Give Your Best Book Reading Ever
Arrive early and bring a bottle of water. I'm always more comfortable if I give myself a little time to become familiar with the setting before I begin the reading. Being there ahead of time gives me a chance to adjust the microphone and organize my papers. Appearance is important. Dress appropriately and put on your happiest face. Let your audience know you want to be there.
You can begin by thanking your audience for their support and thanking those who worked so hard behind the scenes to make the event possible, but please don't bore everyone with a long list of names.
By now you should have practiced your reading until it's pitch perfect. That means you won't be tripping over difficult sentences. That's why, when you practice it's "crucial" to read aloud. If you can't recruit a family member or a friend to listen, you can always read to your pet.
When you read, think like Dan Holloway. "- read with every ounce of passion that drove you to write in the first place."
Another point Mr. Holloway makes is this - Great readings need to do three things:
1. hold the listener's attention from beginning to end
2. make the listener crave more
3. spotlight the author's writing skills.
Mr. Holloway also says: few passages in a (book) or a novel will do this.
That’s why he suggests keeping your reading short, but reading enough to "- demonstrate your skills at pacing, description, and dialog."
You will want to keep an eye on how your listeners are responding as well. Are they getting restless? Always leave your listeners wanting more rather than boring them with too much. A proper reading should last about thirty minutes for an inexperienced speaker. In most cases, the time is determined by the event organizer. Be sure you have an idea of how long you're expected to read. Whether the reading is ten minutes or thirty, read only those passages that will encourage your listeners to want to buy your book.
Choose four or five short passages you'd like to read; however, you may read only a couple. Many authors, Brad Phillips for one, prefer not to devote their entire time to reading from their book. After reading a short "compelling passage" they tell their listeners something about it. You can use this technique throughout your reading.
If your audience has time to ask questions at the end, be sure you've anticipated what they're likely to ask ahead of time and be prepared to give a short informative answer. Some questions might be:
• How did you decide on your title?
• How did you decide on what to put on the cover?
• Did you model your main character's personality after someone you know?
• Why did you become a writer?
• Where does your creative inspiration come from?
When answering questions, it's always a good practice to repeat the question in case there are members of the audience who didn't hear it clearly. This is helpful if the event is being recorded.
Most importantly, don't forget to say something to remind the audience just how unique your book is while reminding them of what you want them to do before they leave - buy your book!
My thanks to authors Chuck Sambuchino, Brad Phillips, Dan Holloway, and Alan Rinzer, for their very informative articles on this topic.
References: writersdigest.com. mrmediatraining.com, thecreativepenn.com, alanrinzer.com