Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Another Speech

Jennifer's working on another speech...

Remember a couple of weeks ago I wrote about a “speech” I was planning to make and how nervous I was about four lines? Well, that was nothing compared to what I’m doing now. Now, I’m writing a 20-30 minute speech!

The four-liner was nerve wracking because I was planning to put my complaint on record at a meeting I was attending. I don’t like public speaking and don’t like confrontation, but it was really important to me that I said what I needed to say. So I wrote it, agonized over it, read it, responded and was finished. The reason I wrote about it here was not because it had anything to do with writing, but because it illustrated the difference between finding the right words when speaking and when writing (at least for me).

However, this next speech has everything to do with writing. A friend of mine asked me to speak to her women’s group about my books and of course I said yes. “Of course,” because no matter how much I dislike public speaking or how nervous it makes me, I’m going to say yes. Since I’m not Nora Roberts, I have to market my own books, and speaking opportunities to women’s groups is a great way to do that.

My friend is a wonderful woman and I’m thrilled that she thought of me. I asked her what she wanted me to talk about and she said, “How a nice Jewish girl like you became a romance writer.” Okay then.

The women’s group is part of a Jewish organization, and they’re interested specifically in my book, The Seduction of Esther. Since I just signed a contract for the sequel, the speech is timely. And with the number of people they’re expecting to attend, 50-75, I hope to sell quite a few books.

So, I sat down and tried to figure out what I would say. There are a few ways to take her topic. I could look at it as an apology of sorts, but I don’t like that message. I’m proud of what I write, even if discussing it with certain people does sometimes make me blush. Instead, I took it a bit tongue-in-cheek. My goal when I wrote my speech was to make is enjoyable and hopefully, funny. On my personal blog, I have a particular voice that I’ve been told people like to read, so I tried to keep the tone the same. And having spoken to groups before, I know that even though everyone there knows the topic of my talk, not everyone there is a romance reader. I want everyone to enjoy what I have to say, to find it interesting, and perhaps, to convince them that they might even like to read my book. So I went for light and engaging.

Seventeen pages later—large type, double spaced—I have an approximately 20-minute speech that I think works. I ran it by a few people, all of whom like it (now I’m thinking I need to run it by someone who doesn’t like it, just so I have all my bases covered, but that might be a bit paranoid).

All that’s left is polishing and practicing. I’ll let you know how it goes!


  1. You have done your homework well, Jen. I think you'll do great--and you sound like you do, too!

  2. It sounds like you are well prepared, so I'm sure it will go well. I am facing a similar situation. I've given several talks to smaller groups i.e. between 15 and 30 people, but in August I've been asked to speak to a much larger group (between 160 and 200). Although I'll be covering roughly the same subject matter, I know it will need a different approach. As an ex-teacher, I can liken it to talking to one of my classes in a small classroom compared with talking to the whole school from the stage of the school hall!

  3. Thanks, Ana. Yes, Paula, I think it's a matter of knowing your audience and trying to figure out a way to engage them. That's quite a crowd you've got coming to yours!

    1. I know. Quite scary really! They've already told me they'll provide me with a radio mike, and I'm suppose to talk for about 45 minutes! I've done 'formal' speeches in the past to large audiences, when I've read from a script, but I prefer the less formal kind, when I rely on 'prompt' notes on small cards with the main points in capitals and one word hints to remind me of what I want to include.

    2. I'm not confident in my speaking abilities to do that for any length of time, especially as they want me to talk for 20-30 minutes. I'd rather open it to questions afterwards.

  4. Question and answer format is nice. It engages t he audience and relieves you of wondering if you are boring people.