The Book Talk Dilemma: Too Much/Little

January 25, 2013

“Don’t give it away!”  That is, don’t give away the story. “I don’t want to know too much. I want the pleasure of discovering  it myself in the reading. If you give it away, I won’t buy it.”

How often has the author heard this admonition before giving a book talk?  And then afterward, the author hears, “I wish you would have talked more about the protagonist? What made him tick? More about. . . .”  The audience wants it both ways.  The author is torn. There never will be the perfect balance.

Consider the movie trailer. It gives a feeling, an atmosphere; it tells you if it is a mystery, comedy, adventure, etc. That’s all. Consider the back cover to books. It gives a couple of synoptic lines. Little else. A book talk gives an overview with clues.

Having said all this, I will continually look into the possibility of giving more without giving it away.

Some immediate solutions to the dilemma are as follows: (1) the attendees at the book talk can speak up at the Q&A, (2) they can discuss the book in their book group, (3) email the author, (4) Skype the author.