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How to make your memoir stand out

Two agents and publishing veterans share insider tips for pitching in this popular genre.


We want to help you understand the perspective of literary agents, to show you what agents and publishers are looking for, and provide you with tips to make your book proposals and manuscript submissions stronger. The industry is going through enormous changes, and we’re here to assist you in successfully navigating the shifting field.

One of the hottest categories within the writing community—and probably the toughest sell on the publishing side—is memoir. We see more memoir submissions than anything else. At writers conferences, memoirs represent the majority of projects discussed at pitch sessions. For example, at the Writers’ Institute in Madison, Wis., last summer, almost 80 percent of Marilyn’s one-on-one sessions with authors focused on memoirs, and half of those had abuse at their core.

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