Friday, November 15, 2013
When Writers Shouldn't Read
By Peg Brantley
Evocative Characters. Intriguing Crime. Compelling Stories.
Last Sunday I participated in an author event at a local library. (A shout out for Douglas County Libraries and their support of indie authors!) At that event, and an earlier one for a major bestselling author, sponsored once again by Douglas County Libraries and Tattered Cover Bookstore, I heard authors read from their books.
Readings have historically been an expected part of author appearances. The author shares a little about their process, or their life, or something relevant to their book, and then they choose a passage or two to read aloud to the audience. It's a time-honored tradition.
I'm going out on a very long limb here to say it's a bad idea. And in some cases, a very bad idea.
It doesn't matter how well you think you read, and how much you love your book (I think I read aloud exceptionally well), you need to take a pass. Unless you've had professional training as an actor, the words you've written are best left to the ears and minds of the reader.
Most of the readings I've heard have sounded flat to my ear. Boring, really. Misplaced inflections, odd pronunciations, and either too fast or too slow. My mind begins to wander and I mentally check out.
Unless you've written a children's book and have a room full of four year-olds, reconsider including a reading in your author appearance. You'll probably be ahead of the game.
What do you think? Is it just me?