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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Bactine for Book Readings + Mom Blog Hop


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My guest article 6 Ways to Be a Writer While Recovering from Surgery is live on NothingAnyGood.com!


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A book reading can be scary when you’ve never done one before, especially if you’re an introvert and hate doing anything in front of people. I know the idea of doing a reading makes my palms sweat, so I have come up with tips that anyone can do to work up the courage of having a real reading.


1. Video Reading

Record yourself doing a reading in the comfort of your own home. This can actually be a lot of fun.

NOTE: I never actually listen to my own recordings. Not even the ones I post. For me, it's not about seeing how I do, but helping me get used to doing it.

- Pick an excerpt from your book. This doesn’t have to be long. One to two pages will keep people’s attention from straying. 
- Set up the stage; find a neat spot where you can sit. This can be at your desk or in a chair positioned in the corner of the room. 
- Wear something comfortable but nice.
- Get your equipment (laptop, camera) and do a simple test. 
- When you’re ready, try a recording. The great thing is that if you mess up or don’t like the recording, you can try again. Once you have a recording you like, prepare it to get ready for others to view. 
- Upload it to YouTube, your Amazon page, your Goodreads page, your website, and your blog. Now people can listen to your reading from the comfort of their homes.

2. Family and Friends Reading

Once again, in the comfort of your home, invite your family and closest friends to a reading. These are the people who will support you no matter what. You can even make it fun with snacks (cheese, crackers, veggies) and refreshments. Sit in a chair in front of your family and give them a short reading. If you’re like me, you’ll still be nervous, but reading for your loved ones is easier than reading for strangers.

3. Local Coffee Shop or Library Reading

The previous techniques should help you to feel more confident about doing readings. Now you’ve graduated to public readings. Call around to local coffee shops or libraries you enjoy going to and see if you can schedule a live reading there. After you book time, invite all of your friends and make announcements on your blog/website. The great thing about doing a reading at one of these places is that the customers will likely listen to your reading and you can gain new readers.
TIP: Practice with several recorded readings before your public reading. But don't publish those practices! This is to just get you used to reading your story out loud, and recording yourself will give you a bit of nervousness that will simulate much of your nerves at the public reading. I did this to prep for my speech. It works!

How to ease your anxiety:

- Take a sip of water to wet your throat. Then take your place and introduce yourself and your book.

- Take a few, slow deep breaths before you begin the reading.

- Hold your book in your hands in front of you. If you can, rest your book and your hands on a stand or table to keep your hands from shaking.

- Put markers on the page you’re reading to remind you to look at your audience.

- Read slowly. If you read fast, your audience won’t be able to understand you and you may stumble on your words.

- Pause every now and then, after a paragraph, for instance, to calm your nerves and take a quick breath.

- When you reach the end of the excerpt, close your book, hold it in your hands (cover facing out), and tell your audience they can read more in [Title]. (You don’t need to open the floor to questions until you’re ready for that.)

- Thank them for listening and step away. If you’re doing a signing afterward, invite them to come over to purchase a book to be signed or get a signed postcard. 



QUESTIONS: Have you ever done a public reading? How did you prepare?




Blog Hop Celebrating Moms:

In honor of my mom's newest picture book coming out on Mother's Day, DOCTOR MOM, we're hosting a blog hop celebrating moms.

PROMPT: Share a favorite memory you have of your mom. Or just share a picture of your mom that you cherish. Or you can do both!


When: May 21st

Where: Your Blog


***Every post will include the blurb, links, and cover art for Doctor Mom as well as my mom's bio and author photo. I'll email all participants a week before the hop.***


Doctor Mom Blog Hop:



119 comments:

  1. I've done a few public readings, but I'm an extrovert, so I mostly look forward to it. I'm a bit nervous when reading at StokerCon, because there's bound to be a few "big deal" writers in the audience.

    After choosing the excerpt I'm going to read, I practice reading it aloud several times so I can get through it without stumbling once. I also time it to make sure it's not dragging on too long.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Timing your practice rounds is a good idea. Recording your practices helps with this. That's how I kept an eye on how long my speech was when I did my run throughs.

      Delete
  2. Oh, I didn't know your mom had another book coming out! That's awesome!

    And the closest I think I'll ever get to doing a public reading is when I read passages aloud in the privacy of my own home and my husband overhears me from the other room. Still, I think your tips are excellent!

