Please welcome Deanna Cabinian as our guest today. Deanna is a marketing director who lives in the Midwest, but dreams of living by the ocean. When she isn’t working or writing she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and their Havanese dog, Cuba. One Night, her debut YA novel, is out now.
Giving author talks is important not only in terms of promoting books, but also good life experience to have. As an author I figure any experience that pushes me out of my comfort zone a bit is potentially good fodder for my novels.
How to Prepare for a TED-style Author Talk in Less Than 10 days
When an event organizer contacted me to fill in for a last-minute cancellation who was supposed to give a TED-style author talk as part of a weeklong writing festival at a local high school I panicked. There was no way I could pull off a talk like that in less than 10 days. That was the sort of thing that took months to prepare for, possibly a year. I was worried because this would be the largest crowd I’d ever addressed. There would be at least 200 people in attendance but there could be up to 500. Plus I had to be onstage for 35-40 minutes. Since the crowd would be made up of high school students the odds were good that I’d connect with some of my target audience there: teens who love John Green novels. Even though the thought of this speaking opportunity scared me, I knew in my heart that I had to do it. What I did to pull it off and how you can, too:
Watch other TED talks for inspiration. Understand your talk probably won’t leave people with as big of a “wow” feeling due to the time crunch you’re under, however, make a note of which talks capture your attention and why. Try to bring some of that X factor to your own presentation. The talks I gravitated toward included some very personal stories so I knew I had to include some in my own talk.
Make a quick list of all the possible story lines you can tell about yourself as a writer. Keep each story to one sentence/phrase. My ideas were:
- I am old enough to have paper and email rejections
- I started writing women’s fiction but was supposed to be writing YA
- I’ve met a few bestsellers—some randomly, some on purpose
- I quit writing at least 10 times
- I struggle to call myself a writer and share my work
- I know the journey is unpredictable but worth it in the end
I decided to go with a combination of the last two ideas because they were the most upbeat and inspirational. It also had a natural narrative arc. [Read more…]