05 August 2015
As long as a piece of string
If you catch me talking to myself, don't worry. No more than you usually worry about me, anyway. I am practicing - rehearsing, I suppose. In a few weeks I will be doing a signing at my local bookstore, and I will be reading from my new novel.
Which brings up an old question: how long should one of those events be? My feeling is this:
* Five minutes of introductory prattle
* 20-30 minutes of reading
* Half an hour of Q&A.
* Two hours of frenzied crowds standing in line for autographed copies.
Okay, the last bullet is sheer fantasy, but do the rest of them sound right to you?
When my book of short stories came out last year I picked out a few fragments that added up to twenty minutes and thought I had nailed it. But a friend of mine said that he thought it had been too short.
Trust me when I say I am not used to people telling me I don't talk enough. That is not the standard complaint.
There is another complication in this case. My current book, being about the Mafia, features a good deal of violence, sex, and profanity. And I ain't reading those scenes out loud.
I deliberately created a few key scenes at the beginning that are free of those three special treats, figuring that those are the ones I would read. Turns out they aren't long enough, so I expect I will bowdlerize a few naughty words, warning the audience in advance that they are being subject to censorship. Any thoughts on that are welcome.
Hey, maybe nobody will show up and I won't have to worry about it. But, regrettably my friends are extremely loyal and I can count on them. Terrible the way I suffer.
So, writers: how do you organize a reading? And readers: what do you hope for at one?