Today, we welcome a new member to our blogging group. Say hello to Jo Klemm. We look forward to many more posts from a librarian's point-of-view.
***In the last Ask-the-Editor post, there was quite a bit of discussion about promotion and publicity of new books. Many authors may find that during the promotion process that they are called upon to give public readings from the book at book signings or author events. This can be great way to hook readers into a story but it can also become a liability if not done well. Here are some hints about readings or book talks to help you get the most out of the situation.
* Know ahead of time what you will read. Don’t try to just open your book on the spur of the moment and find a good passage. Have the passage highlighted or, better yet, copied in larger print so it is easy to read.
* Choose passages that set the stage for the story. Passages that describe characters or settings will help the listener quickly develop a relationship with the character or place and make them want to read (and better yet, purchase) the book.
* Avoid spoilers. This seems like it should go without saying. However, you, as the author, have been living with the book for a very long time. You may have lost your perspective on what the reader knows at a given point in the book. Think about how the passage you are reading connects to the rest of the story and be sure it doesn’t include any vital information about “who done it” or whether the characters “lived happily ever after.”
* Avoid dialog passages. Depending on your writing style, this may be difficult. Dialog, however is sometimes difficult for listeners to follow who is speaking. You may be tempted to create different voices for each character, but unless you are very good at it, changing voices for the different characters becomes distracting.
* Consider taking a reader with you to appearances. If reading aloud just isn’t your forte, don’t hesitate to ask someone else to come to the signing or event with you to read. Make sure you hear the person ahead of time to know they interpret the piece the way you want them to. Having your book read well is much more important than having it read by you.
The fact that you write well does not automatically mean you read aloud well or that you are a good public speaker. Unfortunately, if you write well, you very likely will be called upon to read aloud and discuss your writing. Honing these skills will pay off for your writing in the long run.
Jo Klemm has worked as a librarian since 1985, with the exception of the eight years she raised her three girls. She has worked in public, medical school, university, and community college libraries and is currently working at Tarrant County College in Arlington, Texas as a Public Services Librarian. In her spare time, she is a professional storyteller, focusing on western and Texas stories and Arthurian legends. The written and spoken word has always fascinated her and, though she embraces technology, she worry that it is moving us away from appreciation of the power of the written word. In her teaching, storytelling, and writing, she tries to inspire and empower students to learn from great authors, old and new, and to find their own voice on the page.