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Marketing Tactics > Library Talks

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message 1: by Pamela (new)

Pamela King | 9 comments Has anyone had a negative experience doing (or trying to arrange) an author talk at a library?

My local library happily accepted my offer for a talk. I was very pleased with the response and thought it would be worthwhile to contact libraries in the surrounding areas and do likewise - after all one of the stated aims of libraries (at least in Australia) is to support writers.

The first two phone calls went well.

The person for the third library told me "Oh no, we only book well known authors not self published, Indie or unknown writers, we need to make sure we fill the room." She then went on to brag about the authors that had given talks in the past.

This is the only library in the district that charges the public to attend author talks. So much for author support - it's all about money.

Yes, the fourth phone also went well and welcomed my call.

I resolved when I am a famous and popular author (haha) I won't talk at the third library if they begged me.


message 2: by E.A. (new)

E.A. Briginshaw | 73 comments Pamela wrote: "Has anyone had a negative experience doing (or trying to arrange) an author talk at a library?

My local library happily accepted my offer for a talk. I was very pleased with the response and thou..."


I've done a few presentations at our local library and they've all gone well. The first one was about a year ago to one of the local book clubs and had about ten people in attendance. I was asked to do another presentation at the library a few weeks ago, but only four people attended this one. The library offered to pay me an honorarium, but I declined. However, they paid for all of the advertising which included some bookmarks they handed out to patrons a few weeks in advance of the event. They also supplied coffee and cookies. Although I didn't make any sales at the event, I've noticed a lot more of my books have been taken out from the library since then. I haven't done any "tours" of libraries in the area, but I know some other writers have.


message 3: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 263 comments Over the last few years I've given four presentations at my local library (and taken part in one writers panel discussion) and they've all gone well. They run a small writer's group and they are always happy for people to volunteer to talk. Typical attendance is between 15 and 20 people.

I also approached the larger downtown library and they accepted my offer to give a talk there this year to a larger audience (30 or 40 people) and they paid me an honorarium, which was a welcome bonus.

Not a statistical sample, but I think if a library has a regular writer's group or other book-related programs running they are worth approaching.


M. Ray Holloway Jr.   (mrayhollowayjr) | 180 comments I was asked to speak at a creative writing class for teens. Of course, the purpose wasn't to sell books, but to help inspire aspiring writers. They were incredibly excited about my visit, listened enthusiastically to every word I said, and asked very intelligent questions. It was a great experience for me and them as well.


message 5: by Pamela (new)

Pamela King | 9 comments E.A. wrote: "Pamela wrote: "Has anyone had a negative experience doing (or trying to arrange) an author talk at a library?

My local library happily accepted my offer for a talk. I was very pleased with the re..."


Yes my local library was wonderful too with promotion and providing refreshments. They also offered to write to other libraries I contacted and let them know the feedback they got from those attending.


message 6: by Pamela (new)

Pamela King | 9 comments Ian wrote: "Over the last few years I've given four presentations at my local library (and taken part in one writers panel discussion) and they've all gone well. They run a small writer's group and they are al..."
In the case of the three libraries who happily accepted my offer they all asked if I was a local (neighbouring council areas qualifying as local) In the case of the library who only has "well known" authors they didn't even ask that even though there are local writers' groups in the district.


message 7: by Pamela (new)

Pamela King | 9 comments M. Ray Holloway Jr. wrote: "I was asked to speak at a creative writing class for teens. Of course, the purpose wasn't to sell books, but to help inspire aspiring writers. They were incredibly excited about my visit, listened ..."
That would be a wonderful experience. One library asked if I was looking at presenting an author talk or a workshop. They were quite excited when I said I could do either.


message 8: by David (new)

David Wimsett | 16 comments I also was turned down for a talk at a larger city library because they felt the crowd would not be big enough, even through they do not charge for attending. I have had much better luck with smaller, regional libraries. They have been encouraging and supportive and have stocked my book.


message 9: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 9 comments What's involved in an author's talk. I am use to conducting presentations at science and education conferences around the country where I discuss/demonstrate science activities or how to manage and write multimedia/distance learning courses, etc. These talks using involve the audience in some sort of hands-on activity or powerpoint with some sort of interaction or audience participation. So I am at a loss as to just getting up and talking about my book.

Those of you who have participated in an author's talk, what do you do to get the audience interested in what you have to say?


message 10: by Pamela (new)

Pamela King | 9 comments I write non fiction and written books about an Italian rock band and dingoes so I used this difference to title my talk Diversity in Writing. This gave me an opportunity to talk about how I came to write on such different topics and therefore the books themselves. I also gave a talk to my local writers group about the need for writers to do their research (fiction and non fiction). Using my own books as examples I was again able to mention them.

