Afternoon, folks! Brenda Murphy is back on the blog today with a new book and – for me – a corker of a post. I have never attempted to read any of my stories out loud for an audience. Just the idea has me breaking out in hives, though I’m happy to stand up in front of a crowd, even without notice if need be, and give a talk. Reading from my work is different, though… or is it? I may actually rethink that stance, and Brenda’s comments will help with that.
So… if you’re an author wondering whether to jump in and do a reading, then make sure you take notes. And if you’re a reader looking for a great book for the weekend, please check out Brenda’s latest, Complex Dimensions, or any of her other books. You’ll love them, I promise!
Ten tips for Surviving Your First Author Reading
You’ve done it, signed up to read from your novel. And now cold hard reality has set in. What are you going to read? How are you going to get through one of the most extroverted things a person can do? Public speaking always makes the top ten list of fears, often listed as the highest-ranked fear for most people.
I have a lot of experience teaching and speaking to large groups. And yet, the first time I signed up to read from my work, I freaked out. I managed to get through the experience with the help of some very wonderful friends who offered tips for controlling my anxiety and for helping me change my perspective. I now seek out opportunities to read from my work. If you have shied away from public readings, rethink your stance. It is a wonderful chance to interact with potential new readers and strengthen ties with current fans.
These are my ten tips for surviving your first author reading.
- Details. Knowing the details will help to decrease your anxiety and help you prepare for the event. Who, what, when, why, and how, are your friends. Who will be your audience? Are you reading at a bookstore, or a fan conference? What is expected of you? Are you able to bring swag? Books to sell? Be available for signing? When will the event take place? Why are they asking you to read? Is this a promotional event or entertainment? How should long should your reading be? Will you need to introduce yourself?
- Once you know the details and how long your reading should be, put thought into your choice of passage. Seven hundred fifty words are about five spoken minutes. If you are only supposed to speak for five minutes, and if the reading coordinator is not introducing you, make sure you have a biography written out. Do not trust your brain to not go blank under the stress of the reading or try to wing it. If you need to set the scene for your reading, include those few sentences when planning your time. DO not go over your allotted time. It’s rude to the other readers and to the audience. Time yourself when you practice and aim for thirty seconds less than you are allotted to give yourself some wiggle room.
- Choose a passage that shows off your story without giving away spoilers. You want to stimulate interest in your book, to convince the audience they want to read the rest of your brilliant prose, but you don’t want them to already know your biggest plot point.
- Keep your reading to a G or PG maturity level, something you can read in front of a general audience. The applies doubly if you are reading at a bookstore or other public space and where folks can wander by and hear you read. You don’t want to prepare a reading that includes talking about achingly hard nipples, or graphic violence and then look out into your audience and realize young children are present. The exception to this is fan conferences, but even then, it is advisable to check in with the moderator about heat levels and mature content.
- Print out your reading in large print, or if you are going to read from your phone, size it up, so you don’t lose your place when you glance up at your audience.
- Yes. You do need to make eye contact at some point. Choose one person or a few; hell have a friend sit in the back and make eye contact with them. The point is to connect with your audience.
- Wear clothes that make you feel good and comfortable in your skin.
- Stay hydrated. Drink water and carry some with you. Dry mouths make a smacking sound when you speak, and microphones will pick up that noise.
- Practice. Practice. Practice. Time yourself, and edit your piece so that it reads smoothly. Often, we add words to our writing that are unnecessary if you are reading out loud. Leave out those things. As an example, if your character whispers something, whisper it to the audience, leave off the bit where you wrote that she did.
- Breathe. Slow down and take your time. Lean into the opportunity to share your work. The audience is there because they want to be; they have chosen to give up their time to listen to you, embrace it.
Length: 231 pages
Genre: Lesbian Contemporary Romance
Buy at: amazon
Sick of living in her parents’ basement and encountering her ex-girlfriend on a regular basis, former graduate student Veronica Fletcher signs on to manage the stable for Rowan House, Skye’s most exclusive resort for women. After arriving at Rowan house Veronica’s vow to remain celibate is tested when she meets Millie Reid.
Sexy, sweet, and funny, Millie is the woman of Veronica’s dreams. Or is she? When Millie’s past threatens their future together, Veronica is faced with a choice she doesn’t want to make. The butterfly effect has never been more personal.
About Brenda Murphy
Brenda Murphy writes erotic romance. Her novel, Knotted Legacy, the third book in the Rowan House series made the 2018 The Lesbian Review’s Top 100 Vacation Reads list. You can catch her musings on writing, books and living with wicked ADHD on her blog Writing While Distracted (https://www.brendalmurphy.com/blog.html) . She loves sideshows and tattoos and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering at her local library she wrangles twins, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot. Her most recent release, Complex Dimensions published with Ninestar Press is available for pre-order now at all major e-book retailers.
More from Brenda Murphy
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon