How to Write an Autobiography

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When writing an autobiography, know your audience and determine the publishing route. Write an autobiography with tips from an author in this free video on writing techniques.

Part of the Video Series: Writing Lessons
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Video Transcript

Hi everybody I'm John Graden. I'm a professional speaker, trainer and the author of seven books. One of them is "The Impostor Syndrome," which is semi-autobiographical. How to write an autobiography? That's an interesting question. I think the real question is why would you want to write an autobiography? There's a lot of good reasons to do it. But you want to make sure you're very clear on why. What's the motivation? Are you just trying to write a history for your family? Is it for money? Think a lot of people are going to buy your book? Is it for your career? Is it is it just for your ego? All of those are just fine. When you write a book, unless it takes off and is a best seller, it's not typically your money maker. The reason you write a book is the prestige. It elevates your prestige. Anytime you write a book or a book is written about you or you write a book about yourself, you elevate your stature. When you see people on television being interviewed on CNN or when there's an event or something goes down, the person they're talking to is "Hi, this is Melvin Grant, author of you know Sixty-Eight Ways to in Terrorism." Or something like that. So he the fact that he wrote the book automatically positions him as an expert. So that's a really good reason to buy the book to write your autobiography. Who's going to read this book and why? Is it just going to be your family? Is it going to be like the Hiltons? Whenever you go to the Hilton hotel, there's always a copy of their biographies in there. So you want to make sure you're very clear on who your specific audience is cause it's going to tell you about what your angle is going to be and how many copies you're going to want to print provided you sell publish. Decide on your publishing route. Are you going to go try and run this to an agent and then take it to a publishing house? That'll be ideal. Or you just going to self publish which is more profitable but a lot more work? Or are you going to do a POD, a print on demand which is more expensive but less time consuming and less labor intensive than self-publishing. How are you going to write this book? When I say how, is it going to be a chronology of your life? Or is it going to be specific to an event or a part of your life? For instance it it maybe as a mother you're you're writing the your life as a mother. So it's not going to start from your childhood. You may re refer back to your childhood, but primarily it's going to help people understand what you went through as a mom or how you built your business. With "The Impostor Syndrome," "The Impostor Syndrome" is an underlying feeling that you're not as good, skilled or talented as people think you are. It's an underlying sense of self-doubt, and it's something I've dealt with for years. So in writing "The Impostor Syndrome", I used my own story so it's not completely autobiographical. It's semi-autobiographical. My story is used to teach wisdom points. My story is used to illustrate some of the strategies that I'm teaching in the book. Another good way to gain ideas for the book is to talk to your friends. Have them write down what they consider to be your three strongest traits. What are your three unique abilities? Do they have three or four memories with you that they can share? They they wouldn't mind being in the book? That and you could start gathering these little stories and start to organize them into a theme and use these stories to help tell your story. Use these stories to help convey your wisdom. That's the whole point of an autobiography is that you've lived a life. You've learned a lot and now you're sharing the story. And I sure hope you have great luck with your autobiography. Thank you.

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