Thursday, April 8, 2010

What I Learned At Tonight's Book Event

I did an event tonight with two other authors: Caro Soles and Rick Blechta.  This was my first multi-author event and I was lucky to be paired with two established writers.

Caro Soles has written and edited a number of mysteries, such as A Tangled Boy, Drag Queen in the Court of Death, Blood on the Holly; plus fantasy and other works.

Rick Blechta is the author of several mysteries, including The Lark Ascending, Cemetery of the Nameless, and A Case of You

So, these two know the ropes about events and readings and signings.  I learned a thing or two from a couple of seasoned pros.

1.  When it comes to reading from your own book, you can read any part; you need not begin at page one.

2.  Unless you're good at doing voices, select a passge that doesn't contain a lot of dialogue.

3.  If doing events with other authors, don't be shy about shamelessly promoting them - give them a shout out... it's pay itself back :)

4.  It may be worthwhile to get someone to read with you (i.e. if the passage has a lot of dialogue).

5.  Not all bookstores are created equally.  Authors will tell you - based on their own experiences - which stores do more to promote you and to publicize the event.

6.  When doing a reading, don't be afraid to skip parts.  Some words, sentences or paragraphs sound fine when you read silently, when it's just in your head, but don't work as well with a live audience.

So, there you go.  The bottom line - if you're a new author - is BE A SPONGE!  Soak up all the tidbits and advice established authors offer.  You never know what's going to work, but it's sure nice learning from those with experience.


  1. very cool; thanks for the wisdom--I think you're dead on about being a sponge!

    question: Is it necessary to read from your book at an event? I was kind of hoping to skip that part when my turn comes, and just chat conversationally ABOUT the book.

  2. At seated or ticketed events (libraries, etc.) a reading is pretty much expected.

    At drop in events. like book store signings, a reading seems optional. AT retail events I mostly talk about the book.

  3. I hope to be able to use this advice some day!

    Sounds like you had a successful book event. How cool to experience the event with other authors. Does it help take the pressure off?

  4. I would also add practice the reading beforehand. Tape record it and play it back. Mark your piece, either in the book if you plan to read from the book, or the pages you print out to remind yourself where you want to pause for effect or where to take a breath in a long sentence or particular words you want to emphasize.

    Straight From Hel