One of the additional skills, writers need is public speaking. This can be a nerve wracking thought let alone practice for the ‘new’ author. There will be author readings and interviews as you promote your book, so knowing how to read from the narrative and talk about the story is important.
Here are a few tips that can help make reading your novel in public easier, once you have the booking.
- Visit the venue (if possible) to become familiar with the layout. Ask staff where the reading will take place and if you will have a podium or a chair and table.
- When choosing what to read chose a short section with dialogue and action. The opening line should be a hook that says something about the book and hopefully intrigues the audience. Choose excerpts of varying lengths and with varying appeal.
- Practice in front of a mirror, ask a friend to sit and listen or video yourself. Notice where you hesitate and read the passage over and over until you know it well.
- Once you are confident in the piece practice looking up to engage with the audience instead of having your head down buried in the pages.
- As you practice the segment use inflection to elevate the language and avoid a monotone speech.
- Practice your reading aiming to be shorter than the time allowed. Using a timer will help keep you on track.
- On the day of the reading, arrive early so you can relax and arrange your books for sale in a display.
- Ask someone to tweet and record your reading for later promotions.
- Once you have read your piece thank everyone for attending and mention your books are available for sale.
There are several options for interviews, prerecorded, live and via social media. Preparation is important so ask as many questions as possible from the host prior to the interview. If possible have a list of the questions they will ask, this is not always possible but they should be able to furnish you with a framework for the interview.
- Make sure you are dressed appropriately, smart but casual.
- Have your book(s) with you and memorize the blurb.
- Know the back story, the protagonist’s motivations, and the genre of the book. This may sound irrelevant but refreshing your knowledge will make the interview more polished. You don’t want to be stumbling with your answers.
- Prior to the interview relax with some deep breathing and curb your nerves.
- Keep eye contact with your host but also the camera (if relevant) so you are engaging the audience.
Here are some interviews I have done to give you an idea.
TV Interview on Arts Talk – 7th December 2011 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtIz3amV_HI Go to 8.22 on the time bar.
TV Interview n Arts Talk: Talking about Clickety Click and my other books on Arts Talk TV show – go to 11.04 on the timeline. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNl7Db_jGaQ&feature=youtube
Online for Authors Video Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfpGTAlbd2s&t=10s