I wanted to call this blog post "Tomato, tomato" as in Tomato, TomAto, that cute little phrase that distinguishes how two people call essentially the same thing two different things, but I couldn't write it without it just looking like I wrote "tomato" twice....so I had to use a different title :)
Anyway, I've been really distracted the past few days working on my autobiography...which is where the semantics come into play. As I was researching agents, I couldn't find hardly any agents that handled autobiographies.
I was a little stumped.
I've seen hundreds of books about people's lives all over Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. Certainly they were books written about that individual's lives, about themselves, which, as I learned in school were called autobiographies...but they were nowhere to be found. Then I remembered another word that I've been hearing a lot lately....memoir. So, I looked for agents that handled "memoirs" and I hit the jackpot! Apparently, most of those books that I've seen, although they could be technically be defined as autobiographies are now called "memoirs."
It seems that the term "autobiography" is now reserved for either the famous or infamous. So, if you have an interesting story to tell, go ahead and write your memoir, but it seems you have to be recruited or selected to write your own autobiography, which is strange.
Here is a sample list of some "authors" of recent autobiographies:
Memoirs, on the other hand, are written by people who have been through something interesting, experienced something interesting or just have a story to tell. In short, it seems to be less about what is on the cover and more about what is on the pages.
Also, a memoir is often about a transient time in someone's life (a struggle, an experience, a transition, etc.) where an autobiography often spans one person's entire life....
So, to correct myself, being as I'm not famous (and fortunately not infamous either) and while I would like to think my whole life has been interesting, the world might not agree entirely. Therefore, I am working on my "memoir," NOT my autobiography :)
Although, I still think every day is a chance to write another new and exciting page in our own autobiography, whether it ever gets published or not!