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
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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!”