A friend, who recently sold her first novel, wrote to me (paraphrased): “help! I’m supposed to be giving a reading from my work at a science fiction convention! What do I do?”
Readings, like signings, are one of the epiphenomena of writing: not a central part of the business, but people give you funny looks if your first reaction on being invited to do one is to shriek and hide up a tree. Unfortunately, although there are plenty of books with advice wise and otherwise on other aspects of writing, I’ve yet to run across any advice about readings. So here’s what I’ve learned about reading in front of strangers.