Interview with author Noelle Clark on speaking at writer events, part 2
Sharing exciting news is always fun and I've got exciting news to share. In a few weeks I will be the guest speaker at a local writer event. You know in the movie Groundhog Day where Bill Murray's character says, "I'm not a god, I'm the god." I feel a bit like that. I'm not a guest speaker. I'm the guest speaker. It's an awesome feeling. Anyway, let me tell you a little about the event and what I've got planned.
The Eurobodalla Fellowship of Australian Writers is celebrating 20 years of writing with a literary lunch, a writing activity, and myself as guest speaker. My topic of choice is on the cycle of writing/publishing which I've now done four times, and because the writers at this event will be at different stages of their careers, I thought I'd offer some tips on mental preparedness.
You can read Part 1 of this interview here:
D L: What sort of promotional material did you take with you? If so, what was the response to the product?
Noelle:After every talk, I evaluated what went well, and what didn’t. Each group has different dynamics, and luckily I am an experienced trainer, so I’ve learned that sometimes you have to ad lib, or go slightly off the projected course in order to satisfy the requirements and expectations of each audience.
Noelle:I love speaking to groups about writing, because it’s my passion, and don’t we all love talking about what makes us feel so alive?
- Connect with the appropriate person in libraries, ie events person. Don’t just send a generic letter or email. It will get lost in the busy day to day life of a library.
- Offer to give them and their readers something, such as a writing craft talk, or a particular topic you may have covered in your book or books. Don’t offer to visit just because you want to sell books.
- Prepare well. Spend a lot of time in choosing your topic and designing an interesting talk. If you are not comfortable with public speaking, consider having an interview style presentation. Make sure you provide those attending with something interesting, relevant, and hopefully entertaining.
- By all means, have notes so that you stay on track and don’t get waylaid by random questions from the audience, but try not to ‘read’ to them. Have headings and dot points written down, but look the audience in the eyes and be yourself. Your passion will engage them, and you know your books intimately, so it’s not as if it’s foreign territory.
- If you are attending a book club that has already read your book, come up with a list of questions they will probably ask, and prepare your answers. They are genuinely interested in your book, your characters, the setting. They want to know how and why you wrote what you did.
- Ask the audience questions. Find out who you’re speaking to before you start. This can be done as they are arriving. Greet them, introduce yourself to them, and shake hands. Try to remember their names if you can.
- Finally, be friendly, approachable, and let your passion shine through. After the talk, they often want to chat with you. Listen to them—they often tell you about their own book that they’ve written—be interested, ask them questions. Enjoy the event and hopefully you’ll be asked back when your next book is released.
Thanks so much Noelle for sharing such great advice.
You can check more out about Noelle via her website www.noelleclark.net.
Author interviews still to come are: suspense/paranormal romance author Brinda Berry, urban fantasy author Tracey O'Hara, and Canberra writer and publisher Jodi Cleghorn