Monday, 10 February 2020

The Write Stuff with... Renny deGroot

I’m delighted to be a guest on Shaz’s Book Blog today. Thank you to Sharon and Emma for the opportunity!

To Read or Not To Read

The topic of doing live readings is always one that generates plenty of emotion from authors. I’ve read interviews and blog posts about the subject and the only consensus seems to be on the related topic of Book Tours, where readings take place. The common thinking is that Book Tours aren’t of much value and the prevailing feeling seems to be one of surprise that publishers will even consider funding one anymore for any author who isn’t Stephen King.

As an Indie Author, I don’t have a publisher to fund one, so it isn’t likely that I’d even think of a road trip to perform readings, but that still leaves local venues. I’m in the midst of launching my third book, so I have considerable experience from the first two where I did pursue the requisite readings. I have arranged them in libraries, book stores, restaurants, a B&B, my home, and participated with other authors at book fairs. The last one was the only one that was worthwhile. The libraries were the worst, with the three attendees at one of them probably staff. The most comfortable was when I hosted an ‘Author At Home’ event because I had my favourite finger foods and plenty of wine available.

The experiences of other authors seem comparable. Some authors enjoy the interaction with their readers, some hate them, preferring to stay at home writing and the bulk are somewhere in the middle. I personally don’t mind the readings and when at my book launches, I always host them where alcohol can be served, and have food and live music to bring in a crowd. I view it as a party where everyone has to be quiet for a while as I take center stage.

The real question is not ‘is it fun?’ but ‘is it worthwhile?’ I would have to say no. I have discovered that simply chatting to people about the book gets far more engagement than a reading. To that end, I go to a LOT of sales where I rent a table (artisan fairs, holiday craft shows, town festivals, etc) and just talk to people. I have a couple of display boards with pictures of the settings of my books which stalls a stroller long enough as they glance at the interesting, historic photos (I write Historical Fiction) for me to nip up beside them and start the chat. It’s very effective and I’ve sold many books to people who start out by saying ‘oh I don’t read much’. Either they know someone who does read, or they decide that in fact, this may be their one book of the year to read.

Does this mean that I am abandoning the whole Reading thing? No. I have found an alternative in today’s on-line world. I provide a reading via youtube. For my new book (Torn Asunder) I have enlisted the help of a friend who is a very successful singer to actually do the reading. The book is set in Ireland, and my friend is an Irish tenor, so it’s a bit like an audio book, but with visuals. I’m launching this today here: 

Enjoy the reading. I’d love to hear about your experiences with readings. Are they worth the time and trouble? Do you enjoy them? Let me know!

Renny deGroot is a first generation Canadian of Dutch parents.

Her debut novel, Family Business, was shortlisted for the Kobo (Rakuten) Emerging Writer Prize. In 2019 she was awarded the Len Cullen Writing Grant. Her second novel, After Paris, has been well received by enthusiasts of Historical Fiction and her new novel Torn Asunder was published late 2019 to much anticipation from her growing fan base. She has also published a coffee-table non-fiction book about the military history of her former regiment, called 32 Signal Regiment, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals: A History. She has had stories published in various anthologies and is a member of SOCAN as a song lyricist.

Renny has a BA in English Literature from Trent University. She lives in rural Ontario, Canada with her elderly Chocolate lab, Great Pyrenees and young Golden Retriever.
Amazon UK:
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All book titles in bold are Amazon UK Affiliate links which will earn me a few pence if anyone clicks through and makes a purchase - any money earned will go towards buying books or gifts for giveaways.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this opportunity Sharon - I'd be interested to know what other folks think about readings in general and my youtube reading!