Sunday, 18 May 2014

Interview with author Noelle Clark on speaking at writer events, part 2

Greetings everyone!

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.

This event also sparked a great idea for some posts. I'm going to interview a few published authors (more if everyone/anyone is interested) who have already been down this road to gain some insight and tips.
 
The most important thing to learn about a writer's journey is that it is never over. We are always learning.
 
Today's interview is with romance author Noelle Clark. She lives in Brisbane, Australia and you can check out her work at www.noelleclark.net. It's a wonderfully lengthy interview, and I say wonderfully because it's so full of great advice and tips, that I've decided to post it in two parts.
 
Out and About with Noelle Clark Part 2


www.noelleclark.net
Noelle Clark

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: It’s not necessary to have a big budget to make your promo material look professional. I do think that it’s important to be able to give the attendees something to take away with them, that has your website or other contact details, and that serves as a reminder of your books and your brand.

I take hard copies of my books, both to display, and for sale/signing. I’ve had A3 retractable banners made up displaying my book covers. These are available from Office Works for only $25. I also have post cards for each of my books, the cover in glossy colour on one side, and the other grey tone matte, with either a blurb or my contact details. I hand these out, and am often asked to sign them. They make great book marks too. I also take along a sign-up sheet so people can subscribe to my email newsletter.

During some Valentine’s Day talks in February, I also took along some heart-shaped lollypops for everyone. Just for fun.

 
D L: Did you contact the events or did they contact you?

Noelle: I contacted my local library initially, as they have a program called ‘Authors in Action’. They then asked if I was available to speak to a group of readers, and writer club members, at one of their branches. Of course, I accepted. Then – quite out of the blue – I was contacted by another regional library who invited me to do a series of talks at five of their branches, spread over a period of a month.

Small ripples in the pond began, and from the exposure and marketing of these talks, I was invited to speak to other book clubs, and then to attend an author signing at a book store.

"Small ripples in the pond began...I was invited to speak to other book clubs."

D L: Did you find that questions were geared more around getting published or writing tips? And did these questions change what you delivered next time?

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.

I would say that the ratio of questions re getting published and writing tips has been around 50:50. There are an amazing number of people out there who have already written books – memoirs, novels, histories, self-help books – who need to know the next step to take. They always ask about self-publishing versus traditional publishing. Then there are those who call themselves ‘aspiring’ writers, who have stories to tell, who are keen, but don’t know where to start. If you get a mix of these two groups in a presentation, it takes some skill to adequately address each person’s needs.

http://www.booktopia.com.au/search.ep?keywords=noelle+clark
 

D L: If you have anything else you’d like to share about your experiences, I’d love to hear about them and share them with everyone.

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?

My tips for successful author talks would include:

  • 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.

  • If it’s a writers group, then expect questions about characterisation, plot, and dialogue. If they are readers, they often want to know how you came up with the story, and the reasons for setting it where you did.

  • 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

Catchya!

3 comments:

  1. Deb, I'm really grateful to you for inviting me along. I really am passionate about writing, and I appreciate the opportunity to share with others what I've learned along the way. Thanks.

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  2. We're grateful for you sharing. You're going great guns, and at the recent Writers Festival the buzz word was keep writing, keep writing, keep writing. My buzz word is find time, find time, find time LOL.

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  3. Lovely to hear more Noelle. Another nice post ladies

    ReplyDelete