Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Free Memoir Webinar: What Made Angela’s Ashes a Bestseller?

 Angela's Ashes

Tuesday: September 30

  • 4:00PM – 5:00PM Pacific

  • 5:00PM – 6:00PM Mountain
  • 6:00PM – 7:00PM Central

  • 7:00PM – 8:00PM Eastern

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To purchase the 4 week class click here.

Angela’s Ashes… you know, it’s the Irish story, the “miserable Irish childhood” that Frank McCourt would talk about with tongue in cheek–and how we miss you Frank! For those of us who fell in love with this book, we know that Angela’s Ashes, the first of his two memoirs–they were really one book for a while–is beloved by so many people, a book that we laugh with and cry with, and read over and over again. And oh, we see the movie too!

Brooke Warner and I have been teaching New York Times Best Sellers–Wild, Eat, Pray, Love, and The Glass Castle for the last year, and it was time, we decided, to teach a memoir by a male writer. We sent out a survey and Angela’s Ashes won by a landslide.

As memoir coaches, we had to ask some pithy questions for this Free webinar about McCourt’s Pulitzer prize winning book:

Why is Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes one of the most beloved memoirs of all times?

How did McCourt manage to write about the horrors of his upbringing while still delivering a universal message?

What can we learn from his story that will help us with our own memoir in progress?

The art of balancing his heartbreaking story with being able to deliver to all of us something valuable is part of what we will be examining during this hour-long webinar. Every memoir strives to do this, so it is important to learn how the best memoir writers pull it off to great acclaim. Not all of us may write a best seller–though we can strive to create  a book that is that good and with such a universal message–but we all can learn the techniques that help us to create the very best memoir we can write. Please join us for an exploration of Angela’s Ashes, and discover new insights about your memoir writing!


Please join us for the free webinar!

We DO Judge a Book by Its Cover—Secrets You Don’t Know About Book Cover Design

September 26, 2014
11 am PDT 12 pm MDT 1 pm CDT 2 pm EDT



Michele De Filippo and Sonia Marsh

This is a WEBINAR, not our usual member teleseminar. On this webinar, we are excited to present photos of good and not so good book designs, to teach you what works and what doesn’t in the publishing world. Please join us! This is an event that is free to all National Association of Memoir Writers Members. To learn more about membership, or to join so you can view this webinar live and ask questions, please visit namw.org.

Michele De Filippo—About this Webinar
A Better Movement Before and After “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is tried and true advice passed down from one generation to the next, and for good reason. But when it comes to buying a book, the cover is EXACTLY how readers judge whether or not that book is worthy of their time and money. In fact, it takes a potential buyer only 7 seconds to judge a cover and make a decision. How can you make sure that – during those 7 seconds – the buyer decides to open your book or put it back on the metaphorical shelf?

Every element on a professionally designed book cover carries the potential for you to sway the buyer’s decision, and in this webinar you will hear from book designer and business owner Michele DeFilippo about the techniques book designers employ to create great book covers.

In this workshop you will:
• Understand the importance of a book cover in the buying decision.
• Learn how conveying the right message increases book sales.
• Explore how titles, subtitles fonts, images, and colors are designed, and the role each plays in transmitting a persuasive message to potential buyers.
Undertow Before and After• Analyze before and after images of actual book cover makeovers, understand what changes were made, why they were necessary, and how the book’s message was affected.
• Come away understanding how to work with your cover designer for success!

Log-in if you are a member to get the call information or listen to recording.

Michele is the owner of 1106 Design, a Phoenix-based company that provides book publishing services and expertise to authors and publishers from all over North America.

1106 Design is the product of Michele’s love of consulting with authors, publishers, business pros, legal and medical professionals, speakers, and others who want to publish a book; simply put, Michele loves talking about books and loves helping people to fulfill their dreams! Michele, her team at 1106 Design, and her extended network of partners, have assisted authors with editing, cover design, book page design and typesetting, proofreading, author websites, determining the best print options, marketing, and other services needed to craft and sell professional quality books.

Despite the multitude of tangible ways in which she and 1106 Design help authors, Michele calls “honest advice” and “hand-holding” the most important services she can provide, which are borne out through her dedication to customer service and quality book design. Michele constantly shares her knowledge (based upon her many years of experience as a designer and business owner in the publishing field) with authors through her biweekly blog, webinars, speaking engagements, and her 52 Tips & Tools e-mail newsletter. Michele is also the author of Publish Like the Pros: A Brief Guide to Quality Self-Publishing. Visit 1106design.com.



freeways_to_flipflopsFrom Sonia Marsh:
When I decided to start my own publishing company, as an indie author, I knew this would involve wearing my “authorpreneurial” hat. I wanted to be taken seriously, as a commercial indie author, and realized I could not skimp on quality and professionalism. I also knew that in order to be proud of my books, and to make them fit the readers’ expectations of books in my genre, I had to consult with experts in the book design business. It’s not enough to say, “I like this cover.”