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    1. You did a good job reading from your WIP during that one meeting I went to at the MB library. :)

      Delete
  3. I've never been up on readings. I prefer to talk about the book than read from it. You do give a good tip in taping yourself first. You'll catch those little annoying habits that would distract from the reading.

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    1. Talking about my books sometimes makes me feel odd, unless I have a topic to discuss. I don't mind doing readings. At least, the only ones I've done so far are recorded and those are easy. ;)

      Delete
  4. Excellent ideas, Chrys. I especially like all the ways we can practice ahead of a big, public event.

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  5. Doing a public reading sounds scary, although I have done a bit of public speaking in my working days. Practicing in front of a safe audience of friends and family is a good idea. Cheers - Ellen

    PS I can't help out with the blog hop on May 21st, but if your mom wanted a spot on Saturday, May 26th I can make that work. Let me know at thecynicalsailor (at) gmail (dot) com

    Cheers - Ellen

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Public readings, to me, sound easier than public speeches. With a reading, you're allowed to read from paper. ;)

      Delete
    2. Oh, and my mom would love a spot on your blog on May 26th! I will email you. Thanks!

      Delete
  6. As always, these are great tips. But I can't, I just can't record myself with the notion that I'll watch it later. I can't stand my recorded voice. What about you? Does your voice bother you?

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    1. I never even watch the recordings later. For me, it's about getting used to doing a reading in the first place and recordings simulate the fear of public speaking.

      I had to get used to hearing myself. When I first started doing my YouTube videos, I listened through them to make sure the quality was okay, but not I don't.

      Delete
  7. I remember when I did my first public reading of my book. Wow, was I nervous!! I've never recorded myself. I might not like hearing me speak!!

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    1. I don't listen to my recordings anymore, and especially not when I practice because I'm not doing it to hear how I sound but to help me get over my nerves.

      Delete
  8. I am way too scared to do a public reading! Then again I doubt I'll ever be in the position to need to worry about it. Congrats on your mom's upcoming release.

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    1. You'd need a very adult audience to do a reading for one of your books. Or a clean excerpt. ;)

      Delete
  9. I LOVE reading aloud; but as an introvert, I don't like talking in public.
    Every opportunity I get, I read aloud to my class.
    Public reading is something I'd feel more comfortable doing... but not public speaking. Strange but true.
    Happy IWSG Day!
    Writer In Transit

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi Michelle! Seems like it's been forever since I've seen you here. :D Public readings do sound a lot easier to me than public speaking. And I did even give a speech in January and thought it was easy. Well, that one was easy. lol

      Delete
  10. You know, my post today would fit with your hop. =) I won't be around May 21st, but I hope the hop is epic--and hopefully I'll catch some of the posts when I hit the blogosphere again.

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  11. I'm terrified of being in front of an audience! Your advice is very good about dealing with the anxiety. I want to do a video of my son reading an excerpt of one of my stories. I think it would be fun! :)

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    1. I plan to do videos of my nephews reading my mom's books. :)

      Delete
  12. These are excellent tips because I have been to book readings where the author is mumbling, not looking up, talking monotone and people were uneasy in their seats. I will check out your mom's blog. I may join but I still feel emotional since my mom passed this January a month shy of her 90th birthday.

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    1. Oh no. Readings like that would be dreadful.

      I am so sorry for your loss! Hugs!

      Delete
  13. Oh, God. I wish I could do a public reading. Maybe one day but I definitely get the shakes. Thanks for all the tips. Hopefully...I'll be able to use them one day!

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    1. I get the shakes, too. Even when I practiced my speech by recording myself I got the shakes. But the moment I gave that speech, I was confident and wasn't even nervous. It was a miracle.

      Delete
  14. I've only done one and the ironic part of it was, I wasn't nervous until I got there and there were actually people ... like a lot of people. It was at the end of a two-year Commercial Fiction Class through a non-credit community program at the University of Washington. Everyone in class invited five or so people. None of us expected all of them to come and have some interested bookstore goers just come, and have a film crew. I was 8 months pregnant (this was years ago) and I sweated so much with nerves I had a friend hand me a jacket afterwards (even though it was June) to cover the sweat marks on my dress. I haven't done it since, but I will keep this post to remember your advice for next time.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I was nervous for my speech in January during the moments leading up to it, but once I was behind the podium and holding the mic, my nerves vanished. It was strange, but I believe my practice made that possible. :)

      Wow. That sounds amazing and...yes...a little scary. And you were 8 months pregnant, too? You deserved a reward for that!

