This past weekend I went to my first reader’s conference sponsored by the Florida Writer’s Association with author friends, Trish Reeb and Kathy Bryn. The conference was a mini-conference, one of their first, where both writers and readers were invited. Lucky for me the venue was Bradenton, FL–a warm and sunny city. And I love the sun!
Anyway, this was the first time I was a vendor selling books and reading excerpts of my novels. I was nervous, but I’ve always believed that some nervousness creates energy, and energy is good. Preparation is also a key to success, at least, for me, so I was prepared.
Or so I thought.
Unfortunately, the conference wasn’t well attended, which happens at mini-conferences, but in this case the reading room was virtually empty except for other authors and publishing vendors. That was disappointing because I’d gone a long way and spent money to get there. But I believe in keeping a good attitude because the pay-offs to these events might not be known right away. The relationships we build from these events don’t always blossom until later. The best way to grow our business is to attend these networking events. It’s not so much about selling books as it is about networking with others in your same field.
I was to present my first excerpt from Oksana’s story in SCATTERED LINKS after listening to Michael D. Butler. Michael’s presentation was about his company, Next Century Publishing on what they can do for authors. Let me just say–this guy is a best selling author and speaker and one tough act to follow. (And if you’re looking for a book publisher check out Next Century Publishing. They market for their authors!)
Michael got the crowd’s attention. (Yes, it was a small crowd, but still…) So when it was my turn to read an excerpt from my book, it fell flat. Real flat. I decided I wasn’t going to let that happen again. But before I could improve my presentation, I needed to study what I’d done wrong and how to improve. Next time I’d model my presentation differently, more like Michael’s.
Photo compliments of Morguefile.com
Here’s what I’ll do next time.
Tips on How to Present Your Book to Readers
- Start with an attention-getting statement. For instance, just think how effective this opening would have been: “If you were plotting a novel and your vigilante, a victim of sexual abuse, was targeting pedophiles, which body part would he or she slice off?”
- Treat it like a speech, a presentation with an opening, a middle, and a closing statement, but make it more conversational.
- Instead of diving into an excerpt of the book, give background information about the story, your research, your theme. Make it interesting.
- Ask the audience questions. Get them engaged in your topic. Find out it they can relate to your topic. They’re more apt to remember you and your book title if they interact with you.
- Find a way to be memorable, someone who stands out for the right reasons.
- When you read, vary your voice, use different voices for different characters, stand close to the mic so your audience can hear you.
- Give them a reason to buy your book. Tell them what your book could do for them. Will it fill a perceived need? Will it change the way they manage their time, or will it simply entertain them? If so, how?
- Tell them where they can find your book. Which stores carry it. How they can get a signed copy. Let them know you’re available to SKYPE in for a book club gathering.
- Be articulate and smile. Believe in yourself.
- Plan ahead to make a good impression, maybe a great impression.
Even though my goal was to read an excerpt of my books, it should have been so much more. Anytime we get in front of an audience it’s an opportunity to make a good impression, maybe even a great impression.
Next time, I will be better prepared. I hope you will be too.
Have you read a book excerpt in front of an audience? What worked for you?