The More, the Merrier
Recently, I was asked to speak to local writing group about forming and reforming effective critique groups. While some cynical souls might say misery loves company, I'm of the philosophy "the more, the merrier." So I asked critique partners Joni Rodgers and TJ Bennett to come and join me.
It really was enjoyable, dishing with the two of them while entertaining questions from members of the group. Somehow, having company makes speaking a far friendlier, far more dynamic experience. Interactions become more natural and less stilted, and those listening were treated to a much better idea of our critique group's dynamics that I could've possibly given them by speaking on my own.
In the photo, from left to right, you'll see me, Joni, and then TJ. And I want to give a friendly shout-out to the wonderful members of the Northwest Houston chapter of RWA.
The following week, I was involved in a panel discussion of various publishers for another RWA group. As with the critique group talk, this one had a natural flow and was nowhere near as exhausting as a solo presentation.
I've also found that signings with one or two friends are far more pleasant than signing by myself. Though I dislike large group signings, which intimidate buyers by forcing them to pick and choose where to spend their money and can engender unhealthy competition, the smaller ones generate a pleasant, chatty atmosphere that actually encourages potential customers to join in. Also, I found that when signing with only one other, potential buyers frequently feel inclined to buy a book from each person. This works especially well with mass-market paperbacks, where the financial outlay is modest.
So the next time you're asked to sign or speak, consider inviting a writer friend (hint: pick a really fun one!) to join you. Many times, your fellow authors are happy for the exposure, and if nothing else, you can count on a more pleasant experience.
What about the rest of you? Do you (or would you) prefer to sign or speak on your own or with a friend?