More Tips for the Presentation and Booksigning

Posted in Author, How To, Presentations, Tips, writing at 11:40 pm by Sylvia Ramsey

More for the Presentation and Booksigning

If you are going to have a booksigning after the reading, and I hope you do.  It is a great chance to interact with the reader’s on a more intimate level.  There is one thing to remember, if your reading/booksigning is being held at a library, and not being hosted at a bookstore, you will probably have to bring books with you if you wish to sell any.  Make sure you have checked ahead of time to make sure what is acceptable.  You can create a bookstore sell sheet on your book/s to give to the manager/event coordinator so they have some advance information. 

Find out what time you should be there, if they will have a table and chair set up.  Ask if when you should deliver a poster to them announcing the reading/booksigning.  Have business cards with you that are designed for you and your book/s.  (You can make them yourself with a word processing template and print them with a business card printing kit.)  I usually create mine and get them printed. (The last time I got them printed in full color, three hundred for just under $30.00.)  You can also do the same things with bookmarks.  They make great little gifts, and are appreciated by readers.   Get some free press publicity if you can.  (If you do not have a media kit, create one)  Email your friends in the area to let them know where and when. (It is always nice to have support even if they do not buy a book at that time.) 

Make sure that you show up early enough to have your signing table set up and ready to go before the performance.  Check the area where you will be performing.  Where will you stand?  Is there a microphone?  How many chairs?  How are the acoustics?  (I always plan on Murphy’s Law going into effect, so I want to consider all possibilities.) 

Once you have finished your performance, do not forget to remind the audience that they are welcome to stop by your table and ask questions.  This is a chance for you to have those individual moments that will give you insight into what readers like or dislike.  They are focused on you, you be focused on them.  Pay attention to each and everyone.  Find out if they have read anything by you.  If so, what?  What did they think?  What parts did they not like?  What do they usually read?  Why?  Who knows what ideas you will be able to glean for the next project circling in your head.

Just remember these events are not all created equal and do not always turn out like a happy ending movie.  According to the odds, you will get one that is not how you planned it.  Do not be discouraged.  Sometimes things happen and you do not get the crowd you had hoped for, so take a friend to have someone to chat with in between signings.  It is hard to predict how these events will go, they are live but that is what makes them so exciting.  Evaluate each one, critique yourself and make adjustments before the next one.  Each one you do adds to your experience, and a chance at getting better.  One of the most important things to remember for the event, if you hope to be asked back,  is to practice good etiquette even if you have to count to ten a few times. 

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Presentation Tips: Tips on Public Readings Cont..

Posted in Author, How To, Presentations, Publicity Tips, Tips, writing at 12:26 am by Sylvia Ramsey

Presentation Tips

Tips on Public Readings Cont….


One more thing to create:  One thing you should do is to write a very, short introduction before you begin reading the selection. Include the title of your work, a little about yourself. (Not too much, just a little.) To allow the audience a chance to get ready to hear the performance, the introduction should set the mood, the setting, any characters that maybe in the selection so the audience is prepared for what you are about to present.  Either the introduction should be memorized, or you should know it well enough to be able to present it extemporaneously.  The introduction is, “you”, the author/reader sharing with the audience, and not the performance of the selection.  You may want to let them know that there will be an open question and answer session after your presentation.  If you have scheduled a book signing, you may want to let them know that you will be delighted to answer any questions at time also. 



Now it is Time to Practice, Practice,  Practice!

·         Learn to hold your binder/book in one hand so that you have the other to gesture, and to allow you to use the fingertips of the other hand to mark your place on the manuscript.  This will also help you to maintain better eye contact. 



·         Try to make the page transitions as smooth as possible.  It is always advisable to turn the page before you get to the bottom of the page you almost ready to finish.  If you do not, and if you have several pages in your manuscript, it can become quite a distraction for the audience as well as take away from your presentation.



·         Begin by practicing on your own, timing yourself each time.  Once you are comfortable with your presentation, recruit an audience…friends, family… to listen to your presentation.  It is important that your audience will give you honest feedback.  Pay attention to them as you present your selection, watch their facial expressions and body language, and that will reveal a lot.  If you can, use a tape recorder and or make a video to self-critique how you sound and look.  Many times this will help more than what someone else tells you about your performance.



·         The big event has arrived and you are feeling nervous.  The best way this can be conquered is to be thoroughly prepared.  That you have practiced several times.  Think of the nervous energy as a source of adrenalin that you need to put into your performance to make it not just good, but great.

Just remember, your selection can take on new life depending on how you interpret its meaning, nuances, and vocal patterns.


Tips for the Book Signing tomorrow…


How To…Public Reading Tips – Presentations

Posted in Author, How To, Presentations, Publicity Tips, Tips, writing at 1:34 pm by Sylvia Ramsey

Presentation Tips

Tips on Public Readings Cont….


Preparation:  Read your selection aloud, and think about the meaning of the words you have written. Pay attention to each sentence and think about what images/feelings you are trying to convey. Underline the key word(s) in each sentence and think about ways to emphasize the word(s) when reading the passage. Imagery words should sound like the image they are describing.  If you were reading a sad passage, you would not want to have a jovial light sound in your voice.  If you are expressing anger, think about how much anger the character in the selection is feeling.  The rate, pitch and volume should reflect these things. 


Vocal contrast and body language is important: Think about varying your volume, rate, tone, and gestures at different points of the reading. Avoid monotone delivery.  Facial expressions, eye contact that is appropriate for the portion of the script you are presenting, gestures and body language should all reflect the emotions and the tone of the selection.  Knowing when, where and how to do these things will all help to make your delivery believable.  Make sure, before you begin that you can be heard by everyone in the audience.  Speak slowly enough that the audience can follow you.  Practice enunciation so that you say the words clearly and distinctly.  Gestures should not be overdone, but should be natural to the presenter.  Practice enough so that they flow, and are a part of you and the selection, not stilted and mechanical.


The places you mark in your script will help you practice and have a polished delivery. Do not forget marking pauses in your selection. These do not need to come at the end of a sentence, but rather at the end of a complete thought.  The length of pauses varies depending on their purpose.  You can compare their length to beats in music.  At the end of a complete thought, a slight pause is best (one beat), for a comma or semi-colon a little longer (one to two beats), and at the end of a sentence or for a dramatic pause in the selection about a three beat seems to be appropriate.


When reading poetry, read it for meaning not the form in which it is written.  If it has a heavy rhyme/rhythm scheme, be careful that your delivery does not get so caught up in it that the audience will lose out on the message.  We tend to lower our pitch at the end of a line…when we do we are giving is a vocal period; a verbal close to a sentence.  If there is no period and the sentence is carried into the next line, keep the vocal pitch up, and place a pause where appropriate.


Energy Level:  Increase your energy level when speaking—this will boost your volume, make you appear to be more confident, and hold your audience’s interest for a longer period of time.  I can always gauge how much I have put into a reading by how tired I am after a performance.  Remember this is a performance, you want to bring your work alive!



More Reading Tips to Come…..