      Delete
  15. Great tips - I'm currently working on a nonfiction project on helping students conquer public speaking fears. It's such a big fear - but there are definitely ways to get through it successfully :)

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  16. Chris, thank you for these wonderful tips! I have not done a public reading. I was prepared to do some at various bookstores but the owners weren't into live readings (I gathered it may have been my topic---divorce). However, I will try to do a youtube reading for my fiction. My short story collection is set to go live on Amazon on June 1st! I'm so excited. Your mom's new book looks adorable!!

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    1. YouTube readings from your divorce books would be a great idea, too. I see those doing well. Any videos in general on the topic of divorce as well.

      Congrats on your upcoming release!!!

      Delete
  17. Hi Chrys, thanks for these wonderful tips. I've done several readings of my books, initially I'm nervous but once I start reading I'm cool.

    I've bookmarked this post. I'm definitely going to record myself reading my book and see how it goes.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. If I'm nervous, you can hear it in my voice, and it takes me a while to get through that. Usually I wish I can stop and take a deep breath and start over.

      I hope this technique helps you!

      Delete
  18. Reading my stuff in public is scary. Not sure I'd ever want to do it.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. At least you didn't say "never." :)

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  19. Anything in public makes me nervous.
    Cool your mom has another book coming out.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great tips, Chrys! I've yet to do a reading of my own work to the public, but have been in a position that required speaking in seminars and training programs. It's nerve-wracking, but I'm usually okay once I get started. I like your idea of recording yourself & practicing in front of family & friends.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'd be even more nervous to speak at a seminar or training program. GULP!

      Delete
  21. I shake in my boots being in front of people, but I have to do this all the time at my job.

    Teresa c.

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    1. What do you do to settle your nerves?

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  22. Hi Chrys - practice does it ... makes life so much easier as you go along ... I need to write it all down and time it ... and then read slowly and clearly, but not look like I'm reading - always looking up at the audience. I've got one to do in 11 days ... but it's not to an official audience to an organisation - great tips you've given us. Cheers Hilary

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    1. When I had to do my speech, I had notes on note cards to remind me of each thing I wanted to say in case I got stuck. It helped a lot.

      Delete
  23. Great tips! I wish I had them last month when I did my first reading... Oh, well. Now I have them for next time ;-)

    Ronel visiting on Insecure Writer's Support Group day: Autumn Decisions

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    1. I hope these tips help you in the future. :)

      Delete
  24. Nope, never done a book reading. (Haven't finished writing a book ;) But I have read in public. Lots. In classrooms. It actually isn't too bad when you've had all the practice I've had ;)

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    1. I wouldn't mind reading to kids. :)

      Delete
  25. All excellent advice! No book readings, per say, but as a lawyer, I've argued my briefs in court and made various professional presentations for years. I am a rare person who actually enjoys doing so. I've had people say I have a 'gift' for public speaking, but that 'gift' is backed by hours of preparation and practice practice practice, with the techniques you've outlined.

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    1. You are a rare person! I love that. I wish I had your grit.

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  26. Those tips are great--haven't done a book reading yet (not having finished a book worth that kind of effort) but I've had to do presentations back in college and it was petrifying. I think I'd be better at them nos if I could actually ever learn to project my voice a bit.

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    1. Presentations as a student are awful. I hated having to do them.

      Delete
  27. This sounds absolutely terrifying and yet...I find myself interested in some bizarre way. I'd have to figure out a way to do a reading on my blog and yet remain anonymous. Scary mask? Nope, that's a terrible idea. People already think I'm bananas. Maybe sound, but no video. Hmmm, food for thought. Thanks, Chrys!

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    1. That was me! Terrified and yet interested. How about a Mardi Gras mask? ;)

      Delete
  28. It's not something I've thought much about, pretty terrified by public speaking but maybe one day! These are great tips. I guess practice is key to everything. I did perform in drama shows in school, which is the nearest I've come to this. I took Rescue Remedy spray to help with nerves. Would recommend that!

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    1. Practice really does make a difference and can work for anything. :)

      I've read about Rescue Remedy to calm pets. lol I'll have to look into it.

      Delete
  29. I've never done a reading and just thinking about it terrifies me.

