Some weeks ago I’d written a post, 5 Ways You Can Write and Publish a Memoir and it occurred to me that there are so many things that need to be done BEFORE you publish.
These three important steps of action should be done as often as possible and preferably at least a year’s time before publishing. The more people know about your book BEFORE it flies out into the world, the better a chance they will buy it and share it with others.
Getting clear on your story and your story’s arc is THE most important thing you’ll do as a memoirist. This requires time, patience and persistence. You need the right conditions and mindset to make the writing part work. Publishing is another animal and shouldn’t be mixed with the writing. Once you’ve got the story down pat, then it’s time to gear up and focus on publishing. This has been my experience, and so far, it’s been working for me.
1. Continue honing in on your memoir’s themes and lessons. This is a MUST if you’re writing memoir. Your reader may not know what’s unique and different about your life story and to get the word out about your book by posting, “buy my memoir” is definitely not appealing nor is it cool. These days, readers want to learn from your lessons and maybe apply your lessons and wisdom to their own lives. They need to know more about you and the LESSONS before they can buy your book.
The blunder that I write about below is from my memoir, Accidental Soldier: What My Service in the Israel Defense Forces Taught Me about Faith, Courage and Love” has its own lesson: “lessons you learn from walking into a mine territory.”
It turns out we don’t pay for my blunder. In fact, it will never even be mentioned. But tears burn under my eyelids. My throat gets tighter. I struggle to breathe. I’m angry, specifically at Geraldine for drawing such unwanted attention. Why is it that I’m constantly looked at as a goofball or an incompetent soldier and never seen for my good intentions? Years later I will come to understand how even simple acts of ignorance or curiosity could have jeopardized myself and my garin and how self-absorbed I was. Even after my “fuck,” all I care about is being liked and respected. I want people to recognize me and be my friend, but how is Geraldine supposed to know how I feel if I never say anything to anyone? I am stuck in a limbo between not wanting to be known as the goofy American and holding back so much that I’m not allowing myself to be seen or understood by my garin members.
Obviously, this is just a story snippet and more context might be helpful to explain that particular situation, but you can get an idea of the lessons:
I’m an indecisive American constantly worrying what other garin members might think. I’ve driven by what all people need to the point I’m desperate: love and acceptance.
3. Continue working with an editor. If you’ve read all my posts on writing memoir, then you know how important working with my editor has been for me and my memoir. It’s been the key motivating factor for helping me get clear on my story before sharing my story with beta readers, which should be done at some point if you want to get extra feedback. the link will provide you with some important ways on how to discern a good editor from a not-so-good-one.
So there you have it — 3 major steps you need to take prior to publishing your memoir.
Seriously….If I could have it my way, I would just write all day, but a writer also has to put some time into promotion, which is why I inserted #2. With #3, you continue working on your story in a professional context.
Do you agree with my thinking? Are you writing a memoir or some other genre? What other tips can you provide?
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