Memoirs: To Write or Not to Write?

quill and paper

I’ve seen other bloggers working on or publishing memoirs, and I decided a little while back that I wanted to do the same. I even started working on writing it.

Except I’ve started wondering if I should reconsider.

There’s a lot of work that would be involved in writing, publishing, and promoting a book. But is it worth investing that much time and energy if no one is going to read it?

The reality is that I’ll only get so many readers from the online community. With a non-fiction book that’s okay; by running ads on Amazon, I can get my book out there to the world. The dollar value is nice, especially since my income from work is minimal, but as an author, what you really want to know is that people are interested in what you’re putting out there. Seeing a steady stream of nothing in your sales stats is not the most pleasant feeling in the world.

I don’t see a memoir doing that well. It’s not that I don’t think I could put together a good book with a fresh perspective. I just don’t think there’s much of an audience out there in the broader reading world for self-published memoirs written by random (as in not publicly known) people. There are a ton of memoirs out there, so the chances of the average reader even stumbling across my self-published book would be extremely slim. Thinking in terms of advertising keywords, I don’t see an ad campaign working well for that kind of book.

I could try to find a publisher. The idea of getting something as personal as a memoir rejected isn’t very appealing, though, so I would only consider submitting to a mental health publisher. There are two that I’m aware of, and I’m not really sure either would be a great fit. I’m not interested in going with a hybrid publisher.

Another blogger/author recently commented that she’s decided to focus on blogging because it was more fun than writing books that don’t get read. That was actually what got me thinking enough to write this post.

It’s not a question of lack of confidence. I know I’m capable of writing a memoir, and it would probably turn out fairly well. That’s not what’s holding me back. The reality is, no matter how good it ended up being, the chances of other people a) noticing it, and b) buying/reading it, are low. In the broader world, (a) will be the primary issue, and judging by past experience, in the online community (b) would be the bigger issue. That’s totally fine, but if I were to go ahead with publishing a memoir I should expect those issues to come into play.

I don’t want to stop writing. But blogging feels good, whereas putting a lot of work into a book that just a few people will read would feel not so good. It’s not really about deciding not to share my story, because I’m already doing just that on my blog, and it’s not as though there’s anything I’m deliberately holding back from my blog.

I’m just not sure how useful it is to do in book form at this point in time if it’s just going to end up being a hit to my confidence, and I find it hard to imagine how it would end up being anything but. So I think I’ll shelve the memoir idea for now. Maybe I’ll trot it out again in the future, maybe I won’t. But I will definitely keep on blogging and sharing my story.

A Beginner's Guide to Self-Publishing from Mental Health @ Home

A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing is a mini e-book containing all the knowledge and tricks that I’ve picked up from self-publishing two books. You can find it on the Resources page.

37 thoughts on “Memoirs: To Write or Not to Write?”

  1. I actually was thinking about having someone help me write a memoir.. but I ended up changing my mind because I felt the same way you do about it. I think you are different than me though. Since you are an author.. maybe more people then you think would be interested in you. It might take time to get your name out there.. but with time your name will be out there. That’s what I think anyway. You could always start writing it and not get it published until you are ready.

      1. That will be a great idea! You’re an Arthur now… People will want to know about you when the time is right.

  2. My own blog started as a way to showcase my artwork but it quickly turned into a memoir. Those are the posts that people connect with the most. I’m thinking of putting them together into a memoir of sorts but I’m struggling with publishing as well.

  3. I loved the honesty of this post. I am completely new to the blogging world and did things the other way around – my memoirs will be published this month. Perhaps if I had discovered this outlet first things would have been different…Thank you for such a beautiful, true-to-heart read and for giving me another viewpoint on things. I’ll be following your future posts 🙂

  4. I’ve been writing a memoir bit by bit in blog form for around 5 years (anonymously so as not to get into trouble). Must be nearing 150,000 words by now but so far I still have lots of ideas. I wasn’t at first expecting many readers, it being mainly for my own amusement, although lately it does seem to be getting more, and also more comments. A self-published print book might come later but for now I’m happy with how it’s going. Keeps me going.

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