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  30. I don't recall ever having done a real reading, though my fourth grade teacher often had me read my stories to the class. She saw I had a clear talent for writing, and encouraged me to write and read aloud as much as I could. It really helped me with some of my Aspie-related issues, which had no name in that era. I owe so much to my fourth grade teacher.

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    1. That's great! I'm applauding your 4th grade teacher for making such a wonderful difference in your life.

      Delete
  31. I have refused to do public readings. It just feels so weird!!

    I don't post on Mondays, but I sent a message to Tara to see if she'd want to post a tribute to our moms on the Really Real Housewives joint blog.

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    1. That would be wonderful, Elizabeth! Thank you for passing this on to Tara! :)

      Delete
  32. No and I dread the day. Thanks for the advice. It may get me through it. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  33. I haven't, but I don't fear it. I tend to talk fast though and maybe mumble a bit, so I'd have to watch that.

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    1. Yay for not fearing public readings!

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  34. I've recorded myself reading from one of my books before. It was so weird going back to look and listen to myself lol!!

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    1. I avoid watching my videos at all cost. lol

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  35. Great suggestions, I'm sure once you do it, it'll become old hat!

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    1. After many times, one may get used to it. I don't think I ever would. lol But maybe. ;)

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  36. Those are some excellent tips for finding comfort with giving a reading! I'm a schoolteacher by trade, so the public speaking aspect of a writing life has not been my issue. I did find it helpful to join a group and do some shared readings, so that the focus isn't entirely on just me. Broad Universe (an organization supporting women in speculative fiction) has been a g-dsend to me in that sense.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

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    1. Oh, a shared reading is a fabulous idea! I love that.

      Delete
  37. Great post, Chrys, very helpful. I've only done one reading, and I cheated. I speak with an accent, you see, so I decided not to subject the audience to my lousy pronunciation. I talked about my book, the inspirations behind it, and of course, I marked the pages I wanted read, but I didn't read myself. I asked the librarian (the reading was in a local library) to read from my book, and she was happy to do so. It went very well. :)

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    1. HA! Sneaky and smart. I love the idea of asking someone else, such as a librarian or even a friend who can narrate well, to read the passage from your book.

      Delete
  38. Kudos to you for doing public readings, Chrys. It takes a brave spirit for an
    introvert--which many of us are:)--to speak in public.

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    1. Oh, I haven't done a public reading yet. I've given a public speech, but these are the things I'm using to prepare me. :)

      Delete
  39. What great tips, Chrys. Not sure if I could do a reading online. I did one at a book event and the only people who showed up were my mother and sister and a couple of people who came in to rest their feet. LOL

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    1. I did an event at my local library last year and only my mom and M.J. Fifield were there. lol These events can be hit or miss.

      Delete
  40. Never done a reading but use to like to be read to as a kid. Great tips will have to remember that when it happens for me. Great post. Happy IWSG Day

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    1. I hope these tips help you in the future, Juneta!

      Delete
  41. I actually talk a lot now for my book, both on book tour and at writer’s conferences. I just remind myself to be myself and it all sort of flows from there:)

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  42. I'm in for the Mom-hop! :D

    I'm an introvert (I totally freeze up at parties and usually hide in a corner and watch), but I have never had any trouble with public speaking, so I like doing readings. I have done several at my library, and lots at my local school. But I'm not sure about the library ones--at the last one, only 3 people came, and one of them was my husband.

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    1. Yay! Thank you!

      An introvert without any trouble doing public speaking? You’re a fierce introvert! I hope to be like that one day. :)

      Admittedly, library readings can result in a few people showing up, but reading to a few strangers is a great stepping stone.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, it's funny about that. Maybe it comes from early training in church as a reader of scripture lessons?

      Delete
    3. Possibly. That was no doubt good practice.

      Delete
  43. Oh my, getting up and reading in front of people sounds scary. I'm sure I'd stutter. LOL. Great tips though!

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  44. I'd be terrified even though I was an attorney who spoke in court and in jury trials. I've seen authors on panels, and I think I'd feel most comfortable being part of one or a group of authors.

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    1. I was part of a panel last year at a book event. Every time it was getting near to my turn to speak (we went in order) my anxiety was fierce, but once I started talking I was okay.

      Delete
  45. Not having done a reading or I suppose never will I thought your tips were good for those who will be doing a reading.
    Happy May Chrys.

    Yvonne.

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    1. Maybe you’ll read some of your poems one day. :)

      Delete
  46. Oddly enough, although I'm deeply introverted I don't mind standing up in front of a roomful of people and talking. I gave a talk at the library last night and really enjoyed it.

