I should start by saying that most of the times I've heard authors give talks, it's been fine-- sometimes even legitimately entertaining (or in Shannon Hale's case, peeing-your-pants hilarious).
But as should not be a surprise, I've attended a lot of author presentations over the years, and sometimes it's hard not to leave them wondering just what is wrong with certain people.
Over-sharing seems to be a trait slightly more common among authors than other groups, and if you want to be a really good, professional author who never makes his/her editor want to crawl into a hole in the ground for letting you out in public, please, be aware of the danger.
Today, a list of questions to ask yourself before you say things in front of an audience:
1. Is it something you might reasonably share with a therapist?
Then it is not appropriate for the public. The public is not your therapist. Remember that.2. Is it something you found out or experienced while wearing a hospital gown?
There's a reason for doctor confidentiality. That's right, it's for OUR benefit, not yours.3. Is it something that might nauseate people who have just taken a bite of something squishy?
If it's not fit for dinner-table conversation, it's not fit for public speaking. Yes, even if there's no eating going on. Please try to remember that many of the people you speak to will have very strong imaginations. Don't make us regret that.4. Does it concern parts of your body that are, in all public situations, covered by clothes?
EW, EW, EW, EW, EW. See above re: imagination.5. Is it something that could be reason for your arrest if a policeman were present?
You are making us ACCOMPLICES, you CRAZY DIPSHIT.6. Does it concern something you only ever (or only should ever) do in the bathroom?
MOTHER OF GOD, why do I have to point this out?!
This public service announcement has been brought to you by People for the Ethical Treatment of Audiences. If I never have to hear about another author's bitter family baggage, inappropriate hair issues, gory surgery details, unusual lingerie choices, or interstate crimes, I will be a happy, happy person.