How one debut author prepared to give a great public reading


How to Deliver a Memorable Book ReadingMelville House (the rad, Brooklyn-based indie publisher) has just published my friend Josh Cook’s debut novel, “An Exaggerated Murder.”

The next step? A reading tour, of course!

Josh Cook will spend a good chunk of March reading at various bookstores in the northeast — and he’s put a lot of thought and preparation into this tour.

He says:

Ultimately, I think of this amount of preparation as one-part “Jesus, I Hope I Don’t Embarrass Myself” and two-parts, “These People Could Be Doing Anything Right Now, I Mean, There’s Probably a Bruins Game On, but They Came to See Me,” with a dash of “This Is Part of Your Fucking Dream, Dude,” and a whisper of “You Could Even Sell Some Books Tonight.”

So how did he prepare for his readings? Check out the Melville House website for his tips on:

  • selecting the right passages for a public reading
  • creating drafts that are edited specifically for public readings
  • delivering the reading as a performance
  • practicing the reading
  • getting the timing right
  • and more

To read Josh’ advice, check out “What makes a successful reading: what one author learned while preparing for his debut.”

How have you prepared for your readings? What advice would you give to new authors? Let us know in the comments below.

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Chris Robley is an award-winning poet, songwriter, performer, and music producer who now lives in Portland, Maine after more than a decade in Portland, Oregon. His music has been praised by NPR, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, and others. Skyscraper Magazine said he is “one of the best short-story musicians to come along in quite some time.” Robley’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, and more. He is the 2013 winner of Boulevard's Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 recipient of a Maine Literary Award in the category of "Short Works Poetry."



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