The season of book events is upon us

She asked, and I told her. “How’s the writing life?”

“It is a solitary confinement sentence. You work in isolation for long periods of time, and it’s a good peaceful day most of the time. »

However, the day comes when the introvert gives way to the extrovert. As the holidays approach, the events in the book arrive in the calendar. Over the past three days, I’ve hosted one event and added three to the calendar. That’s thirty events so far in 2022. Four are on my 2023 calendar and one on my 2024 calendar. I love book signings, talks and festivals that invite groups of writers to meet people and sign books. It’s festive and you meet great people. It is rare for a person of bad taste to attend a literary event.

I write about these things because people often ask me, “What’s a day like for a writer?” I sometimes answer: “Every day is a Monday and every night is a Saturday. No days off.” I’m telling a lie in a way because book-related events make for welcome days off. Sure, you might have a commute, but it’s almost always worth it. sadness.

When you give a speech, it helps to do it well. Your name is transmitted. I gave a talk at the Beech Island Agricultural Club (one of America’s oldest societies) and an Augusta lawyer in attendance passed my name on to a lady from Richmond.

So in 2024, I will speak at the Tuckahoe Women’s Club in Richmond, Virginia, a club of about 5,000 women. 400 to 500 are expected for my conference. “You’ll be in good company,” she said. “Previous speakers have been Dr. Ben Carson, Nicholas Sparks and General Norman Schwarzkopf.” It will be a seersucker costume, a bow tie type event.

As I write this article, here is an email from an organization in Greenwood, South Carolina, inviting me to speak in October at the Star Fort Daughters of the American Revolution. This flurry of book events is in stark contrast to 2020, when my events were down to just eight and most were online “Zoom” events, which I hate. I hope to never zoom again. My zoom days have passed, I pray.

Who invites you to speak? I get this question too. I will list a few… Civic groups like Kiwanis and Rotary, museums, colleges, libraries, private organizations like book clubs, garden clubs, historical societies, Huguenot societies, the DAR , son camps of Confederate veterans, who are patriotic, history-loving people, the daughters of American settlers, and organizations supporting nature and conservation such as the Aiken Land Conservancy.

I have only one rule when I lecture, “Nothing boring”, and I support my lectures with about 25 photographs of back roads, Carolina bays, abandoned stores, forgotten cemeteries, etc. . It allows for vicarious travel from the comfort of a banquet chair or table.

In our age of e-books, this, that and other digital events, and online events, it’s comforting to know that people still love to hear an author talk about a real book, the one you can hold in your hands, the one where you pick up the smell of paper. and ink. I like to give people the story behind the book because often it’s more memorable than the book itself. And something else turns out to be memorable: the wonderful people you make through the events of the book. More than a few become great friends.

One last thought. A day spent writing alone is usually a good day. At my fingertips is the crowning glory of humanity: language.

“What’s the life of a writer like,” she asked, and now you know.

Angela C. Hale