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Your Life is a Book: How to Craft & Publish Your Memoir

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Everyone has a story to tell. Learn how to write your memoir and get published with the help of two well-known publishing professionals. Your Life is a Book guides budding writers though the transformative process of memoir writing to publication. In addition to exploring the unique elements of crafting a memoir—story arc, point of view, dialogue, where to start (not the b Everyone has a story to tell. Learn how to write your memoir and get published with the help of two well-known publishing professionals. Your Life is a Book guides budding writers though the transformative process of memoir writing to publication. In addition to exploring the unique elements of crafting a memoir—story arc, point of view, dialogue, where to start (not the beginning!)–Your Life is a Book also focuses on the self-exploration, awareness, and understanding that this emotional literary project triggers. With proven writing exercises and prompts, this book is a practical and enlightening guide to perfecting the art of memoir writing.


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Everyone has a story to tell. Learn how to write your memoir and get published with the help of two well-known publishing professionals. Your Life is a Book guides budding writers though the transformative process of memoir writing to publication. In addition to exploring the unique elements of crafting a memoir—story arc, point of view, dialogue, where to start (not the b Everyone has a story to tell. Learn how to write your memoir and get published with the help of two well-known publishing professionals. Your Life is a Book guides budding writers though the transformative process of memoir writing to publication. In addition to exploring the unique elements of crafting a memoir—story arc, point of view, dialogue, where to start (not the beginning!)–Your Life is a Book also focuses on the self-exploration, awareness, and understanding that this emotional literary project triggers. With proven writing exercises and prompts, this book is a practical and enlightening guide to perfecting the art of memoir writing.

30 review for Your Life is a Book: How to Craft & Publish Your Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Peterson

    Hello dear Goodreads readers, OPRAH.com has just chosen YOUR LIFE IS A BOOK: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir for its inspiration and practical self-help books that really work. This is my new book, written with my long-time NYC literary agent, Sarah Jane Freymann. We wanted to share our decades of writing and publishing expertise so that you can write your own life story in a memoir that others—not just family and friends—will also want to read with pleasure. What do we possess if not our ow Hello dear Goodreads readers, OPRAH.com has just chosen YOUR LIFE IS A BOOK: How to Craft and Publish Your Memoir for its inspiration and practical self-help books that really work. This is my new book, written with my long-time NYC literary agent, Sarah Jane Freymann. We wanted to share our decades of writing and publishing expertise so that you can write your own life story in a memoir that others—not just family and friends—will also want to read with pleasure. What do we possess if not our own stories? When you tell your own story you come home to yourself and learn that every life has meaning. Discover the transformative power of writing memoir. On my website, BrendaPetersonBooks.com, I'll be sharing insider tips on how to create a character of the self, point of view, dialogue, and narrative arc—all that I've learned from writing my own two memoirs, BUILD ME AN ARK: A Life with Animals and the recent I WANT TO BE LEFT BEHIND, which was selected as an "Indie Next" and "Great Read" by independent booksellers; and named as a "Top Ten Best Non-Fiction Book" by Christian Science Monitor. I hope you all enjoy this new book and that it helps you tell your own life story! Thanks so much for reading.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This book contains much inspiration for introspection, finding our stories and working them out - a worthwhile read even for those like me who have no interest in publishing a memoir. For those who are, there’s a lengthy section in the last half of the book on how to go about it. Be aware, if you love reading memoir, this book will grow your to be read list!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Find Your Life Story by Writing a Memoir Memoirs come in a variety of flavors: travel, spiritual, food, legacy, and others. Although each has a unique focus, they share the need for story. Vignettes can be sad, funny, or poignant, but they need the structure of story to captivate the reader. The first chapters of the book give a plan for starting a memoir and finding the story buried in your reams of material. After this section, the authors devote a chapter to each type of memoir from travel to Find Your Life Story by Writing a Memoir Memoirs come in a variety of flavors: travel, spiritual, food, legacy, and others. Although each has a unique focus, they share the need for story. Vignettes can be sad, funny, or poignant, but they need the structure of story to captivate the reader. The first chapters of the book give a plan for starting a memoir and finding the story buried in your reams of material. After this section, the authors devote a chapter to each type of memoir from travel to legacy. At the end of each chapter, you will find exercises to help you use the information in the chapter, writing prompts and a short section on publication. The second part of the book is devoted to publishing. Sarah Jane writes about what agents do. After reading her section, I think anyone would be fortunate to find an agent like her who not only tries to sell your book, but helps you over the rough places while you're writing it. Several editors discuss what they do and how to edit your work. Finally, they include a section on self-publishing which is valuable if you want to give your descendents a real book, but aren't looking for a traditional publisher If you plan to write a memoir, this is an excellent way to start. The book is crammed with information on writing memoir and on publishing. Although you may need other references along the way, this one combined with a good critique group can get you started in the right direction. I also recommend this book for fiction writers. Although the information isn't new, seeing it from a slightly difference perspective may give you ideas for improving your writing. I didn't choose this book with the idea of writing a memoir, but after reading it, I'm thinking about starting one. Writing a memoir, like any writing project, is a lot of work, but the payoff is learning more about yourself, finding your story, and having a gift to pass on to your descendants. I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    As someone who hopes to one day finish a memoir, this book attracted my attention right away. I was hoping it would provide suggestions that would help me improve the memoir I started nearly a decade ago. Now that I’ve finished the book, I know that it is going to be a valuable resource whenever I actually sit down and begin to rework my material into better form. Just from this one reading, I already have some ideas that should help me improve on my first effort, providing a better story for my As someone who hopes to one day finish a memoir, this book attracted my attention right away. I was hoping it would provide suggestions that would help me improve the memoir I started nearly a decade ago. Now that I’ve finished the book, I know that it is going to be a valuable resource whenever I actually sit down and begin to rework my material into better form. Just from this one reading, I already have some ideas that should help me improve on my first effort, providing a better story for my readers. And as I work towards a finished product, I fully expect that I will be coming back to this book for inspiration and encouragement. The book starts with a series of chapters that guide an aspiring memoirist through the process of crafting their story, finding their voice, and discovering their narrative arc. These chapters will have something to offer practically any memoirist, regardless of the type of memoir. Then come chapters that address issues that are more specific to different types of memoir – travel, spiritual, or food. For an author writing about these topic, these will be invaluable, but they include suggestions that are likely to be of more general use as well. The book concludes with several chapters that address publication. These final chapters aren’t so much a “how-to guide” as they are gentle advice about how to avoid common pitfalls and make the most of your options. I suspect that this book would be a valuable reference for anyone who has ever considered writing a memoir. It might also be of interest to those who enjoy reading memoirs and would like some insights into the processes that creates these works.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Darlene Ran

