How to craft the perfect autobiography, biography, or memoir

If you’ve ever spent some quality time with a good biography, autobiography, or memoir, you’ll know that this is a genre which has a lot to offer both to the authors who are willing to translate their lives into literature and to the readers who are looking to be moved by the stories of those who have lived other lives from their own. But how does one write a good biography, autobiography, or memoir? This month, we’ll be providing some tips and tricks for crafting a work of non-fiction drawn from life and history which will leave your readers moved, to tears or to joy or to action, and hungry for more. Oh, and don’t forget that Outskirts Press offers a spectacular One-Click Publishing Package for Memoir!

Five time-honored ways to write from life include:

1. Taste-test. That is, take the time before getting started to immerse yourself in the genre. Like a lot of others, the autobiography, biography, and memoir genres are so diverse as to include everything from “chatty” celebrity tell-alls to serious historical excavations to symbolic and “atmospheric” texts that read more like prose poems than anything else. Find a couple of examples of the field that do what you want to do, or somehow make clear the imaginative possibilities of the form, or that do the exact opposite, and use these books as your guiding stars as you begin to craft your own book.

2. Draw up a list of scenes. Draw up a list of scenes which stick in your head, regardless of their importance to your larger life story or the life story of the historical figure you’re attempting to put together. These scenes are simply the memories or historical moments you know you want to write about, now or eventually, and can be organized or restructured later. Don’t put too much of a premium on what comes “first” or what you want the first paragraph, page, or chapter of your book to look or feel like. It’s more important that you get some words on the page without being intimidated by the process.

3. Start fleshing them out. Simply pick a couple of the scenes on your list and start fleshing them out in prose. As you go, you’ll start to get a feel for what’s most central about that memory or historical moment to you. Is it the way it made you feel, and how that affected who you became later? Is it key in understanding a relationship in your life or the life of an historical figure which shapes everything else? Is it that it provides humor to leaven the darker moments of your book? Highlight the lines which seem most important and telling, and move on to the next scene once you feel like you’ve reached a moment of completion. You’ll fit the pieces together later. Do you find that more scenes crop up in your mind as you’re writing? Perfect! Add them to the list. You’ll get to them eventually if they really are important.

4. Embrace the drama. By which we mean: employ each and every storytelling technique which you find useful, including colorful language, dramatic tension, and situational irony. Just because you’re describing events which really happened doesn’t mean that you can’t use the tools of fiction to keep things fun and interesting. Think about the central conflicts of your scenes, and see if they might start adding together to something even larger and more central to the story of the life you’re telling. Does each memory circle around your or your historical figure’s relationship with your/their mother? What is the larger ecology that your collected scenes all fit within? Pump up the setting and the mood with all the vivid details that you or the documents you’re drawing from can recall.

5. Due diligence matters. Whether you’re writing a memoir or a biography or an autobiography, the fact remains that the true story isn’t limited to your own personal memories and lived-in experience. Many of the most striking books to emerge in recent years–Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk, and Anne Lamott’s Some Assembly Required, for example–are personal stories built upon a foundation of deep research. Whether your book involves a backpacking trip across the Himalayas or a battle with cancer or a chronicle of experiences as an educator or anecdotes of career-related experiences, there are endless possibilities for primary research. Decades-old weather records for most corners of the globe are archived online. Your local library likely stocks ancient, moth-eaten back issues of your local newspapers. State historical societies host census data from the turn of the century. In an age when you can access fire insurance maps from the 1870s and also have your DNA sequenced for a small fee, there’s no limit to what information sources are available to strengthen your work.

Not sure where to start? It may be time to lean on an expert. If you’re looking to write and publish your memoirs or a biography about an historical figure, there’s never a better time than now to inquire. Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com where you can chat with one of our publishing experts or call us at 1-888-672-6657 to speak to a Publishing Consultant.

 

Amazon Featured Book of the Week

Here’s this week’s Featured Book-of-the-Week available now on Amazon.com!


