Saturday 21 January 2017

Giving Author Talks 2: More tips

St Albans Lit Fest 2016
In the last blog, we looked at the mechanics of presenting a good talk. Now lets finesse this a little further. Here are my 'must-do' tips as the event approaches.

1. Make sure you have liaised with the event organiser. I usually email a week before to check they have got the stuff I need sorted. I then email/call 2 days before to say how much I am looking forward to meeting them and doing the event. I tell them when I will be arriving, and check parking arrangements.

2. On the day, arrive in plenty of time. Do not assume the organisers will have people to unload/help you set up. Be as independent as you can. Smile and thank a lot.

3. A few essentials: Wet wipes/hand sanitizer (stuff gets dusty; you will be signing books later). Water. Float for books. Notebook for sales/useful contacts. Two signing pens that work. Business cards.

4. Make sure you thank the organiser, his/her helpers, and the audience for turning up. I usually do this straight after I've been introduced, in case I forget.

5. When giving your talk, SIGNPOST clearly. 'Now let's move on to the second part: how I write the actual books.' 'Finally, let's look at some of my research tools.'

6. NEVER go over time. It's discourteous.

7. Send the organisers a little handwritten note a couple of days after the event thanking them for hosting you and saying how much you are looking forward to doing another event in the future.

I hope these two blogs have helped. I gather from the comments that many people have found the tips useful. I have sat through some pretty dreadful talks, given by top authors, and have learned shedloads. The main thing is: enjoy yourself! Your audience are there for you. They want to find out about you and your books. And on your success, other writers may be invited!


  1. All really useful stuff - common sense when you think about it, but checklists like this make sure nothing is forgotten,

  2. The picture is perfect. 'Donate here'

  3. I don't know why, but this morning I feel fired with enthusiasm. I have read both these posts and decided on two things: first, I must revitalise my blog - think of a "handle" perhaps - and second, approach a couple of LitFests, something I've ignored over the past few years. Thanks, Carol - you've inspired me.

  4. I'm hoping to do some speaking soon. I've been teaching for 5 years so hopefully that'll be helpful too. But this post gives some good pointers!

  5. Great advice as always, Carol. Hope that one day I shall be needing it.

  6. Wonderful! The last time you did something like this I saved all the tips. It really helped me make a checklist for my own talk!


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