The Best Way to Prepare to Speak at Live Author Events

“Creating a personal catalog of stories associated with various emotions is a useful resource.” — Nancy Duarte

 

Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re an introvert like I am, you may dread people asking you questions at live author events. You may wonder what you could possibly say at these functions that would interest readers. You may not be gifted in pulling together concise, yet witty, answers in the presence of—gasp!—people.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here’s what I learned was THE best activity that helped me in live events for Calculated Risk.

In prep for live author events, obtain as many guest interviews on others’ blogs as you can. Click to tweet.

Why?

1.  You’ll receive a full gamete of possible questions. So, you’ll encounter few surprises at live events.

Some blog interviewers request you choose a certain number of questions to answer from a myriad of questions. They’ll list the possible questions under such categories as: your book; your writing journey; your writing preferences; you as a writer; and you as a person.

2.  You can formulate your answers in the quiet of your writing space. You can write and rewrite them until they’re concise and witty.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3.  You’ll write the answers over and over for all your guest blog interviews. Some blogs want short answers. Some want long chatty answers. Every time you prepare your answers for a guest post, you’re learning the best way to answer questions. The answers are becoming ingrained in your brain. You feel more and more comfortable with the questions.

For example, after ten or so blog interviews you’ll now know the silliest, the most exotic, and the gutsiest thing you’ve ever done. Questions about these are commonly asked. If you’d never thought to identify these oddest moments in your life, you’d probably get flustered or silent at a live event when asked such questions. But now, after scanning your life for these moments off stage, you’re ready for that kind of question.

4.  You can keep all your guest blog interviews’ questions and answers handy in one place so you can review your answers in preparing for the live event.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to get invited for blog guest interviews.

  1. Join email and other social media author loops. I belong to my agent’s yahoo group, my publisher’s author group, and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) main and regional groups. Request for guest bloggers come up on these loops all the time when bloggers are filling their interview schedules.
  1. Visit blogs that do interviews and contact the owners with a request to be interviewed.
  1. Apply to writing organizations and magazines for spotlights they offer in their publications. I applied for a spotlight on ACFW and received a spot January 12.                                        

Obtaining author interviews on blogs is easy when you belong to writer groups. Click to tweet.

What are the most unusual questions you’ve seen asked in interviews? Share them with us so we can add them to our cache of get-ready questions.

8 Ways You Can Grow Your Creative Work While Helping Others

“Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” — Les Brown

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You want to help others, but you’re drowning in getting everything done for your own creative work.

I experienced this early in my writing career. Then one day, I knew the answer to an author’s research question she’d asked on an author email loop. I answered her, and from her gracious thanks, I realized when my research failed, I could ask authors on the loop to help me.

Here are 8 ways helping others boosted my creative work. I hope you can adapt them to your creative work.

8 Ways I Helped Others and Grew My Creative WorkBusiness Discussion

1. I joined critique groups. Thinking critically about another’s writing and story teaches me what works and what doesn’t. I can heed these things in my work. Also, I want to give others correct suggestions. So, I look up what I question in their work, and learn. As I mature in critiquing, I discern what’s important to suggest and what’s better left alone. I’ve developed lasting relationships.

2. I accepted an author’s search for “influencers,” people who help spread the word about an author’s upcoming novel. Although a novice then, I interested some people in her book. I read several of her novels and kept in touch with her. Now years later, she’s agreed to read my upcoming book as a potential endorser.

bookstore3. I volunteered at the American Christian Fiction Writers conference bookstore a few times. Working among a well-populated cross section of Christian fiction, I discovered the many genres, which helped me select a genre that fit me. This year I’ve volunteered to be a reporter for the ACFW publication. I’ll report on one conference workshop. Another skill I’ll learn.

4. I joined local writers groups and have given presentations and worked on their boards. Besides absorbing much while developing the content of presentations, I’ve honed the skill of speaking. This will help in promoting my novel. Working on the boards has provided me closer relationships with other authors. And I’ve picked up much about the business of being an author.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5. I created a blog to help others use their creativity and perform the tasks related to their creative work. Writing the posts has given me a greater appreciation for the creativity God has given others and me. I recognize how creativity has sustained me in everything over the years.

6. I started writing book reviews for the books I’ve enjoyed. Collecting the aspects that engaged me in the stories, directs me to what I want to emulate in my stories.

Image courtesy of phanlop88 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of phanlop88 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

7. I promote other authors. This has forced me to become adequate in using Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and guest blogging in both directions. In joining an author’s promotion team, I’m learning the tasks and how such a team works.

8. I pray for authors, editors, and agents. I understand much about the challenges and joys of a writing career, especially from Gods perspective.

After helping in these ways over the years, I’ve discovered an unexpected bonus to my career. People have learned who I am. That can only help in a career where exposure is crucial.

What examples do you have in which helping others has helped in your creative work?