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How To Title Your Best-Selling Memoir

How To Title Your Best-Selling Memoir

By Brandon Specktor

Writing a literary masterpiece can be hard. You know it, we book geeks know it, and lord knows every stealth genius housecat knows it. Sometimes it seems the only people who don't realize that writing a book is a lot of work are prolific memoirists (or, as they're known in the industry, "Self Writer McMoneymakeys"). Popular humorists like Chelsea Handler and David Sedaris are able to churn out witty personal essay upon witty personal essay because they've already built painstaking reputations for themselves as witty, personal people.

We're here to ask, why can't we be successful memoirists first, and then famous personalities? You know, like that one geisha?

We couldn't think of any good reason, through granted we were kind of distracted by movie trailers. We decided it's time we all launched ourselves out of the stinky bog of obscurity and writer's block, and into the sunshine of memoir fame!

Writing a memoir is arguably easier than fiction, 'cause the plot's already there for the most part.  Here are some quick tips for getting started:

  1. Begin where your life began
  2. Then some middle stuff
  3. End where your life ends (may require guesswork or the enlistment of dark sorcerers)

That's about it. Also make sure it's funny and tear-jerking and honest and well-written and a truly sympathetic, universal avatar of human folly and triumph. Child's play! But if you're still not inspired, then picking a killer title should stir your literary loins. Though boring old dudes in bloomers like Benjamin Franklin could get away with droll, obvious titles like The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (seriously, did that dude take anything seriously?), times and standards have changed. The most successful method of memoir titlemanship on the market today looks something like this:

Main Title (a random statement or personal belief) : Subtitle (some context to clear up the WTF-ness)
—Your Name, Hunger Games Alias or Indie Stage Persona

Simple, right? Just remember: colons are indispensable. The punctuation, that is. Well…your actual colon is also pretty important. But we can talk about that when you're older. So, uh, anyway—memoir titles! Here are some to get you inspired for your masterpiece:

Life, Love, and Is It Seriously 3 A.M.?: A Gamer's Tale

Highway To Helvetica: How Font Unleashed My Herculean Strength

Control+Z: How I Almost Deleted My Livelihood

Five More Minutes of Facebook: How My Great American Novel Didn't Get Written

Ugh. I Dropped My Phone: A True Story of Resilience

Ugh. I Forgot My Own Password (Again): A True Story of Dementia

I Didn't Learn Anything Today: The Fire Drill Chronicles

Five More Minutes of Facebook II: Okay, Maybe 10 More Minutes

IDK…FML, SRSLY: Selected Texts (2009 - 2013)

RT This Book: A Life in 140 Characters

I Think I Lost My Invisibility Cloak: Confessions of A Mediocre Wizard

Five More Minutes of Facebook III: The World Has Grown Cold, My Beard Gray, and All I Love Long Dead. But Farmville is Thriving.

**Exceptions to the colon rule: As with any rule, it's okay to break the colon method if you are, to dust off the old idiom coined by Benjamin Franklin himself, a "total baller." And—let's face it—one if you tech-savvy writer-heads will very likely be the next Ben Franklin. At the very least, one of you will be the next Benjamin Franklin Gates, intrepid kleptomaniac patriot of lore, and that's just as impressive. Here are some non-colon-ized titles to get your genius parts tingling:

I Was Promised Free WiFi, and Other First World Problems

The Boy Who Lived (Obsessed with Harry Potter)

When I Was Young There Were 150 Pokemon and We Were Grateful!

Dear Memoir, Please Write Yourself. Love,
—Author McAuthorpants

I Grew Up With The Internet And My Attention Span Turned Out Fi—Hey Look There's A New iPad!

Me Text Pretty One Day

The Internet Counts As Reading

Girl, Interrupted (While Texting)

Fear and Loathing on Facebook

Tweet, Pray, Love

I Know Why The Caged Bird Wears Headphones All Day

#Memoir

That last one is actually kind of brilliant. To find out why, pick up a copy of our upcoming MindHut memoir, Ten Billion Turtle Facts: The Art of Blogging De-Shelled. See you at the secret famous writer banquets!

So, what's the name of your soul-stirring memoir and when can we read its juicy revelations?

Tags: writing, books, memoirs, funniest, books-and-comics

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About the Author
Brandon Specktor

For 22 years, Brandon was a fat kid living in Tucson, AZ, which gave him lots and lots of time to write. He now works at a magazine in New York City, but still loves writing almost as much as he loves muffins.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.