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IWSG March - I Survived

This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post for March.

Alex's awesome co-hosts this month are:

Please stop by their blogs and say thank you

Last time IWSG met, I was facing the first public appearance of my writing career. Well, I made it through. I won't say it was with flying colors, but I didn't totally bomb either.

I practiced my excerpt reading (videoing myself with my phone and watching the replay was the most helpful thing, by the way), and I showed up organized and ready to set up my table. I'll never be a great public speaker--it's not my talent--but I read slowly enough and managed to put a little feeling into the piece. 

I enjoyed talking to the people who came up to my table as well. I didn't freeze up or get nervous the way I thought I might. (Like many introverts, I find myself at a loss for what to say when the pressure's on.) My daughter was there to support me, which helped a lot, and I made a few new friends before it was all over.

Author Jessica Trapp

Author Bethany Averie & husband
Photo credit: Joseph Tidline

On the technical side, the Paypal Here app and card swiper I got for my phone worked well. I brought cash for making change, but everyone who purchased a book opted to put it on a card.

Event tips:
  • Order your swag and paperbacks well in advance; shipping takes time!
  • Measure or ask for measurements of the table you'll be decorating
  • Candles? Ask about policies on open flames or use flameless
  • Keep a list of everything (and I mean everything) you want to remember to take and check it before you leave home
  • Take bottled water to keep hydrated if you're doing a reading
  • Take a lens wipe or two with you if you wear glasses
  • Keep your signing pen(s) and other critical items in a place that's easy to access
  • Provide a tablet for people to sign up for your newsletter (manually enter them later). 
  • Print your excerpt out in large font, with notes to yourself if needed
  • Tab the pages or snip graduated bits from the edges of the paper so you can find and turn each page without licking your thumb

I'm glad I took part in this, but in the future, I'll probably stick to simple book signings or similar events, sans readings. :)

Have you attended any public events?
What was your experience?

IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's a monthly bloghop that offers a safe haven for writers to express their feelings and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It's also a venue for offering support, both in the form of comments and positive posts. Writers of all kinds are welcome. 

We 'meet' the first Wednesday of every month. If you're interested in learning more, click on the link above. And don't be intimidated by the size of the group. We're not expected to visit everyone on the list


  1. I bet you did great, and it's awesome your daughter came to support you! I'm sure there'll be more and soon it'll be not even a little scary. Thanks for all the great tips!

  2. Glad it went well! I'm a complete introvert so the thought of doing something like that terrifies me. Maybe someday it will happen though. Thanks for all of the tips!

  3. Good tips for anyone else doing a similar event. I know you did well Melissa. It's always nerve racking "performing".

  4. Good job! Thanks for the tips - especially the one about recording yourself on the phone and watching the replay as practice. Oh, and the lens wipes for glasses. Not one I would've thought of but would definitely come in handy. :)

  5. What great advice!! It comes in handy since I was accepted into the Buffalo Book Fair in April! You look great Melissa!

  6. Woot! I knew you'd rock that joint. :) I'll need to make my list to make sure I have it tomorrow. And it's great that someone got a picture of you during the reading! You look great!

  7. CONGRATS!!!!

    It sounds like you did a great job, Melissa! Thanks for all the tips... I'm glad it was a very positive experience for you.

    Introvert? You? I find that hard to believe...

  8. I've done a couple of book fairs, but I didn't have to do any reading. The only talking I had to do was to people who came by my table—which was stressful enough.

    Great tips. I especially like the one about the glasses. Something I forgot during my first event.


  9. Great tips! I'm glad it went well. It looks like you had some fun stuff at your table. I've read works by other people, but nothing of my own other than at two open mics. I enjoyed hearing the reactions at expected (and unexpected) places. I wouldn't have thought I'd enjoy it, and I was terrified leading up to it, then mortified directly following it, yet I got a bit of a high off it. Kind of funny. I've never thought of recording myself and watching it to prepare. That would work for giving workshops, as well. Thanks!

  10. Part of the reason it wasn't as bad as you thought it would be is because everyone who shows up really wants you to succeed. It's a lot easier to talk with supportive people. Glad it went well!

  11. I'm glad things went well! I was thinking of you, Melissa :) I bet you did better than you think. Congratulations - and I bet the more of these you do, the easier they'll be.

  12. Hooray! I'm sure you were a star. I am now so much better about doing the fairs but I'm still totally intimidated by reading from my books. Kudos to you for putting yourself out there and rocking this event.

  13. Good tips! Every event I do makes me rethink my public speaking skills. But each one has been very rewarding and I've learned something. I'm sure you'll be doing a lot more of these. Here's to continued success as author/presenter.

  14. Thanks for the tips! I wish I could have heard you read. I'm definitely going to cut and paste your list so I don't forget for the next time I read, which I hope won't be anytime soon, LOL!

  15. These are some great tips. I'll be participating in many of these in the near future, so I'll definitely be bookmarking this.

  16. Glad you survived!
    I'd be too nervous about using candles. I could see myself burning down the place.

  17. Hey, you did it! And even if you don't have plans for another in the future, you know you can do readings.

    Good tips. I hope I can use them some day :)

  18. Author events are more for networking, as no one seems to sell a lot of books. But because of my genre, I've done well at science fiction/fantasy conventions. These shows are HUGE and exhausting, but I've done very well at them.

  19. OMG I would die. I gave you *major* props for doing that. My bf always elbows me at events where someone has to give an introduction or speaks or reads and says, "that'll be you someday." And I simply DIE. I freeze. I'm a public freezer. My heart stops and I blank. You should be proud of yourself for getting up there! I've never attended a conference or a convention, so I'm sure my fainting time will come.

  20. I'm so glad it went well for you. I remember how insecure you felt about it. Yay!

  21. Glad everything went so well. ^_^ And that's a lot of good advice - I think most people would think about practicing a reading first, but a lot of the things you listed seem like things people wouldn't think about until it was too late, so that's a great list.

  22. Excellent! I've done signings and Q&A sessions, but not a reading. I would need to practice for a month or more, I'm sure.

  23. Congratulations. So many authors would pass out, or simply passed up on the opportunity. Well done.

  24. Congratulations for taking part :) And excellent tips, thanks! x

  25. I'm sure you did a great job and the audience really enjoyed it. I think people will realise you'll be nervous as well. The tips are great. I fumble over notes if I have to read something out, so I appreciate the one about tabbing pages!

  26. I actually love reading my work in public. Despite the fact that I am an uber-introvert, I enjoy public speaking. It took a lot of doing it to get over the fear, but now I do really well at it. I love your tip about videotaping yourself and rewatching it! I am definitely going to do that in the future.
    Brandy from Brandy's Bustlings


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