In my editing service to new writers, I’m commonly asked to help them with presentations for readings at libraries, social clubs, and other events. It is a fact that self-promotion is vital if you want your book to be purchased and read. Publishers don’t guide authors on how to do readings or make presentations, so I thought I’d share my battle experience and give any new authors reading this a jump-start. Here is a tried and proved outline any author can follow. It also works for radio or television interviews. Sometimes you’ll be alone, and at other times you’ll be part of a panel. Your speech does not have to be very long, but you do need to make the important points of your book. Just divide your presentation into these following parts:
I. Start with “About me” (biographical information) Start with, “I am or I am a . . .” Here’s a good place to work in a funny anecdote or quote of another writer.
II. Why this book needed to be written and why the book is important (you can also mention other books that have influenced you)
III. Discuss any or all of these: What the book is, what it’s about, what a theme is. What you learned from writing this book. What gave you the idea. Create your “elevator speech”–your book condensed into a few sentences. Memorize it.
IV. Here is a section of my book I’d like to share with you. (Then read a chapter or a few powerful paragraphs)
V. Then give thanks and take time for questions. Prepare a list of questions (typed) that you can give to someone you know in the audience just in case you get a bashful audience who can’t think of what to ask. Also, interviewers are often very busy and they often appreciate the questions to use as a starting base.
VI. Thank the audience and move to a table to sell and sign books!