It would depend on the topic of your books and how you can link them to a topic. Even sharing your experience getting published or your writing process would be of interest to budding writers.


message 11: by E.A. (new)

E.A. Briginshaw | 73 comments Daniel wrote: "Those of you who have participated in an author's talk, what do you do to get the audience interested in what you have to say?"
I change my presentation depending on the audience. If I'm presenting to other writers, I'll describe the processes I used in creating my books (e.g. writing the first draft, editing, beta readers, designing the cover, publishing). If my audience is mostly "readers" who have little interest in writing, then I'll talk mostly about where the ideas for the stories came from, how I came up with the various characters, and the research I did before writing the book. I write fiction, but a lot of my stories are based partly on things that have actually happened to me, my family, or my friends.


message 12: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 9 comments Pamela/E.A. Thank you for your much appreciated comments. Although I am reluctant to talk about my book, which is non fiction, there are those who think it has to be fiction - comments have been "is this true?" Your comments give me a starting point. I have a neighbor who works at one of the branch libraries in town to whom I can approach and pass the idea onto her to get her thinking. - Thank you


message 13: by Pamela (new)

Pamela King | 9 comments Daniel wrote: "Pamela/E.A. Thank you for your much appreciated comments. Although I am reluctant to talk about my book, which is non fiction, there are those who think it has to be fiction - comments have been "i..."

I know how it is with a non-fiction book people think cannot be true - this is the case with my first book Angel with Drumsticks.

Good luck with your endeavours


message 14: by Ian (last edited Dec 06, 2018 07:06PM) (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 263 comments Daniel wrote: "What's involved in an author's talk. I am use to conducting presentations at science and education conferences around the country where I discuss/demonstrate science activities or how to manage and..."

The talks I've given have always been at writer's groups, so the audience is other writers. I try to cover writing-related topics in a way that I don't think people have heard before. The topics I've prepared for are: Tips on how to handle critiques on your own work, visual tools for writers, breaking out of writer's block, and the essentials of worldbuilding for both real and imagined worlds.

That last one was more of a workshop than a talk, but I try to include some element of audience participation in all of them.


message 15: by Pamela (new)

Pamela King | 9 comments Ian wrote: "Daniel wrote: "What's involved in an author's talk. I am use to conducting presentations at science and education conferences around the country where I discuss/demonstrate science activities or ho..."

They are interesting topics and I would certainly attend a workshop on any of them. Our writers group has a critique session of each other contributions to our monthly magazine each meeting. We are planning a workshop next year on HOW to critique which should be beneficial to all of us. Perhaps another thought for you.

Audience participation is vital no matter what the topic - author talk or workshop


message 16: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 263 comments Pamela wrote: "Ian wrote: "Daniel wrote: "What's involved in an author's talk. I am use to conducting presentations at science and education conferences around the country where I discuss/demonstrate science acti..."

Our writer's group runs a monthly group like that, too, as well as the monthly meetings with talks and guests. I chose to focus on receiving critiques because I felt there was a gap there. It seemed to me there was already plenty of advice out there on giving critiques, but maybe that's just my impression from years of participating in online critique forums.


message 17: by Pamela (new)

Pamela King | 9 comments Ian wrote: "Pamela wrote: "Ian wrote: "Daniel wrote: "What's involved in an author's talk. I am use to conducting presentations at science and education conferences around the country where I discuss/demonstra..."

I am not aware of any online critiquing forums. Are there any you could recommend?


message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 263 comments Pamela wrote: "I am not aware of any online critiquing forums. Are there any you could recommend?"

Certainly. I used Critters many years ago, and then switched to Critique Circle because their queue and membership system suited me better. But I'm sure there are many others. I can't post links in this forum (against forum rules) but if you Google "online writers critique groups" you should get plenty of pointers.

The trick is to research a few groups, see how they work and what kind of critiques they yield, and pick something that suits your needs.


message 19: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 9 comments Pamela wrote: "Audience participation is vital no matter what the topic - author talk or workshop."

In my past life I taught students system thinking and mathematical modeling in physics, some economics, but mostly elementary environmental science. I will say right up front that I am by no means an expert in systems thinking and computer simulation of systems, but I can do some of the mathematical modeling required. So I hit upon the idea to try and develop a “what if” systems scenario with the main characters in my book. I would ask my audience how the relationship might change if circumstances change with some of the main characters - what might the outcome be, if on a mathematical scale, the love of the protagonist changes towards his/her affair with the other partner and vice versa. The dynamics of the group In a talk about one’s book would certain come alive, because the audience would be providing input, on a mathematical basis, to change the outcome of a relationship. The outcome would be related to the propensity of people in the story to change their behavior and that could possibly change the outcome. It would certainly provide some lively discussion during the presentation. Factors that could change in a fiction/nonfiction scene might be the following

Characters hate/love relationship to their friend/partner could be rated on a scale of 1-10. The number one (1) being I really really hate you, and the number ten (10) being I really really love you. One character might score an 8 whereas the other character might score a 4.

How do these feelings towards each other change over time?

This would be something for me to work on when I get the chance. It would be a very interesting talk for an author to give to a group based upon a mathematical model of the characters in their story. Relationships go up and down over time, just as predator prey relations go up and down over time. Factors within each of those systems would be different but both systems oscillate. Once the model is built, the main aspects would always be the same for all characters, but different side variables could and would impact character behavior.

In a situation such as the above, the audience could watch a graphical representation play out as the audience changes (mathematically) the behavior of the characters under discussion.


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