Skip to content

The Vagaries of Author Events

NCWN member Tony Rankine reads at the 2011 Fall Conference Open Mic

NCWN member Tony Rankine reads at the 2011 Fall Conference Open Mic

It’s an issue we sometimes run into here at the Network when putting together our Member Readings e-blast: say a member has an event coming up. But what kind of event is it? Will the member be reading from their new book? Or just signing at the front of the store? Or will he or she be giving a long presentation about a new book, a “book talk” if you will, or will the member perhaps deliver more of a generalized talk about writing in general? Sometimes, we don’t quite know all the details, so our listings are a little vague.

The truth is, we rarely know what we’re walking into when we go to an author event, and Matthew Dicks, author of three novels, has a problem with this.

“As authors (as well as event managers and publicists), we do a disservice to readers by not making it clear what to expect when we plan on speaking at a bookstore, library, school or similar venue. We seek to provide customers with a meaningful experience that will build brand loyalty, but we fail to define what that experience will be.

“I’m not saying that reading to your audience for 45 minutes is necessarily wrong. In truth, many of the people seemed to enjoy this particular reading a great deal…. (But) if we are not clear about our intentions to prospective audience members, we run the risk of alienating readers.”

Dicks proposes breaking author events down into four categories:

The Signing. At an event like this, readers should expect the author to speak primarily about his or her latest book.

The Reading. Readers who attend this type of event should expect that the majority of the time will be spent listening to the author read from his or her latest book.

The Book Talk. At an event like this, readers should expect the author to speak primarily about his or her latest book.

The Author Talk. Rather than attempting to convince his or her audience about the appeal of a specific novel, an author’s goal is to let the audience get to know him or her as a person.

For the full article, and a full breakdown of each Author Event category, click here.

So which do you prefer—as the presenting author, or as an attendee?

One Comment

  1. Glenda Beall wrote:

    Thanks for pointing us to this insightful article. I fully agree that we have too many long dull readings when good author talks and Q & A like we had tonight at JCCFS with
    Deanna Klingel is more fun for the audience and it builds a connection to the author.

    Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *
*
*