Make America Hope Again: A Plan to Win in Diversity & Inclusion for Corporate America

by Norman P. Fleming

(5 Stars – 12 Customer Reviews)

Price: $17.95

Norman P. Fleming’s “Make America Hope Again: A Plan to Win in Diversity & Inclusion for Corporate America.” In light of the recent uprising of racial hatred across our country, this book offers a beacon of hope—to bring all races together as one for the United States of America. Make America Hope Again highlights a ten-year chronology of the author’s personal experience in corporate America as a person of color, documenting race issues that companies may encounter in recruiting, developing, and retaining people of color. Let’s Make America Hope Again by embracing diversity and inclusion for all races.

 Learn More 

 

Please note that product prices and availability are subject to change. Prices and availability were accurate at the time of this posting; however, they may differ from those you see when you visit Amazon.com.© Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Amazon, Amazon.com, the Amazon.com logo, and 1-Click are registered trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Amazon.com, 410 Terry Avenue N., Seattle, WA 98109-5210.

 

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Give Yourself the Gift of a Haunting Halloween

Have you been feeling a little … spookier than usual lately? It may just be that time of year to pull up a chair, munch a pumpkin spice scone, and crack open the cover of a brand-new haunting read. Readers of all shapes and sizes and ages and tastes love getting a thrill this time of year, reading mysteries and suspenseful novels as bare branches blow in the wind and strange noises make the mind soar with what could be lurking in the shadows. Are you one of them?

You’re in luck! From Fiction to Non-Fiction to Memoir to Children’s books, the Outskirts Press Bookstore is packed with great selections, both holiday-themed and haunt-free alike, that will enrich those long golden Fall afternoons and luxurious nights.

This October, we’d like to recommend a few of our favorite Halloween picks!

The Ghosts of Paw Paw Lake, written by Mark Simone & illustrated by Dan Simone

Something is afoot near Paw Paw lake. Over the decades, residents near the lake have noticed that some things don’t make complete sense: Sometimes, things are seen that should not be there. Rational minds encounter impossible specters as the sun drains from the day. And while everyone seems to have a story of a ghostly encounter that should not be possible, they struggle to share these stories with each other and the world. That’s where Mark Simone’s haunting book comes in; in this collection of short stories, his belief that occasionally ghosts share the same spaces we occupy breaks through in a series of thrilling, mysterious, and profound tales sure to delight readers of both holiday fiction and short story collections.

Maggie: Trick or Treat by L.S. Davis

No Halloween would be complete without a great picture book for young readers, and L.S. Davis delivers in his whimsical and delightful Maggie: Trick or Treat. This makes for Maggie’s third appearance—Maggie and MAGGIE are both available through the Outskirts Press bookstore but are not holiday-themed—and she just gets more and more interesting with each book! After all, who can’t relate to a little girl with a big appetite for food and for life? That’s right, nobody! Especially during the holiday season, what with all those pumpkin spice lattes and pies and whatnot!

Dutch River by Charles Ayer

When NYPD Detective Lieutenant Walter Hudson’s wife, Sarah, unexpectedly inherits a family farm in the tiny upstate village of Dutch River, New York, their first thought is to sell it as soon as possible. But they are immediately charmed by the village and its residents, and Sarah’s great-uncle, Armin Jaeger, leaves them a letter too puzzling to ignore. They are soon stunned to find that Sarah has been left more than a simple farmhouse in a quaint village; and matters turn even more intriguing when Walter discovers a mysterious connection between Dutch River and the murder of a prominent Boston philanthropist, Charles Martin Sewall. And matters take an even more deadly turn when Walter’s family is threatened. Walter will need all his skills and all the help he can get from his good friend, Leviticus Welles, as he desperately races against time not just to solve a hideous crime but to save his family as well. It’s a race he can’t afford to lose.

Priscilla Willa, Party Planner: Night at the Haunted Motel by Michelle McCormick

Juvenile Fiction readers should check out Night at the Haunted Hotel. Ten year-old Priscilla Willa is at it again! This time she and her partners are in charge of a murder mystery party at the old River Rock Inn. They’ve got their hands full with menus, costumes, and silly guests. But what are they supposed to do when a grumpy ghost shows up? Join the fun as Priscilla and her friends plan their most spooktacular party yet!

