April 14, 2020

How Effective are Book Signings, Shows, and Workshops ? (Part 2)

Jan McCanless

Author of Beryl's Cove Mystery Series

We will now continue from April 10th post:

There is another venue for writers, symposiums, where you go and either listen to an instructor tell you how to write your book, or you hear an established author tell you about their book.  Will you learn anything? Maybe, but, it won't help you write your book. I'll tell you why. After you have listened to the lecture, you will know how the instructor wants you write; they'll tell you how THEY want you to write, but, they will NOT help you find your 'voice', and put it on paper. 

Every writer I know  is someone who has a 'unigue' way of telling a story, It's their own originality, and you don't want to tamp that down. You want to be original, you want to say things in the way you want, what you don't want is to say things in the way someone else would.  Personally, I don't want to read a book that is formulaic in structure -- - a story line I recognize from other books I have read.  

There are authors out there who make an outline of their story, then, give it to their staff, and ask them to fill it in,. It becomes like every other book from that author, and you can almost know what the next chapter or paragraph is going to say.  How do you think some of these high priced authors write  2 and 3 books a year? They use the same formula for each book, and after I have read one or two from that writer, I don't read any more, because I already know the plot line .  

Originality has to be a part of everything you write, and I found the seminars just don't teach you originality,. so, I avoid them. I want MY voice to come through the pages of a book, not someone elses.

So, do your homework, book as many signings as you can, talk to the folks who come, and learn from them.  Attend as many book festivals and fairs as you can manage, and do the networking when you are there. It will pay off in the long run.  If you do the lectures and  seminars, take what you can from them, but, retain that originality that makes your book ––you.  

Jan McCanless is a retired high school teacher, and former medical technologist, who penned her first Beryl's Cove mystery back in 2005. That one book lead to the Beryl's Cove series of  13 best selling books by this award winning author, who has also penned 3 very successful compilations of her humor columns and magazine articles. She is married, the grandmother of nine cherubs, and, resides in rural North Carolina

Her latest book, under promotion now, is the compilation, Assorted Brain Drippings of  Noted Sagittarian, and More Thoughts of Home  .

 Her next installment in the very popular Beryl's Cove series will be out next winter, and is entitled  Murder on the Rocks .

Jan's books are available from, empower, bookstores and gift shops around the country, or from her website 

Check her website for all her publications


  1. You're absolutely right--there is no one way to write a book! Thanks for your insight.

  2. Thank you Jan for these words. This is good advice.