I did my first bookshop talk last night. It was at the Saltaire Bookshop, an independent bookshop. At first I was worried at the thought that maybe nobody would turn up. I'd been on Radio Leeds earlier in the day, where I'd been allowed to advertise my talk at the end of the interview, plus publicity material had gone out in the local paper and other locations. But still (typical unconfident me) thought that nobody would want to bother coming.
As it happened, the place was packed! By the time half-past six came and I was about to begin, there was no room for everyone to sit down. My fears that nobody would come had quickly turned into, Eeeek! There are PEOPLE! I was bothered about the ones at the back who couldn't sit down and possibly couldn't hear me properly, though I did try to keep speaking loud enough, particularly as they had all paid £2.50 for a ticket (included glass of wine and entry to raffle).
I had from 6.30 - 8.00 in which to 'do as you want'. I tried to get a good balance of talking and reading for the first part of the evening, then we had a break (sold lots of books!) and then we had questions and discussion. There was a good mix in the audience of mental health workers, service users, and people just interested in books and perhaps wanting a 'general' read of a human interest story. I tried to make my points without being 'preachy' and to include things that would hopefully interest everyone.
The best thing for me was that once I got started, I stopped feeling nervous and I really enjoyed it. Perhaps this was largely due to the practises at giving talks I've had at my local speakers club.