 

Ghosts of Mayflower & Ghosts of Mayflower II: Pennhurst by Tamera Lawrence

Do you believe in ghosts? In the 1980s, the Pennhurst State School and Mental Hospital was shut down due to resident abuse. Fast forward twenty-five years, and the Mayflower building hosts a number of resident ghosts. Author Tamera Lawrence, an orderly working on the grounds, documents many of these hauntings—ones that she has experienced personally as well as those experienced by others—and traces the history of what is now known as Pennhurst Asylum. This book holds a lot of cross-genre appeal and is sure to be a hit with lovers of both memoir and the paranormal. Lawrence leads her readers on a thrilling journey of discovery, documentation, and brushes with forces that defy human understanding—and her books, Ghosts of Mayflower and Ghosts of Mayflower II: Pennhurst make the perfect platform to launch your Halloween reads in October!

 

There’s always something exciting happening in the Outskirts Press Bookstore, where you can find all of the titles we’ve mentioned here today, and more, for sale online. While we’ve provided you with a few suggestions, the Outskirts Press bookstore is filled with books of all genres, certain to satisfy your craving for mystery and thrills. So, now it’s time to find your favorite afghan, heat up your mug of tea, and nestle into your new favorite book! And if you haven’t yet published a book yourself, there’s never a better time than now to inquire. Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com where you can chat with a Publishing Consultant or call us at 1-888-672-6657.

Self-Publishing Author Spotlight: C.R. Norris

At Outskirts Press, Inc., we take great pride in celebrating the work of our successful self-publishing authors, and we do so each week through our Self-Publishing Author Spotlight. This week we highlight self-publishing author C.R. Norris, who has published two successful titles with Outskirts Press.

Learn more about C.R. Norris and her published works through this week’s Self-Publishing Author Spotlight.

About the Author:

C.R. Norris is a perpetual student of science and mathematics. Born in Salina Kansas, her varied career has included experience as a musician, a blood banker, and an electrical engineer in the semiconductor industry. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she indulges her passions for green chile, playing music, and writing.

 

The Wasp’s Nest: Book I of the Wasp Chronicles

Two 21st-Century Teenagers Discover Their Strengths in an Apocalyptic Future…

Chris has never thought of herself as anyone special—she’s a band geek, and she’s happily on her way to a high school marching band contest when suddenly she finds herself standing in the middle of an unknown desert. Is this a hallucination from the bottle of tequila that the teenagers enjoyed the night before? If it’s a hangover, it’s worse than anything she could have imagined…her band uniform causes her to be mistaken for an enemy soldier. Chris is rescued by a rag-tag band of resourceful tribal people who call themselves Taders. She is taken to their home, Tojoba, where she is told that she has been “rifted”—pulled through time into the future. She finds that several other band members were dragged through as well, including her best friend, Bruce. But rescue by the Taders comes at a price: the teenagers must be accepted by mentors, and submit to training. Chris is accepted, but Bruce is rejected back to the wilderness. Both of them will find strengths they never dreamed they had, as they gradually uncover the tangled and shocking mysteries of humanity’s future…where each of them is destined to play a key role on opposite sides of an epic conflict. Richly imagined, beautifully characterized, and deeply engaging, The Wasp’s Nest will leave you eager for the upcoming second book in The Wasp Chronicles.

Product details…
Paperback
Format: 5 x 8 Black & White Paperback, 384 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (May 19, 2016)
ISBN10: 1478769688
ISBN13: 9781478769682
Genre: FICTION / Science Fiction / Action & Adventure

Wasp on the Wind: Book II of the Wasp Chronicles

The saga continues as a future apocalyptic world begins to reveal its secrets . . .

