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Author Events

edited April 2007 in - Reading


  • My local library is doing an author reading event tomorrow night with John Fullerton (This Green Land and White Boys Don't Cry).  I'm thinking about going, but I've never been to anything like this before or even a book signing, so what should I expect?.  Is it just going to be an exercise for him to sell more books, or might I find it interesting?.  After the last week I've had, I feel like I could do with an evening out either way.

    I was speaking to the librarian and she was saying that there has been very little interest, so I suppose if I was the only one who went, it might save his blushes.

    If anyone is in the Newcastle/Northumberland area tomorrow evening (April 25th 2007), the event is being held at Cramlington Library.  Admission is free and refreshments will be available.

    Anyone interested the library's phone number is (01670) 714371.
  • Hi- you should go just to see him blush! If only a man with his dog turns up, you'll see him blush even more!
    I've been to a few and they range from boring to very good. I met Arundati Roy, Monica Ali, both very good and you do learn something in the way they present themselves, because they have big publishing houses behind them telling them how it should be done.
    But you learn more sometimes from low turn out events, because you realise the mistakes you shouldn't make. All the same you should support this author, it still requires a lot of guts. And you will see how it is for a lot of authors.
  • Yes, why not go?  I work in a library and, it seems, even if we have events where a handful of people turn up, those people are the ones who end up raving about them. 

    Reasons for:  evening out, free, inspiration in how/how not to do it, chance for face to face insight from another author and, if low-attendance a good chance to ask those nagging questions of the author.

    Good of you to pass the info on.  Hope you enjoy it. 
  • Go along. You will learn something.
    I've been to a few events like this and they each have their own set up. The writer will talk about their work, read extracts, answer questions, sell books and sign them. And you may get a chance to speak to them for a few minutes at the end if you are interested in something in particular.
  • Hi Stirling
    Go, please! The author will certainly appreciate it.
    I did a talk at Cramlington myself in March this year. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think the audience did as well!
    If you do go, please give the staff there my best wishes - my contact was Lesley Kelly.
    James Barrington
  • I'm sure you'll  enjoy the talk and  possible discussion or Q &  A session afterwards.  I've been to quite a few in the last few years, particularly during Essex Book Festival and they've always been very interesting.  One of the most interesting ones was Germaine Greer's; also, Roger Tabor's, Billy Bragg's and Tony Benn's, which filled a theatre.
  • Oh My God.

    Sorry I missed you James!.
  • I generally enjoy these events and dream of the day when I'll have a book published that people want to hear about.
  • I'm slightly dubious about asking him about getting published though.

    How many times must published authors hear the words.  "I want to be a writer, and I've written this book . . .".

    Cue eye rolling and thoughts of not another one . . .
  • I wouldn't ask that if I were you, more like 'what advice would you give a hardworking aspiring author, on the basis of your experience?'
  • I don't think I'm going to mention it at all!.  Just sit there, be quiet and learn.

    Far too humilating/embarrassing.

    I refuse to put these people on a pedestal or give their ego's a polish either.
  • Ouch. Ouch. And more ouch Stirling. You've just given me the heebie- jeebies as I was contacted by Somerset Library services earlier in the year enquiring whether I'd be prepared to give some library talks. Never having done any before but wanting to get publicity for my book I said 'Yes'. It's now snow-balled a bit and I find myself with six to give, scattered throughout Somerset during this summer. The 'Prospect' is rather daunting as I don't know what the target audience is likely to be.  As you say, will people be expecting something about writing the book, advice on writing or to some insight into the 'writer' and what makes him tick - or rather what makes him write. I suspect the latter is the main interest. I am thinking of talking about my life with animals and how the interest grew in writing about them which then culminated in my novel.  I'd really appreciate the views of other Talkbackers as to what they expect of speakers when they go to Library talks.  Whatever, it has to be entertaining as people have made the effort to come along so I don't really want to go into the mechanics of writing especially as I suspect that there will be people there who just enjoy reading rather than writing. Mmmm....I shall now have night sweats dreaming of chatting to just one man and his dog.  Mutt..er Mutt..er
  • Stirling you can now go to see m welshman blush, aswell! Talking to a dog not so bad, they actually listen.
    well done welshman with your talks, wish u luck.
  • The keeping quiet bit didn't really happen.

