My Very First Library Talk

BBCRadioLincs PicSo, last week I was invited onto BBC Radio to talk about and promote my library talk event that I was doing regarding my latest release, The Caseworker’s Memoirs. Thankfully it wasn’t my first time on the radio show, and even though yes I was nervous, I think I handled myself a lot better than before. (Thanks if you managed to listen). Rob Underwood did a great job at firing the questions at me, and there were some I had to think quickly about before answering.

I’ve suddenly become very aware of how much promotion, publicity and events help drive reach and recognition, when it comes to being an author. It is not all about the writing, which rewind 12 months, naïve little me did think what an author was all about. It’s all very well and good writing and writing and writing, but after the book is finished, it’s then time to move on to that hard slog known as promotion. Blogging is only the first step of that path, and I’m very grateful for the support and help the local media (radio and newspaper) has given me in promoting my writing work.

Now on Monday 3rd June, I was scheduled to give a talk about my new book at my local Lincs County Council Websitelibrary. It was a well-publicised event; constant newspaper coverage, a slot on the council website, a radio appearance … I had no idea of how full-on it was. It was a great experience to be a part of – I mean, how many young authors can say that they’ve had this much backing? But Monday came within a flash, and before I knew it, it was an hour before the event and my hands wouldn’t stop shaking!

I dragged a good friend along for support, but I was greeted by the lovely Lynne, who had done a fabulous job at advertising the event – they even had an advertising board up inside of the library, as well as leaflets too. She told me that 13 people had booked to come and see me, and actually for such a small town as Gainsborough, was a very good turnout. I was worrying days before hand that not one person would turn up – phew, at least that wasn’t going to be a worry.

Library LeafletThe room quickly became a hive of activity as people turned up and took their seats – their eyes all gazing at me! It was a very surreal moment. I’m used to being on their side of the seats, not at the front. But the time came, and I needed to start …

I began by holding up cards of phobias written on them with certain celebrity names too. It was an icebreaker of sorts, engaging with my audience and also relaxing me at the same time. From there, I waffled on about my experiences writing The Caseworker’s Memoirs, the inspiration behind it, the different phobias I included in the book, as well as a few I left out. I rambled on about why I chose to write in two ways – first person and third person – and I also read two excerpts from the book. I held a Q & A session afterwards too.

I’ve got to admit, my nerves didn’t settle at all throughout – I was terrified all the way through, and I think you could tell I was nervous as I felt like I repeated myself a bit. But, the wonderful people did engage, they did ask questions, and the topic of phobias suddenly came alive as they admitted their own fears. It was such a brilliant moment to carry with me. And after I had finished, I talked to a few of them about their own fears – where one woman admitted to holding her life back because of all her fears and now she was beginning to take the necessary steps to combat them. I met a young woman who was a writer herself and she showed me her iPad, full of notes and ideas. She went on to say how she is currently writing a story inspired my one of the lesser known Grimm Tales, but thanks to gritty fantasy titles such as A Game of Thrones, she was learning to write grittier, more well-developed characters and using dark humour with stereotypes and caricatures. She had a great imagination and creative drive – she’ll be definitely one to watch – although I didn’t catch her name, which was a shame. (Perhaps if she is reading this, then she should get in touch!)

A whole two hours had passed by the time I’d left, I couldn’t believe it. What an evening. Now I have got the first one out of the way, I think I know where I went wrong, and how to move forward if any more opportunities come knocking. To any writer/author – get in contact with your local library and see if they would run a talk – I can’t begin to tell you how valuable it was, not only for my writing and promotion, but also for strength of character too. Go on, give it a go – what’s holding you back? Tackle your phobia head on!


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6 thoughts on “My Very First Library Talk

  1. Sounds like you had a great day 🙂 You’re right about the promo, it’s so much more work that writing the actual book!

    1. It also doesn’t feel as natural as writing does to me. It was a great day, Sharon – but very nervous too!

  2. Great write-up. Thanks for sharing your experience! Just curious; did you hire someone to help with promotion? (I’m planning to.) I’m a performer, so not afraid of being in front of people, but not comfortable with talking “off the cuff,” if you know what I mean!

    1. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 but no I didn’t hire anyone, I did all the promo drive myself. Writing and releasing a press release helped – have you experience in press releases?

  3. Hi, it’s the girl with the iPad here! I really enjoyed the talk and it’s got me thinking on marketing ideas (when I finish my fairy tale novel.) Chuffed I’ve had a mention on here too! I’m following you on twitter now, look forward to more works from you in the future 🙂 @toriamcd.

    1. Thanks for searching me out 🙂 it’s great you’ve started to think ahead about promotion and marketing too. There are so many avenues for authors to use, it’s just knowing where to start. Good luck with your writing, let me know how it all goes.

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