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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > September 2018 > Walk the talk

Walk the talk

Tongue-tied and embarrassed? Simon Whaley suggests tips and tricks to have you breezing through a successful author talk

Book promotion is like Marmite: authors either love it or they hate it. But when writing is your business, promotion has to be part of your business too. Getting out there and meeting your public can be a great way to market your book. However, it can also be a dangerous affair, as I recently witnessed at an author talk given by archaeologist and historian Alex Langlands (from the popular television series Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm and Wartime Farm). He was promoting his latest book, Cræft, and was showing us how to turn a bramble stalk into garden twine, when he cut his thumb on the blade of the whittling tool he was using. Despite the bleeding, he continued, as only a true professional would. Proof, though, that author talks can be bloody affairs. So what should you think about before giving your first author talk? Like Alex Langlands, Caroline James (, author of The Best Boomerville Hotel, finds having props useful. ‘I use props in a talk because they help me and prompt me if I’ve forgotten what I was going to say,’ she explains. ‘A great talk should be entertaining. The audience will take for granted that you know your business or you wouldn’t be standing there, so ensure that you entertain too. Leave them with a smile and the knowledge that they go away with many memorable moments to discuss and share in the future.’

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About Writing Magazine

EXCLUSIVE this month, with your Writing Magazine: How to Perfect Your Submission - Tips from a Publisher Publisher, author and consultant Scott Pack offers a definitive guide to the publishing package and everything you need to include to give your manuscript submission its best chance of success. AND In this month's main magazine: Check out the latest competitions and opportunities to get published in this month's Writers' News – there's £48,800 in writing prizes to be won and over 40 opportunities to get published. Author advice • We explore ways of getting your writing to new readers, with details of how to run a memorable author event, and how to approach schools to set up school visits. • Should you be happy with a small boutique agency or hold out for a big hitter? • Will your young editor understand your older characters? • The value of listening to your characters Industry insight • Innovative publisher Clare Christian considers whether publishing needs a new business model. • Womag writers are up in arms at new rights terms from Woman’s Weekly. We explain the controversial new terms and their impact. • Why are author incomes falling? Agent Piers Blofeld calls publishers to account. • Where the weird world’s at – explore the fantasy publishing landscape. Interviews and profiles with authors of all levels, including: • Star interview with gangland crime bestseller Jessie Keane, talking about the no-holds-barred approach that makes her Queen of the Underworld. • Chick-lit bestseller Carole Matthews charts her writing day and recalls how she got her first break in Writing Magazine! • Explore the life and career of the father of modern bestsellers – Mark Twain • Novelist Kerry Fisher explains how she straddles the worlds of feelgood fiction and domestic noir