Want to share your own writing with a crowd? Well, then, UntitledTown Book and Author Festival welcomes you!
Are you a college student interested in sharing your work? Then please contact Kelsey Langlitz, the Sheepshead Review’s publicity director, to reserve your spot in the Reading: College Author Reading Invitational at the Titletown Tap Room – William Larsen Event Hall, April 30, 11 am–12:15 pm.
Not a college student? That’s ok. There are two other chances to read your work:
On April 29, 11 am –12:45 pm., the Local Authors Reading: Open Mix will take place at the Titletown Tap Room – William Larsen Event Hall. Authors who are interested in participating as readers may sign up here.
Then, stick around the Tap Room from 1–1:45 pm for the Reading: Wisconsin Author Invitation with Vicky Meawasige Reed and Laurie MacDiarmid. Authors who are interested in participating as readers may sign up here.
Never read your work out loud to a crowd? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you overcome any stage fright:
Before the Reading
- Pick something that you are excited about – something that you think showcases who you are as a writer.
- If you tend to talk quickly, make sure you double space your work and use a large font – the more white space you can get around your words, the slower you will read. Also, we recommend having a print out rather than reading off a phone or tablet (then you still have a copy in case your phone or tablet runs out of battery).
- Reading your work in public is a great way to share your art and connect with other writers. Look at this as a learning experience – know going in that you are going to learn something about yourself.
- The first time you read your work should not be in public.
- You will also want to make sure you time yourself so that you know you can finish within the allotted time period.
- Make notes in the margins. If there are certain words you always trip over – write them out phonetically. If you want to emphasize certain words, italicize or bold them. If there are certain hand gestures or facial expressions you want to make, write those in, too. Even make notes on places you want to look up and make eye contact with the audience. This way, if the nerves take over, you will still have a road map of how you meant to read your work.
- And while we’re on the topic of the audience – bring a friend or two or twelve. Then, when you look up, you know there will be a familiar face to connect with.
- Give yourself permission to not be perfect. We all trip over our words from time to time. And we all survived the experience. You will, too.
During the Reading
- Bring water to drink to keep your mouth from going dry – but leave it at your seat. Having it at the podium invites fidgeting. Plus, you don’t want to pause mid-reading to gulp down water.
- Once you are at the podium, before you even start, take a deep breath. This will help to settle your nerves a bit.
- Be aware of your body language. Do what you can to keep yourself from fidgeting or shuffling your feet. (If there is no podium, hold your paper with both hands to keep one from flying around on its own freewill.)
- Consider introducing the poem – give the reader anything they may need to know to best understand the experience. This can be anything from a quick anecdote of where the inspiration came from or if the piece comes from a larger collection. If you are reading an excerpt of prose, and you are not starting with page one, make sure to give enough background on the story so that the reader can follow along. (It’s also helpful, especially if you are susceptible to nerves, to have the intro written out, as well. Read it, too, word for from the page.)
- If you mess up or freeze – take a deep breath. Laugh it off, even. And then continue on.
- Yes, the readings are happening at Titletown Tap Room’s William Larsen Event room – and yes, Titletown has some pretty great beer – and yes, alcohol is good at settling nerves. But don’t be the reader who drinks to excess in an effort to squash the nerves and then can’t be understood. Save the beer for a congratulatory toast once you are done.
- Remember – you are reading your work. You are not expected to have it memorized. You are not expected to be Meryl Streep or Octavia Spencer. Just be you.
After the Reading
- Once you are done reading, return to your seat.
- Give yourself ten seconds to overanalyze what just happened – but then let it go. For now.
- Give your full attention to the rest of the readers – who are just as nervous as you were and could really use a friendly smile from the audience.
Above all – just remember to have fun. Enjoy the experience, the chance to engage an audience with your work.