A manual coaches writers to be better public speakers.
Writing a book is hard enough, but for many authors, the prospect of having to then stand up in front of a group of strangers to speak about that work is even more daunting. Yet in the world of contemporary publishing, author events and readings are necessary for book promotion. That means that meek, thoughtful writers who have just spent years laboring over their sentences in solitude must suddenly transform into personable, compelling public speakers. Impossible? Not according to Fasbinder (Filling Her Shoes, 2017, etc.). “Skilled public speaking is not a gift, but a set of simple, learnable skills that anyone willing to put in the effort can learn,” asserts the author in her introduction. “Your book and your ideas deserve the best, most skilled ambassador to share them, and that, dear writer, is you.” In this guide to public speaking, Fasbinder gets readers into the right mindset, breaking down the reasons behind their common fears and building up the confidence of would-be speakers. She then walks readers through the process, focusing on not just what to say, but how to say it. The author introduces the necessary skills that readers can practice to develop on their own and even discusses the lesser, atmospheric aspects of a speaking engagement like music and food. She is prepared to turn the least confident of readers into successful, vocal advocates for their own works. Fasbinder writes in a clear, concise prose that is always conversational: “My experience tells me this: whenever a speaker gets into a combative verbal exchange with an audience member, it’s the speaker who loses—one hundred percent of the time.” Chapters are divided into easily digestible sections, cleanly organized with charts and lists. The author knows her audience, and the fact that the book is tailored to writers—notorious neurotics, overthinkers, and overexplainers—makes for an especially informative and enjoyable read. Fasbinder’s candid yet comforting delivery makes it feel as though she’s with readers every step of the way, offering a thumbs-up from the back of the room.
A lean, helpful primer for authors who want to succeed as speakers.