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.