Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book readings


I have a burning question for you today.

I've been invited to do a reading of my novel, DOGSLED DREAMS, at the Cannington Public Library during their Sled Dog Races. This is something I have never imagined myself doing. Not even when I dreamed about one day having a book published.

Living in a small town, I haven't had too many opportunities to even attend a book reading. I've been to one - a memoir. The author read from a scene in the book, not the beginning. He read for a LONG time, and the only thing I know for my own reading is that I want to be sure to read a very SHORT passage. (especially since it will be a middle grade audience I hope to impress the most)

I've been stressing a little about this, but then I remembered I have a blog and an amazing group of blogging friends who probably have much more experience attending readings than I have.

So, what do you think about what part to read? Do you prefer when the author reads the first chapter, or part of it? Does it interest you more when the author reads part of an action scene from somewhere else in the story?

If anyone has read Dogsled Dreams, please chime in and tell me which parts you would suggest!

note: I also plan to do some dogsledding activities and fun things, so the reading will only be a very small part of the presentation.

20 comments:

Jess said...

Humor is great, tension is great, and leave them with a big fat cliffhanger so they all have to buy the book immediately :)

A nice technique is a short (2-3 sentence summary) of scene set-up, then hit them with the reading. I wouldn't necessarily start at the beginning. Pick a scene that was fun to write, and they'll have fun too!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've never read from my book, but I'd recommend a fast-paced scene and keep it short.

Deb said...

Hi! I'm still waiting for your book to arrive so haven't read it yet.

What I would suggest is doing a reading from a spot where you can leave them hanging, like Jess says.

You can even pick a couple of spots to read from, I often do that with book talks...spots that really highlight what kids can expect when they pick the book up (if there is funny and action do one of each, or sad and funny, one of each, scary action, funny moment, mix it up)....then wrap it up with a quick description of the book or I hope you'll read more! You'd be amazed at what you can do in five minutes and under.

You'll do _great_, especially putting it together with some activities...have fun and let us know how it went!

Deb said...

Hi! I'm still waiting for your book to arrive so haven't read it yet.

What I would suggest is doing a reading from a spot where you can leave them hanging, like Jess says.

You can even pick a couple of spots to read from, I often do that with book talks...spots that really highlight what kids can expect when they pick the book up (if there is funny and action do one of each, or sad and funny, one of each, scary action, funny moment, mix it up)....then wrap it up with a quick description of the book or I hope you'll read more! You'd be amazed at what you can do in five minutes and under.

You'll do _great_, especially putting it together with some activities...have fun and let us know how it went!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I've never done a reading but I've been to a number of them. You've already been given a few good suggestions here. I would add to not pick a scene that requires a whole lot of backstory. Instead, pick something you can give a quick set-up for and be sure the scene is anchored in its setting so the audience doesn't feel adrift.
Bring a backup selection, too. Something different so that you can offer to read a bit more if they seem receptive.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's wonderful they asked!
I've done numerous readings and have to confess, I don't enjoy them. But after listening to other authors read, keep it to one page or less. And yes, find a scene that's full of tension and end at a cliffhanger part.

Deniz Bevan said...

I like your idea of reading a short piece - and Jess' cliffhanger idea is a good one! If you've got related anecdotes from your own life, that could work too.
Good luck!

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...

Keep it short and sweet! Perhaps select a passage with some humour. That usually does the trick :)

Look forward to hearing all about it.

Good luck!

Faith E. Hough said...

I had to do a reading when my unpublished ms won a statewide contest. I was allowed to choose any section I wanted, but it was very strongly stressed that the first chapter would be the best--I happened to have lots of humor and action and interest in my first chapter, so that would have been my choice anyway...
From experiencing other author readings, I do tend to like hearing either 1)the beginning--because that's really the clincher with whether I will want to read a book or not, or 2)a humorous part--because it's good to know humor is going to be part of the story. The danger with choosing something in the middle is that often so much has to be explained...
But the best advice I can give is to smile and speak slowly! Have fun, and all the listeners will too. Best of luck!

DEZMOND said...

you should read some gripping, super exciting part which grabs the audience immediately !

Jemi Fraser said...

Congrats - that's awesome!!

I think the first chapter would work really well - it's fast - sets the scene really well and leaves them on a cliffhanger!

Susan Fields said...

I've never attended a book reading, so I'm afraid I won't be much help. Best of luck with it, though - that's so exciting!

ali said...

TerryLynn! I had no idea when you visited my blog that you were "the dogsled lady"! :D

I've read great things about your book (from Paul Greci and the Bookinastas).

I don't blame you for being nervous about the reading, I would be too! BUT I do have an opinion!

I think a great reading would be relatively short, from somewhere else in the book other than the beginning (because many people will have already or will read the first page or two before they buy) and make it something exciting, touching or funny.

I can't wait to read your report and here how much fun you had doing this! Because I bet you're gonna ROCK!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Sorry I couldn't give you advice. Maybe you can do a blog post sometime on how it went and what you learned. Also a blog post on what you did for your debut and what worked would be really helpful. Do them when you have time.

Laura Pauling said...

I say read the first chapter because then hopefully they'll want the book! and they won't be confused as to what's going on. Unless there's a funny scene you love later in the book. :) Have fun!

C.R. Evers said...

I don't have any experience, just wanted to say "Good luck! and have fun with it!" What a great opportunity.

Kelly said...

I'd say from the first chapter or an exciting part that doesn't give away too much.
Good luck, Terry!

E. Arroyo said...

I recently went to a reading and it was a great experience. It was geared to middle graders. I love this age group because they are so honest. I think you've got great advice on the reading. If you are going to have a question answer session, be prepared to answer any number of questions.

Good luck!

Ishta Mercurio said...

Hey! First, congratulations on your book! And second, I think you should read a passage other than the first chapter, for the reasons that Ali mentioned. And I'll be in the bookstore later today, so I'll look for your book!

Have a great time at the reading - it sounds like you have quite an event planned, and I'm sure you'll do really well.

Donea Lee said...

Hi - just found your blog (via Alex Cavanaugh) and your book (haven't had a chance to read yet) - congrats on the publication! So great that you've been asked to do a reading. I'd echo what some others have said and go with a scene you absolutely love. Probably - keep it short is best. Especially if you have other fun things to share. Hope it's a great experience for you!