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Insights on Author presentations and readings

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Last evening’s East End Writers’ Group presentation on Making Your Short Stories Sparkle and Sell drew a full house of authors and readers (some are both) at the S.Walter Stewart Library Branch in Toronto, Canada. Rosemary McCracken, Madeline Harris-Callway and I got everyone involved in why and how we write and that included lots of questions from the audience. We had a real dialogue of sharing information and stories on writing fiction and getting it published.

And then Rosemary reminded us all that we should each read from one of our books. I had forgotten all about reading as I was so engrossed in the conversations we were all having.

Just as well Rosemary got the reading ball rolling. Because afterwards, a fellow in the audience who is also a writer came up to me and said that he likes to hear authors read. He compared it to musicians performing and said that what else can authors do to preform except read.

I was surprised. Because it has been my experience that too much author reading can make the audience yawn with boredom.

His words made me rethink the whole presentation situation. Perhaps we should have more reading time. Perhaps we should do more author readings. There are a lot of those in pubs, cafes, and yes library branches in Toronto. I’ve done some of those readings myself and also with other authors.

I think the boredom factor might have something to do with how the author reads. If they read in a quiet inside voice, if they read with no expression, if they are not animated as they read, if they don’t have inserts about their stories and writing them between reading excerpts, maybe they lose some connection with the audience.

The purpose of authors reading (besides hopefully selling some book copies) is to engage the audience, to bring the audience into their stories, to live with their characters for a time, to take the audience out of their own lives and into someone else’s, and to just listen and love the words, their flow, and the story being told.

Wise words from someone in the audience.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

And as usual, if you click on the book cover at the top it takes you to my amazon profile and my two Beyond books.

Sharon A. Crawford reads from her Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford reads from her Beyond series

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Authors – read from your book or chat too?

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

“Be awesome! Be a book nut!” — Dr. Seuss

While touring around southwestern Ontario, Canada  to promote my upcoming mystery novel Beyond Blood, I ran into opposite takes on how the author should present his or her new novel in person to readers.

A bookstore owner who wants me (and a few other Crime Writers of Canada authors) to read in his bookstore this fall or early spring said authors need to do more than just read. People no longer want to sit through an author only reading from her published book. I agreed and said my publisher had told me – not more than 10 minutes of reading or the audience starts fidgeting. I explained that what crime fiction and non-fiction authors have been doing is interviews – either myself or Nate, the CWC Ontario Regional Director who organizes these readings (some with my help), interviews the other authors presenting and we get one of them to interview us. Interviewing yourself is not cool or hot or even lukewarm.

I added that some of us are or were journalists so there is the contrast there and how we switched to writing about crime – fiction or fact. And we open it to the audience for a Q and A. He was enthusiastic about that.

Then, one of my readers told me she would rather have the author read from his or her book rather than talk about it or about their writing.

Hm. This is maybe less work for the author. But I still think anything that will get the author to interact with her audience and provide some insight on where her characters come from, adds to the interest. That is what has been my experience in the Q and A – even when we do reveal something about our writing and our characters.

Maybe the latter also whets the reader’s appetite.

So, the answer may be to blend in the reading with the back story and a Q and A.

And sell some books, of course.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read about my characters and their stories in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://www.amazon.com.
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html And keep checking http://samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondBlood.html for the latest news on the release of my first mystery novel Beyond Blood, also published by Blue Denim Press http://www.bluedenimpress.com More info on the Beyond Blood page as we get closer to the date. And remember that clicking on the book icon at the top gets you to my Amazon profile.

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

 

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