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I would’ve posted yesterday . . .

. . . but yesterday was April Fools’ Day, my second-favorite holiday of the year, and I wouldn’t have been able to resist the temptation to add a little prank to my post.  Something like, say, announcing that everyone who renews their membership in April gets an automatic six-figure book deal with Random House.

So I waited until today to share this link to Garrison Keillor musing on why so few people read contemporary fiction, and this link to a New York Times article about self-publishing (as I always tell people, there’s nothing wrong with self-publishing, as long as you know what you’re getting into and have realistic expectations).

Of course, I couldn’t post without mentioning the upcoming NCWN Spring Conference, April 25 at UNC Greensboro.  If you’ve never heard Sharyn McCrumb speak about writing, you shouldn’t miss this chance.  As fine as her novels are, I sometimes think the best thing about them and their success is that they give groups like the Network a reason to invite Sharyn to talk about being a writer.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard her say anything on the subject that wasn’t funny, insightful, and true.

Speaking of speaking, the workshop I’m most excited about this year is Carol Roan’s “Readings by Writers.”  I met Carol when she helped out at the Network’s booth at last year’s BookMARKS festival in Winston-Salem.  She teaches voice and stage presence for public speakers, including writers who want (if not need) to read from and talk about their work in front of (you hope) crowds.  Having just finished my first book tour of the year, I’m well aware that I need to improve me readings, and I can’t wait for Carol to tell me how.  Here’s the workshop description:

“This workshop will demonstrate how to give a successful reading of your work, beginning with the inevitable stage fright and ending with the hoped-for applause.  Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and the special issues of dialogue and humor–we’ll cover them all.  Be prepared to read one page of prose or one poem, preferably, but not necessarily, from a published format, and to provide the leader with a photocopy of your selection. ”

That’s why I made sure to schedule Carol’s workshop for the morning, and mine for the afternoon.  This job does have a few perks.