This past weekend, I attended Gallifrey One, a Los Angeles Doctor Who convention, with my husband. One of the sessions we attended was led by Christopher Jones, a Minnesota-based illustrator, and comic book artist. He did his session in a really interesting way that I think you could probably adapt to your work, as well.
A common event you can see at Gallifrey One is a “live commentary.” They show an episode of Doctor Who and cast and crew members who are at the con provide commentary from the stage. It’s pretty cool.
Inspired by this, Jones decided to do something similar to this using his own work. He walked us through the process of being hired as an illustrator on a Doctor Who book and his thought processes as he created the panels for it. He provided a lot of behind-the-scenes information that made it very interesting, even for a non-comic-book reader like myself.
It occurred to me that this method could be applied to any creative endeavor. Here are some ideas that an author can apply to sharing their books.
Live Book Commentary
People love to learn about the behind-the-scenes stuff of book creation, regardless of whether the book is fiction or nonfiction. So why not answer their questions using this “live commentary” format? You can create a slide presentation (and even turn it into a video) answering questions like:
- How did you come up with your idea? For example, if I was doing this for Public Speaking Super Powers, I could talk about the blog post that inspired it and how the idea evolved from a simple post to a comprehensive book.
- What was your writing process? For example, I could talk about how I decided to interview 100 speakers for the project and how things went from there, including the steps I took to recruit the speakers, interview them, transcribe the interviews and then turn that information into my book.
- What are some fun details about the book production? I could talk about the cover design and how my mother did the artwork. I could share how I came up with the superhero archetypes and found the illustrator to draw them. I could even discuss details of how I researched various chapters.
Depending on what happened behind the scenes with your book, you could probably answer even more questions, as well. To help you pull your presentation together, ask your self what are the most common questions you get asked about your book. Here are some common questions that authors get asked:
- Did you learn anything while writing and/or producing the book?
- Did anything surprise you while writing the book?
- What was the inspiration for your characters? Were they based on real people? (FICTION)
- Why did you choose to write about this topic? (NONFICTION)
- Where to now? (For fiction, this usually means what happens to the characters after the story, but it can also be a question about what you’re up to next.)
- How long does it take you to write a book?