Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's promotion Jim, but not as we know it...

I went to a free event last Monday evening with writery pal Tania - what I thought would be a talk about his books by author Michael Morpurgo (in advance of the Stage Production of his novel 'War Horse' in NZ later this year). But it was something else altogether. Michael Morpurgo was dressed in English WW1 era, rural, civilian clothing,and was accompanied by a singer in the same get up. Morpurgo read excerpts from War Horse alternating with period songs from the other man. At times Morpurgo sang too. At the end of the 'performance' both men took questions. It was not at all what I expected. It was strange and somewhat fascinating. Morpurgo, formerly a teacher, had come to NZ to promote the stage production based on his book. He sang in order to do so. I enjoyed the reading and the answers to the questions. I liked the insight into the book's origins. I loved the revelation that the book War Horse hadn't been terribly successful when it was first published but that hadn't prevented interest in adapting it for stage and then screen. And since then I assume book sales have soared. I know people found the evening entertaining and felt inspired to go see the show when it comes. But I found the theatricality of everything a bit odd. Would I ever be able to do this? I guess if someone adapted one of my books and paid for me to go promote it in a beautiful foreign country I would give singing a try.  

5 comments:

Jane Bloomfield said...

I hope you didn't get the giggles?

Melinda Szymanik said...

Jane, Mr Morpurgo did an okay job of singing. I think I was more shocked (and perplexed by the precedence) than humored :)

Christine Hurst said...

The last time he came to NZ he talked about his childhood, which was fascinating. He didn't sing though!

pdr lindsay said...

You know, I thought it was a good way to set the atmosphere and give the audience a feeling for the book.
WWI is ancient history for many readers.

I might well pinch the idea for another novel I'm writing. I think a book launch for it with a falconry expert showing off his birds and me reading the relevant excerpts would be a real launch!

Why were you surprised? Our 'author reads a bit and answers questions' is rather a dry way to launch a book.

Melinda Szymanik said...

I guess I was surprised as I was expecting the 'traditional' dry approach. On the other hand as an author who works hard on marketing and promoting my books I find the speaking and reading bit challenging enough. I don't have too many musical or other entertaining skills (apart from my cake baking)and if this comes to be expected will my books and me suffer as a consequence?