Since my book got published last year, I've read in public at variety of venues. I've read in a room at a festival where people were more interested in the other stuff going on than in me. I've read at a luncheon. I've read in bookstores and libraries. I've read to rooms full of people, and to rooms with only a few people.
I love it all.
Reading aloud is one of my favorite parts of this writing thing. I love getting into it, and doing my characters' voices.
In some venues, the author is on her own to take charge of the room. I think of it as my space, and I invite people to sit down. You must be bold, not timid. If you're timid, pretend you're not.
I've come to think of these appearances as my own mini one-woman show. In the talk beforehand, I usually share how I came to write the book. Audiences love personal, specific stories.
If there are only two people in the audience, and one of them is related to me, I do the same job as I would for a large crowd. Once, there was a light turnout at a library. We turned the chairs into a circle and made it into a bookclub. It was a wonderful, intimate experience with the readers.
So, the keys:
- Be energetic. Stand if you can. If you can't, sit up straight and speak from your diaphragm.
- Be flexible, especially if you're a new and unknown author. Try the circle idea if only a few people show up and the audience seems amenable.
- At the Q&A, have a few questions of your own ready, in case no one asks one. Say something like, "Before I began, I collected some questions.." A common one: how long it took you to write the book.
- Practice your talk and reading beforehand. Don't read from a script for your talk. When you read from your book, look up frequently.
Causes Margaret Dilloway Supports
Habitat for Humanity
American Heart Association