Building a Platform – Day 9 & 10

Day #9

Your Inner Ham. This one might be scary, but if you really want to cut the mustard as a writer, you have to be able to stand up in front of strangers and read your work out loud. If you haven’t passed out from the mere thought of that, you might think, “Oh, how hard can that be?” Practice it. Have some friends watch you and honestly critique you. Try reading stories to a children’s group. If they start laughing or falling asleep, maybe you should improve your technique. If you mumble in a monotone with your head down, it’s time to take a Toastmasters course.

Reading to an audience is more than saying the words. You must be able to project to the back of the room. You should use varied tones and moods. Your face should suggest the different characters you are portraying. In other words, you should give a performance.

Many books are sold at public readings because the author made his or her book sound like a movie. It can be done, with practice. Read your own work out loud as you are polishing that final draft. Pick the most exciting parts and perfect your act.

As a bonus, while reading your work out loud, you will detect mistakes that you had overlooked while just reading the words off the computer screen. To kill two birds with one stone: record yourself as you read. You will hear your literary errors and you can judge your own presentation.

Remember: It is a performance. Lights. Camera. Action.

Day #10

Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up. If you have anything published, even self-published, do TV interviews to get face time and experience. Local TV stations in many areas do segments on local authors. Public access stations do round-tables with authors. Call them up, tell them what you have done. Suggest doing a panel of several of your writer friends for their station. It never hurts to ask.

4 thoughts on “Building a Platform – Day 9 & 10”

  1. These are the scariest things for most writers to do. But you've given us a dose of your “tough love” no-nonsense advice. Thanks, Gayle!

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  2. Children can be so cruel.

    You're right about selling books through presentations. I bought Eva Batonne's book “Resurrection Diva” soley on her reading. She really knows how to use her voice. Of course, she's an actress, but that doesn't mean the rest of us can't learn how to do the same thing. Maybe Eva could teach a class. Eva??? Any other actresses out there???

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  3. Jackie V., I know what you mean about Eva Batonne doing such a great reading. All authors need to learn how to do that. How about a Burbank Library event where several authors put on a program to not only showcase their work, but do brief workshop as well? Or a real workshop like we have done before? Sounds like a winner. Gayle

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  4. You are so right that we need these skills, but YIKES! I took a Public Speaking class after one humiliating experience, and it does really help. But I'd rather hire you to impersonate me; I have always been awed by your calm presence when introducing a panel or conducting a meeting. Wish it were contagious!

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