A former publishing scion opines on what makes for a bad author.
I would add learn how to pull off a decent reading.
This applies for both fiction and nonfiction authors.
Most authors know enough to put some effort into their voices and performance when reading to a room full (or half full) of people who've after all, come to meet them and hear them read.
Years ago a nameless author who a few of us at Words Worth especially liked published a couple novels from a major house over a three or four year period. We were thrilled to arrange with the publisher to book them as part of our annual spring and fall author series.
The first time said author read in a flat almost depressive state and read a section of the book that did next to nothing to arouse anyone's interest. There were many sections of the novel that illustrated plot and character much better. It would also have resulted in sales of the authors book.
We lamented a missed opportunity afterwords, and excitedly booked same author a couple years later, figuring the first time out was a fluke.
Same result. Another great book that we still enjoy selling, but you'd never know it from the response that evening.
Woody Allen said "Ninety per cent of life is just showing up." It's not.
Engaged booksellers can't do much to hand sell a fine novel when the author sounds like an accountant at the microphone.
Posted by Dave