IWSG A to Z Challenge (April 5, 2017)

It’s the first Wednesday of the month and that means Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG). The once IWSG Badge-smper month blog fest invented by Alex J. Cavanaugh. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the April 5 posting of the IWSG are: Christopher D. Votey, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Fundy Blue, and Chrys Fey!


Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?


NOPE. Got nothin’ to promote.

I did take on a challenge this month when I accepted the invitation to be Master of Ceremonies (MC) for April Meet the Author event.

Back in March I volunteered to MC the same event.  Back then, I was a shy, soft spoken, well meaning MC. By the end of the evening, I wasn’t sure I was cut out for public speaking.

These events include the authors talking about about their writing. To keep the program interesting, I asked one author a couple of questions, “How did you get started writing?” and “What motivated you to write historical fiction?”

She was unprepared to answer those questions and was mortified. After the event she expressed her displeasure in no uncertain terms. I expressed my sincere apologies and promised to mend my ways. We exchanged emails and agreed to put the incident behind us. We did just that. That was in March.

The event sponsors asked me to MC the April event. I agreed and promised myself to smile, keep my head up, and exude confidence. And the authors would be given questions *before* the event.

In the three weeks before the event, I devoted every spare minute to creating a rotating slideshow presentation that promoted each author. The visuals would be controlled by a very capable volunteer. The question now became, how would she know which visuals to show when?

I interviewed the writers, read their bio on Amazon, and copied pictures from their FB page (as well as Amazon). Based on my research (and drawing from my film & television background), I created a program script including slideshow cue changes.

Major changes to the visuals floated over my transom at the 11th hour forcing last minute changes. My stress level and self-doubt was enormousness.

It’s show time! I forced myself to focus on the presenters and the audience. I held the microphone up to my mouth. I smiled, tossed quips and comments to keep the evening rolling. The audience and authors appeared to have a good time and sales were brisk.

Yup, I survived the evening. Some even said I thrived.

  • Juneta April 5, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    You are totally awesome and brave. Yeah for you having the courage to step of out your comfort zone. Happy IWSG!
    Juneta @ Writer’s Gambit

    • Lynn La Vita April 5, 2017 at 6:06 pm

      It was a stretch, that’s for sure. Over the last year I’ve had to after 10 years of *not* driving. Somehow, the courage to concur that fear spilled over into public speaking. Thank you for visiting and taking time to comment.

  • Chrys April 5, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    I worry about the question part of a book event (like speaking or a reading) because I feel like I’ll draw a big blank for all of the questions and not know what to say. Eek.

    • Lynn La Vita April 5, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      Hi Chrys, Something like that happened to one of our guests. I so regretted contributing to her nervousness. This time I did my best prepare our writers. I’m of the opinion writers prefer solitude and admire their ability to step in to the spotlight and market their books! Thank you for stopping by and taking time to comment.

  • Madeline Mora-Summonte April 5, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Like that saying goes – when we know better, we do better. 🙂

    • Lynn La Vita April 5, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      Hi Madeline, Ain’t that the truth! Thank you for stopping by and taking time to comment.

  • Louise Barbour (Fundy Blue) April 6, 2017 at 1:21 am

    That is some challenge, to come back in April after a tough experience in March and do an awesome job, Lynn! You put a lot of work into making April a success. I think it’s really kind-hearted of you to try to prepare your authors and do the best you can to ease their nervousness. Public speaking is always stressful. Take care!

    • Lynn La Vita April 6, 2017 at 5:37 am

      Hi Louise, After the event, I realized I had spoken with each author several times before the event. This created a bit of history I could draw upon as I introduced each guest. This seemed reassure our guests they were with friends. I also learned to create hard deadlines, so I had a good night’s sleep before the event. ha ha Thank you for visiting and taking time to comment.

  • Alex J. Cavanaugh April 6, 2017 at 6:54 am

    The slide show was a good idea. Questions beforehand also helped, although I think that writer overreacted. She should’ve been more prepared, not you.

    • Lynn La Vita April 6, 2017 at 7:02 am

      Hi Alex, I was surprised she was so fragile. Especially, when she agreed to be part of a panel discussion. Having said that, the April presenters appreciated knowing what they would be asked. Working with people is an continual learning experience, right? Thank you for visiting and taking time to comment. Much appreciated.

  • L. Diane Wolfe April 6, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    A list of general questions is normal, but authors need to be prepared for anything. What if it had been a TV interview? She going to chew out the producer afterwards? Sorry, I’ve done way too many radio and TV spots. You have to think on your feet.

    I’ve also been a professional speaker for many years. The more prepared you are, the better you will do. It sounds like you nailed it the second time.

    • Lynn La Vita April 7, 2017 at 6:46 am

      Hi Diane, Thank you for understanding and realizing how vital preparation is and the success of the event. I figured if visuals had to match a rotating group of people, a written outline would keep the visual operator sane and the audience engaged in the message. Thank you for visiting and taking time to comment.

  • Arlee Bird April 8, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Getting up in front of others to speak can be a harrowing experience, but once survived have great rewards. I does tend to get easier as one does it more often.

    I’m surprised that the author was stymied by two of the most basic questions an author could get asked. The reaction is more of an indicator of the author’s lack of preparation than your skills as an interviewer. Those were the kinds of questions it seems like an author would be asked repeatedly.

    • Lynn La Vita April 9, 2017 at 7:11 am

      Hi Arlee, You are so right, it does get easier. The second MC definitely went better than the first. As I’ve gotten to know this person better (following the event), I’ve discovered she is a very fragile soul. Just the same, I was surprised at her reaction. She has a good heart and we’ve put it behind us.

      I believe, relationships are strengthened or destroyed by how we resolve conflicts. Our friendship is definitely stronger.

      Thank you for visiting and taking time to comment.

  • joylene April 9, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I’m so proud of you, Lynn. Wish I could have been there adding my support. But everyone said it was an excellent night. Love the slides idea. You’ll be a master at these events in no time.

    • Lynn La Vita April 10, 2017 at 6:47 am

      Good morning, Joyene, I knew you were with me in spirit. Everyone worked very hard to make an interesting event. Paul donated a podium which made it easier for the speakers to spread out their notes.

      With my film and TV background, I just had to add some visuals. My favorite part was Rusty Debris talking about writing lyrics and playing one of his compositions to illustrate his point.

      Thank you for visiting and taking time to comment.

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