What Else Can A Poor Author Do?

April 28th, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Most of us leave high school with sighs of relief. If you can survive the bitter end of your senior year, you can survive the worst the world has to offer. This is likely because most people do not become authors (though we meant a woman today who thought she might like to get around to trying writing at some point — could we help her out?). Those that become authors, especiallly the published kind, find themselves facing a challenge high school didn’t anticipate.

Public readings. Readings differ from signings, though they may be combined, in that instead of remaining seated and offering directions to the bathroom, you are standing, often with a microphone. Nothing but you and your amplified voice speaking to those who show up. And really, why isn’t your best friend there?

Meg Wolitzer puzzles over the concept of author readings (though, in our experience, they are often preludes to the main event: new writers taking the chance to ask questions about how it all works, really). Though some authors take to public performance quite readily, others do not. For those authors, Wolitzer offers a bit of advice:

The best readings I’ve been to were given by writers who ham it up, really turn the event into a performance. Toni Morrison has been known to give great readings, and so has John Irving. It was Irving, in fact, who told me, after the first reading I gave, “You’ve got to learn to read better.” It hurt, but he was right. I got much better, and now I ham it up with the best of them.

File Under: Square Pegs