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Sunday, April 18, 2010

REPORT: First Book Event

I attended my first ever book talk / signing yesterday. I'd like to think I went in with an open mind. Really. I had no idea what to expect, so I was ready for pretty much anything. I hate to say it, but I was underwhelmed, but I'm trying to hold off on final judgment until I have a few more of these under my belt.

First of all, I will confess that I was only able to stay for the first hour. Yesterday was a really busy family day with the race, hubby's birthday, piano lessons, sleepovers, movies, and meals out. It is entirely possible that things picked up after I left, and I may have missed the best parts.

What did I see?

The venue was fantastic: a restored theater. I'd never been there before, and was impressed with the architecture, etc. I counted about 50 people in the audience. After a brief introduction, the writer took the stage, made a few general comments and proceeded to read from a work in progress.

For 45 minutes.

Then I had to leave.

I wanted to love it. I did! I wanted to be so excited about it that I'd put a reminder on my calendar so I'd remember to purchase my very own copy the MINUTE it was released. But if I'm going to be honest with myself(and by extension, you) I was bored.

Isn't that a really horrible thing to say? I feel like I just threw a fellow writer under the bus. It felt like I was back in high school listening to some boring lecture. I almost dozed off. I know,I know! I wish I could say I was so exhausted from the race that I couldn't keep my eyes open, but really it was the voice droning on. And on and on.

My husband, who accompanied me, had never been to any of these things either, though he occasionally watches them on CSPAN. I asked for his opinion before I offered mine.

He was also bored. And he did doze off.

(oh the shame)

So, I was thinking, WHAT would have made it better?

Hubs thought some sort of visual would have been helped liven things up. He thought a PowerPoint with random images pulled from the text would have given greater dimension and interest.

Not a bad idea. It would have helped. Done right, it could have been a beautiful enhancement.

Personally, I wish the reading had been reduced to 15 or 20 minutes. Then I wish the author would have just TALKED to us about his/her inspirations, experiences, and passions. I also thought it would have been more dynamic if the narrative had been acted out. It would have made the same passages much more compelling.

Again, I am an admitted rookie to this kind of stuff. I will be attending every event I can find from here on out to learn whatever I can. Maybe once I've attended a few, I will change my mind about this one.

All I know is that I NEVER want anyone who came to one of my events to leave feeling bored or underwhelmed. My job is to energize and enthrall them so they feel compelled to not only buy my book but tell all their friends what a fantastic time they had at my event. The trick, of course, is finding out how the heck to do that!

So tell me, have you ever attended a talk or signing? What was the experience like for you? What would you have changed? What would you like to do when it's your turn to take the stage to promote your book?

Can't forget the bag...Really need to find something else to add once I'm through with these. Hmmmm


Anonymous said...

I've attended a number of book sighings and events last year. Some were highly successful and a few were crash and burns. But overall I learned much and used these experiences as a launchboard for a bigger and better 2010.

Stephen Tremp

MissV said...

Hi, Stephen! Thanks for stopping by! Any insight on what makes a successful event vs. an unsuccessful one? Is it dependent on the audience? So much to learn....

Carole Anne Carr said...

Reading for 45 minutes? Oh, dear... what was the writer thinking about...
Kind regards, Carole.