Appearances Matter

I made two author appearances over the last few days at indie bookstores. The first was at Cannon Beach Book company on the Oregon coast (very near Dickens Junction) and another at the lovely Annie Bloom’s Books in Multnomah Village in Portland. In both cases I met old friends and new ones as we talked about The Edwin Drood Murders, mysteries in general, and the topic that so many non-writers want to hear about–how writers write.

At Canyon Beach Books I did a “meet and greet,” where the author sits at a table and greets individual customers as they come by. It’s less formal than a reading, but (the bookstore owners tell me) less intimidating for the customers. What I get is a chance to talk with book buyers one at a time. Some buy my book as a consequence; some do not. In either case, I learn something about readers’ tastes.

Author's view--Annie Bloom's Books, Nov 4, 2013

Author’s view–Annie Bloom’s Books, Nov 4, 2013

At Annie Bloom’s I did a “reading,” followed by questions and answers and then book signing (if anyone buys the book). I try to keep the reading itself under five minutes, since people start to fidget. I also edit my reading selection from what I originally wrote. It’s what Dickens did when he did public readings late in life, and it also recognizes that the act of performance is different from reading words on a page. Sometimes I wish that “unabridged” books on tape would actually edit out dialogue tags and other material that, when in the hands of an actor or reader, become superfluous.

I’ll be making additional appearances through the holiday season and into early 2014. Please join me at one of those if you can. If you can’t join me in person, join me in spirit by buying either of my books and reading it aloud.

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