Okay, so now you’ve committed to putting on a book reading, and here comes the big day!

Last week, we went over how one prepares for a book reading, but it’s just as important to break down what will happen on the big day itself!

poetry reading

First of all,

  1. SHOW UP.

No excuses. Set aside this time slot and stay committed to it.

Even if there are far less people in attendance than you expected when you do arrive, do not let them down. Give them the same reading you’d give a sold-out theater.

Also, bring your family or some close friends along with you – this guarantees that you’ll at least have some sort of very attentive audience, no matter what.

  1. Be Professional.

There’s a lot that goes under this heading, because being professional is so very important when trying to appeal to new readers and not let down old fans.

Show up on time and start on time – obviously. Don’t keep your audience waiting, some of them may have families or other engagements that they planned around this event.

Do not talk down to your audience, especially to those asking questions who haven’t read your book. Being pretentious won’t sell you books, so even if someone’s question seems silly to you, answer it genuinely and in a way that doesn’t insult their intelligence.

It’s important that you dress well, as well as dress to fit the venue. It may be over the top to show up to a coffee shop in a suit and tie, or to book store in ripped jeans and a tee-shirt.

I can’t think of anything more unprofessional than forgetting to thank your audience and the venue. This can be brief, but it shows that you respect the people who have taken time out of their day to watch you, or who have coordinated with you the weeks leading up to the reading to put on the event.

  1. Get live photos!

If it’s not on social media, then it probably didn’t happen. For those who are too far across the country to make it, but are friends with you on Facebook or follow your Instagram/Twitter, it’s still nice to “see” (even if it’s on a screen) that you’re out there telling your story!

  1. Feel Gratitude

Selling ANY books is something you should be excited about. So you brought 20 copies and only sold 5? That’s FIVE more readers you didn’t have before.

Be grateful for the opportunity given to you by the venue, and by the listeners.

  1. Don’t get yourself down if things go wrong.

Planning out a script at home and reading it to your cat will never be the same as the real thing.

Maybe the mic won’t work, maybe you’ll forget a pen to sign the books, maybe you’ll stutter over the answer to a question.

IT’S OKAY. You’re only human, and so is your audience. Take any potential slip ups in stride, but also feel free to lavishly celebrate if all goes exactly according to plan.

  1. Last but not least, ENJOY yourself.

It’s no small secret that many writers can be sort of recluse. A book reading shouldn’t just be strictly used as a marketing technique, but it should also serve the purpose of getting you out of your shell, speaking freely with an audience of potentially interested readers, and knowing that when you walk away you will have gained a better understanding of yourself as an author and as a person.

It’s not often that you get the chance to stand before others and talk about such an incredible accomplishment that you’ve maybe only shared with your publisher, family, close friends, etc.


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line atselfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com. 10:00 AM

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