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How to Write a Memoir for the Marketplace with Book Coach Jennie Nash

Memoirs have a unique power to captivate, inspire, and connect with readers on a deeply personal level. 

They are windows into the lives, experiences, and emotions of their authors, offering a glimpse of the human condition in all its complexity. 

But, what does it take to transform your life’s story into a compelling memoir that not only resonates with readers but also finds its place in the competitive marketplace?

I recently interviewed Jennie Nash, CEO of Author Accelerator, a hugely successful business she has been running for 10 years. They certify, train and support book coaches. She’ll discuss the importance of understanding WHY you want to write a memoir and how it will serve you in the world.

She has developed blueprints for writing memoirs, non-fiction books, and fiction books. Each blueprint consists of 14 steps that guide writers through every aspect of writing their book. The first step is always asking why are you doing this? Understanding your motivation is crucial when it comes time to market your work.

Why Write a Memoir? 

First off, it can be super therapeutic – it’s a way for us to figure out what’s been going on in our lives. You know, sometimes we jot down stuff in a journal, maybe scribble letters to someone (even if we never send them), or just pour out our thoughts and experiences in various ways. 

It’s not about trying to sell a book or anything; it’s more about capturing your own life story, leaving a legacy for your family, or simply finding some healing in the process. So yeah, it’s definitely not about writing for the big, bad marketplace.

Memoir Writing is Unique

Memoir writing is a unique and sometimes challenging endeavor. More often than not, writers start with one idea in mind, only to discover that their story is something entirely different. It’s like planning a journey to London in the 70s, only to realize that Amsterdam in the 80s is where the real adventure lies.

Why does this happen? Well, memoirs are deeply personal. They’re about sharing your life experiences, your truths, and your vulnerabilities. But often, as you begin to write, you find that your story takes on a life of its own. It morphs into something unexpected and powerful.

Take, for example, the concept of “memoir plus.” This modern approach to memoir combines personal storytelling with additional elements like interviews or cultural analysis. Think of books like Carmen Maria Machado’s “In the Dream House,” which delves into a taboo topic within the lesbian community while simultaneously dissecting the act of storytelling itself.

Another fantastic example is “Wired for Music” by a scientist who initially set out to write about the impact of music on the brain. However, through collaboration with her editor, she discovered that her personal journey with music added depth and richness to her work, giving it a new shape and purpose.

How Your Book Will Serve You

How do you want to be in the world with this book?

Once you have established your “WHY” Jennie recommends thinking about how your book will serve you beyond just being published. Some people want their books to establish them as thought leaders or experts in their field while others may use it as part of their business funnel or ecosystem.

When trying to figure out why they want to write a memoir, many people struggle with finding an answer beyond simply wanting “to tell my story.” It’s important for writers to dig deeper by asking questions such as “Who do I want my readership audience to be? What do I hope they gain from reading my story?”

Building a Blueprint

In an ideal world, writers would approach Jennie and say, “I’m ready to do this. I have nothing. Let’s go!” But, let’s be real, that’s not how it usually goes down. Instead, clients typically arrive with a draft, a few chapters, countless attempts, blog posts, keynote speeches, and a whole bunch of other material.

Jennie asks them to show me what they’ve got as they follow her 14 steps blueprint plan. It’s like a creative puzzle, and it’s often a rollercoaster ride of discovery. Some parts are like hitting the jackpot, while others need some serious TLC.

Rarely does Jennie advise her clients to scrap everything and start over. It’s more of a discussion, a journey of inquiry. The blueprint process is about asking the tough questions before diving headfirst into writing. Why are you doing this? What’s your strategy? What’s your ultimate goal? These questions can be unsettling because they often lead to answers that aren’t as dreamy as writers would like.

Let’s face it; we often wish for a fairy godmother to swoop in and magically grant us a million-dollar book deal, a blockbuster movie adaptation, and the freedom to quit our day jobs. It’s the dream. But the blueprint process reminds us that crafting a book is a journey, not a shortcut to instant fame and fortune.

So, why does Jennie love this part of her job so much? “Because it’s a journey of self-discovery and growth for both me and my clients. It’s about turning their dreams into a tangible plan, one step at a time. It’s about refining their creative process and transforming their scattered thoughts into a cohesive story.”

In the end, it’s not just about writing a book; it’s about the adventure of becoming an author. So, whether you’re just starting or you’ve been on this path for a while, consider taking that two-week journey of inquiry. Embrace the magic of the blueprint process, and who knows? Maybe you’ll find your own version of happily ever after in the world of writing.

