Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Pause for A Chuckle with MaryAnn Miller

As we talk about the serious business of promoting -- and honest to God I have no idea what works and what doesn't - I thought it would be nice to inject a little levity.

I've done lots of signing events and spoken for civic groups, writer's groups, and at conferences, but the toughest audience was at a senior center connected to a nursing home. The activities director had assured me that there were lots of avid readers among the residents and they would love to meet an author. I was scheduled to follow the late-afternoon Bingo game when folks would already be assembled and willing to stay since dinner would immediately follow the talk.

I knew I was starting to lose them when a gentleman sitting up front asked if I was ever going to get the glass of water he’d asked for an hour ago. Then three women got up and left, muttering loudly that they must be in the wrong place since dinner wasn’t coming yet and it was past time.

In an effort to salvage something – anything – I abandoned my prepared speech and tried to engage the rest of the audience on a more personal level. I asked if they liked to read. One woman said she couldn’t read but she liked to sing. I told her that was nice, and she asked if I’d like to hear something. Before I could respond, she launched into a lusty version of You Are My Sunshine.

The other residents cheered when she was finished, so I took the hint. We spent the rest of the hour in a sing-along.


Maryann Miller is an author, editor, and part-time farmer living in East Texas. Her latest books are One Small Victory and Play It Again, Sam. Visit her at her Website and her blog.


Ginger Simpson said...

Maryann always provides a positive comment when I need one. Finding her as a friend and peer was a blessing.

unwriter said...

Senior citizens, like children have short attention spans. Also, oh heavens, forgot what I was going to say. Oh well, maybe I'll sing something.

Sounds like you're busy promoting also.

J K Maze said...

You didn't tell us if you sold any books at that singalong. All kidding aside, I can identify with you on that. I live in a senior apartment building and the reactions to my getting a contract were weird. I've not sold a single book to any of them. Of course, only two or three have computers. One person even accused me of making up stories. My response was "Yes, that's what I do"

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