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Writing a Publishable Memoir: Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary


Format: Live Webinar Registration

Register today to attend this live webinar!

Live Webinar Date: Thursday, March 20, 2014

Start Time: 1:00 p.m. ET

Length: 90 minutes

Price: $89.99

Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for one year. You do not have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation. In all WD webinars, no question goes unanswered. Attendees have the ability to chat with the instructor during the live event and ask questions. You will receive a copy of the webinar presentation in an e-mail that goes out one week after the live event. The answers to questions not covered in the live presentation will be included in this e-mail as well.


All registrants are invited to submit one of the following: 1) The first five pages of your memoir, or 2) one five-page excerpt from any point in the manuscript, or 3) a synopsis of the entire memoir, up to one page in length. Please specify which one you are submitting. All writers who sign up for the live webinar are guaranteed a written critique by Ivory Madison.

Please Note: Even if you can't attend the live webinar, registering for this live version will enable you to receive the On Demand webinar and a personal critique of your material. Purchasing the On Demand version after the live event will not include a critique.


Many people think their life, or a specific experience in their life, would make a great book. The challenge is that even people with the most fascinating lives usually can't write down their experiences in a way that makes a great book. And yet, some of the most brilliant, riveting novels are about ordinary people in ordinary situations. So how do you translate your real life experiences-common or uncommon-into a brilliant story?

In this live webinar, Ivory Madison will help you develop your own roadmap to write, edit and market your memoir. There is a formula for all great stories, and Madison will share with you what every successful novelist knows about a successful story arc and how you can apply it to your memoir while staying true to your life story. She'll also share her foolproof editing method, now used by many writing coaches at Stanford Business School. You'll discover how to determine if marketplace will respond favorably to a memoir like yours, and what to learn from the best-selling memoirs of all time.

Common questions and concerns about your memoir will be answered. Madison will help you navigate issues like what to do when your mother wants to reedit, and whether people can sue you over your portrayal of them.

No matter what stage your memoir is at, this webinar will not only provide you with the tools to transform your idea into a successful book, it will also offer the encouragement you need to follow through. This includes insights from the latest brain research explaining why writing about your past is a crucial tool for moving forward with your life in a positive way.


How to build trust with readers by being completely honest
How to find your authentic voice and let it shine through
Tools to analyze your story so you know what's essential and what's superfluous
How to write real-life scenes to be as riveting as your favorite fiction
Why writing, editing, and marketing area separate activities and how to use this approach to get better results in all three stages of your project, plus a unique approach to necessary research
What type of memoir you're writing from a publisher's perspective and if they will want to publish it, plus pitfalls to avoid if you plan to self-publish
How to handle your inner critic, fear of embarrassment, and fear of not being believed


Ivory Madison is the CEO and Editor in Chief of Red Room (redroom.com), asocial media and book sales platform for thousands of successful, traditionally published and indie authors, including Amy Tan, Salman Rushdie, James Patterson, and Terry McMillan. Ivory founded the Red Room Writers Society, a writing program in San Francisco, where she was named “Best Writing Coach” by San Francisco Magazine. She is noted as an expert on writing, editing, the future of publishing, social media and entrepreneurship for authors. Madison has delivered keynote addresses at writers conferences including USC and Stanford University, and recently launched Red Room Press. Madison is also an author and has been published by Oxford University Press, Harvard Business Review, and DC Comics.


Writers who have been told, “you should write a book about this!”
Writers who have voluminous notes and scenes but no cohesive book structure
Writers who aren't sure if they are writing a memoir or novel, book or screenplay, and want to make the right decisions about genre and format
Writers who are blocked by fear, although they want to tell their story
Writers wondering about liability issues and exposure about telling the truth
Writers with completed memoirs who need guidance how to edit it to industry standards


All registrants are invited to submit one of the following: 1) The first five pages of your memoir, or 2) one five-page excerpt from any point in the manuscript, or 3) a synopsis of the entire memoir, up to one page in length. Please specify which one you are submitting. All writers who sign up for the live webinar are guaranteed a written critique by Ivory Madison. Instruction son how to submit your work are sent after you officially register.


