Over the many years I have given my share (and then some) of speeches, and talks to conferences, and various gatherings. Many writers do this simply because they are asked to do so. It’s part of the pleasure and business of writing, making your work, and yourself known.
The truth is, the primary subject of such talks is me, as it is for any author. It is what I am asked to talk about, and what people most often want to hear: How you work. Your process, the kind of questions I listed on my May 5th blog post.
Over time, however, what I’ve come to much prefer to do—rather than give a formal speech—is to read from my work. I can intersperse these readings to inform folks about some of the things they want to know, but it is the sharing of the work which is most gratifying.
That said, when reading text, I don’t read exactly what has been printed. I learned not to do this from Charles Dickens, a famously successful reader of his own work. Dickens altered his texts for reading performances. He would subtract and/or add to make them reading texts, which is to say more dramatic, much more fun for the audience. And, me.
Regarding such readings, as it has been said, “If the work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”