    Authors Brenda Peterson and Sarah Jane Freymann give in their book, 'Your Life is a Book', valuable information to anyone writing or considering writing their own memoir book. As authors, writing teachers, and a literary agent themselves, Peterson and Freymann discuss how to best craft your memoir focussing on finding your narrative arc, writing with all senses, focus, finding your own voice, dialogue, and discovery. Woven into each chapter are publishing tips, exercises, and writing prompts. Th Authors Brenda Peterson and Sarah Jane Freymann give in their book, 'Your Life is a Book', valuable information to anyone writing or considering writing their own memoir book. As authors, writing teachers, and a literary agent themselves, Peterson and Freymann discuss how to best craft your memoir focussing on finding your narrative arc, writing with all senses, focus, finding your own voice, dialogue, and discovery. Woven into each chapter are publishing tips, exercises, and writing prompts. The second part of the book discusses insights about publishing. For anyone interested in memoir writing, I highly recommend this book. Using the guidelines and suggestions of this book will make your own storytelling richer and more passionate. The book concludes by encouraging writers to tell their story because, " Both on the page and in life, you will not be quite the same person at the end of a memoir as at the beginning." (Page 245).

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Memoir is the story you write about yourself and your life. How do you do it? How do you make it more than just a diary that interests only you? These questions and many more are answered in this book co-written by a memoirist and her agent. Chapters explore the different types of memoirs, such as travel, spiritual, and “foodoirs.” The authors talk about how to transform yourself into a character in a book, how to find your voice, how to give the reader a sense of time and place, and so much mor Memoir is the story you write about yourself and your life. How do you do it? How do you make it more than just a diary that interests only you? These questions and many more are answered in this book co-written by a memoirist and her agent. Chapters explore the different types of memoirs, such as travel, spiritual, and “foodoirs.” The authors talk about how to transform yourself into a character in a book, how to find your voice, how to give the reader a sense of time and place, and so much more. Each chapter includes exercises and writing prompts. While the bulk of the book is about writing, the last section talks about publishing, discussing things like agents, editors, platform, rejection, and self-publishing. The back of the book offers an extensive list of memoirs to read. I plan to go right down the list. Overall, this is a great guide for writers working on memoirs.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Lees

