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5 Signs Your Memoir Has Traditional Publishing Potential

Memoir is an art that Lucinda Literary cares deeply about, but the marketplace is difficult to break through. We’ve seen and considered hundreds of memoirs in the last 15 years, and today there are more writers than ever ready to usher their stories into the world. So, what does it take to stand out?

Does your book idea have the markings most important to agents and publishers, should you wish to publish through the traditional route?

You needn’t have them all, but you should have several of these crucial elements:

  1. You can point to an established audience for your story. Have you written a short story or essay that received attention? Won an award for your writing in any contest or literary journal? Or have an engaged blog or social media following?
  2. Your writing sings on the page. Quite literally, sings. You’ve gotten reads from your most discerning set of reader friends, and they’ve told you they couldn’t stop reading.
  3. Perhaps you’re an expert with a large following or heavyweight credentials in your area of expertise. Your memoir contains a number of takeaways, addressing the guidance your audience looks to you—and only you—for. 
  4. You’re tackling a timely subject—a big idea. Does your book tie to the most popular news of the day in your field or category? A trend that seems to have staying power? Is there a twist that your book surprises readers with?
  5. The format you envision for your book is striking and unique. Maybe your memoir contains visuals, exercises, recipes… or maybe there’s some inventive way in which the story is told (a relevant metaphor, an alternating POV, anything that suggests the book is the perfect companion or gift). Extra credit: you have a website or podcast where readers can go even deeper.

If you are ready to get your memoir out there, our on demand course just for memoirists can help: Write A Memoir That Sells. 

This course is packed with more guidance on how to stand out, and provides example query letters as well as insights on market trends, tips for building your platform and more.