I started working in book publishing in 2002 overseeing the day-to-day operations for a self published author. I started in the middle of December. When I went home for Christmas that year, I learned something about my family that was never mentioned before—everyone wanted to write a book, including the nephew of my Uncle’s neighbor who always popped in for peach cobbler.
I thought this was a bit humorous because writing a book is a big deal and most of my family is made up of military men who are consumed with football or health care professionals. Not too many English majors in the family, I have an aunt who collects dolls, another who collects Santa figurines, and an uncle who loves Antique cars, but I’d never seen a “library” in anyone’s house. So I never thought there were any avid readers of books let alone family members with aspirations to pen their own. No one had ever mentioned this at BBQs, weddings, milestone birthdays, our elders passing’s, it just never came up until… I started my career in publishing.
Now it comes up every time I go home to Suffolk County Long Island to see the family. I’m an entrepreneur so they always ask” How’s business going?” I started my own PR agency in 2004. Once I became an agent with Serendipity Literary Agency in 2010 I shared that news and the book questions just keep on coming.
It’s not just my family either, the members of my church, my college buddies, my Facebook friends, even a neighbor from my first Brooklyn apartment, they all want to write books too. So, when my colleague Regina Brooks told me that she was working on her next book, I asked what the topic was. I had an “OMG” moment, when she said You Should Really Write A Book. “What?!” Did Regina just change the subject to tell me I should write a book one day? “Yeah I will, but what’s your book about, I asked again. That is the title, she said. My next book is called You Should Really Write a Book: How to Write, Sell,and Your Market Memoir co-written withBrenda Lane Richardson who is a New York University—trained social worker.
Genius! This book is an extremely informative source that clearly explains how everyday people can take their own stories and turn them into a book that agents and publishers want and readers can’t put down. What I love about the book is that the messaging is written especially for those who don’t happen to be celebrities. This will be perfect for my cousin, who wants to write about her relationship woes or my aunt who wants to share some Native American family history. The book explores how so many relatively unknown memoirists are making a name for themselves. After reading the galley and seeing that more than 400 memoir titles are referenced and the assortment of information given on marketing and using social media, I have since added memoirs to my list of interest as an agent. There’s nothing like helping the average person achieve a dream, and writing a memoir is a bucket list favorite for many.
I’m sure if you think to yourself right now about the people in your life that know you work in publishing in some capacity or know that you are an aspiring writer you definitely know someone who wants to write a book about themselves or a loved one. Me, personally, I’m so glad this book is available, it’s going to make Christmas shopping so much easier this year.
Dawn Michelle Hardy will be conducting a workshop at this year’s SCWW on memoir writing.