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Cassidy
04-14-2009, 05:30 AM
Hi folks,
So I am just starting off on my first ever book tour and am sitting in a hotel room frantically going over my notes and deciding this is idea is boring or that reading won't work if there are young kids present, and starting over again. And over again.

So... advice? When you go to to hear an author do a public reading (we'll be in libraries and book stores-- schools too, but I'm used to those) what do you most enjoy? What do you want to hear about and what could you not care less about? Do you enjoy actual reading or prefer to hear about the writing process? Any thoughts and suggestions would be very welcome. My novel is for teens but I am touring with three other authors who write everything from poetry to picture books to non-fiction, so the audience could be very mixed. What do you think?

Thanks in advance for any replies! -Robin

peachiemkey
04-14-2009, 06:08 AM
I like humor. I've only been a few author events, but you can bet if an author makes me laugh - especially during interaction with the audience - I'll buy their book. =] Readings are always fun, though make sure it's not too long and keep your voice energetic. Droning is a huge turn-off. I'm always interested in how exactly the book came to be (how you got the idea, what the plot was in the beginning and how it changed, which characters were chopped and which were built up). Most of all, just be friendly (smile as much as you can without looking like a maniac!) and sound excited about your own stuff, and I'm sure your audience will be excited too.

ClaudiaGray
04-14-2009, 06:17 AM
Talk to your other authors, if you can. I've done group events before, and it always helps when everyone is on the same page and can bounce ideas off each other.

For your reading, choose something fairly brief (because time will slow to crawl while you're up there, trust me), something funny and/or viscerally exciting and a part that you genuinely like a lot.

Try to get audience questions, but if they are reluctant, you guys can try asking each other questions, too.

WKolodzieski
04-14-2009, 06:20 AM
Cassidy - I've never had the opportunity to tour before (or even publish a book for that matter), so I don't have any advice for you but I did want to say congratulations on your book and good luck on the tour.

P.S. - I think humor can be an effective tool to use to at least help loosen your audience up to you. My 2 cents...

Achromasia
04-14-2009, 06:29 AM
I agree with a lot of what Peachie said. My favorite things:

1) Humor. Make me laugh, make my day. I like anecdotes about getting published and random stories about nothin'.
2) Energetic readings. Keep it short, like a few pages short. I'd rather hear too little than too much since I'm much more tempted to buy the book, yanno?
3) Hearing about your writing process in general, but not in super technical terms.

That's about it. Good luck. Don't forget to smile. Authors who don't smile or give off personality frustrate me.

BAY
04-14-2009, 06:31 AM
I recently went to a signing and the author spent time talking one-on-one to attendees before the event began. Mostly, nice things about the city, favorite books as kids etc, but the one I went to before that, the author talked to the store sponsor off to the side-very remote. If this is a YA book, humor is very effective. Good Luck and have fun!

Achromasia
04-14-2009, 07:14 AM
I recently went to a signing and the author spent time talking one-on-one to attendees before the event began. Mostly, nice things about the city, favorite books as kids etc, but the one I went to before that, the author talked to the store sponsor off to the side-very remote. If this is a YA book, humor is very effective. Good Luck and have fun!


Oh yeah! Leave enough time for one-on-one communication. Veeeerry effective. To put if frankly - don't seem like an ass.

Cassidy
04-14-2009, 08:35 AM
Thanks so much you guys... that all makes very good sense. We have lots of time on the road so I'm sure the four of us can bounce ideas around and I'm looking forward to hearing about the other writers' books. I'll work some humour in-- there are some obvious places for this in the where-the-story-came-from part of the talk. One on one chat is easy for me and I enjoy it, so hopefully I can make opportunities for that. (I'm pretty sure I can avoid being an ass anyway!) And I'll keep the reading itself brief. And I love the idea that we can ask each other questions... sounds obvious but it hadn't actually occurred to me that if the audience was reserved, we didn't have to just sit in painful silence and wait indefinitely for questions.

Tons of good advice. Now if one of you could just come and let me know if I start to talk too fast... That's my worst public speaker flaw to watch out for. I teach university so you'd think I'd be used to it, but every year a student has to put up their hand and say, "Um... could ya slow down a little?" My regular speed is fast, and if I am nervous or excited, I get even faster...

So cross fingers for me! Tomorrow is day 1.

sharpierae
04-14-2009, 04:24 PM
I liked the few author events I've gone to... but I think the venue had a big hand in organizing them. Basically, it was set up like a conversation (or a talk show? but I never got that vibe from it) between the author and a literary critic/fan and they just talked about the books or focused on one book. Then Q&A with the audience. But it gave the whole thing a nice informal and relaxed feeling (not so much of a public speaking event. eep!).

I know that probably doesn't help you right now, Cassidy. BUT LOT'S OF LUCK! I'm sure you'll find your groove. How long is your tour? How many places?
*is nosy*

Cassidy
04-14-2009, 07:08 PM
hey sharpierae, and thanks... yeah, i think informal is the plan here too... each of us talk a little about our book and then hopefully some Q and A.

the tour is a week-- well, five days really, plus travel time. my first time away from my almost five year old son... ouch. anyway, it's in Northern BC and it's part of the BC Book Prizes tour-- another group of finalists will be doing a Sourthen BC leg. I was thrilled to be coming on the Northern leg because I've never been to any of these places before. I think we'll be six towns. Check the BC Book Prizes website if you are curious enough... we are supposed to be blogging while on tour. I must do that later today-- if I can figure out the instructions! I am not really a blogger....

Achromasia
04-15-2009, 04:40 AM
Good luck! Hope you did/do well =]

Red.Ink.Rain
04-15-2009, 05:29 AM
I like humor. I've only been a few author events, but you can bet if an author makes me laugh - especially during interaction with the audience - I'll buy their book. =] Readings are always fun, though make sure it's not too long and keep your voice energetic. Droning is a huge turn-off. I'm always interested in how exactly the book came to be (how you got the idea, what the plot was in the beginning and how it changed, which characters were chopped and which were built up). Most of all, just be friendly (smile as much as you can without looking like a maniac!) and sound excited about your own stuff, and I'm sure your audience will be excited too.

^ What she said. :)

Cassidy
04-16-2009, 10:57 AM
Hey guys... just wanted to pop back in and say thanks again for all the tips. It is all going well and I am having SO MUCH FUN.