Author Events and Public Speaking

Confession: I hate public speaking.

The few readings I’ve done have been preceded by me telling my husband that fiction writers shouldn’t be expected to talk in front of other people, and that public speaking is a bizarre form of hazing. Nothing bad has happened–usually things go well–but they still make me nervous.

For the next one, I’m definitely going to reread Cynthia Leitich Smith’s post about how to handle public speaking events and potential problems like hecklers, not having enough time, and small turnout. Lots of really helpful advice and great anecdotes. I especially like her suggestion for how to politely respond to awkward or obnoxious questions.

Also, something very important to keep in mind about all kinds of author events:

“Say thank you, no matter what. The vast majority of children’s-YA book event planners are volunteers and among the most formidable champions of your field.”

Public speaking can be overwhelming, but it’s really helpful to keep in mind that the people planning and attending the events love these books. They’re not out to get you or make you feel awkward. They want to listen to you speak because you make something they love. And then you get to talk to them, too, and engage with them about their own reading and writing experiences. How cool is that?