Rules for Submitting Memoir

Submitting a memoir is a little different from submitting other nonfiction. I always think it falls in line more with fiction than nonfiction when it comes to submissions guidelines. However, since I don’t actively represent memoir, I reached out to Jessica A and Amanda for their expert opinions.

In my post for a Nonfiction Book Proposal I focused primarily on self-help and narrative. Memoir doesn’t always fit neatly into these categories and left this reader wondering,

I am writing a memoir about my eccentric Southern Belle Mother. My question for you today is what do you expect in a nonfiction book proposal for a memoir? And second, how important is it for me to have a platform? And third, are memoirs presently in publishing having a hard time? That is a rumour I heard.

A Memoir Proposal

Platform matters. Just like in any nonfiction, the author’s platform does matter and is taken into consideration when looking at your book. The truth is that we see a lot of memoirs with similar stories and to make your stand out, who you are is going to matter. That’s how publishers will ultimately catch the attention of readers, by reaching your fans first.

So, in addition to your full manuscript, you’ll need to include marketing information, your bio and all of those things that relate to your platform.

With memoir, as with fiction, I would always recommend you have the full manuscript ready to go. Memoirs are difficult to sell on sample chapters alone.

The Market for Memoirs

It’s true. Memoirs are a tough sell right now and I do think some of it comes down to what I said earlier, we see a lot of similar stories.

It’s fair to say that the need for a strong platform and the current state of the market go hand-in-hand. The more difficult a market becomes, the more important a platform is.

This doesn’t mean you should stop writing or querying the project, but I do believe knowing what you’re up against helps arm you to create a stronger product.

Good luck!

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One comment

  1. Hi there. I want to submit a board book (ebook) and my file is too big to submit. It’s only 8 sentences long so it wont take much time to read it.

    Can you please give me an email address so I can send this over to James?

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