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Messing with Memoir: How books need to serve readers

June 2, 2021

June 2, 2021

A few years back my boss decided to send me to a Christian women’s blogger’s conference called Allume which brought together speakers and potential authors that our publishing company, Herald Press, wanted to nab.

It wasn’t far from where my middle daughter and her husband were living at the time, with our first grandchild.

Did I say jump at the chance?

One of the speakers was Rob Eagar who presented a seminar on marketing. He’s written a book called “Sell your Book Like Wildfire: The Writer’s Guide to Marketing and Publicity.”

Publishers have always expected authors to work hard in helping to sell their own books, but the difference between the 1980s when I got started, and the 2020s that we’re in now—is like being on a different planet. In the 80s, I had never heard of a “platform” unless it was the thing a speaker stood on when invited to give a speech somewhere. Only the most popular and bestselling writers were sent on book tours—planned and paid for by the publisher. Who gets that treatment nowadays? Not. Very. Many.

So, I’ve been keeping Rob Eagar’s book in the event I get to make use of it for this memoir.

Then more recently, the first thing I read one morning just stopped me. It was written by Margot Starbuck, author of numerous books. I got to meet her once and she’s as fun and down to earth in person as in her videos. In a newsletter, she wrote that whatever you write, make sure your book has an innate appeal to your reader. An author needs to be able to spell it out to a potential purchaser in a sentence or less. Most of us want to read things that we feel will benefit us, entertain us, or give us information that we wouldn’t get otherwise.

I’ve signed up to receive her updates and helps. Margot is such an encourager of writers, and of helping others find their calling and a solid avenue to publication. There are of course many myths out there and misconceptions and she is a wonderful help as she shares about those.

She really hammered me the other night, with a post about making sure your nonfiction book — including a memoir — are about more than you: they should be a help and inspiration to the reader.

Yes and yes, of course! I knew that. But now I must ask myself: is it coming through sufficiently in the chapters and prose I’ve written? (I’ve made notes to make sure I check myself as I soon take a pass through the whole rough draft, working towards a final edit.)

Here are some tips from Margot Starbuck in a FREE Wordmelon coaching doc: About the Reader.pdf. And here’s a link to the website with much more!

(And wouldn’t you love to drink a cup of that wonderful coffee this morning?!)

Grandson learning the art of sending cards–a first step in pleasing readers!

From → Writing Life

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