Tag Archives: memoir

Closing Soon: Open Call from Sunspot Lit

Since launching in January of 2019, Sunspot has amplified multinational voices from around the world. The pSLJFrontublication is accepting fiction, poetry, nonfiction, scripts, screenplays, photography, and art until November 30. Translations and extremely long-form pieces are accepted. Submit here or visit the website here.


New Multi-genre Writing Contest

SunspotSunspot Literary Journal wants your best fiction, nonfiction, or poetry opening. No restrictions on theme, category, or length of the piece from which the beginning is excerpted.

Length for the entry: Up to 250 words for prose. Up to 25 words for poetry. 

First place winner will be published, and finalists will be offered the opportunity to be published. Enter as many times as you like. Simultaneous submissions accepted. Work can have won other awards without being disqualified.

Cash award of $250 for the winner.

Link here to submit today. 

Closing October 31, 2019. 

Wind, Waves, and Wonder: Where Dolphins Walk

Where dolphins walk_CoverToday is the first day you can buy Where Dolphins Walk. This memoir from a commercial airline pilot who has traveled the world brings a level of thoughtfulness and meaning to how we move through the world…not only while traveling, but in our daily lives.

With profound consideration and lively stops in a number of the world’s most beautiful countries, Douglas Andrew Keehn gives readers a global cultural tour. The weight of his experiences happen in South America, where he eventually lived for a time before returning to the US.

Throughout his journeys and the book, Keehn returns time and again to the message conveyed by the subtitle: A Memoir of Bridging National Lifestyles, Positive Change, and the Powers of Silence. 

Destined to become the modern-day A Year in Provence for South America’s many jewels, Where Dolphins Walk connects readers with the global harmony that Keehn so clearly feels is not only possible, but is present for everyone who wishes to engage respectfully with other cultures.

Read this over the holidays, and you’ll know exactly where you want to go for your vacations…and possibly for the rest of your life.

Keen CockpitDouglas Andrew Keehn was an avid saltwater angler and deckhand as a teenager. Born in NYC, he was raised in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. He began flying at age seventeen, and has been a flight officer for a major commercial airline for thirty-three years.

After crossing numerous U.S., Canadian, and Mexican cities, his travels shifted south to Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. He resided in Florianopolis, SC, Brazil for more than six years.

Celebrity Memoirs Tank…Good for Non-Celeb Authors

Celbrity author memoirs are tanking. Last year, books that were expected to move some 200K copies were selling an anemic 17K or 20K total.
Part of the drop is due to the fact that celebs are producing more than one memoir. People are interested…but just not that much.
An impact that hasn’t been discussed yet is the availiability of so much other writing due to indie efforts. Why read about a celebrity whose high-flying life has little to do with the average person when someone else’s tale of triumph resonates much more clearly because the author was also an average person?
The memoir market fell only 4% last year. Fewer celebrity memoirs sold as expected, and could themselves be responsible for most of this dip. That indicates that everyday folks who produced memoirs were being read instead.
Good news for all of us with an important message that needs to be heard.

Contest with $5K Prize

The AARP and the Huffington Post have teamed up to offer a memoir contest. You must live inside the U.S. and have been born before Dec 31, 1964 to enter.

The official rules are here. If you’ve been sitting on a memoir all this time, here’s a great opportunity to make a splash financially and with the recognition awards can bring!

Book Marketing with Adjunct Stories

Often I talk to authors about selling themselves to readers as much as their books. It’s natural for readers to want to know more about authors, their motivation for writing a particular book, even about the writing process.

Nowadays, with short books and short stories being produced in ebook and even print formats, there’s an added ability to market your books. No matter what you’re writing, you can create adjunct books.

Consider a self-help author with a workbook…the workbook isn’t the primary self-help book but it adds to the original publication in a helpful manner. Novelists, too, can use this idea by writing short stories about appealing secondary characters in their stories.

These can be sold, of course, or given away to generate interest in the book. Since most adjunct books are short, the time and effort to produce them is often much less than what the original project required.

