A group of writers (poets and story-tellers) got together at a restaurant/bar recently, and I went to their public reading. I've compiled a list of (hopefully) helpful hints.
1. If you are nervous and tend to mumble/not enunciate clearly, shave off your beard and mustache for the occasion. (Ladies, that goes for you in the hairy menopausal phase, too.) We can't read your lips with all that hair obscuring our view, and as fast and mumbly as you present, we need all the help we can get.
Give the audience what they want.
2. You may think your twenty minutes of rambling introduction. About. Each. Poem. is engaging, but look at your audience. Their eyes are closed. Drool is coming from their mouths. They're snoring. Be aware of your audience.
3. If you're nervous, and alcohol is available, have a drink. A glass of wine might help out with #1. Drink. (Sorry. That's all I could come up with for that one.)
4. Be passionate/involved in your piece. Speak with expression. Pepper your piece liberally with Sioux's favorite word. Make the crazy redhead happy.
5. Be humble. Come up, give us a tidbit of an introduction, and then read, darn it, and when you're finished, leave the microphone. That's why we came--to hear you--and if you're good, your words will speak for themselves. Give the audience some credit.
What tips do YOU have for writers who read their stuff in public?
By the way, Linda O'Connell has almost reached her Chicken Soup goal. Is it a gross of stories (144)? Is her goal equal with her age? Find out what her next goal is, since she's about to hurdle over her current one...(Ask her.)