    As for reading, I absolutely echo the part about reading slowly and taking pauses. I sounds odd in your own mind at first but comes across much better for the audience.

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    1. That’s great! Introverts can do a lot we wouldn’t think we’d find comfortable. :)

      Delete
  47. Great advice. I've talked to classes of children. That's fun. They have great questions.
    Congratulations to your mom on her new book.

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    1. I’m looking forward to when I can tag along with my mom when she reads to kids and elementary classes.

      Delete
  48. The funny thing about me is that I enjoy acting and have performed skits in front of people before, but I have always hated reading my own writing. I don't mind displaying my writing, but reading it to others makes me feel so vulnerable!

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    1. I actually enjoyed acting when I was younger, too. I liked to read parts in class for plays, especially the main role.

      Delete
  49. I've never done a book reading before because I'm not a published author of a book, though I did read a short story at an open mic night in Nashville. I got a really good response, and I really liked doing it; it felt good to finally share my work with other people in public. I tried submitting a story for consideration to another open mic night here in College Town, but unfortunately it didn't get accepted. Oh well.

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    1. Oh! Reading a short story at an open mic night definitely counts. That sounds awesome and a little scary, too.

      I’m sorry that your story didn’t get accepted. Don’t give up!

      Delete
  50. I once did a cold reading for a class of 2nd graders - not something I would recommend, but it worked out all right, and it was fun!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That actually does sound like fun. :) Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      Delete
  51. I've done two readings – and found them very different from leading workshops or giving talks. They do need different preparation.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Yes, they can definitely have a different vibe.

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  52. These are great tips! I haven't done a book reading yet, but I have taught a few workshops and had to take a public speaking class when I finished my degree. Talk about an introvert's NIGHTMARE! But I made it out alive and found out I'd much rather talk to people I don't know than people I do! Too much pressure!!

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    1. A public speaking class... *shivers*

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  53. I tend to speed up when I read stuff. Regardless, I'll need to wait until my voice returns before I can do any sort of reading aloud.

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  54. When I was in school, one of my teachers had us read out loud. We played a game called popcorn. One person read two paragraphs (loved getting the shorter ones) and then randomly called out the name of another student in the class to read two more paragraphs. I absolutely hated being called on, but it was nice knowing I only had to get through two paragraphs before calling on someone else.

    I would think it would be a little different doing a reading of your own book, though. For one, there is no comprehension. You don't have to understand what you are reading when you are reading. And two, you know your book better than anyone else you are reading to. You know the exact emphasis that should be placed on certain words. You know where the characters are pausing in conversation, etc, etc. And I think that's why a reading is so important for selling your book!

    The tips you shared on this post are fantastic and a great way for writers to get more comfortable with reading aloud!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I would’ve dreaded being call on, too.

      During recorded readings I’ve done, I’ve still messed up on a word or two. It makes me laugh. This happens to me if it’s been a long time since I’ve read my story. So practicing it at least one helps.

      Delete
  55. Hi Chrys,

    Thanks for the great suggestions. I am not ready for anything like this yet, but it's nice to put it on the back burner and let it stew until I get to that point.

    Congrats to your mom on her new PB... all the best!

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    1. Absolutely. You never know what the future holds.

      Thank you!

      Delete
  56. I’ve done more than plenty public speaking and a few readings. I have one coming up in two weeks—it’s part of a series of programs at Flannery O’Conner’s childhood home and I am reading poetry this time (a firrst for me).

    I’m now mostly blogging at www.thepulpitandthepen.com

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That great that you've done so much public speaking! You should share any tips you have. :)

      Delete
  57. Thanks so much for the pep talk. You hit on some very good pointers, especially the filming yourself practicing. I'm going to try that. Good luck with the "Moms" blog hop! Wish I could enter! Sounds like fun. Have a great day!

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    1. Filming myself to prep for anything related to speaking in public has helped me so much.

      Thanks, Lisa!

      Delete
  58. I too record myself to prepare for a reading, but I do look at it. If I hate it, I know what to improve. If I don't hate it, I try to relax a bit.
    I really appreciate and like your anxiety tips.
    Congratulations on another book for your mom. She's on a roll. So happy for her.

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    1. For me, I can usually tell what my mistakes are while I'm recording it, but mostly it's just to steady my nerves.

      Thank you so much, Toi!

      Delete

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