Tuesday, March 21, 2017

When Picturing 'Em Naked Fails: Crushing an Author's Reading

Public speaking is the number one fear of Americans. I grew-up hearing people say "Picture them Naked." Hey- it seemed to work for characters on television. It's not so much working for me, it just seems too distracting. If you throw in the mix, reading a lesbian romance things get heated fast. Picturing them naked or in their underwear, would cause me to worry that an orgy would break-out.

So, if this de-clothing tactic does not work for you, what would? Marketing & publishing experts agree that author readings are an integral part of a book's success. How do we help bashful, fearful authors succeed at author readings?

1. Getting Over the Fear of Speaking in Public: This is much easier said (pun intended) than done. Some writers by nature are introverts. He/she wants the story or novel to speak for itself. If your fear is more like a phobia, seek counseling. You might want to seek counseling or a coach even if you don't think it's a fear. Once that hard work is done, practice, practice, practice. Start off small: speak more in a staff meeting, give a toast at a dinner party with friends, start a podcast, find other speech engagements.

2. Prepare Your Own Work:

  • Write Something Worthy to Read.
  • Pick an exciting passage that doesn't give the whole story away.
  • Go through the passage and trim out the unnecessary information.
3. Practice Reading Out Loud:
  • Time yourself to stay within the time frame.
  • Record yourself.
  • Read to a pet.
  • Read to a friend, family member or partner.
4. Prepare an introduction to your reading.
  • Setting.
  • Characters.
  • What's happening in this scene.
  • A short, short bio of yourself and where they can buy the book. If you're doing signings after, make sure to mention that.
5. Prepare yourself for questions if that's part of the reading.
6. Become familiar with the atmosphere.
  • Who comes to the readings?
  • Is there a moderator?
  • Place you will be reading?
7. Day of the Reading Preparation.
  • Plan what to wear. Wear something comfortable.
  • Practice some mindfulness, positive thinking and other grounding techniques.
  • Mind what you drink or eat. Don't want to be too full or too starving or having to go to the restroom in the middle of your reading.
  • Stretch or move around before reading to get your blood flowing.
  • Sing to your favorite song to get your vocal chords going.
8. Have someone take a picture of you while you're reading and sitting with other authors about to read. Put in on your blog, website, or other social media site. (Use the picture to send to your ex-girlfriend with the text, I just read a passage about how awful a person you are to a room full of people.)

9. Reward Yourself!
  • Go to a movie, dinner, plan small party with friends.
  • Get a massage, buy yourself a new toy/equipment.
  • Go on a small trip.
10. Do it Again!! (Plan your next reading.)

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Short Story Success

A few weeks ago, I had a short story accepted for an anthology. Hurray! It's the first time that an entity like a publisher has chosen to display my writing. This is on top of being thrilled every time I have a reader contact me about liking my book. My favorite is when the reader says that they couldn't stop reading and stayed up all night. Okay, I went on a tangent. Like I said, my short story was accepted.

I'm excited about this because of these reasons:
1. My first formal acceptance.
2. Short Stories are extremely hard to write. It requires constructing a memorable story and great characters in a small space.
3. It's an anthology that's going to get released at the GCLS Con in Chicago!!

One of my favorite writers is Kurt Vonnegut. He was amazing at short stories. He used to make a living purely on short stories and consumed a multitude of them in his childhood and adolescence. Check-out his short stories. The audio books with his narration is incredible.  I'll never be as great as him and respect the art of short story writing.

Once my debut short story is published, I'll share the link on my blog!

Update: Another one of my short stories just got picked up by Sapphire Books!