Public Memoir Roundtables

Authenticity in Memoir Writing | Free Roundtable Discussion

Karen LevyKaren Levy
August 7, 2014



Karen Levy found that she had to push herself past the inner critic and other voices that stopped her from writing her memoir My Father’s Gardens. She took emotional risks with the story she had to tell about her need to find a voice that would give her strength and a place in which she belongs after a lifetime of belonging everywhere and nowhere. Writing allowed her to give voice to thoughts and fears she had kept to herself as a result of her introverted personality as well as a dominant mother figure.

Most memoir writers find that taking risks as opposed to playing it safe creates a realistic authentic story. As a memoirist you have to let down your guard, and reveal yourself, and on this journey you find that you are discovering more about yourself as the story progresses. You need to let go of what you think people will think about you and the judgments they may have about your “truth.” You have to tell your own story.

In this Roundtable discussion about the process of being authentic in writing a memoir, Karen Levy and Linda Joy Myers are going to discuss:

• What inspired her to write her book
• What got in the way of writing her truths and how she solved those problems
• Why she chose to write in vignettes rather than a sustained narrative
• How she chose the storyteller’s POV and style of the book
• How Karen managed to set aside the judgments she could imagine people making to write and publish her book
• The reception her book has been getting and why it appeals to people

Listen to the Recording

Download Mp3

About the Author: Karen Levy is an Israeli-American writer. Born in Israel, Levy spent most of her childhood traveling between her native land and the United States. Levy has a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the U. C Davis, and an M.A. in English/Creative Writing from Sacramento State University where she teaches composition and interpretation of literature. Her work has appeared in Welter Magazine, So to Speak, the Blue Moon, The Meadow, the Yolo Crow, and Shifting Balance Sheets – an anthology of women’s stories of naturalized citizenship & cultural attachment by Wising Up Press. My Father’s Gardens is nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize. She lives in Davis, California with her husband and two children.


Crowdfunding for Books | Amanda Barbara, Pubslush, Sonia Marsh, Kathy Pooler

Roundtable Discussion–Free for all

July 10, 2014


With the new publishing models—digital platforms, self-publishing, and hybrid publishing, authors need to find the funds to support their book project. As you all know, writing is simply the first step in getting a book into readers’ hands. Good books require several rounds of editing, which costs money. Professionally designed covers and interior need to be funded, whether it’s a team you hire or a service provided by a professional publishing company. For years now, writers have had to create and manage their own book marketing fees, hire a publicist, and provide the fees to enter book contests.

To meet the needs of writers, Pubslush has created a platform that supports your ability to presell your book, and get the word out to your community before your book is released.

Amanda Barbara, VP of Pubslush and two of our own NAMW members, Sonia Marsh and Kathy Pooler, both of whom have successfully funded their books, will join us on this call. Be sure to call in live so you can ask questions and learn how to take the next steps to launch your book, create a professional product, and have a successful book. To read more about Pubslush, click here.

On this Roundtable, we will discuss
• What crowdfunding is and why it’s important for authors
• Why Amanda created Pubslush and how it’s working for authors
• How and when you can start your own Pubslush campaign for your book
• Sonia Marsha and Kathy Pooler will discuss how Pubslush has helped them

Listen to the Recording

Download Mp3

Amanda Barbara

Amanda Barbara is the VP &Cofounder of Pubslush a global crowdfunding platform for the literary world. A philanthropist at heart, she serves on the board of directors for the Pubslush Foundation, which supports children’s literacy initiatives worldwide, and is a founder and director of The Barbara Family Foundation, an organization committed to assisting charities and children in need. Amanda is member of the Young Entrepreneur Council and is an advocate for crowdfunding in the publishing world. She has spoken at conferences–Writer’s Digest, Exceptional Women in Publishing, Crowdfunding East Conference, and the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit.

Sonia Author PhotoTurquoise Small
Sonia Marsh is the award-winning author of the travel memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of Gutsy Living on a Tropical Island and founder of the “My Gutsy Story®” series. The first anthology in that series, My Gutsy Story® Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure From Around the World, was a silver honoree in the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Digital Awards. Sonia offers “gutsy” book coaching. Contact:



Kathleen Pooler‘s memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse and sequel, Hope Matters: A Memoir show how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles: domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.  Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: @kathypooler;
Kathleen Pooler/Memoir Writer’s Journey:;



Out On a Limb: When Your Message Defies Expectations

Roundtable Discussion–Free for All
June 5, 2014

4 PM PDT   5 PM MDT   6 PM CDT   7 PM EDT



Jill Smolowe has written two memoirs that depart from common wisdom about her subject matter. The first, An Empty Lap, ignited discussion in the adoption world about the stresses marriages endure when couples, out of sync about whether to have kids, delay starting a family. Her new memoir, Four Funerals and a Wedding, steers clear of the usual how-my-life-came-apart grief script to explore what kept her going as she lost her husband and three other loved ones in rapid succession. With both memoirs, Jill invited criticism of not only the literary variety, but the personal as well. On June 5, Jill and Linda Joy will explore what propels a writer to go against the tide—and how to find insulation from the personal attacks that can result.

