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Is it Worth Publishing My Memoir?

That’s a great question and the answer depends on what would make it worthwhile to you. If you desire to earn millions of dollars from doing so, the answer is pretty easy: statistically, no. It won’t be “worth it” for you. Memoirs notoriously make the least amount of money of all literary genres.

But there are a few reasons that might make it worth it for you. One of them could be legacy. Writing and publishing your memoir can memorialize your life experiences in a unique way for your family and others to enjoy. My readers know that I co-authored Paul Yin’s memoir and I can tell you that his paramount purpose was indeed to share his legacy with his pride and joy, his only daughter, Kimi. He wanted her to know details about the work he had done with his passion for his country and how he changed the landscape of mental health treatment in his time.

Another reason could actually be mental health related. There’s something to the research that says journaling is therapeutic. Journaling is meant for an audience of one. Well, publishing takes that a step further. You have a chance to revisit all of your journaling and write for yet another audience. An imagined, and a potentially full audience, that includes readers you choose and potentially strangers as well. You have to make sure that your language is clear so people who don’t know you personally can truly envision your intended meaning.

It’s daunting, I know. But there is some good news. A memoir is a slice of your life. It doesn’t (shouldn’t!) be the whole thing. No one is going to read that anyway unless you’re Gandhi. A memoir should focus on a specific area or theme or experience. Now, have I made it a little less daunting? The other thing is, there is help. There are platforms like Scrivener that can help you organize your content and get it publication-ready. I personally didn’t use Scrivener, but I can see how my life would have been a lot easier if I had, especially since I had never published novel-length content before. 

Your last excuse might be that you don’t think you’d be worthy of getting a publisher. And that might be true. However, along the same lines as “Taylor’s Version,” Indie publishing is slowly creeping up on traditional publishing and you get all your royalties. If you want to take a foray into independently publishing, I recommend checking out Kindle Direct Publishing and jump down that rabbit hole. While the royalties may not be what you expect, at least they are far more yours than if you go the traditional route. 

Best of luck, and if you want some coaching along the way, there are people like me who have been through it and who can help you sharpen that vision of your legacy in print.

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