Autobiography vs Memoir
Everyone has a story to tell.
Let your story inspire hundreds of people with a book.
Share your inspiring messages with a book.
Here’s a bad joke:
What’s the difference between a summer dress, clean
underwear and a funeral gown?
Answer: The difference between memoir, autobiography and
Like a summer dress, memoir covers a season. Like clean
underwear, autobiography is something you do for yourself for a lifetime. Like
a funeral gown, biography is something that someone else dresses you in for
Do you want to write a memoir?
You may have heart-breaking and ultimately inspiring messages.
And many people have told you, “You should write a book.”
You’ve been told to
write a memoir, but you are not sure what exactly it is. What is the difference
between memoir and autobiography—even a biography?
Well, I just told you the bad joke of an answer (Yes, I
completely made up this joke, while writing this email).
Here’s the real breakdown:
Memoir – A
specific period of time in your life.
For example, 6 summers, your childhood up until age 18 or a
year of travel. Memoirs give you more opportunity for storytelling, because
they often follow The Hero’s Journey arc, with a beginning, middle, climax and
Think Wild, by
Cheryl Strayed, which traces her hike over the Pacific Crest Trail, with
flashbacks of her life. And the bestselling memoir of 2018, Becoming, by Michelle Obama, shares her
story from childhood to First Lady, but focuses on the theme of finding her
Autobiography – A
story covering your entire life from birth through adulthood that you write
This is most relevant for historical or influential figures
whose birth and life are of importance.
Autobiography examples include: The Story of My Experiments with Truth, by
Mahatma Gandhi and Long Walk to Freedom,
by Nelson Mandela. As a reader, I love these books because they gave me a sense
of the time and place of these incredible giants of humanity, from their
Biography – A
story that someone else writes about your life.
Of course, you better be important enough for someone to
want to write an entire book about you.
These examples are about the same people as above, but are written by others: Gandhi the Man: How One Man Changed Himself to Change the World, by Eknath Easwaran. And Mandela: The Authorized Biography, by Anthony Sampson.
With all due respect, you’re probably not famous enough for
a biography. You’re probably not significant enough for an autobiography
But you may have a
massively-inspiring message and life journey to share, dramatic enough to be a
movie. So, the best genre for you could be memoir.
You may not be a First Lady or a President for that matter
(Barack wrote his own bestselling memoir before he became President, Dreams of My Father).
Yet your memoir could
inspire hundreds of people, if not millions.
What’s the best way to write a memoir? Can we ghostwrite
your memoir? Should your book be a memoir or an expert book?
One of the memoirs we have helped come to life.
I’m happy to jump on a call and explore options. Apply for a
complimentary Author Breakthrough Session here (value $500).
It’s summer time and a wonderful time to sew your summer
dress or summer shirt.
Feel free to apply for a session.
by Helen Chang, ABM Editorial Director
Read more about Tips on Writing a Memoir
Read more about Business or Memoir Book
Read more about Why do we tell stories
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