Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Memoir Writing-The Scoop

What I am currently reading: Into Thin Air


I am going to spend the next couple of couple of blog entries focusing on Memoirs because it is a very hot genre right now. During our monthly Northern Colorado Writers coffee, 1/3 of the 12 writers present, are writing memoirs. I figured with the whole James Frey and Margaret Seltzer fiasco's, the publishing world would be sprinting in the opposite direction of this genre. Apparently that's not the case.

On a blog entry from June 4 in ForeWord Magazine, Derek Anderson, publisher for Kunati Books wrote:

"When I look at our book list, I see a dozen memoirs. So, clearly, we don’t believe they’re "out." They sell well. They are not famous people—just important stories from real people with genuine writing talent. Such as Mothering Mother:: an important story of a daughter coping with her mother’s Alzheimer’s. And Paul Cook’s new memoir Cooked in LA: a stunning story of addiction to fame, alcohol and drugs. And most certainly Wendy Aron’s amazing Hide and Seek, both a memoir and a story of recovery from one of America’s most debilitating conditions: depression.

Clearly, we don’t believe memoirs are dead. Today, I saw Publisher’s Weekly described Memoirs as “Unstoppable” and cited bidding wars on memoirs. “Publishers continue to snap up memoirs, undermining the perception that the genre is embattled in this post-Frey, post-Seltzer era.” Indies, of course, knew this long ago. It's not news to us."

So, if you are writing a memoir, the take-away is to keep writing. Study the genre and what is out there and strike while the market is hot.

My next entry will be on getting started with your memoir.

4 comments:

Lillie Ammann said...

Kerrie,
I'm looking forward to reading your posts about memoirs, as I have a series on memoirs coming up in a month or two. I'll bookmark your posts so I can link to them in my series.

laura said...

Another great memoir is Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.

Kerrie said...

Thanks Laura!

FirstPersonArts said...

Hi Kerrie,
Your blog came up in my search for folks interested in memoir writing, and I thought you might like First Person Arts’ Impressions competition. It includes a competition for short documentary films (under 5 minutes) and documentary photo essays (5 images or fewer), but the memoir competition calls for 1500 words. Entries are due August 15th. Check out the competition website here: http://impressions.firstpersonarts.org and find out more about First Person Arts, a Philadelphia non-profit dedicated to memoir and documentary art, at http://www.firstpersonarts.org

We’ve got some excellent judges, and the winning entries will get some very nice exposure, not to mention a little cash. It would be great if you could post about this on your blog and/or pass it around to your friends or writers groups. If you send me a note, I’ll happily forward you a flyer. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks,

Andrew
aschwalm@firstpersonarts.org

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