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  1. #11
    Arden Wolfe
    Guest

    Re: Query letter for Memoirs

    Well, I guess Miss Snarks trumps all those books on Amazon, the bookstores, various blogs, etc. that tell you to prepare a proposal for even a memoir.

    I don't believe Mr. Herman is layman either.

    Perhaps the best answer is to ask the agent(s) or check the agency page for the requirements.

    Wolfe



  2. #12
    Arden Wolfe
    Guest

    Re: Query letter for Memoirs

    But...

    Here is what I invite the readers and memoir writers to do: Go to amazon.com and type in memoir proposals. Go to the bookstore and look at books that list off non-fiction advice on proposals - specifically on memoirs.

    You don't have to listen to my opinion. Please research it fully for yourself. Don't take one opinion from the nether, consider the many and the books that sell the very product discussed here.

    If you find the answer you seek, follow it and the advice the professionals give.

    You don't have to believe what you read here, but DO believe what you discover for yourself.

    Peace.

    Wolfe

  3. #13
    James Lewis
    Guest

    Re: Query letter for Memoirs

    Wow, looks like this was a good discussion. Thanks to all that responded.
    Well, after a little research, I found this on the agent query website (www.agentquery.com):
    __________________________________________________ _________

    Memoir Query Guideline: The Most Unspoken of All the Unspoken Rules (Shhhh, can you hear it? We didn't think so.)

    Memoir is a nonfiction genre that's sold to publishers like fiction. Huh? That means if you have a memoir, it must be a completed manuscript and NOT in the format of a nonfiction proposal.

    For this reason, agents treat the submission process for a memoir like the submission process for fiction. Just like aspiring fiction writers have to finish the whole damn manuscript before querying agents, writers who are seeking representation for their memoirs must write the whole memoir, and shouldn't query agents until it's finished, polished, and ready to be read. And when you do query agents for your memoir, you follow their fiction submission quidelines for submitting your memoir rather than the nonfiction guidelines.

  4. #14
    Beautiful Loser
    Guest

    Re: Query letter for Memoirs

    Here's a link with some info re memoir submission, queries, etc.:

    <http://www.nelsonagency.com/manuscript.html>

  5. #15
    Tracey Kallab
    Guest

    Re: Query letter for Memoirs

    Hi all,
    Just muddy the issue a little bit more...
    I queried a NYLA about my memoir and didn't mention anything about having a proposal to offer. The agent emailed the next day asking for one. Of course, it may have been because I made the mistake of calling my memoir a 'narrative nonfiction'. But I did describe it as a true, personal story in the body of my email.
    Tracey

  6. #16
    Jeanne Gassman
    Guest

    Re: Query letter for Memoirs

    Tracey,

    NYLA is a scam. They ask for a proposal from everybody for everything. If you send them notes from your journal, jottings of your dreams, or even your grocery list, they'll ask for a proposal.

    To learn more about the scams, visit:

    <http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/>

    <http://www.sfwa.org/BEWARE/>

    Jeanne

  7. #17
    Eva
    Guest

    Re: Query letter for Memoirs

    Memoirs may be an easier sell if you are famous, Poitier and Clapton come to mind, but honestly WGAS about their lives.

    Another memoirs that comes to mind is John Grogan. Most people would ask "who?". He not really famous, but knows how to write, and well enough for a best seller AND a movie about his life.

    So much for being famous in getting your memoir published. I think the truth is a good story sells--fiction or non-fiction.

    It is certainly easier for the famous to be published (Jenna Bush and her stupid books) but the truth is the public will buy just about anything from someone famous regardless of the quality--agents and publishers know this and money is the name of the game.

  8. #18
    Beautiful Loser
    Guest

    Re: Query letter for Memoirs

    Amen to that, Eva.

    Just look at Valerie Bertinelli's instant success. Of course, it helps that Oprah's on your side.

    Then, there's the other end of the spectrum. Those bogus memories...Frey, and other liars.

  9. #19
    Robert Brown
    Guest

    Re: Query letter for Memoirs

    When Arden speaks I wish you'd all listen. From an insider's viewpoint, he's very seldom wrong. So please listen.

    Unfortunately or fortunately, whichever side of the publishing triangle you happen to be on, things more forward as does time. There was a time when memoirs were relatively easy to sell because of the reality binge we seemed to be on. However, as millions jumped on the bandwagon and wrote about what they assumed was an interesting life, things got repetitive and kind of boring. You can only have so many alcoholic parents and so many rape victims before you've heard it all. So memoir isn't as popular as it once was.

    Those of you who have access to Publisher's Lunch can quickly tell what's going on in publishing. I'm not going to beat their drum either, however, because PL's popularity in the industry has also diminished. But when there's very little out there that is open to writers, it's better than nothing.

  10. #20
    Tracey Kallab
    Guest

    Re: Query letter for Memoirs

    Just a small clarification, when I mentioned an "NYLA" I mean a New York literary agency (just didn't say which one) My abbreviation was awkward. But thanks for the warning Jeanne!
    Tracey

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