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.