As a new author I’ve tried to soak up the wise words of my fellow published writers. They speak the truth. Writing the book is the easy part.
I read with interest what Louise Jensen had to say recently, about her battle with nerves when asked to speak in public and how she overcame the hurdles. For authors it has become a necessity to be able to stand in front of an audience, read to and answer questions from eager listeners. Book promotion is as much about the author as it is about the product, it seems.
Through good fortune and friendships, I was asked to take part in a monthly performance event run by the #London Writers’ Eclective at a branch of #Waterstones in Tottenham Court Rd. I was thrilled and accepted straight away, having no idea what it would entail other than the request for ‘A short reading from your book, about ten minutes max.’
A performance event: what was that?
Flash poets, would-be novelists, potential stand-up comedians, short story writers, script writers, creative writers – they were all there,on Friday evening, in the audience and the taking their turn to perform. There was some great talent in the room. Phew, I thought. It was a good job I’d paid attention and taken advice. Here are the top tips I followed:
- Choose your passage wisely. No spoilers, it has to entertain and make sense as a piece.
- If it’s not right, change it.
- Edit the passage if necessary to make it more acceptable to a listening audience.
- Read it aloud and time it. (see number 2). Practise: Get your granny/mother round for tea and make her listen to your excerpt until she begs you to stop.
- Record yourself and listen back. (see number 2)
- Print it out in large font, underline or highlight narration in different colours, put big spaces in for pauses, like a script.
- You’ll know the piece, you wrote it, so give it life, speak up and take your time when reading.
- Give your audience eye contact.
- Enjoy the experience.
- Thank people for listening.
How did it go?
I loved it! Everyone was so welcoming and positive. After a glowing introduction of #A Justifiable Madness as my debut novel, I was let loose on an unsuspecting audience. To my relief, the like-minded people in the room reacted with smiles, laughs and a round of applause.
I’m one of the lucky ones, I enjoy a bit of the dramatic and with experience of public speaking throughout my nursing career was prepared for the nerves which inevitably arise, no matter how confident you are. It’s adrenalin, and harnessed- when that’s possible- can make you sharper. Thanks go to the organisers, Lindsey and Connor, who work so hard to give people the opportunity to perform in welcoming surroundings. They have invited me back in February when, thanks to Bloodhound Books, I will have a further two novels to share and read from.
Before then I’ll be more local …The Robin Hood, Clifton Reynes December 6th 6.30pm onwards for a fun literary evening. More reading and performing. Ta-dah!