Saturday, July 13, 2013

Preparing for a Talk

by Kaye George

As I write this, I’m preparing to take a trip to a Sisters in Crime chapter, the Upstate South Carolina Chapter in Greenville, SC. They graciously asked me to visit and give a presentation. After some discussion, we decided I would talk on short stories vs. novels.

So, what did I do to prepare? I’m doing this blog as much for me as for you! If I set down my steps here, it helps me out.  (By the time you read this, I will have finished my talk and will be on my way home, if not there already.)

Here are my 12 steps.

1--The first thing I did was write my talk. This took awhile. I wanted to have between 1/2 and 3/4 of an hour. I figure that if I have that much material, it should take an hour, with interaction and questions. Hope there is some of that! Just in case there isn’t, I took a suggestion from Ramona DeFelice Long and printed out the beginnings of some of my novels to do a reading at the end. It occurred to me that I should also do a short story reading! So I printed out a story.

2--After the talk was written, I practiced it. Often. Of course, I did this while writing it, in order to time it, too. The more practice the better. This is also advice from Ramona.

3--I was told to bring books to sell, so I took a book inventory. I found that I didn’t have a lot of some of them, so I ordered more. I have several titles out. For novels, there are 3 in the Imogene Duckworthy series and 1 in the Cressa Carraway series. There is also 1 in the People of Wind series, but it’s an e-book only at this stage, so there are none to order.

Since I’m speaking about short stories, I should also bring some of those, I figure. I’ll bring some of my own collection, and the two anthologies I have on hand.

4--Practice my talk some more.

5--Sales preparations. I’ve done enough signings and book sales events that I have a system for this. I keep a large shopping bag full of my stuff: a clipboard to hold my price list (which I printed out on card stock with my new books included); a coin purse with $100 in small bills to use for change; a small notebook to write down which books I sell; a few stands to prop up my books while I’m speaking, if there’s a place to do this. When I’m doing a bookstore signing, I usually bring a cute candy dish with individually wrapped candies, but for this meeting, they’re providing dinner and treats, so I don’t think I’ll need to do that.

6--Handouts: bookmarks for the print books and postcards for the e-book. Also some business cards in case someone wants those instead.

7--Practice my talk some more.

8--Decide what to wear. I’m still doing that!

9--Pack. I’ll have a suitcase of books and a smaller one for my overnight stuff, as soon as I decide what I’m wearing.

10--Make sure my netbook is charged and the spreadsheet is there for people to sign up to receive my newsletter. I find this a much better way to be able to read email addresses than a paper signup sheet.

11--Decide: How many books should I bring? I’ll bring 8-10 of each title. I’d be VERY pleased if I sold that many!

12--Practice my talk some more.

That should do it!

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