Resources from Sisters in Crime Audiobook presentation

6 tips to improve your book event reads

Pick a scene that feels comfortable. These are your words and no one knows them better than you! For a romance, pick the meet cute; mystery, the moment the sleuth finds the body. If dialogue feels weird and you’re not comfortable doing character voices (that’s where us narrators come handy, ya know), action scenes and deep POV moments can work really well.

Leave ’em wanting more. I aim for 3 to 5 minutes max. When you start treading into 10-minute plus reads, it starts to feel like a lecture.

Rehearse. Don’t memorize, I mean, unless you want to. 😏  But get familiar with the text, how you’ll hold the book in your hands, how you’ll sit or stand, and how it will feel to deliver the read. I like to know if I’m holding mic or if I have to project my voice.

Breathe! You need your breath to be heard and connect with your listeners. If you need to, mark the parts where you can naturally pause for a breath.

Stay hydrated. TMI but I’m all about being real with folks: I always take a trip to the ladies’ when I arrive at an event, then hold off from drinking water until right before I have to go up before the audience. If the set up allows, take your water up with you.

Nerves are your friend! There’s an episode of Christina on the Coast and her guest admitted she was really nervous. Christina reached out to her and said, “I love it when I’m nervous because that means good things are about to happen.” I never forgot that and try to maintain that attitude when I’m sitting in the audience wondering what the heck I got myself into. Let’s accept that we’ll be keyed up and we can use that energy for our performance!

Look up every now and then. It’s tempting to stare down at your text and pretend they’re not there. But then you’re not connecting with the audience, they’re not connecting with you.

Listen to the audience. If they laugh, gasp, cry, or visibly react, pause. The pause lets them enjoy the moment and also, hear what you’ll read next. It’s a great feeling to see your words evoke a visceral response. And, take note for your WIP or the next book. 😎