Getting Excited About the Marketing Plan

Getting people onboard with creating an effective marketing plan is not easy since most writers are introverts who prefer working alone rather than connecting with readers early on. However, helping them understand what they bring to the table in terms of talents and proclivities can make this process less daunting for them.

One of the critical points in getting your memoir ready for the marketplace is having an effective marketing plan in place before finishing or publishing your book. Waiting until later could mean missing out on opportunities to connect with readers early on, making it harder to market your work effectively later on.

Creative Marketing Strategies

Marketing your book isn’t just about pushing it out into the world; it’s about aligning your intentions, passions, and expertise with your target audience. It’s about making a difference and connecting with those who genuinely care about what you have to say.

Also it’s important to understand that building a platform doesn’t mean amassing a massive Instagram following. It’s about finding unique and authentic ways to reach your readers. There are countless avenues to explore, and it all starts with a clear sense of purpose and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone.

Identifying Goals for Your Book

Today, writers are realizing that publishing is a tool, not the ultimate goal. When you ask an aspiring author what they want, many might say, “I want to be published.” But what does that even mean? The real desire behind it is to get their words into readers’ hands, to make an impact, and to engage in meaningful conversations. The method of publication is just a means to achieve these goals.

Now, here’s where it gets exciting. The landscape of publishing has evolved dramatically, offering numerous avenues to get your content out there. It’s not just about traditional books anymore. Have you considered a Substack newsletter, or perhaps a paid subscription newsletter? Why limit yourself to one format when there are so many possibilities?

You see, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a book, and it doesn’t have to follow a specific blueprint. The key is to ask yourself, “How do I want to use my work? What impact do I want to create?” Once you have those answers, you can explore the myriad of publishing options available.

Now, some of you might wonder why there is still focus on the agent and traditional publishing process when we just discussed this newfound openness to alternative routes. It’s a valid question.

The reason is simple – the traditional publishing path has historically set a high standard for quality and excellence. When you approach your project with the intention of meeting that high bar, it will serve you well, regardless of how you ultimately decide to publish.

Think about it. What if you had to create a book proposal or pitch your idea in a query letter? What if you had to thoroughly research the market to see what else is out there? These are valuable steps that can help refine your work and make it the best it can be no matter which route you choose.

Why Work with a Book Coach?

Why should you consider working with one in the first place? Imagine this: You’re embarking on a road trip, and you’ve got a map (or GPS) to guide you along the way. Your book idea is your destination, and the manuscript is your journey. A book coach is your trusted travel companion, helping you navigate the twists and turns of the writing process, keeping you motivated, and ensuring you stay on the right path.

Start working with a book coach right from the beginning. Don’t wait until you’ve penned a complete manuscript. It might be tempting to think, “I’ll just write it all down, and then I’ll have someone polish it up.” But here’s the deal – having that guidance and support at the outset can save you a ton of time and effort down the road.

Think of it as building a solid foundation for your book. A book coach can help you refine your book idea, create a blueprint, and set you up for success from the get-go. It’s like having an architect plan your dream house before construction begins, ensuring that everything is in place and the structure is strong.

How do I find a book coach?” Well, that’s where Author Accelerator comes in. They have a network of 180 certified coaches located all over the world, each with expertise in various genres. These coaches have all been trained in the blueprint process, which is a fantastic framework to get your book started on the right foot.

The beauty of working with an Author Accelerator book coach is that they aren’t rigid in their approach. They’re encouraged to adapt the blueprint to suit your unique needs and writing style. They’re tool agnostic, meaning they’ll use whatever methods work best for you.

If you’re ready to take that crucial step in your writing journey and work with a book coach, you can visit Author Accelerator’s “Match Me” page. There, you can search for a coach who aligns with your goals, whether it’s reviewing your blueprint or guiding you through the entire book-writing process.

Remember, working with a book coach isn’t just about getting your book polished; it’s about ensuring your book’s foundation is solid, your ideas are refined, and your journey as an author is supported every step of the way.

So, if you have a book idea burning inside you, don’t hesitate. Take that first step and get the guidance you need. Your future readers are waiting for your story, and a book coach can help you bring it to life.

If you want to listen to the full interview, you can watch it here.

