Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.
- Joyce Carol Oates
The first Inspire: the Toronto International Book Fair gets underway this evening. And I’m going to be doing double duty in appearances there – signing and selling books and reading from Beyond Blood. More on that shortly. But first a personal perspective about how an author prepares for these events.
My books – Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point are key and I don’t just mean to sell. That’s important too but so is engaging with my readers. Just sitting there with a bunch of books does not connect me with my readers. I need to talk to them. And I don’t just do a book promo speech. I ask them if they write and what they write. Do they read mystery fiction? Conversation is a two-way street.
When I actually do read I don’t just stand there and drone on from my book(s). First I give a little background about my story and the main characters. Then I read. I’m told my reading is like audio, like I’m right in my story. True. I channel each character who speaks, particularly six-year-old David Bowman, Dana Bowman’s son. I love talking like a child. Not sure what that says about me.
I also get right into the actions going on. Haven’t stabbed or shot anyone yet. (FYI the only gun I have is a small water gun and carrying around knives would be considered carrying a concealed weapon). But I’ll shake my manuscript when Dana is shaking her sketch pad at her brother Bast.
Yes, I said manuscript. Because here’s my deep dark secret. I have terrible eyesight (the bane of getting old), and although the font is large enough in my books, sometimes the lights are not bright enough. So I have a few pages of pumped-up font printed out and read from that.
You really wouldn’t want me to use a magnifying glass, would you? Although I do carry one of those around and it would be appropriate for crime fiction.
Back to the books – the big question is: how many do I bring? Which gets translated into: how many can I carry? I travel on public transit and many Toronto subway stations don’t have elevators or down escalators. If I get a ride it helps – if there is a parking lot nearby.
You also sometimes need to create an attractive display in a small space, i.e. prop up one copy of each book, have some bookmarks and other info, but not too much. You don’t want to overwhelm your readers.
So, while I prepare for this weekend at Inspire, the Toronto International Book Fair at Metro Toronto Convention Centre North Building, 255 Front Street West, http://www.torontobookfair.ca/
here are the details about my appearances:
Friday, November 14, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Selling and signing copies of Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point at the Toronto Sisters in Crime Booth No. 1120 in the Marketplace Section.
Saturday, November 15, 4 p.m.
Reading from Beyond Blood at my publisher Blue Denim Press’s booth No. 1326 in the Marketplace. Afterward I’ll be there to talk to my readers and sign books.
Note: my publishers will be at that booth for the duration of the book fair.
Please join me there and engage in the conversation about your writing and/or reading.
And of course Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point.
And pass this info on – tweet about it, link to your blog, Facebook, etc.
Sharon A. Crawford
For those not in the Toronto, Canada area, you can click on my book covers below – they will lead you to my publisher Blue Denim Press’s website. Scroll down and you can see where Beyond Blood is currently available, including at www.bluedenimpress.com.
And check my website www.samcraw.com – click on Beyond Blood. I constantly update the gigs etc. on that page.