Okay, this is something that has been a long time in the making, because, frankly, I didn’t like the way is sounded when I first wrote it. But anyway…
About a month ago, the English department at my University put on several literary events, including a Grad School Panel and one on one (well, one on twenty really) sessions where local authors would come in to talk to students.
One of the best events put on this semester was the In Print Festival (this event takes place annually at Ball State University). It’s a two night event – night one a reading, night two a Q&A session – where local emerging authors visit the campus. This year there were some pretty colorful character there, including:
Each author was extremely talented and interesting to talk/listen to. However, there are certain things you want to do before attending a literary event.
1) Do research – Just like when you’re getting ready to query or pitch a story, you want to do a little research about the guest authors attending the event. You don’t have to go nuts, but read up a little about them, and if you can’t find the information, don’t worry about it then.
2) Bring a copy of the authors’ work(s) with you – When the reading is finished, if allowed, go up to the author and ask them to sign your book. It’s a great time to talk to the author real quick about their work. I talked with all three guest authors at In-Print, and it was extremely rewarding.
3) Read a little of the work – You don’t necessarily have to read the entire book/collection, but it’s a good idea to read a little to get a feel of the author’s style. You may discover a new favorite author/book, plus you will have more to say to the author than: “I liked your book.”
4) Pen and Paper – Now, I’m not saying you should sit there and actively take notes like you’re in a seminar, but it’s a good idea to have a pen and paper tucked away somewhere so you can jot down any advice you find helpful.
These are the more important things to keep in mind when going to a literary event, especially if you’re going for more than just the reading. In all my time at college, I’ve never experienced a group of authors quite like the ones at In-Print this year. It was extremely entertaining and something I wouldn’t have missed, and neither should you.
Look for literary events going on in or around your town. There aren’t any? Get some people together and put one on yourself!