Age of the memoir
However, in the spirit of “Hey, I can do that...,” pretty soon everyone thought they had an interesting life story to tell. Memoirists started coming out of the woodwork to capitalize on the popularity of the genre, and still do today. Now, with books like Eat, Pray, Love landing Oprah spots and movie deals, many hopeful authors are under the impression that their spiritual journey, too, is exactly what the bestseller list is missing. (Just ask THE INTERN.)
The memoir has become, as the article states, “an easier route to fame and fortune than the novel.” And if your experiences aren’t exactly fascinating enough to captivate audiences, well, then, you might just add a little something here and there to make it spicier—or least less insufferably mundane. (Just ask James Frey.)
In all fairness, having that nonfiction element to offer the media when publicizing a book is often what makes a strong literary campaign—which is why it’s often what publicists and publishing houses encourage from authors. (And also why it’s easier to get a memoir published than a novel in the first place!)
But the industry may have created a monster by indirectly encouraging authors to write about their real life experiences, rather than the fictional stories they might have written instead. Not only has it led to blatant fabrication in some cases, but in others...well...let’s just say not everyone writes memoirs like Frank McCourt.