1. love2listen
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    love2listen Member

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    shocking autobiographies

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by love2listen, Jun 4, 2009.

    I'm writing mine.
    Now, its not neccessarily about that, but it does feature BDSM groups, kinky behavoir, and an xxx rated nightclub party. fairly explicit descriptions.
    Do you like a shock factor in autobiographies? do you think thats why some people like them? do you think overall a shock factor can help sell a book?
    I intend to publish this. I am not doing it to shock anyone. I am doing it because I want people to know what happened to me and what i learned from it all.
    Oh, I've read more shocking stuff than that in books anyway.
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    As long as you're aware it would be classed as erotica...I work at a Borders, and that's where your book would end up in our stores...
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    and you'll most likely have to pay to have it published, since i can't see any paying press being interested in it, as you're not anyone famous...
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Yup. Really, the only reason people buy autobiographies is because they know of the person, and want to know about them. I can't think of any non-celebrity autobiographies I've encountered on bookshop shelves...
     
  5. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    I think it depends on how shocking. Sometimes you read something and its just one "shocking" thing after another and it feels like they're just trying to win a pissing contest. But as long as its not too over the top, fine. A little shock goes a long way. I just said shock to many times...

    And sorry, your description just isnt my thing, but I'm sure there are some out there that would like that sort of book. Wasnt that Frey (I could be wrong on the name) that was Oprah with his "autobiography" and it turned out that he was lying successful? And I dont think he was famous to start. I could be wrong on that tho, just an example.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Would you consider When Rabbit Howls by Truddi Chase an autobiography? I would. The author was not famous, but the subject matter of dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities) was fascinating enough to put it on the New York Times best seller list and to inspire a TV movie.

    I agree that most autobiographies rely on the fame of the author, but there are a small number that succeed simply because the author's life is extraordinary. Not all such people attain celebrity status before the story of their life hits print.
     
  7. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Let's not forget Angela's Ashes. It was written like a lot like a novel, but it is essential a autobiography/memoir.
     
  8. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    I'm in a book club that prides itself on the fact that they read an autobiography of an obscure, little-known person who later became one of the most famous men in the world... and the book club read it when he was still obscure.

    Let's see how soon you can guess who I'm talking about.
    You may have already guessed?

    The book was an autobiography/memoir published in 1995. At the time the book was written, the man's only claim to fame was that he had been the president of the Harvard Law review. Themes included race and the author had a very diverse family. One year after publication of the book, the author would become a state Senator. The book was re-released in 2004, when the author was a U.S. Senator-elect and gave a keynote speech at a convention.

    By now, you should know that the book was "Dreams from my Father," by a guy with a funny name that nobody had ever heard of at the time, the current President of the United States, Barack Obama.

    His 1995 autobiography sold fairly well, but it would sell much, much better in its many re-releases when he became famous. He did indeed have an extraordinary life, even before he became one of the most famous people in the world.

    PS. I wasn't with the book club when they actually read it, but I did read the book, somewhat later, when Barack Obama was considered a long shot in the primary against Hillary Clinton. There was very little "shock value" in the book, mostly having to do with drug use in his teenage years, though some have tried to claim the book said some shocking things it did not actually say.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    to be clear, i was referring only to the poster's own proposed book, as described above, and not to all autobios by unknown persons...

    that said, if the poster is a writer of exceptional talent and the book presents a satisfactory end involving a lesson learned, then it might have some chance of snagging a publisher...
     
  10. love2listen
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    love2listen Member

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    I hover in the biography section a lot. There was a book by a guy who was deaf and served in the Peace Corps in a war torn country. There was a book by a lady who moved from a small town to New York and turned into a Sex And The City type girl. There was a book by a guy who drove a truck in a tiny town. There was a book where a woman wrote about being a teen rebel. None of them were famous. I'm sure they had been published before because most authors have been. But their names were unheard of.
     
  11. diamonds overun
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    diamonds overun Member

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    I dont mean to be rude or anything but writing an autobiography cause you want people know your story seems a bit arrogant.

    Have you sufferd injustice, overcome adversity or even just lead a really interesting life?

    Autobiographies arent always about famous people. I have always thought someone should write an autobioraphy about my partners fahther. He has some great stories about his childhood that would read well and he has over come adversity. I think if it was written it would be a good book that other people would read even if they didnt know who he was.

    Hmmm.... now that i think of it maybe i should bring a note book next time a go to visit. ;)
     

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