Guest Article: Three Tips For Successful Readings

Author, teacher, director, Peter Kahle is a past president of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and co-author of Naked at the Podium: The writer’s guide to successful readings. 74th Street Productions ISBN 09655702-3-1

1.) Turn On The Speakers In Your Head

•Prepare yourself before you go onstage, as MC or as the Main Event. Your head has a built-in speaker system to make your voice fuller and more powerful. Your sinuses can resonate your voice.
•Hum. Search for the note that feels best in your throat. That is the power center of your vocal range. Hum until your lips buzz faintly. That brings your voice forward into the mouth, and into your speaker system.
•Tongue-twisters to get your mouth ready. Phrases from your report, or generic ones like Peter Piper or ‘Red leather yellow leather black leather yellow leather.’

2.) How To Handle A Heckler

•Your first response? Read the room. Is there staff present? Someone sitting down beside the heckler can help control the situation. The author may not need to respond at all.
•Think of school teachers, how they retain their cool and keep control of the situation. Or think Don Rickles, or Chris Rock, and shoot back. The book in question should determine the response. Depends on how quick you feel.
•Say “Thank you,” and move on instantly.

3.) Carry Your Own Questions (2 copies)

•Never rely on the audience to ask the first question. Don’t let the silence drag out too long, or people feel uncomfortable.
•Always prepare 3 questions about the book. If you can find a shill in the audience, give them your list. Will booksellers be present during the Q & A? Share question lists BEFORE the event begins.
•Design your questions so that the answers lead to other questions. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.

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