Four Funerals_Rev 2.indd



• When is it worth infringing your privacy to put intimate details about your life in the public domain?
• What is the importance of identifying the lens through which you will tell you story?
• Why focus a lens in your work that invites criticism from readers?
• What is the importance of having a message? How does it guide your storytelling choices?
• Given privacy considerations, what obligations do you have to others who appear in your story?
• Is catharsis a goal? How does that differ from Aha moments?

Jill Smolowe is the author of the memoirs Four Funerals and a Wedding: Resilience in a Time of Grief and An Empty Lap: One Couple’s Journey to Parenthood, and co-editor of the anthology A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents. An award-winning journalist, she has been a foreign affairs writer for Time and Newsweek, and a senior writer for People, where she currently specializes in crime stories. Her articles and essays have appeared in many publications and anthologies, including the New York Times, the Boston Globe, The Washington Post Magazine, More, Red (UK), Adoptive Families and the Reader’s Digest “Today’s Best NonFiction” series.

Visit Jill at and


Free Events at the National Association of Memoir Writers


By now, writers are aware that the publishing world is undergoing a volcanic eruption that has changed the landscape forever.  Ten years ago, when I published my first book Becoming Whole, it was “against the rules” to give anyone the hint that you were self-published. It was a dirty word then and generally understood that any self-published book was just not any good. Those of us writing and developing our books to the highest level of professionalism, which most writers did, were not in agreement with this assessment, but we wore it around our necks anyway. It carried an uncomfortable weight, and was something we had to either defend or deny.

Many of us got around the problem by starting our own publishing company–which I did with three friends. We hired the best designers of interior and covers, bought 10 ISBN numbers, created a DBA and publishing company name, got copyeditors and proofreaders–all of it. I learned about Bowker and what it does, and the Library of Congress rules. Printers, the thickness of paper, matte vs. glossy covers, shipping. It was a huge uphill climb and exhilarating. It was also a ton of work in a field I knew nothing about. And, I had to act as a publisher with Lightning Source, now called Ingram Spark, which is geared toward self-publishers now, but then I felt I was an imposter. I was a writer, mostly, but I was also determined to not be fettered by the publishing world’s gatekeepers at the time. 

I’m so excited to be part of the new conversation about publishing now! My last three books were published by She Writes Press, a hybrid publishing company that took the work I had to do by myself before and produced a professional set of books, two of which are finalists in the ForeWord Review Book of the Year contest. 

So here at NAMW, the publishing revolution, along with the Memoir Revolution, dubbed so by our own Jerry Waxler, are big topics of discussion. This week I’m pleased to have with us two self-publishing experts–expert because they did the work of researching how to publish on a shoestring, and put in the time to do their books well and with great care to detail. 

Sharon Lippincott and Boyd Lemon - medium sized

Sharon Lippincott and Boyd Lemon, our April Roundtable guests, have a huge cache of resources to help you learn more about self-publishing–from writing, to online organizations, to editing. Please join us live so you can ask questions, and as always, when you sign up, the downloadable audio is yours to keep as a resource.  


April Roundtable Details

Topic: Self-Publish Your Book on a Shoestring 

Experts: Sharon Lippincott and Boyd Lemon

Date: April 3, 2014

Time: 4 PM PDT  5  PM MDT  6 PM CDT  7 PM EDT

Sign up for this month’s Roundtable by clicking here


Spring 2014 Telesummit Slide

Spring 2014 Telesummit

It’s that time again! Please join us for our FREE Memoir Telesummit May 9. This event is always very popular, and still Free to all who sign up. 




This Spring, I’m so please to offer you four amazing experts in the field of

writing, publishing and marketing for our Memoir Telesummit

Angles of View–Writing and Sharing your Memoir

Back again with us is the talented and vivacious Sue William Silverman, author of three books. Just released is her third memoir The Pat Boone Fan Club–My Life as a White Anglo-Saxon Jew. She will talk with us about how to think about your memoir career, and the possibility that you will write more than one memoir. 


And when you write that book–what will you do? Will it fly off the shelves like books do in the Harry Potter movies? There is magic in getting your book into the right hands, and part of that magic lies in learning all you can about marketing. 

