem to lead to the ghostwriter stretching the project out so he can charge you more, usually this is not true. The ghostwriter is a professional with other projects to move on to after yours is done.

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Difference between proofreading and editing

The Difference Between Proofreading and Editing

After having written a good portion of their memoir, writers will sometimes begin to wonder if it is time to hire a writing professional to work with them to get the manuscript ready to go out into the world. At this stage, they may ask, “What’s the difference between proofreading and editing? And, how do I know which one I need?”

What Is Proofreading?

Proofreading is the more technical, nutsy-boltsy end of editing. Someone who is an editor will often also undertake to proofread a manuscript. Proofreading is concerned with mechanics:  spelling, punctuation, noun/verb agreement, other grammar problems, consistency (abbreviations, digits vs. numbers that are spelled out as words, etc.), obvious breaks from styling (inconsistencies in fonts, line spacing, spacing between words, and margins), and factual errors (dates, place names, historical facts).

Obviously, proofreading requires a solid foundation in grammar, vocabulary, and general knowledge. It requires an eye for detail. Proofreaders refer often to the following in hard copy or on the internet: a dictionary, an atlas, and an encyclopedia.

What Exactly Is the Difference Between Proofreading and Editing ?

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a room of one's own

A Room of One’s Own to Write Memoir In

Are you a writer who has felt cramped because you do not have a dedicated space for writing your memoir?

You have read about writing spaces and have longed for one, but do you really need one?

An outside writing space

A dedicated writing space sounds great to me—and a luxury I am not willing to let my writing wait for. In fact, I have never used outside writing rooms (also known as “office”—except for once when I borrowed a summer home for a week and finished The Photo Scribe / How to Write the Stories Behind Your Photos there as I wrote ALL day. Being at that oceanside house was very productive as I had nothing else to do. It was either write or be bored. The book had been stalled and it raced to the finish line in that week.

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memoir coaching

Memoir Coaching Laser-focuses on Getting Your Memoir Written Faster and Better

How does memoir coaching improve your manuscript?

“What does ‘My family was poor’ mean, ” I asked a memoir writer in a recent coaching session.

Poor?” he asked at the other end of the phone line. “What do you mean what does poor mean? Poor means poor!”

“Does poor mean you didn’t have enough to eat or does it mean you never ate out at restaurants? Does poor mean you were forced to run out on your rent or does it mean you did not have an in-ground pool?”

Clearly, descriptive always adjectives don’t mean what we think they mean!

Empty literary “calories”

On the spot, I shared with him how adjectives are empty literary “calories.” They do nothing for the story but fill up space. They pretend to be effective but are not. Every writer needs to depend on scenes, dialog, settings, characters to tell the real story.

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