The Relaunch of the USA Today Best-Selling Book List

In a fun and informative conversation last week, I spoke with Holland Saltsman of The Novel Neighbor and Eric Bursch of USA Today to discuss the relaunch of the USA Today best-selling booklist. The relaunch of this iconic list brings new opportunities for authors, publishers, and independent bookstores. With a focus on supporting independent bookshops and incorporating bookshop.org into the process, the relaunched list aims to celebrate diverse voices and provide readers with an authentic reading experience.

Since 1993, USA Today has been publishing a best selling book list, starting in print and later transitioning to a digital format while maintaining a print edition. This list is considered the “people’s booklist” as it incorporates data from various sources without any editorial oversight.

The list went on hiatus in December due to the manual and burdensome process it involved. As part of the digital consumer product, organization, and engineering team at Gannett and USA Today, Eric and his team took on the challenge of automating the process by leveraging technology.


This automation allowed for the relaunch of the list in a much-improved state, with a renewed focus on the best-selling books as the centerpiece. Additionally, USA Today has established new partnerships, particularly with the independent bookstore network, which adds further excitement and value to the relaunch.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. There was a great sense of excitement surrounding its return. During the early discussions, it was unanimously agreed upon that the list should have a strong focus on supporting independent bookstores.

Collaboration with independent bookstores played a vital role in the relaunch. The partnership with bookshop.org, an online platform supporting indie bookstores, emerged as a key element. Bookshop.org, often described as the “anti-Amazon,” provides readers with a way to support local bookshops even if they lack a physical indie store in their area. Also, in collaborating with The Novel Neighbor, the relaunch also aims to feature various independent bookstores, showcasing their uniqueness and fostering connections within different communities.

The relaunch of the best-selling books list also brings newfound excitement to authors and publishers. Unlike other lists with limited spots, USA Today’s list includes 150 books, offering more opportunities for recognition. This is particularly significant as the publishing industry evolves, presenting innovative approaches to book releases. The list provides authors and publishers with another avenue to achieve best-selling status and reach a broader audience.


While the relaunch is a cause for celebration, it also marks the beginning of a dynamic and evolving process. The list will not remain static but will continue to evolve with new features and collaborations. Future plans include highlighting unique content, incorporating events happening within local communities, and expanding the ecosystem surrounding the list.

The collaborative content team is dedicated to providing a rich and engaging experience for readers and industry professionals alike. The evolution of the list is just beginning, promising exciting features and content in the future. Authors, publishers, and readers can look forward to an ever-growing ecosystem that celebrates the power of books and fosters connections within the literary community.

If you want to listen to the full conversation you can watch the video here.

The algorithm is not a person

Escaping the algorithm trap: Building authentic connections on your own terms

Recently I’ve witnessed two different scenarios where people referred to the algorithm as though it were a being: 

“The algorithm doesn’t like me today.”


“We can’t stop posting or we will be penalized by the algorithm.”

While both of these quotes came from influencers with huge followings (400-500k), it gave me pause and made me sad as these reflections of frustration over the control that this beast, the “algorithm” had over them and their livelihoods. 

The fact that the algorithm was being perceived as a judge who could dictate and ultimately influence futures and outcomes made me cringe, made me sad, and made me worry about how we are determining our sense of success. Chasing likes, views, and followers is exhausting and not healthy. 

Being beholden to social media’s algorithm feels a bit like the tail wagging the dog. 

Social media is not a strategy. 

Yes, social media and its algorithms help with discovery and reaching new and ideal people. They can be amazing tools and channels for amplifying your visibility and ultimately creating bigger communities (that ideally convert into people with whom you would want to work). 

But if you have no other means of getting your message and content out into the world – then this can be a dangerous hill to climb – and it’s why I urge clients to focus more on building a platform that is truly belongs to them and engaging in a community that is theirs. It’s imperative to be independent and not subject to the whims and mercies of social media’s latest trends or popularity. 

Now, if you are truly an “influencer” whose initial success is based solely upon stratospheric social media growth, then this advice is not necessarily for you.

If you are, however, an expert, an author, a thought leader, and a movement maker with powerful messages, quality content, inspiring speeches and talks, peer and press recognition, and you are making the world a better place –  then keep doing what you’re doing. DO GOOD WORK!

From your good work, then you can focus on: 

  • Letting your good work speak for itself so other people refer you and mention you
  • Giving talks, speeches, and granting interviews so people can discover you and your expertise
  • Building an email list so you can easily reach your community
  • Creating consistent thoughtful and optimized content on your website and elsewhere, so you are easily searchable.  