How Much Will a Written Analysis of My Book Cost?

A written analysis is one of the most popular services authors request. This examines the structural and storytelling elements of fiction and memoirs such as opening chapters, the
ending, primary events, character development/history, point of view, use of narrative and dialog, and other critical components. When the work is nonfiction, the structural and writing elements of that category are considered.
The write-up for a manuscript of average length is usually between 10 and 15 single-spaced pages. This is all narrative text; no tables, charts or graphs are used as filler. The commentary points out major and minor issues that should be addressed. It also makes recommendations for how to correct the issues along with discussions of how specific changes might resonate with other areas of the manuscript.
The usual turnaround time is 3 to 4 weeks.
The rate for a manuscript of standard length is $6.50 per double-spaced page. Short story or article/essay collections have a slightly higher fee if each piece is short.

There is a minimum fee for shorter books; if the project is longer than average, a flat rate is applied because the per-page rate would become prohibitive.

If you decide that you do not have the time to implement the recommendations or would like the work done for you for other reasons, this can be accomplished as the second step. A price quote will be created at that time based on the amount of work to be done. If the work progresses within 30 days of delivering the write-up, 60% of the write-up fee will be credited to that price quote.

Another way to approach this issue is to work with only the first 100 pages, including a synopsis. This allows me to see how you are handling the primary structural elements on the page. Since so often the primary issues appear in those first 100 pages, the mini-analysis can help you take a big step forward in a more affordable fashion. The write-up you receive averages 4 to 6 single-spaced pages. Once you see how certain issues impact those opening pages, you can extend the lessons learned to the rest of what you’ve already written.

Turnaround for a mini-analysis averages 2.5 to 3 weeks. The rate is a flat fee of $985.

The Difference between Memoir and Autobiography

Here’s a question I get all the time: How do I know if I’ve written an autobiography or a memoir?

The answer is simple: An autobiography covers pretty much your entire life. A memoir covers a specific aspect of your life (like a lifelong battle with lukemia) or a specific time period (a marriage that fell apart and the triumph built out of the life post-divorce).

Most people nowadays are writing memoirs. A few who have led spectacular lives (yes, ordinary people can live spectacular lives) are writing autobiographies.

Be sure to categorize your work correctly when you approach agents and publishers. You’ll also want readers to know exactly what they’re getting if you self-publish. The answer is simple yet applying the knowledge is important for your pitch and your marketing efforts.

How Much Should You Charge for an E-book?

Recently e-books have been getting a lot of attention. Big publishers who were slow to enter the game now have as much as 27% of their profits coming from e-books. The market increased 129% over the last 18 months, and it shows no signs of shrinking. So, how do you take advantage of this as an author?
Consider the top and bottom parts of the range first. Some sites allow you to charge up to $199 for a single e-book. That’s great if you have specialized information but for most books, that’s really out of bounds.

Ten bucks is considered the magical touchstone…as in, don’t price an e-book more than that.

Free…well, that’s not really the bottom. It’s zero, so we’re going to bypass that as an option.

$0.99 is the true bottom. Reserve this lowest price point for special promotions that you advertise heavily and that run only for a short timeline, say, a single day.

$1.99 is a nice price point for longer term sales or sales that you don’t market as heavily.

That leaves you with a nice everyday price range between $2.99 and $9.99.

Writing About Real People

When I read this essay from a memoir author, I recalled how often asked about work that involves real people. Often for memoir and biography authors, the question arises about whether to include events that would cause someone else pain. Even novelists and short story writers can face the same concerns when they mine their lives for material.

The pain can be as simple as a little embarrassment over a minor slip to revealing criminal activities. Remember that I’m not talking about legal aspects of the work; the question here is only about whether to write about things that will cause someone else pain.

Your truth is your truth. If you are driven to write your truth, there’s a reason for it. Honor that reason. Honor your truth.

Yes, that can be the difficult road to take. But writing in and of itself isn’t an easy pathway. The truth is often ugly, even harsh. It still shines because that is the nature of truth.