PDA

View Full Version : Why Did I Do It?



astonwest
05-02-2009, 02:55 AM
I'm not sure why...but I did. (and I have no idea if this is where this thread needs to go)

Tomorrow is my first ever book reading. I get extremely nervous at reading in public, as I don't have the voice for it and (especially with my own work) always think the words sound weird. Then, there's the added excitement of having a bunch of people staring at you at the same time.

I've picked out a few excerpts that will hopefully sound exciting (aside from the lack of a proper reading voice), and plan to have some time after the reading for any discussion. But as this is my first time, I don't know if there should be more involved.

Any thoughts or suggestions for helping out the nerves (other than heavy drinking), or general book signing tips?

((It doesn't help, either, that I think I'm coming down with a cold... :( ))

Susie
05-02-2009, 03:06 AM
First congrats on the first book reading, bet you'll do great. You know the old standby. Picture them in their underwear and you won't be nervous. :) Bet you'll do great and feel good! ((((((HUGS))))).

Millicent M'Lady
05-02-2009, 03:13 AM
I remember, when I used to sing competitively, that I went through a phase of getting extremely nervous when I got up and would have full-on shaking voice and hands. I had never suffered with nerves before this.

This only happened when I got to my teens (even though I had been doing it since I was seven). Upon thinking about it later, I came to the conclusion that this was about the same time as other people's approval became important to me. Because I cared how I would be received, I started to become stressed which led to the panic and stage fright. As a kid, I was not well-liked among my peers and consequently did not give a fiddler's f*** about whether they liked me or not. I sang for myself to the exclusion of everyone else in the room.

The point is, if you start to see it as reading for other people, you will automatically be tense and wary of disappointing their imaginary expectations. If you cannot zone them out while you read, maybe try to imagine them as people you are comfortable with (like friends or supportive family) rather than as potential critics or customers. If you build it up in your head, you will get nervous. Try to think of it as no big deal.

Hope this helps. Good luck and congrats (but it's no big deal, right?! ;) )

Wayne K
05-02-2009, 03:24 AM
First congrats on the first book reading, bet you'll do great. You know the old standby. Picture them in their underwear and you won't be nervous. :) Bet you'll do great and feel good! ((((((HUGS))))).

He does that normally.

Maybe if you mentally dress them.....

WendyNYC
05-02-2009, 03:46 AM
I did a reading last summer at a conference and blogged about the tips they gave us before we were up. (http://wendypinkstoncebula.blogspot.com/2008/07/swc-nearing-end.html)

Hope this helps a little.

Williebee
05-02-2009, 03:49 AM
I'm really happy for you, for this opportunity. All the work you've put into this? You deserve it.


First, no citrus or other voice box tightening stuff, and no sodas to drink in the hour before you do your reading. (Nothing that makes you burp, you know?) If the voice is shaky, a little tea and honey is a wonderful thing to coat the throat and the cords.

Then --

Put somebody you love, like and trust (any two out of three will work :) ) in the back of the room. Read to them. Don't worry about the rest.

Read to them.

You'll be heard by everybody between that person and you, and you'll be reading to a friend, and they'll all think that friend is them.

Have a great time. You'll do fine.

dclary
05-02-2009, 04:10 AM
Show up in your underwear.

Millicent M'Lady
05-02-2009, 04:21 AM
Show up in your underwear.

That could work. Who cares that you're reading if you're nekkid (or almost nekkid anyway!)

sheadakota
05-02-2009, 04:27 AM
Good luck and have fun! They're just people and they want to be there- remember that!

KellyAssauer
05-02-2009, 04:53 AM
Just my POV, but you are the only person who knows how to read those sentences correctly! As for how to handle the people? The same way you would handing out a presents to a child, you have given them the gift of your writing, and now yet another gift of your voice and presence. How would you want the writer to act if you were in the audience? Be that writer! -and best of luck, it will be over quicker than you think!

astonwest
05-02-2009, 05:36 AM
Thanks for all the feedback, folks!