But relying on the algorithms of social media as your only form of community building is a slippery slope on a very unsound foundation that quickly leads to big frustration and ultimate burnout. 

It’s crucial to prioritize the people in your community—the individuals you serve and those who benefit from your expertise. Focus on meeting their needs and preferences rather than fixating on what the algorithm thinks of you. By nurturing your community first and leveraging social media as a complementary tool, you can foster genuine connections and create a more meaningful impact.

Interested in learning more about this approach or creating the best strategy for building your community and platform? I’d love to chat! Schedule some time now!

    What does disruption feel like to you?

    I admire the idea of disruption but it sort of scares me too. I’ve been thinking about how to disrupt my own business but that sort of scares me too.

    Back in October, I changed up some of my operating and support systems and I’ve also been changing up my work mix. While I wouldn’t call it a full disruption, it feels like lots of change to me and I’m not always sure I’m headed in the “right” direction. I’m a bit like my own clients who say to me “Tell me what I need to do”!  But ultimately it’s up to us – not someone else to make the change happen.

    Anyway, I’m sitting here on what feels like the edge or cusp of disruption while taking it one small step at a time. Here are some of the l steps I’m taking: 

    1. Embracing AI when it can get me unstuck (ChatGPT) or make me more productive (Krisp.ai).
    2. Taking on projects that excite me but don’t fit my usual work model.
    3. MORE meeting people in real life (IRL). This is where the magic happens – the need for human interaction, connection and community is where ideas become possibilities. 

    I’m curious – what does disruption look like or feel like to you? And what’s becoming possible for you? 

    As always, check out my “74 Experts, Tools & Resources for Engaging & Growing Your Audience” for a comprehensive compilation of resources to help you take your next big (or small) steps! 

    What does a book marketing strategist do? 

    Are you an author who wants to get your book out there? You’ve written your book, and you’re ready to get it out? But where do you start?

    The world of book marketing is an exciting one, but it can be overwhelming. 

    What kind of marketing tools should you use? How long will it take before people start buying your book? And what if they don’t buy anything at all?

    If you’re new to the industry and don’t know where to start, I’ve got some tips for you – from my recent conversation with Becky Robinson of Book Marketing Action Plan

    What is my role in working with authors?

    It’s evolved and continues to evolve – but the journey typically looks like figuring out these stages – then creating strategy and plans about how to make it happen.

    1. Where are they in their author journey
    2. Where are they in their book journey
    3. What are their goals for book and beyond

    Being alongside with the clients and establishing their plans, and their strategy on how they implemented all of these stages, is the way I picture myself working with them. Helping them execute and implement the plan.

    When is the best time for someone to work with a marketing strategist?

    It’s hard. It’s never too soon, ideally, at least six months before their publication date. 

    What are the most important ways an author can prepare to market a book?

    I like to think about it as building community – it can be less intimidating.

    But getting really clear about what that community looks like – then figuring out how to most effectively and authentically reach them.

    And getting support in the areas they aren’t skilled in.

    What changes have occured book marketing over the past 10 years?

    The spectrum of how to get your book published has grown exponentially!

    What most excites you about helping authors with their marketing?

    I believe that my interest in assisting others in spreading their messages is what initially prompted me to get involved.

    I feel like helping people who have important messages that can change people’s lives is really important. And books still very much do that, as well as the content that they’re putting out into the world that supports that book. I learn new stuff every day from working with experts. So selfishly, I love that. And I think the reason I stayed in this genre or working with authors or being excited about books is the possibilities for what happens after you publish a book. 

    Whether you did it as a content strategy, to promote yourself as a thought leader, or to simply tell your experience and perhaps influence someone’s life, I think it’s extremely essential. There is just something about being able to identify as an author that, in my opinion, opens up more doors for them in terms of interviews, appearances on stages, talks, and possibly even inclusion in other works. As a result, I find it fascinating that people who go to all this difficulty to write a book find that it simply opens up a lot of doors. This, in my opinion, should be the reward for all the effort.

    Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind when building your author brand to reach more readers with your books. 

    1. Put together a list of people who know, love, and adore you and start sending them an email every now and then (with their permission). If you don’t have a plan for email, then it’s going to be really hard to build a community.
    2. Think about how you’re showing up online and Google yourself to see what you find. Make sure the story the online world is telling is the one you want to be told. 

    For the entire conversation with Becky Robinson of Book Marketing Action Plan listen here!