This Thanksgiving when you’re preparing to gather with family and friends, tummies longing for turkey and pie, you are most likely looking into recipes to satisfy those appetites. You may be collecting ingredients such as pecans, canned pumpkin, potatoes, gravy, or big birds. You don’t want anyone leaving your home hungry and you sure don’t want to show up to any one else’s home empty handed.
These same preparations and considerations should also be taken if you’re planning on staging any events this holiday season. Book readings also have a list of crucial ingredients that will ensure success in the form of a satisfied audience. A gathering for your audience should receive the same care and attention that a gathering for your family would, especially if your audience includes your family.
Just like any recipe, there are a few ingredients that can’t be substituted for anything else. Without them, you won’t be making much of anything. One of these ingredients is a location. A space that can both accommodate your audience and also set the mood for your event is fundamental. Don’t be afraid to utilize this holiday–which gathers those closest to us in a warm and welcoming space–to read some short snippet or your work aloud. Insert it before the meal when people say grace or express gratitude for food and family.
This brings me to another essential ingredient: an audience. Self-promotion of your event is essential, without it, don’t expect a crowd. While reading to yourself in front of the mirror is always good practice, it’s no substitute for the ears of others. Our books aren’t written for ourselves, but to share with others. Consider showing your gratitude for your family this Thanksgiving by sharing copies of your work with them.
Sharing your work implies another essential ingredient: books. This is another no-brainer. Make sure you have copies of your book to provide to those who have been inspired enough by your reading that they want to see more. If this means simply giving them away on the holiday or ordering copies for an upcoming event you have planned, always make sure at least enough on hand to supply your demand. If Thanksgiving has anything to teach us, it is that leftovers are never a bad thing.
In short, we all know we put in more time during the holidays making sure our homes look nicer for our mother-in-law’s approval and we make sure we have bountiful supplies of food to feed our nephew’s with bottomless guts. You perform the task of host during the holidays. This performance can teach us a lot about what makes a successful authorial performance. You want people who feel satisfied after they’ve received your offerings–be them of food or words–and it’d be ideal if they took home some leftovers–be them from your refrigerators or libraries.
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