Matera the Mad
05-02-2009, 08:50 AM
It's just you and the book -- the book is real, the audience is imaginary. ;)

Williebee
05-02-2009, 08:52 AM
It's just you and the book -- the book is real, the audience is imaginary. ;)

I don't know. Astonwest's imagination can get out of hand--

Ceylons, and zombies and cyborgs, oh my!

Judg
05-02-2009, 10:42 AM
Make sure you explain enough between the excerpts so that people understand the context of what you're reading. I went to a book reading with an author in a public school the other day, and she had about 200 schoolkids eating out of her hand. And it was her first time. She picked dramatic excerpts, explained enough of the story so that they wouldn't be lost and ended at a moment of high drama with a huge question mark in the story. And then totally refused to tell the kids what happened next... It was great. They practically mobbed her afterward. She was signing business cards with a picture of the book's cover on one side. I was so impressed.

You can do it, TM, don't worry. They are there because they want to hear you, right?

Wayne K
05-02-2009, 01:09 PM
If you decide to show up in your underwear let us know



and give us directions.

sadron
05-02-2009, 01:19 PM
Aww, I hope it went well.
I have done one reading, it was around my class mates and they said the book will be next Lords of the rings. haha.
I usually go nuts while reading loud. Throat go dry. But I love to tell and explain about my world.

astonwest
05-02-2009, 04:36 PM
Aww, I hope it went well.
Still a little over 3 hours before it starts...but I'm sure I'll let everyone know how it went. :)

astonwest
05-02-2009, 04:41 PM
If you decide to show up in your underwear let us know and give us directions.
Oh, I'll be in my underwear (http://www.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Mead%27s+Corner+Wichita,+KS&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=33.29802,56.601563&ie=UTF8&ll=37.68613,-97.332945&spn=0,359.944725&z=14&iwloc=A&layer=c&cbll=37.686047,-97.332947&panoid=YirO56WKShj4u7-BxWxZXQ&cbp=12,331.93906232524193,,0,5)...












I'll just have other clothes on too. :D

Feiss
05-02-2009, 04:42 PM
what do you mean why did you do it? A book reading!??!!?!? That's AWESOME!!!!!

What I did when I had a piano recital or other on stage type performance was remember that all those people in the audience are not hostile. They are there to support you. No one goes to a book reading to heckle the reader. If you are nervous, they will understand. Half of them probably admire you already, for not only having written a book, but having a reading.

Congratulations!

Siddow
05-02-2009, 04:43 PM
If something crazy happens, just smile knowing how much us folk here at AW are going to LOVE hearing the story.

sadron
05-02-2009, 11:37 PM
Will be waiting then. :D

melaniehoo
05-03-2009, 12:00 AM
Good luck!!

astonwest
05-03-2009, 01:34 AM
(Thankfully?) Attendance was light, so it wasn't as nerve-wracking. Served as good practice if I end up doing any more of these...also good that one of my friends in the audience has a husband who does readings a lot through poetry and whatnot, so had some extra tips for me. She did mention that I have a good reading voice (though technically, I'm currently battling a cold...hmmmm), though I tended to read a little too quickly (nerves? :) ).

All in all, it was a good time. Thanks everyone for the good wishes and assistance.

dgrintalis
05-03-2009, 01:41 AM
I'm glad it went well!

Judg
05-03-2009, 07:35 AM
You see? It's doable. And next time you will do even better.

Williebee
05-03-2009, 07:44 AM
Congrats! Way to go.

sadron
05-03-2009, 12:02 PM
That's good to hear. :)

Wayne K
05-03-2009, 12:26 PM
I wish I could have come.

I was there in spirit though, I was in the third row-purple underwear.

astonwest
05-03-2009, 04:01 PM
I was there in spirit though, I was in the third row-purple underwear.
I thought I saw something there. :)

Thanks, everyone! Hopefully as you mentioned, it will be better the next time...

Ol' Fashioned Girl
05-03-2009, 04:18 PM
I wish I could have come.

I was there in spirit though, I was in the third row-purple underwear.

Told ya not to wash your darks and lights together...

But seriously, Aston, good job! A signing almost did me in... a reading would've killed me! So glad it went well.