Advice for author reading


So, a lot of things are still being hammered into stone, as I understand them, but it looks like I’ll have a reading slot at Eastercon (Sunday 7:30 to 9:00 pm currently). At least, it hasn’t moved around too much in the successive re-organisations of the programme grid.

It’s the first time I have a slot that long (and my second reading. There was a first one at Worldcon a few years ago, which I also obsessed about). And yup, I’m very happy to have it, but also slightly worried. [1]

So, in the spirit of preparation: has anyone got any advice/links they’d like to share on how to manage a reading?

ETA: this might not be 100% clear, but I’m only expected to hold forth for 30-45 minutes. It’s a joint thing.

[1]Stage fright, mostly. A panel is OK because I don’t feel alone in gathering the audience’s attention. With a reading, I feel pretty much alone, and pretty much like 50% of the draw for an audience (the other 50% being assured by my fellow reader, Simon Morden at the time of this writing). So, like, triple quadruple helping of pressure.
And, yes, hordes of butterflies in my stomach. I’m sure it will be OK in the end, but I like to be prepared.


  1. I’m absolutely certain you’re the bigger draw, though I shall attempt to do my best.

    At the very least, you can read to me, and I can read to you, then we can both adjourn to drown our sorrows at our lack of popularity.

    It’ll be fine, whatever…

  2. Don’t expect the audience to react like earlier audiences you’ve read for. I remember reading at a Con and being slightly thrown when that audience didn’t laugh at the same places the Wordos did.

    Watch the caffeine intake so it will be easier to read slowly and evenly.

    Bring a bottle of water in case there isn’t one for you.

    Mary Robinette Kowal has a great presentation on reading here:

    – John

  3. Simon aw, thanks 🙂 I should plan on the card game so we can entertain ourselves if no one shows up.
    I’m sure it will be fine, but sadly, stage fright is totally irrational (you’d think years of theatre would have prepared me, but it looks like not…)
    John: ha, I don’t have many audiences to refer to 🙂 But thanks–I definitely have to watch the caffeine, as by that stage of the day I’m usually overdosing on the stuff.
    I’ll go listen to Mary’s advice, which is bound to rock.

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