1106 Design was recommended to me by someone in the publishing business, and when I checked their website, I felt confident they would offer the same high standard, as traditional publishers. I am now working with 1106 Design on my 3rd cover, and have won two prestigious awards for my first two books, thanks to them, as well as my editors and the authors in the Anthology series.

My Gutsy Story® Anthology: True Stories of Love, Courage and Adventure From Around the World, has been named a 2013 Benjamin My Gutsy StoryFranklin Award Silver Honoree Winner.
My first book, a memoir, Freeways to Flip-Flops: A Family’s Year of gutsy Living on a Tropical Island won 1st Place, and a Gold Medal in the “Autobiography/Memoir” category of the 2012 E-lit Awards. It also received a Silver Medal, in the “Travel Essay” category of the E-lit Awards.

Sonia Marsh is an award-winning author who knows how to market books both online and in person. She continues to promote her own books at Costco, and other retail stores and is committed to helping authors avoid common mistakes. Sonia understands that most authors cannot afford to hire an expensive publicist, so her goal is to help authors develop their own plan to sell books.

She offers “gutsy” book coaching to authors, as well as Webinars and Workshops. Contact her at: sonia@soniamarsh.com #(949) 309-0030, or visit her website: http://soniamarsh.com. Subscribe to her free “Gutsy” newsletter and receive two bonus prizes, including the free video on “How to Get Your Book into Costco.”

Log-in if you are a member to get the call information or listen to recording.

Develop the Mystery in Your Memoir | Free Roundtable Discussion

Mani Feniger
September 11, 2014


maniMani Feniger thought her relationship with her mother was over when she buried her mother’s ashes. But two years later, the discovery of a startling photograph of her mother taken just months before rise of the Nazi regime in Germany, sent Mani on a twenty-year search across continents and lifetimes, uncovering clues about her family’s past that eventually revealed the life of a woman very different from the mother she thought she knew.

Mani’s award-winning memoir, The Woman in the Photograph, reads like a mystery. She didn’t know what she would find when she started, and she had to take into account every shred of evidence to weave together the surprising story that lurked in the silences and unfinished sentences of her relationship with her mother.

Even if you already have the basic facts of the story you want to write, being open to the unknown–the unexpected clues and conversations, the realizations that emerge as you write–will bring suspense and anticipation to your memoir.

In our September 11 Roundtable, we will talk about developing the mystery of your memoir, and explore the steps you can take to open up the narrative and pique your readers’ curiosity.

1. How to uncover the hidden layers of your story

2. Interview techniques for eager and less eager subjects

3. Using intuitive writing exercises to create authentic, complex characters

4. Building suspense with rhythm, pacing and knowing when to hold back

Listen to the recording

Download Mp3
About the Author: Mani Feniger is a therapist, speaker, documentary film consultant and author of Journey from Anxiety to Freedom and The Woman in the Photograph–voted Best Memoir 2013 by the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. Last year the city of Leipzig, Germany invited Mani to speak about her book in her mother’s birthplace.

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.


Secrets of Structuring a Memoir that Works!

LJM, Judy and JerryTeleseminar for NAMW Members

Judy Mandel, Linda Joy Myers, Jerry Waxler
June 20, 2014
As a memoir writer, you must transform your unstructured memories into the structure of a story. To do that, take a closer look at the way stories work, and then follow that roadmap. In this teleseminar we’ll answer the kinds of questions we typically hear from writers who are trying to find the story.

• How can I identify my most meaningful memories?
• What will my reader take away from my book?
• How do I create an interesting story?
• What techniques are the most helpful in beginning my memoir and writing a full first draft?

Three workshop leaders of the National Association of Memoir Writers are going to talk about several ways you can avoid writer’s block by understanding the role of structure, and how you can use it to help you write your memoir.

You will learn how to
1. Identify your themes and build a structure that supports it.
2. At the center of every story is a protagonist with a desire—what do you—the main character want in your story?
3. The reader has a desire too—the reader desires the protagonist to be safe, and to achieve a goal.
4. Boil down your most important memories to 10 and make a list. Put them on a timeline. Then find 10 more.
5. Create the takeaway and the narrative arc of your book—as a legacy, or a published work.
6. Free yourself from rigid rules, searching for the method that best fits your material.

Judy, Linda Joy and Jerry decided to come together to teach a workshop on structure because it’s one of the major stumbling blocks that memoir writers encounter. This workshop will address the major questions, and bring three unique approaches to developing structure.

Judy Mandel is the author of Replacement Child. In her book she created a complex and interesting weaving that makes the story read like a mystery.

Jerry Waxler, author of the Memoir Revolution, teaches classes through NAMW on how to structure a memoir. In his blog, Memory Writers Network,  he analyzes the structure of many memoirs and offers insights to help writers find their own.

Linda Joy Myers writes and teaches in a NAMW workshop, and in the intensive Write your Memoir in 6 Months. Her books The Power of Memoir and Journey of Memoir highlight the need for structure to create a publishable memoir.



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