Living in New York City, one could easily attend a literary reading (make that multiple readings) every day. The city presents a true embarrassment of riches in that respect.
If you have the time and energy, that is.
Alas, time and energy are precious commodities for this practicing writer. Between a full-time office job, family life and friends, a revitalized commitment to visiting the gym at least a few days each week, and, lest we forget, a bit of writing (and reading, and blogging) here and there, boarding a subway or bus to attend a reading too often falls off my to-do list. Especially when it’s really hot outside. Or really cold.
This week, however, I persevered. After an especially intense workday and facing the oppressive heat and humidity that is also oh-so-characteristic of this lovely city (this time of year, anyway), I rallied. I was determined to attend what Ron Hogan had billed as “An Evening of All-American Fiction” midtown at the Center for Fiction, featuring the following authors and new books:
- Pearl Abraham, American Taliban
- David Goodwillie, American Subversive
- Jane Mendelsohn, American Music
- Hilary Thayer Hamann, Anthropology of an American Girl
American fiction. Get it?
Well, how could anyone with a forthcoming story collection titled Quiet Americans resist?
I sure couldn’t. And I’m very glad I went, not only because it is always good for me to get out and go to these events, see authors and hear new work read. But the event also got me thinking about readings in another respect.
Right now, I shouldn’t simply be attending readings. I should be arranging them, too.
I’ve already explained that Last Light Books, the publisher of Quiet Americans, is a small, new press. There is no money for me to go “touring” around the country, although a virtual book tour is definitely on the agenda.
So here I am, trying to figure out how to arrange readings in the New York area, Boston, and D.C. (I expect to be in D.C. in early February for the 2011 AWP conference, and I’m planning to get to Boston a few months later.)
And here are some of the questions I have:
- Which reading series/venues do you go to? For my current purposes, the NYC-Washington corridor is most relevant, but why don’t we hear recommendations for other locations, so everyone can benefit from the comments? If there are links available for your favorite venues/series, please share those, too!
- For those of you who have arranged your own readings (or for any publicists who have arranged readings for others), what’s the magic formula? How far in advance do you try to arrange a reading? What are the basic how-tos to arrange a reading? It strikes me as something a bit like inviting yourself to someone else’s house. Not exactly comfortable or intuitive. How does this whole thing work?
- What else should I be thinking about (readings-wise) at this time, a little more than six months before Quiet Americans: Stories meets the world?
As always, thank you in advance for your comments and advice!