2018 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD – FINALIST
EVVY AWARD WINNER – 1st PLACE

Chris, now a Trax, was what the West Sand Command called “a greeny.” Her “Before Time,” that time before she had been rifted, had been from a distant past, and perhaps even a different timeline. Who could say . . .? But after some three years of training and a return to the very group who had rescued her from the desert, her “Now Time” circle was complete . . . with one adjustment, she was now also “Det Arju′” She carried with her a mysterious pendant that she had been ordered to present to Lon, the Tagos of the Choe, an assignment that, as of yet, no West Sand Commander was aware. Bruce, Chris’s friend, and fellow “Before Time” band geek, was rejected by the Trax. While Chris trained, his path hooked him to the side of the Taden’s greatest nemesis, the Captain. Now as his lieutenant, he must help the Captain save his command by aiding him in the capture of Ponopin, a genius Tader entrepreneur, and the Brigade’s greatest thorn. But as fate would have it, neither mission is as easy as it sounds, the tangle of circumstances sending Chris and Bruce on a collision course with each other. Richly imagined, beautifully characterized, and deeply engaging, Wasp on the Wind will leave you clamoring for the upcoming third book in The Wasp Chronicles series.

Product details…
Paperback
Format: 5 x 8 Black & White Paperback, 379 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (May 30, 2017)
ISBN10: 1478785985
ISBN13: 9781478785989
Genre: FICTION / Science Fiction / Action & Adventure

Ready share your expertise and stories? Get published with Outskirts Press!

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Does Your Book Stand a Ghost of a Chance? Here’s How to Ensure It Does

Ghostwriter. WooOOOOooooOOO …!!!

It’s a mysterious-sounding job title, is it not? One almost imagines a shadowy, cloaked figure huddled in a dimly lit room, tapping away on a worn typewriter. All hush-hush …

Not so much. Ghostwriters are a poorly kept secret in the literary world and aren’t so mysterious anymore. Celebrity authors and bestselling writers use them and make millions off the fruits of their labor. Why? Because the initial expense of hiring a ghostwriter pays them back in spades when the quality of the book drives sales. And, because a ghostwriter can usually churn out a book sooner than a busy celeb or public figure can, that selling starts earlier than it would otherwise.

Everyone has a story but not everyone has the time, discipline or storytelling skills to turn their story into a great book. There are plenty of reasons you may want to get a ghostwriter involved in the creative process, and you don’t have to have a Hollywood A-lister’s budget to do it:

  • A ghostwriter can take your ideas from scrawled notes and half-baked ideas to a fully fleshed-out story and then a completed manuscript in a matter of months.
  • For authors looking to break into the English-speaking market, a ghostwriter is essential. If English is not your native tongue, a skilled ghostwriter can construct a story that appeals to your target audience and ensure that your ideas translate properly in English.
  • Flummoxed with your first-draft manuscript? Ghostwriters don’t just write from scratch; they are also qualified “book doctors.” You may only need them to assess an existing manuscript and rework it to make it the strongest it can be. That might be a little or it might involve a complete overhaul. How much you want your writer to do for you is up to you.
  • Sometimes a project is close to complete but needs a bit more polish than a standard copy edit is intended to do. This is a perfect time to hire a ghostwriter! Many authors mistakenly believe that a ghostwriter only writes complete books, beginning to end — but they take on jobs of all sizes. If your manuscript needs to be gussied up and you prefer more personal, tailored service, a ghostwriter is a good match for you.
  • There are additional advantages to hiring a ghostwriter through Outskirts Press. We’ll never “farm out” your project to a nameless, faceless text mill! We’ve contracted with a small number of hard-working, experienced ghostwriters with whom we’ve built long, trusting relationships.
  • We’ll put you in touch with a writer we know is a good fit for you, then you communicate directly with the writer to ensure that he or she is a good fit. Your writer will give you personal service and will work with you to ensure you get as much quality work done on your book as possible — within your timeline and budget.

Remember, no task is too big or too small for a ghostwriter to handle — it’s the level of personal service a ghostwriter brings to the table that truly defines their value.

Are you ready to publish your book? Whether you need a ghostwriter or not, our publishing consultants can help to guide you in the right direction. There are three ways to connect:

  • Call 1-888-672-6657 (OP-BOOKS)
  • Chat with us using the live chat option on our website
  • Make an appointment with a Publishing Consultant for assistance

 

Check Out Our Newest FREE Flip Book — and Sell More of YOUR Book

When you self-publish with Outskirts Press, you get so much more than the bare minimum. That’s because we want more for you than to get you published — we want you thrive!

