Into every author's life comes the moment when you'll be asked to participate in an event, whether it be a book signing, a talk, sitting on a panel or doing a workshop. People love to meet the author. I've done a lot of events and will be doing many this year as part of my promo for my upcoming novel releases--the first one February 24th!
Here's a few tips that will help guarantee a successful whatever and help take those anxieties away.
First, practice beforehand. Keep notes on what you're going to say. If you're giving a read, read your pages out loud several times until you're familiar and comfortable. Practice looking up from your pages. Speak out and slow down. If your audience can't hear you or understand what you say, then enjoyment is lost. Try not to worry about it being "perfect," we all flub up and many times the audience doesn't notice!
Be brief and to the point. My mom always said, "Stop talking before people stop listening." Consider what you would like to hear from an author. Remember there's no reason to prove to your audience that you have succeeded as an author by telling about every step of your journey, your struggles and every single failure and success. The fact that you're in front of an audience means you've succeeded. Pick one to three stories and keep it brief. Less is more and leave them wanting more. Both cliches because they're true.
Think outside the box. For example, I'm going to be at an event at the Ada Community Library. This event will be by the Pixie Chicks' Writers (a group I belong to) and will be about An Eclectic Collage I and II, anthologies written by the Pixie Chicks. Instead of reading from my work, I'm going to demo the exercises from my article in An Eclectic Collage I.
Most important, relax as much as you can. Remember, the people in the audience are on your side and people too. The more you relax the more they will too and then everyone will enjoy!
Readers, any other suggestions?