    Actually I was expecting him to talk more about his book and do a reading, but all he seemed to talk about was his espionage past and the publishing business.  Although it was interesting, he ticked me off on several points -

    1.  When he was talking about the chances of being published, I knew more than he did (i.e there is less than one percent chance of being picked up by a publisher).

    2.  He seemed to get upset by the thought a girl read Ian Rankin (because I thought he was more literary/intelligent).

    3.  That I didn't like American writing because the language isn't as 'precise' as British writing.  That my ideal novel is an American plot with British writing.

    4.  That men won't been seen dead with a book with a pink jacket (excuse me, some of us girls won't be seen dead with a book that has a pink cover too).

    5.  That novels being published today aren't as good as the one's that have been published in the past.

    Hope I didn't scare you Welshman!.  Although I think I did intimidate Mr Fullerton!.  I was shocked that he didn't arrive with a car full of books to sell, or even read from his book.  Obviously not a businessman.

    The experience has shown me what works and what doesn't when I eventually have my own events.

    Let me know if you ever appear anywhere near Newcastle, I would love to come to one of your events.
  • Sounds like the bloke didn't know what he was doing Stirling. And he also sounds a bit pompous from your description.
    I assure you there are many good writers out there who do know how to do one of those events.
  • Sorry to hear about that experience, Stirling.  Well, it was a free night out and something to write about!  Anyway, note to self: do not ask library to arrange an evening with said Mr. Fullerton.

    Blackheath Concert Halls in London hold some excellent literary evenings.  However, they do charge.

    But their successful format appears to be (MW!): introduction to author by interviewer; author reads passage from latest work; author is interviewed for a short while; question-and-answer session with author and audience members; wrap up, then book-sign/sales.  Audience can taken along their own copies of authors' books to be signed, too.

    That seems to work well.  But then most of the authors we've had have been intelligent, perceptive, good-humoured and polite.
  • Whoops, meant "take along"... duh!
  • I quite enjoyed it, there is nothing I love than sparking with people like that.

    I think this was my first experience of a man being intimidated by an intelligent woman, who doesn't fit a stereotype.
  • About time he had the experience then.
    Our library does these events fairly regularly, a set during the summer, and then others in winter.
    They can be either evening or early afternoon depending on the writers.
    Our library charges about three pound and you get a drink of wine or orange juice included.
    During the break you get your drink, buy the books and get them signed, then the second half.
    Evening events start 6.30-7.00, as the building must be vacated for 9.00.
    As TT listed, formula similar.
  • Thanks TT. So I have to be good humoured, polite. etc. for it to work  mmmm  <g> Oh well.  Interested to hear  the 'interview' aspect. I was just assuming I got an intro and then got on with talking.  And I hadn't considered reading any extracts from my book. Would have to work on that to make sure anything I chose sounded OK to read out. Thanks for highlighting that aspect. I guess it would be a way of padding out the talk.
  • What a pity the experience was not as good as it might have been.  The best talks usually do start with a brief interview with the writer/speaker, followed by the talk about him/herself a little and what prompted him/her to write the book, interspersed with interesting extracts, then, if there's time, Q & A, followed, probably, by a book-signing session, if appropriate.  Conn Iggulden's and Tim Cunningham's were perfect, but Billy Bragg read a little too many pages and for too long for my liking, although it was interesting. Conn arrived over an hour late, as he was lost, despite his SatNav, but we were a friendly lot.

    I'm sure your talk will be perfect, MW, and  you'll sell a lot of books. 
  • All the best Malcolm with your library talks.
  • Thanks for that Verica.  I'll work on something along those lines.  Yesterday I did a hospital radio coffee-time slot - it was an hour long - where the presenter led me through from my boyhood days to writing the book. Afterwards he gave me to quote 'eleven out of ten' for an interesting talk and has booked me in again next month. So maybe I should do the library talks in a similar manner.  I've plenty of stories about my life as a youngster in Africa which later I used for features and with subsequent stories about my times at London Zoo.  People do seem genuinely interested in that aspect of my life.  What I don't want to do is have people expecting me to talk about my book and then find I'm talking about other areas of my life. Guess I should try and do a mix to show how my life with animals has influenced my writing. To be honest I find talking about how I came to write the book and its contents a bit boring. And I'm afraid that might show through in a talk. It's much more fun relating amusing anecdotes of my encounters with animals. I'll keep working on it. And take on board any other tips.  Thanks again.
  • MW go for a mix of both, and perhaps you can use excerpts from the book to illustrate various items.
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