I was fortunate to be invited to do a live reading of my newest book, Night Buddies Go Sky High, at the store Books to be Red on Ocracoke Island, NC last week, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had since the book released earlier this year. A close-knit, enthusiastic group of both children and parents came out to listen to my reading, and through that experience I had the opportunity to take on an entirely different perspective of my book.
Marketing a book seems to be all about the Internet these days. You have to do blog tours, keep up-to-date on Twitter and Facebook, send out e-mails, and all kinds of things that allow you to interact with readers—but Internet interaction can only take you so far. When you get the chance to hear someone laugh at a particularly funny scene or line, watch their eyes light up as you imitate character’s voices, and have the chance to answer their questions or talk about the characters face-to-face, that is when you really feel as though you’ve passed your book on from being your creation, to being something for other people to love.
As an independently published author, it can be more difficult to set up in-person readings, you’ll have to foot any travel expenses, and you might not get the giant crows showing up the way they do for best-selling authors—but let me tell you, doing a live reading is worth all of those difficulties. I’ve had the opportunity to read in schools, libraries, and independent bookstores like Books to be Red, and no matter how big or small the crowd, I always walk away glad to have gone through with it. Connecting with readers is one of the most rewarding parts of being an author, and no connection is more intimate than one established in a live reading.
If anyone who came to my reading on Ocracoke Island is reading this, thank you so much for taking the time to come listen to me read. If any other independent authors are reading this, look into setting up a live reading as soon as possible; you’ll have a chance to market your book the old-fashioned way, by connecting with individuals person-to-person, not computer-to-computer.
Have you ever attended a live reading? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!