The webinar is broadcasted via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer speakers or over your telephone. The live webinar's visual presentation is displayed directly from the Presenter's computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions being read and answered by the Presenter for the entire class to hear. In the event some questions are not answered during the live session, an e-mail-mail with questions and answers will be sent to all webinar attendees. By attending the live webinar and/or asking questions, your full name may be stated during the live event and captured in the recording.


All you need is a computer or iOS device, and an internet connection. You'll be able to view the presentation and listen to the audio over computer speakers; however, you’ll enjoy much better audio quality if you use a telephone. See below for complete system requirements.

To test your connection before the live webinar, click:http://support.citrixonline.com/en_US/gotomeeting/help_files/GTM140010">here. (Click on the test session URL under Step 1.)


For Windows/PC-based users:

• Required: Windows® 7 or 8, Vista, XP, or 2003 Server

• Required: Internet Explorer® 7.0 or newer, Mozilla® Firefox® 4.0 or newer or Google™ Chrome™ 5.0 or newer (JavaScript™ and Java™ 1.6 or higher enabled)

• Required: Internet connection, DSL or better recommended with bandwidth of 700Kbps or more

• Recommended Processor: 2.4 GHz or more with 2 GB of RAM or more

For Mac-based users:

• Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 (Snow Leopard®), Mac OS® X 10.7 (Lion®), MacOS® X 10.8 (Mountain Lion®)

• Required: Safari™ 3.0 or newer, Firefox® 4.0 or newer, Google™ Chrome™ 5.0 or newer (JavaScript™ enabled)

• Required: Internet connection, DSL or better recommended with bandwidth of 700Kbps or more

• Recommended Processor: 2.4 GHz Intel processor (Core 2 Duo) with 1 GB of RAM or more

For iOS users:

• Required: Free GoToMeeting App from the Apple App Store

• Required: WiFi connection to use VoIP

• Required: iPad® 1 or newer, iPhone® 3GS or newer, iPod ® Touch (3rdgeneration) or newer

• Required Operating System: iOS 4.2 or newer

For Android users:

• Required: Free GoToMeeting App from the Google Play Store

• Required: WiFi connection to use VoIP

• Required Operating System: Android 2.2 or higher

• Recommended Processor: 1 Ghz CPU or higher


If you have questions about the program, or have any technical difficulties, please contact writingwebinars@fwmedia.com.

The Writer’s Digest does not offer any refunds for the webinar. All sales are final.

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Comments from Ivory

Oct.30.2010 - 3:48 pm
In response to: Competition Blog Stirs Family Apathy
Several of my best friends have never read my book or a word I've written, and never update their Red Room pages. I'm...
Sep.08.2010 - 10:10 am
In response to: Justin Bieber's Masterpiece
Hi Joni and Jennifer, Joni, you make a good point about how easy it is to dislike something from afar, but once you...
Aug.31.2010 - 10:01 am
In response to: Saving Rivka
Talia, Your new book is going to be amazing. These stories about Jewish women and their plight, as society tries to...
Aug.26.2010 - 1:28 pm
In response to: am I famous yet?
...on Red Room! :) Ivory Madison CEO and Founder, Red Room P.S. Also, there are more important things than being famous...
Jul.23.2010 - 6:31 pm
In response to: IT'S A NOVEL, NOT A MOVIE, DAMMIT!
Actually, Dale, I often tell my writing students to picture each scene as if it's a movie. It's easier to tell if the...

Published Reviews

Cover of Huntress Year One paperback version, released in February 2009
Published by Publisher's Weekly
A regular in Birds of Prey, Huntress is the sort of character who needs a clear origin story. In her typical comic appearances, it's often hard to get a grasp of who Huntress is,...