Putting your life story on paper is one step in autobiographical writing; next is revise and edit it to perfection; followed by revise and edit it some more.
But how do you know when it’s time to quit revising and editing a book and risk submitting it to literary agents and publishing companies for review?
Knowing when a manuscript has attained publishable quality is one of many reasons to hire a professional editor. Although this is true for most literary genres, it may be especially so for first-time authors of autobiographies. Life stories seldom appeal to a large enough audience for trade or indie publishers, unless they’re written very well or by someone famous.
Aspiring autobiographers seeking professional editing expertise should find an editor who specializes in autobiographies and memoirs. Professional book editors who have also authored books in one or both of these similar genres provide new authors the unique perspective and knowledge they need to write an engaging autobiography of publishable quality.
This does not mean, however, that every intriguing and well written autobiography will interest literary agents and commercial publishers. To the contrary, they reject most autobiographies, not because they are substandard, but because they do not have the mass appeal of other genres, such as romance novels and other works of fiction.
Some would-be autobiographers just give up. They become overwhelmed by the publishing process. Guidance by a professional editor could have made publishing their autobiography an enjoyable learning experience and rewarding accomplishment.
Those autobiographies that do go to print tend to be published by vanity presses or self-published. Regardless of how your autobiography gets published, you want it to represent, not embarrass, you. How well you tell the story has everything to do with who publishes it, who reads it and who likes it. That’s why professional book editing is so essential to producing a quality product.
Literary agents and commercial publishers do not want to do your work for you. Editors cost them money, too. Autobiographical manuscripts that fail to reach publishable standard seldom get a second look from agents or publishers, and a poorly written one will not capture and retain the interest of readers.
Do it right from the start, or regret it later.
Need help writing, editing or publishing your autobiography? Contact me for a FREE phone consultation.
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