Spoken word events can often seem daunting, especially for the more introverted writers, however all writers should participate in these events.
Why? Here are five reasons.
1. Adoration! - spoken word events are the perfect opportunity to present your work to a listening audience. Not everyone will read your Amazon reviews and buy your book, so make the most of having a captive audience and dazzle them with your poetic and story-telling brilliance. Even if they do own your novels and poetry collection, they will get a different experience from seeing it performed in person. Dialogue and poetry really come to life when read aloud.
2. Meet Other Writers - networking is an important part of being a writer and you will meet plenty of other authors at spoken word events. Not only will you hear their work but you will chat to them between performances because you are in the same boat as them, nervously waiting for your moment in the spotlight. Meeting other writers allows you to share tips, exchange promises to review each other's books and may open windows to future spoken word events. Don't forget your business cards and flyers!
3. Build Your Fan Base - nowadays, people invest in writers as much as they invest in a book. If readers are able to meet you, ask you questions and hear you talk about your passion for writing, then they will be much more inclined to buy your novel. In some ways, readers will feel more empathy towards you by simply seeing there is a face behind the Twitter account. Also, if you are invited to participate in a Q&A panel after the readings then make sure you accept. You will then be given the window to talk about writing in a good-humoured and informative way, all of which will increase your likability.
4. Sell, Sell, Sell! - writers need to sell books so they can justify writing even more books. Spoken word events are a platform to promote your books and there is always a table where you can line up your books alongside those by the other authors. You are unlikely to sell dozens on a spoken word evening but the audience will certainly browse your work in the breaks and you might sell a few. You can also plug future events where you will be reading or upcoming novels that are due to be released, either before or after your reading, or during the Q&A.
5. Good Karma - a final reason for participating in these events is the altruistic notion of helping out local cafes and bookshops where these events inevitably take place. Spoken word events draw a crowd to independent locations at times when they would normally be empty, which drives business to places in the local community. Self-published authors are also an independent business so it pays to join forces on events like this for mutual benefit.
So, do not delay, find a local spoken word event and take to the stage!