Literary Festivals – What makes a good author event?

author events

Literature festivals and author talks abound at the moment and I’ve been to some really great talks over the last few weeks. These included the more memorable:  Hentertaining with the brilliant poet Helen Kay who had me is stitches with her chicken poetry…HKTo being  glued to the screen as Sarah Raven  talked about her new book Good Good Food which had me completely re-thinking my diet.

sarah ravenAnd publisher Eleanor Dryden and crime author Angela Clarke (Follow Me) made a great double act at the Northwich LitFest – they had some interesting writing and publishing insights to share.

angela clarke
Eleanor Dryden Angela Clark Susi Osborne

So what makes a good author event? I have to admit I have nodded off at one or two and was amazed when a very high profile failed to deliver to an audience desperate to grab a snippet of anything related to the author’s fascinating life.

From the London Book Fair to Cheltenham and Hay – I love these events and have high expectations. One of my favourite author talks was by David Suchet at Cheltenham – such an interesting man! I’m also looking forward to hearing #1 best-selling, self-publisher, Tracey Bloom at the RNA Conference in a few weeks time when she will talk about self-publishing prior to getting a publishing deal. I met Tracey a few years ago at the Chipping Festival and she was just about to launch No One Ever Has Sex On A Tuesday – even then it was clear that she was going to go global.

heart badgeA few months ago I started an author social group. With fellow author Nikki Ashton we came up with The Cheshirati and now meet once a month with authors from Cheshire and the surrounding counties. It is a great group and so inspiring to chat to other authors about the one topic that binds us all – writing. I always come away feeling very inspired and humbled to have spent time in the company of some very inspirational people and we are planning author events for the coming months.

Nikki and I spoke at the Northwich LitFest , run by romance author Susie Osborne. We’d thought about how to structure the event but having never done one together had no idea how it would work. I have to say that it was great fun, a real learning curve and something that we can work on and hopefully roll out. We asked our readers (via social media) what questions they would like answered and used some of these in the talk. There were some great questions from, Is it true that you should never say anything interesting to an author because you’re bound to see it in print eventually? to Is it all worth it? and really made me think about my own writing life. Nikki is hugely successful as a self-publisher and the audience seemed very interested in the Indie V Trad publishing debate.

Author-TalkAuthor talks are a great way to get inspiration. Whether you aspire to achieve the same success of merely glean a nugget of useful information that will help your writing in some way. To be in a room with like-minded people is very energising. I’m not sure if I like giving talks. I find it very daunting to stand before a sea of expectant faces and always have my fingers crossed, hoping that they’ll be friendly. Nothing puts you off more when someone yawns or another keeps checking their mobile, however it is a great feeling when, at the end, folk buzz around to talk to you and buy books.

My next talk is on Tuesday 21st June. It is part of the Hotair Fringe Event at this years Stoke Literary Festival .

alsager library

More events will follow in due course with authors from the lovely Cheshirati group.

For details of The Cheshirati please contact on our Facebook page:

cheshirati invite

What’s your favourite literary / author event and what would you ask the author?

C xx

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