Public Reading Tips for Writers

editor/publisher of CommuterLit

Copyright is held by the author.

Public readings of your work is an essential part of marketing your books, finding readers and establishing yourself as a known literary figure. But not all of us are comfortable with public speaking. Here are some tips:

1. Respect the time given to you by the organizers. Time yourself — including your preamble.

2. Choose material that has some emotion, action, lively dialogue, a beginning, a middle and an end.

3. Unless you are already a well-known literary star, keep your preamble to a minimum. Resist the urge to explain everything.

4. Practice, practice, practice out loud in front of your loved ones or alone in your room.

5. If you feel you are talking too fast — take a deep breath and slow yourself down.

6. Speak up, even if there is a mike.

7. Lift your head from the page from time to time and look at the audience.

8. Channel your characters, who you know so well. Put some emotion into their words.

9. Do not waste the opportunity to sell some of your books and gain more readers for yourself. If you have no published books, self-publish a chapbook to sell or give-away at the event.

10. Remember it is a performance — be larger than life.