Author Talks

I had the HUGE pleasure of going to hear my friend Fiona Palmer speak at Ballajura Library (in WA) last Wednesday night. She drew a fabulous crowd and was an absolute delight to listen to.

(Fiona Palmer (looking MUCH more glamorous than me) on the left and me on the right)

One of the reasons (aside from catching up, which we rarely get to do) was to see how one author handles a library talk. I’ve already been asked to go to two libraries and speak, which is kind of hard to believe for me. I can’t believe people might actually want to hear me rabbit on about my books. So I decided, that this was a good excuse to see Fiona and do a little research on the promotional and business side of writing.

Fiona spoke about how she started writing – her schooling background, life experiences, etc and how they led her to write the book that had been buzzing about in her head for years. She spoke freely and honestly about how she’s grown as a writer over the last seven years and then took questions from the audience about reading, writing and the business side of publishing. She handled all this fabulously and I now feel a lot more confident about getting up and doing a similar talk myself.Β Fiona also gave each attendee a bookmark and was available to sign books at chat at the end of the session.

I’ve asked a couple of other writer friends how they handle such talks and here’s a couple of other things that some authors do:

* Read from their current release
* Offer a prize for one attendee
*Leave swag (booksmarks and other promo things) on each seat – sometimes cross-promotional offering friends’ promo items (eg. bookmarks) as well

I’d love to hear from both readers and other authors about their experiences with author talks and what they like to do/get out of such an event.

Readers – what would you like authors to offer if you went to hear them talk?

Authors – what do you do when you speak at a library or other community event?

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9 thoughts on “Author Talks

  1. I have never been to an author talk at a library… because I always have my kids with me and they aren’t the quiet variety. So my reader question would be … are you distracted by noisy kids? and I wouldn’t expect anything other then an interesting talk.
    Thanks for sharing what Fiona spoke about. xx

  2. Love, love, love doing library talks, Rachael!

    Writing can be so solitary and you know when you front up to an audience at a library you’re
    talking to the converted – they’re all readers!!! It’s very special to chat to people about your books and find yourself talking about your characters as though they are real people. I know they’re
    real in my head, but to have conversation with a brand new friend about a character’s motivation is just lovely.

    I normally talk about my writing journey as well as the starting points for my stories. I’ve put together a little power point presentation for my talks later this year which show the area the books are set as well as the aircraft and some of the equipment my characters work with.

    The other lovely aspect of library talks is catching up with local booksellers who are the people who connect readers and writers in a way the internet can’t. And they’re always passionate about books!!

    You’ll have so much fun, Rachael πŸ™‚

    • Oh Helene – I know you’d do fabulous author talks. The power point presentation sounds like a fabulous idea. And I can already see what you mean about making connections – Fiona was lovely enough to mention and introduce me to the attendees, the librarians and the booksellers too. πŸ™‚

  3. How exciting Rach! I’m thrilled for you πŸ™‚

    The author talks sound fab. I havent had a chance to attend many but I went to my first with Nicola Marsh. She was lovely and it was an informal, friendly way to meet a writer.

    BTW – at the time my son was a baby and I was grateful he stayed quietly in the pram for the talk πŸ™‚

    At an author talk, I’m interested in the author – why they started writing, what’s it like writing and juggling “life” as well as tid bits about their latest release (eg: research they did).

  4. Rach, I think you’re very brave to do library talks. As a reader I would want to know about your inspiration, your writing journey, and your day-to-day writing practices

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