Nothing demonstrates this commitment to assisting self-publishing authors like our Book Marketing Resource Center. This virtual bookshelf is stocked with a variety of eBooks, each addressing a specific aspect of book marketing — and this library is FREE for all authors who publish with Outskirts Press. Our flip books are designed to equip you with the know-how to launch, promote and sell your book in greater numbers than you thought possible.

Now, with the season of giving just around the corner, there’s one more reason to check it out: We’ve added a new ebook in this growing resource library specifically addressing holiday book sales! This latest addition to the Resource Center, “9 Ways to Maximize Holiday Book Sales,” provides a roadmap and timeline for promoting your book to make the most of Christmas gift-giving. It offers tips on making your book stand out with holiday shoppers, creating visual impact, and recognizing and capitalizing on selling opportunities.

The Book Marketing Resource Center from Outskirts Press is brimming with all kinds of information you can put to use now to increase sales through the holiday season and beyond. Each is downloadable and optimally organized for easy reference, so if you’re an Outskirts Press published author, you can log into your Author Publishing Center to check out as many books as you’d like, whenever you’d like.

Remember, these valuable resources are FREE! It’s just another way Outskirts Press is providing exceptional service to our cherished authors.

If you haven’t published with Outskirts Press yet, you can get started with a personal publishing consultant by clicking the link below. What are you waiting for?

Tales of Charm. Balderdash, and Yarns Somewhere in Between by Thomas Noel Smith

Technology has made it easier than ever to reach wider audiences no matter where they are in the world. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box and you can market a self-published book in creative ways, affordably and impactfully. This is where book tours come in: Tours are a great way to connect with your readers and technology has made them easier and cheaper than ever!

Author Thomas Noel Smith is taking his latest book Tales of Charm, Balderdash, and Yarns Somewhere In Between, on tour — a Virtual Book Tour with Outskirts Press. Thomas will be able to take his book to the far corners of the globe, all from the comfort of his own home! Keep an eye out for Thomas’s book as he will be featured on several blogs over the weeks and months ahead!


Luckily for us, Thomas was kind enough to answer a few questions as the tour was getting started so that we can give you a glimpse into the mind of the creator of Tales of Charm, Balderdash, and Yarns Somewhere In Between.

OP: Tell us a little bit about Tales of Charm, Balderdash, and Yarns Somewhere In Between. What is it about?

Thomas: My book is a collection of short stories ranging from the very serious to the very ridiculous…all of the stories are very entertaining.

OP: Why did you decide to write this story?

Thomas: There were stories deep within me that needed to be told.

OP: How did you get your book published?

Thomas: I submitted my manuscript to Outskirts Press. I have published four other books with Outskirts Press.

OP: What types of readers would be interested in this story?

Thomas: I think everyone who enjoys fiction will be interested in my book.

OP: What is special about your book?

Thomas: It is unique. The tales offer a different view of life and the world in general.

OP: What differentiates it from other books in the same category?

Thomas: No other book has such a wide variety of stories — ranging from the very short and direct, to the longer stories that approach the essence of life and love.

OP: Have you published any other books?

Thomas: I have published four books of poetry with Outskirts Press: “Dust” and Other Poems, Pirouettes in the Moonlight, Words of the Times, as well as Impressions and Memories.

OP: Do you plan to publish more?

Thomas: Yes, I plan to publish more.

OP: Thanks for your time, Thomas! We look forward to learning more about you as you visit other bloggers!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Thomas Noel Smith, in addition to being a writer, is also a poet. He is currently a film actor in Florida. He has also worked as a professional circus clown and a magician.

For more information or to contact the author, visit https://www.outskirtspress.com/flactortom

This author purchased the Virtual Book Tour marketing option, which allows self-publishing authors to connect with bloggers and harness the power of the blogosphere by taking their book on the “virtual road.” Learn more about this service by visiting your Publishing Center and reviewing the available marketing options.

Are you an author looking for help to market your self-published book?

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