Author Topic: Talk at Public Library  (Read 437 times)

missingalaska

Talk at Public Library
« on: May 29, 2019, 05:27:47 AM »
I've been invited to do a talk and/or reading at our local village public library.  I'm not the best public speaker and the audience is likely to be quite small. Any tips for this type of event? Dos and don'ts?

Michael S. Nuckols
 

LilyBLily

Re: Talk at Public Library
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2019, 09:13:39 AM »
The librarian is your source for information, so ask in advance. Is it a cohesive library group or just anybody off the street? Are any of them likely to have read your book or books already? Does the library even carry your books? Would it allow you to sell them after the event while autographing them? Or would bringing some cheap swag like bookmarks be the better idea? You can autograph them instead.

If you have any surface to put it on, be ready with a small easel (the size for small photo frames, available at craft shops) and display your book the whole time. You could also offer that book as a prize to the first person to ask a question, or to the best question, or the like. That should get the Q & A started.

Ask the librarian how many minutes is the ideal length of a reading. The librarian should know. Then read your selection out loud at home and time it, editing as necessary.

Smile a lot. You're the author. You caught the gold ring.
 
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KFaitour

Re: Talk at Public Library
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2019, 09:23:33 AM »
Jane Friedman recently hosted a guest blog on this topic. Here's the link:

https://www.janefriedman.com/plan-book-reading/

Good on you and have fun!
 :catrun

Kat Faitour | katfaitour.com
 
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missingalaska

Re: Talk at Public Library
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2019, 11:13:29 PM »
I appreciate the insights.  These are things I hadn't considered.

Michael S. Nuckols
 

Vijaya

Re: Talk at Public Library
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2019, 02:04:41 AM »
Congratulations MissingAlaska!!! You've rec'd good advice--and I second knowing who your audience will be because then you can tailor your talk to their interests. I write for kids so library talks are full of little kids with their parents so I have to keep them both engaged.

Some topics that are perennial winners are about the writing life, how you got started, why you write what you write. Leave some time for Q&A. People really appreciate being able to delve deeper into it--you might find yourself discussing the details of what's possible in sci-fi (judging from your covers).

Oh, make sure you let people know where to buy the books. At library talks, you cannot sell directly to patrons (this is the US public library system). I have a local boutique store that carries my books and of course, Amazon.

Please report back on how it went. Good luck and enjoy!

Author of over 60 books and 60 magazine pieces, primarily for children
Vijaya Bodach | Personal Blog | Bodach Books
 

kdiem

Re: Talk at Public Library
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2019, 06:54:52 AM »
...

Oh, make sure you let people know where to buy the books. At library talks, you cannot sell directly to patrons (this is the US public library system). I have a local boutique store that carries my books and of course, Amazon.


Actually, selling books depends on the library and who is sponsoring the talk. When our local writer's chapter has a speaker in, they always have books for sale. I've been to other talks at the library where they had copies of the book available for sale afterwards as well.

My suggestion would be asking the librarian or whoever invited you to speak if it's acceptable to sell books. And leaving enough room in your price to pay sales tax as necessary if you're cutting the price for a live audience.

A small audience is a great way to get your feet under you as a speaker. It's easier to foster a connection with your audience in a more intimate venue. If you're talking about some aspect of writing, ask people what genre they're writing. Expect at least some of your audience to be reticent, and if you're lucky, someone chatty will have a cross-genre time travel romantic horror cookbook that you can bring up periodically to illustrate points.

Author. Bibliophile. Fangirl.
Karen Diem | website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads
 

idontknowyet

Re: Talk at Public Library
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2019, 08:13:50 AM »
If it were me I would have a few bullet points to talk on typed out large print on an index card or 2. Just to organize my thoughts and avoid tangents. Not that I ever go off on tangents.  :doh:
 

David VanDyke

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Re: Talk at Public Library
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2019, 11:03:07 AM »
 I've given talks at libraries. As kdiem says, each library has its own rules, depending on whether it's the city, county, municipal, etc. There is no single "US public library system."

As for not being an experienced public speaker, figure out how you're most comfortable. That may be standing, or sitting behind a table. If a speech or lecture feels unfamiliar, make it a question-and-answer session after giving a 5-minute introduction. Write the intro out--you're a writer, after all--and use it verbatim, if you can't do it extemp. Once you start just chatting with people, you'll probably feel much better.
Never listen to people with no skin in the game.

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Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Talk at Public Library
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2019, 04:34:00 AM »
I've been talking at libraries, book launches, conferences etc. since I began writing 30 years ago. I enrolled in a public speaking club as soon as I realised that promoting my books would require this skill. I've used all my training and experience to help other writers and those 'forced' into public speaking by publishing a book on the subject. I don't think I'm allowed to put a promotional link, but the book is in my signature  grint

Non-fiction, Fiction, family saga, humour, short stories, teen, children's
Jan Hurst-Nicholson | author website
 

notthatamanda

Re: Talk at Public Library
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2019, 08:37:08 PM »
I'm not the best public speaker and the audience is likely to be quite small. Any tips for this type of event? Dos and don'ts?

Apologies if this already happened but I'm not sure why the thread is active again.
Practice your prepared notes, out loud, in the mirror, or to someone else as much as possible.  And remember, when you look at someone's forehead, it looks like you're looking them in the eye.  Good luck and I hope it is fun, at least a little bit.
 

Tom Wood

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Re: Talk at Public Library
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2019, 10:21:00 PM »
To get comfortable with speaking in front of a group, join a local Toastmasters club. If you are blocked because of stage fright, Toastmasters will change your life if public speaking is important to you.