Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

After writing each of my books, I decided to memorize them.  In developing my presentation, I realized the next step would be recording and videotaping the dramatic readings.  That's when it occurred to me that perhaps I should start looking into storytelling.


Selling books is a challenge.  There are millions of writers and new books coming onto the market.  There is a huge competition with children's books.  If you're not connected and if you fail to win the lottery, which is a good review in the New York Times, you're history.


What are the options?   You see, not only am I the illustrator and author of my children's book but I'm the publisher as well which means I'm in charge of promoting the books.


When I committed to writing my books, I also committed to doing whatever it takes to promote them.  At this juncture, it seems to me that storytelling is an avenue to develop.  I happen to love reciting my book with gusto and drama and am looking forward to adding storytelling to my marketing plan.


Linda M. Schulman


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Comment by Linda M. Schulman on September 10, 2012 at 9:00am

Ed Hi,


As difficult as the first book was to memorize, that's how easy the second book was to memorize.  It's the audience problem.  Now that I'll be putting myself in front of a camera, there are many other considerations.  Hair, makeup, what to wear, where to film it, how to film it since this is a 1-woman operation.


Comment by Ed Wicke on September 10, 2012 at 2:57am

Ooooooooh remembering stories in rhyme!  

It'll come in time.

If you get stuck

Just mime.

Comment by Linda M. Schulman on September 9, 2012 at 10:21pm

Hi Lois,

Thank you for your suggestion.  I do get hung up on not getting the complete memorization.  One of the problems is that the stories are mostly in rhyme, with changes in rhythm and syncopation.  What I've forgotten is that when performing, you don't stop, you just keep going and that's the difference between an amateur and professional.  I hadn't thought of it until I started writing a response to your letter, but I can "wing it" by telling the story without rhyme until I catch up and can get back into the story in rhyme.  Thank you for giving me this idea. 

Comment by Lois Sprengnether Keel (LoiS) on September 9, 2012 at 6:15pm

Hi Linda,

Here's a thought for you that might work.  You mention reciting and your dread of speaking.  I frankly have a terrible memory.  Ages ago left acting for directing and eventually found I was meant to storytell.  Figuring that memory is something that needs exercising, I've returned to acting as much as I think my gig schedule will permit.  The thing that differentiates the two is memorization or, if you prefer, reciting.  When I retell a literary story or a folktale, I let my audience know its source to see the original

Just as Carl's idea sends people to the book, if you re-tell your story it will be different.  Probably shorter and simpler (on original stories, tellers are advised to let go of "their jewels"), but it will also be more immediate for your audience.  For you, this sets you free of the fear of not getting your text letter perfect.  Memorization can be a trap.  I've seen theatre people trying to tell stories and getting hung up on getting their "lines" right.  It's essentially a 1-person show, which is a lot of work, but there are no cues that must be exact for a fellow actor.  Storytelling is direct communication that should be new and fresh as it happens. 

Might that switch help you?

Comment by Linda M. Schulman on September 8, 2012 at 2:40pm

Hi Carl,

That's a good idea.  Filling in the details about characters and and creating more interest.  Of course, I would like to hear the tale end of this to find out how it goes.

I'm moving forward with preparing to do my storytelling.  At first, I rehearsed in my car commuting to and from work.  Now I've begun to tell my two stories, Tales of Woofie, and Tales of Woofie Book Two - The Rabbit Chase in front of an audience of 1 friend at a time to see if I can concentrate, remember the complete story, and not blow it because there is an audience.

Once I conquer reciting my story to 1 person at a time, I'll increase it to 2 people.  When I was young, I dreaded talking in front of groups, and now I'm practicing to do something I dread.  Go figure.


Comment by Carl Gough on September 6, 2012 at 3:16am

I'm currently working with the author of a childrens book to help him use storytelling in this way. I have taken a different approach however. I did not want to preempt what was in the book otherwise I felt it would defeat the purpose of trying to seel more of them. Instead I have been working on creating a folklore type tale that will introduce the circumstances that led to the events as written n the book. It's a taster; a prequal if you like that creates a richer mythology as a backdrop to the book.


When I read the book, a number of questions arose for me about one of the characters such as why he did what he did and how he came to be the character he was. As a result I began to answer those through devising the pre-story around that character and working with the author to ensure it aligned with how he viewed the character. Its been a great way to work. The plan is I will deliver the story for him at a book festival next year to create an apetite for his book. Best of luck with yours.

Comment by Lois Sprengnether Keel (LoiS) on August 30, 2012 at 11:13am


Comment by Linda M. Schulman on August 29, 2012 at 10:28pm


Which State are you in?  Are you in California by any chance?


Comment by Linda M. Schulman on August 29, 2012 at 4:32pm

Yesterday, I received delivery of a tripod for my camcorder.  Getting ready to record myself and my dramatic reading.  I'm hoping that doing several different DVD versions of my 2 books will be fun and not torture and that at the least I'll come up with a DVD I can send my littlest relatives - all the grand nieces and nephews. 

Ed, whether by design or not, you chose the right age group.  Congratulations.  And the English school system is so much more friendly to authors than here in California.

Comment by Ed Wicke on August 29, 2012 at 2:10am

I write for & sell to 8-12 year olds.



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