    Your Life is a Book: How to Craft & Publish Your Memoir by Brenda Peterson & Sarah Jane Freymann is an easy-to-read sourcebook for writing memoir. The authors share clear examples, essays, and quotes from expert agents, editors, and memoirists about book proposals and publishing in this book. Memoir requires a deep inner quest for understanding to be interesting to readers. Readers want to know how the author/protagonist is making sense of what is happening in the author’s life. What happens in t Your Life is a Book: How to Craft & Publish Your Memoir by Brenda Peterson & Sarah Jane Freymann is an easy-to-read sourcebook for writing memoir. The authors share clear examples, essays, and quotes from expert agents, editors, and memoirists about book proposals and publishing in this book. Memoir requires a deep inner quest for understanding to be interesting to readers. Readers want to know how the author/protagonist is making sense of what is happening in the author’s life. What happens in the author’s life on the outside is the plot. Plot is different from this happens and then this happens. [p-136, paper ed.] Memoir is about the growth and change of the memoirist, the author. There is so much to learn from Peterson’s and Freymann’s book. If you’re studying memoir, Your Life is a Book: How to Craft & Publish Your Memoir is a great resource to have.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amy (DemonKittie)

    *This book was won from a First Reads giveaway on goodreads.com*

  9. 4 out of 5

    C.

    This book is an excellent source for anyone desiring to improve their writing techniques, learn how to craft a memoir, find an agent, book submission, manuscript rights, dangers of not setting goals, poor editing, and various aspects and key individuals in the publishing industry. The author lays a fine foundation of what information to include, how to outline the sections, the importance of book planning, plot development, story structure, framing chapters, memoir book suggestions, recalling me This book is an excellent source for anyone desiring to improve their writing techniques, learn how to craft a memoir, find an agent, book submission, manuscript rights, dangers of not setting goals, poor editing, and various aspects and key individuals in the publishing industry. The author lays a fine foundation of what information to include, how to outline the sections, the importance of book planning, plot development, story structure, framing chapters, memoir book suggestions, recalling memories, and numerous writing prompts. I highly recommend it and suggest you take notes. This book overflows with pertinent information.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carole Duff

    Part 1 is a solid craft book for memoir writing, including exercises at the end of each chapter. Favorite quotes: “At the end of a memoir, the reader should know more about himself than about the writer.” “…a good spiritual memoir is less about the ecstasy and more about slogging; it is hard, painful work.” Part 2 about publishing is less well developed; I preferred Katharine Sands’ Making the Perfect Pitch.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Li Li

    The author provided clear path to write your memoir for anyone who may not have a writing background. When I commit to myself to write my own memoir, I certainly will go back and read this book again.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    This book has some good tips and tricks, but I feel I would gain more if I actually went to one of the workshops they kept referencing. This book is a good place to start for understanding the art of memoir.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Huber

    Great book full of wonderful tips and resources. You must read this if you are a memoir-writing hopeful.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Eileen Anderson

    Really great guide. I took about two pages of notes. Learned a lot.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Kelly

    A few good nuggets.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Raine Baushke

    Wonderful book on the craft of memoir. I have read it more than once.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christy Bower

    This book clarified my thinking about how to approach writing my memoir. Not only did I take extensive notes, but I look forward to reading through the material again soon. Three thumbs up!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    For several years, I have been writing bits of memories from my life and organizing them in chronological order. A friend who knew that lent me the book to read. Here were the exact right hints at the right segment of my progress to go back and add impressions of senses: taste, smell, hearing, etc. instead of just those of seeing. I had understood from a lecture that I attended that a memoir is very different from an autobiography. What I discovered while reading this book is that I can choose t For several years, I have been writing bits of memories from my life and organizing them in chronological order. A friend who knew that lent me the book to read. Here were the exact right hints at the right segment of my progress to go back and add impressions of senses: taste, smell, hearing, etc. instead of just those of seeing. I had understood from a lecture that I attended that a memoir is very different from an autobiography. What I discovered while reading this book is that I can choose to make write in a way that might be as compelling as a novel. I omitted reading part 2 which was about how to get published since I will self publish for children and grandchildren to know their heritage. This book is an unbeatable read for any one trying to write their story. It encourages one to share and explain the themes they discover in their life.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura Smith

    What a great resource for anyone interested in writing. Although this book specifically delves into the art of writing memoir, it tackles many different areas of the craft that are applicable to any and all book writing such as dialogue, characters, setting, using your senses, etc. I kept a notepad handy while reading this book, as it inspired me to change, add and modify many chapters I was currently writing for the better.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Davis

    A favorite resource for helping me craft my memoir. Full of prompts, suggestions, and examples.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  22. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alis

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rica

  25. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  26. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

  27. 5 out of 5

    Victorea Luminary

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Insightful book for writing memoirs

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marcy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie Kruse

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