Monday, February 23, 2009

Author Visit #2: You, My Friend, Were Too Much Fun

I experienced a complete 360 in terms of my second author presentation. The reason?

A captive audience.

Nothing like a library filled with grade 9 and 10 English and Art students (forced to attend an author talk) to warm any writer’s heart. ;) All kidding aside, the kids were awesome. Sure, there were a few glazed eyes and blank expressions, but an author talk isn’t going to thrill everyone.

Most kids were engaged, laughed at my corny jokes, and most importantly - we talked reading. We talked writing. It was beyond cool.

I tried to keep my presentation unpredictable. I started out by performing a tune I wrote (sang/played guitar), accompanied by one of the school’s staff, a personal friend and budding lead guitar player. I then compared songwriting to fiction writing – verse being like a chapter, chorus being the book’s over all theme, bridge being the unexpected plot twists that take the reader in a new direction.

I outlined my writing process, the meandering and difficult steps to getting a publisher, edits, revisions. And the fun stuff like galleys and cover art.

I finished by showing the unofficial first draft of my booktrailer (waiting for permission to use a specific tune). The trailer was created by the amazingly talented, Madison, at M2 Productions. The kids seemed to dig it. Some of the teachers are thinking of working a booktrailer into an English assignment. How cool is that? A few students talked to me about their own writing – gave me their “pitch” although they didn’t know that's what they were doing…lol…they really wowed me.

Here are some of the wonderful questions they asked:

1. Do you want your book to be a movie?
2. How do you stay motivated to write?
3. Did you ever want to give up writing? [Okay, can you tell I spoke a lot about edits and rejection being a massive part of writing?]
4. Where did you get the idea for your book?
5. Why did you use a pen name?
6. Are your characters based on real people?
7. When will your book be out?
8. Do you have advice for someone wanting to be a writer?
9. Does being a librarian help you with being a writer? [Talk about thoughtful questions!]
10. Why do you write paranormal stories?
11. Are you rich?

And my all time favourite:

12. Was it hard to learn the Dewey Decimal System? [OMG…this was too funny. Dewey Rules!]

Hopefully my limited experiences with author talks will help others about to embark on their own book promotions. Moral of the story? Stay casual, don’t try to be cool – just be cool – be yourself.


Kitty Keswick said...

Glad it went well. What fun to shape young minds...
Here's to many more authors visits!

And playing the guitar how cool was that! You truly rock, my friend.

Tami Klockau said...

Awesome, Tracy! Sounds like you had a great time and the kids had a blast. It would be great to see what the kids come up with if they do book trailers as an assignment. You should check back to see if they did them! Could be interesting...there are a lot of creative teens out there!

HeatherMarie said...

Sounds like it was fun. Wish we'd had authors come to my school back in high school. Or at the least had them near enough that I could go to see them. Of course there's a good chance that I would have talked the poor author's ear off and probably tried to follow them as they left. I never really know when to shut up. lol

Tracy Belsher said...

Thanks guys, it was fun. As they were leaving kids did stop to ask me a few questions or chat about their writing - and...well....that was the coolest thing ever. ;)