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.
- 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.
- Research what people might ask you. Read Karin Kallmaker on "Surviving Your First Reading"
- Be prepared to fill the time if there are no questions asked.
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.)