Podcast: Should Just Anybody Write a Memoir?

Most publishers, with lots of snooty sarcasm, disagree with me on this: I think everybody has a memoir in them.

I’m about to say something with which just about every other person in the publishing industry will disagree. In fact, most will strongly, passionately, with much snooty sarcasm, disagree with what I’m about to say. Everybody has a memoir in them. Not only that, but everybody should write a memoir. There, I said it.

Every life is unique, and everybody has a story that only they can tell. As a journalist, what I enjoy most is getting people’s stories in their own words. As a book editor, I can help them tell it in a way that brings out their own voice, that will invite others to relive their unique lives with them.

It’s not an easy thing to do, to write a memoir. I recently advised an editing client that he’d need to change his story’s focus if he wanted something more than just a family heirloom to give his children. For that, you have to make hard choices on what parts of the story to emphasize, what to leave out, and how you make your specific theme universal. Not all publishers have the patience for it, especially since memoirs are reaching saturation in the market now.

With the rise of self-publishing, authors don’t need to put up with rejection by acquiring editors who decide whether anybody cares about your story. Just write it. Oh, and hire a good editor to help you tell it. That’s all.

With that said, I’d like you to meet indie author Leila Summers of South Africa, who self-published a memoir called It Rains in February, about a very personal, painful topic, the suicide of her husband, that she made universal.

Click the button below to listen to our interview.

Listen to the AskALLi IndieVoices Podcast