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Give a good author reading: Editor's Notes #262
May 30, 2018
Hello,

An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.
— Charles Horton Cooley


In this issue:

1. Giving a good author reading
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1. Giving a good author reading
Whether you are flattered, terrified, or both, you will do well to accept invitations to do an author reading. And with good preparation, you can do a good author reading.

A good author reading promotes your latest book like nothing else can, so it’s worth the effort.

Once you know how much time you will have (find out if your time includes time for questions), and who is likely to be at the reading (a teen book club, a festival of writers, a group of prison inmates, etc.), choose three to five sections from your book that you think will be of interest to that group. You want a variety of options because the mood in the room might not be what you first thought it would be, or something that comes before your time slot might require a different response than your first choice would have been.

Choose a bit that hangs together and leaves listeners wanting to know more. It does not have to be cliff-hanger, but it should invite interest.

Practice, practice, and practice each selection. First, practice alone to see how much time each takes to read. When you are comfortable hearing your own voice, practice in front of a friendly audience. This can be family members, friends, total strangers at a bus stop, anyone who is willing to listen. You are not asking for feedback. You just need the experience of hearing your voice reading the material to someone other than your mirror. This second bit of practice will show you where it would make sense to pause. For example, if people burst out laughing, allow for a few seconds of that. Finally, do polished readings to the same or different groups as you did before, carefully timing each, including any pauses you have to make.

People are going to look at you, so take that into consideration. Choose comfortable clothes. If a costume is appropriate, wear one. Beware clanging jewelry. Be as well groomed as you can be. At the least, looking your best will give you confidence.

On the big day, arrive before your scheduled time. Be ready. Decide which section to read.

Unless you do public speaking regularly, I’m guessing you will be tempted to rush. Instead, breathe, breathe, breathe, remembering to exhale each time. When your beating heart is somewhat settled, begin your reading. Finally, speak slowly.

When you have given a good author reading, you may be asked to do another.

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2.Tickled my funnybone
"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one." --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill with thanks to Albert Hall

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3. Interesting Web site
Here are additional tips on public speaking for authors
http://graemeshimmin.com/public-speaking-tips-authors/

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4. Writing prompt
It is a courtesy to hand the person who will introduce you a brief bio. It may not may not be used, but most people will be happy to use at least part of it.

Write brief bio to use for the reading you’ll do when asked to read from the book your have just finished, the book you are currently writing, or the book you hope to write. (You can never be too prepared.)

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