Our guest, the well-known book marketer expert John Kremer will talk about the basic, and advanced steps you need to know about to make your memoir a bestseller!  


In this era of fast everything, the flash essay and fiction has become popular–but it takes a certain angle to make your piece not just be a cut up version of a longer story. Our guest Christine Houser, owner and inspiration for will talk about the secrets of how to create brilliant flash memoirs that give you a chance for publication and even a prize.

One of the most challenging tasks in memoir writing is creating a plot–after all, we know what happened when, don’t we? But a memoir is more than “this happened and then that happened.” We’re so happy to welcome back Martha Alderson, best selling author of several books on plot. She’s going to talk about how to pre-plot your transformation in your memoir. She’ll guide us to find the moments that make your book sing–those moments of transformation that bring readers to your book and give them a takeaway they can use in their own lives.  


Remember, the Memoir Telesummit Angles of View–Writing and Sharing your Memoir is May 9–from 10 AM PDT to 3 PM -and it’s FREE! Tell your friends and sign up for the downloadable audio set to keep.

We look forward to seeing you at these free events to educate and inspire you to write and publish your memoir!

Have a great week!

Linda Joy Myers 


National Association of Memoir Writers 





Self-Publish Your Book on a Shoestring |Free Roundtable Discussion

Sharon Profile 450

April 3, 2014 Roundtable

Sharon Lippincott and Boyd Lemon


Some authors aim for wide-spread acclaim and million-copy sales, and they are willing and able to invest thousands of dollars to make that happen. Far more are primarily concerned with producing a high-quality product at an affordable price, primarily for friends and family. Services like CreateSpace, Kindle, Lulu and Smashwords allow you to upload files at no cost and order only as many copies as you want or need. It’s possible to produce a book without spending a single penny, but depending on your skills, dreams, available time, and budget, you may be well-advised to pay for a bit of help.

In this program, indie authors (the current term for self-published) Boyd Lemon and Sharon Lippincott will share their extensive experience in the low-cost self-publishing world. Between them, they have self-published a total of eight titles, and Sharon has helped friends and family with another half dozen. Both are active in indie publishing forums and groups on the Internet. Boyd began on the high cost road, gradually cutting expenses to the bone for his last couple of books. Sharon has found ways to successfully publish at no cost.

What you’ll learn

  • What skills you can learn to keep the cost of publishing down. Styles, formatting tools, and more.
  • How to know what you can safely do yourself and when to get help–resources to learn about.
  • How and where to find help when you need it. Facebook groups, Forums, Joel Friedlander, YouTube, Google, friends, NAMW events. Smashwords Style Guide, Kindle formatting guide. Smashwords conversion list …
  • High quality alternatives to professional services. Trading services with friends, both writers and other. Use lots of beta readers…
  • How to make the best use of limited funds. Collaboration, low budget cover people, do your own layout,  low budget editors— check references!


Boyd Lemon Photo

Boyd Lemon, a retired attorney, is the author of A Long Way To Contentment: A Novel, Retirement: A Memoir and Guide, Eat, Walk, Write: An American Senior’s Year of Adventure in Paris and Tuscany, Digging Deep: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages, Unexpected Love and Other Stories, and Winter: Short Fiction and Personal Essays. After a stellar 40-year career as a nationally recognized attorney, Boyd Lemon discovered his passion was writing, and pursued it in the idyllic coastal town of Ventura, California; the literary, art and music scenes of Boston; a Bohemian year on the Left Bank in Paris; and finally by the bucolic rivers and forests of St. Marys, Georgia, where he currently lives.  Boyd’s newest book is Retirement: A Memoir and Guide.   He has four adult children and four grandchildren.  His second passion is travel, and he has visited six of the seven continents.

Sharon Lippincott, a lifewriting coach and teacher, is the author of Adventures of a Chilehead: A Mini-Memoir with Recipes, The Heart and Craft of Writing Compelling Description, The Albuquerque Years, The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing, and Do’s, Don’ts and Donuts: The Complete Handbook for Successful Meetings. She teaches in Osher Lifelong Learning programs, directs the WE WRITE! Creative Writing University series of events, and serves on the Advisory Board of NAMW. Sharon  lives, writes and teaches in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Find her online at



 FREE April Roundtable with Sharon Lippincott & Boyd Lemon

Sign up to receive call details & free audio

New Graphic






Myers makes a compelling case for the power of words as a form of healing and growth.

James W. Pennebaker, Ph.D. professor of psychology, The University of Texas at Austin and author, Opening Up and Writing To Heal

...the NAMW memoir classes with Linda Joy Myers are wonderful

Kathy Pooler