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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live in a small, rural area (city and outlying areas = ~45,000 souls). We have a thriving arts community and several small indie bookstores, all of which are great about carrying the work of local authors. My novel went live on Sunday (YAY!)--e-book up now, p-book to follow shortly. As soon as p-books are available I'm going to make the rounds to promote, and set up a reading. One plus is that the novel's backdrop is actual infamous local history, which will probably be a selling point.

Anyway, I'm wondering if some of you have done some live pitching, and what sort of advice you might offer. I don't see this as something that will set my world on fire, but it would be silly to squander the opportunity in my burg. Thanks!
 

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I've done a few, and so far it's been a great experience. It helps that I lack the "normal" fear of public speaking, which many think is grounds for putting me into therapy.

The best piece of advice I can give is to rehearse the reading. You'd think that, having written the words, they'd just naturally flow across the tongue. Trust me, it won't work that way. Rehearse several times, at least once in front of a practice audience (friends & family will work for this), and if you have a time constraint, make sure the rehearsal comes in well under that time so potential readers can talk to you afterward. Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wise advice, Thomas, and glad to hear what a positive experience you've had. Guess I'm lucky that I've done quite a bit of public reading--BIG believer in rehearsal.  ;)
 

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I haven't done any book readings yet, but I did have a Skype session with my father's book club. It was a fun experience.

I bet if you'll be able to sell a few copies and generate some local word of mouth :)
 

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When I was seeking promotion advice from fellow authors on another forum one gave me what I thought was really valuable advice. Basically the internet is millions of people shouting at each other to be heard, and a lot of it gets filtered out. When you combine that with the fact that face to face meetings and conversations are becoming more and more rare as everyone dives into cyberspace, promoting your book to people in person can potentially have a much higher success rate.

If you don't mind shaking hands and tooting your own horn you can probably get quite a few sales by promoting your work in person. Not only that, but because you have that personal connection people will be more likely to give your book a more positive reception, review it, and recommend it.

Just 2c from an armchair philosoraptor. It's not something I'm comfortable doing so I probably couldn't take my own advice.
 

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I'm doing a small local reading at my small local library in April. I've got 2 stories I'm going to read, and I'll have a bunch of simplified drawings from my books (I love my artist, who redid most of her drawings for me with simplified lines and no shading so I could make a coloring book) and projects for the kids to color while I'm reading. In the back of the room, I'll have a table set up with my books (and maybe get my daughter to watch it for me while I'm talking) in the back of the room.

I don't expect to sell a whole lot. Or even get a whole lot of new signups for my mailing list. But the library is enthusiastic about it, and I'm really looking forward to it.
 

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I like doing readings.

I'd advise to keep your excerpt short. If there is more interest, you can always read a second one. About three pages should be enough. Choose an exciting part of the book, not necessarily the beginning, and end with a cliffhanger. Remember not to bury your face in the book while you're reading. Look up occasionally.
 

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I've never done a reading, but I've attended quite a few, mainly at various conventions. So these are my tips, for what they're worth:

Take a bottle of water. As much as you can, use gestures and accents to dramatise the piece. Vary the tone and volume of your voice. I think it's better to ham it up a bit than to have your reading come across as flat.

Don't expect a large audience, so ideally you should bring some friends and family to cheer you on. Good luck!
 

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Try to get one together with two other authors--you'll triple your audience.

Do the paperback first. If people love it and want to buy, you want them to have that option.

Good luck!
 

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So far, I've only done readings for my children's books. I had so much fun doing that! To keep the attention of young kids, I brought along lots of pictures of the fish I wrote about in the ocean world of THE FISHERMAN'S SON, including the most outlandish fish that live at the bottom of the ocean. I also brought along pictures of the types of Celtic castles I wrote about in the books. I read passages from the books and showed pictures that illustrated some of the passages. I also gave out pencils imprinted with my website and bookmarks.
 

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I'm terrified of public speaking, so that would be out for me. But just last night I was the guest author for a local book club who chose my book The Mercy of Time and Chance for their selection this month. I was nervous going in because I'd never done anything like that before. But once I was there, I was very surprised and gratified to find that the sections that were supposed to be heart wrenching and touching actually affected the reader in the way intended. Because the story is about a family (mine) I brought old photos of the people in the story, and the readers said that was just how they pictured them.

Not sure I could handle standing in front of a crowd to deliver a reading. But if public speaking doesn't bother you and you can do it without hyperventilating, I'd say go for it with a selection of your other books on hand.

Joyce
 

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cbaku said:
Anyway, I'm wondering if some of you have done some live pitching, and what sort of advice you might offer. I don't see this as something that will set my world on fire, but it would be silly to squander the opportunity in my burg. Thanks!
I've done a few.

1. Wear cotton.
2. Brush your teeth. Bring breath mints. Do not chew gum.
3. Wear comfortable shoes.
4. Don't have high expectations about anything.
5. See this as a fun practice run, building up your skills, figuring out how to read in public, answering questions, etc.
6. Have fun.

:)
 

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Personally, I hate readings, as both an author and a fan. By which I mean: when the author opens the book and reads the text. Very few authors have good reading voices that are entertaining, and many authors read for a painfully long time, and it just makes my eyes glaze over.

If you include a reading, I suggest limiting it to 1-1.5 pages, max. But remember: you don't have to only read. There are tons of other programs you could do. Some have suggested finding a few more authors to do the signing with--the more the merrier. I've started doing a trivia style game using my book--you don't have to have read the book, and the questions/answers aren't spoilers, and it's a lot of fun for everyone, which still intriguing people in the book and given me opportunities to talk about it. And don't forget the q&a section--that's always the longest running part of any signing for me.

Find a style YOU are comfortable with, whatever that entails, and keep an eye on entertaining the audience--an entertained audience is far more likely to buy your book.
 

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I have my books in the main local book store and our local non-chain grocery store, plus a few on consignment (I plan to phase out the consignment ones). I also have some at our very small town's fabulous library.

I would start with bringing your book to the bookstore(s) and libraries that you frequent as a customer. Your book's local connection will help, but it's even better if you have actual friends or long-term acquaintances among the booksellers or librarians. Teaming up with other authors is also a great idea. For a reading/event, you could have it either at a library or a bookstore, or even a cafe.
 
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