Q: What’s the difference between narrative nonfiction and a memoir? I’m hearing that because of so many fake memoirs, editors are shy about taking memoirs. Could a memoir be pitched as narrative nonfiction?
A: All memoirs and biographies are considered narrative nonfiction, while how-to books are considered prescriptive nonfiction. In other words, call the book narrative nonfiction or memoir, but it’s the same thing. Agents and publishers won’t be fooled by the word choice.
The market for memoirs is still strong. Think of runaway bestseller Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs, for example.
If you can attest to the accuracy of the details and the story is alluring and well-written, the manuscript has a fair chance. Well-written memoirs include vignettes or scenes with beginnings, middles, and ends and include action, dialogue, narrative, settings, and other elements of fiction to make readers feel as though they are watching the story unfold.
Self-publishing guest post: Ask the Book Doctor
Bobbie Christmas, book editor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too. Send them to Bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at http://www.zebraeditor.com