The other day I wrote about how miserable a public speaker I’ve become. In truth, it’s because I don’t get the chance to do it as often as I used to so I’m kinda out of practice. Hand in hand with being terrified to speak in public is my fear of reading my own words out loud when there are more people than just me in a room.
Case in point: last year at NECRW2017 I was part of a group of authors who did a live reading of their current books. I thought it would be a good way to get my written work out there and hopefully garner some new readers. No brainer, right?
Up until the moment I was called upon to read I still hadn’t chosen the excerpt I wanted to share. The book was my newest one for Lyrical, COOKING WITH KANDY, which had come out a few weeks earlier, and I wanted to read something that would spark ( hopefully) a listener enough to want to buy the book. Right up to the second moderator and host Damon Suede called my name, I was still undecided.
Then, my name was called and up to the microphone I went. I took a breath – three in fact – so deep it looked like I might be having the beginning of an asthma attack to those who knew what to look for(!) and read a simple passage loaded with emotions between the two main characters.
8 minutes to complete.
I kinda left my body for the experience, because I really don’t remember much. When I sat back down, Damon said, “Am I right that was your very first public reading?”
My heart stopped beating when he said that. Christ! Had it been that bad? That obvious? That horrible a reading?
I nodded, unable to form coherent words in response.
Damon grinned and said something like, “So, yay! You’re not a reading virgin anymore! We popped your cherry!”
Everyone – including me – laughed. I know I turned sixteen shades of boiled tomato red, but still, his comment broke the tension that had coiled deep in me. Bless the man!
Next time ( and I can hear you now asking She’s gonna do it again???!!), yes, NEXT time, I’ll be less nervous, better prepared, and practice what I want to read before I get up and do so.
And BTW, Damon Suede has a great article in this month’s RWA magazine – for those of you who subscribe – about authors and public reading of their work. It’s well worth the read!
When I’m not obsessing about speaking in public you can usually find me here: