Monday, February 12, 2024

My First in-Person Reading


On February 25th (Sunday) at 1:30 p.m. central, I will be reading from Domestic Bodies on my YouTube channel. My husband and I tested streaming on YouTube, and everything appears to work! If it goes sideways again, I will probably swap over to my Twitch channel... but I hope it won't. Please join me if you have time!

My first in-person author event was on an icy day early last month. I had poems picked to read, but the transition comments between pieces I thought would be best off the cuff. I set my book at a discount and gave all proceeds to the library, but I forgot to bring change for people who needed smaller bills. The librarian who runs the writers' group there monthly was supposed to give the introduction, but she got busy and wasn't even in the conference room until almost the end of the event. 

I'm nervous when speaking publicly. I don't read well out loud. I was definitely out of my depth. My baby brother, husband, and sister were in attendance which helped more than I can express; I still messed up quite a bit, though.

One of the most important things I did was deciding not to read alone. When setting up the reading, I asked members of the writers' group if they wanted to read with me and two did. One author made change for one person who wanted to buy my book but only had a $20 bill. The other author let me borrow her pen until my husband could dig mine out of my backpack. Both of them read well and were extremely gracious. The three of us also drew a bigger audience than each of us could on our own.

The audience was lovely and warm. I went on a tangent between poems about ableism and inspiration porn because my book's themes include disability and cancer. I try to do everything with authenticity but worried it was a little too much for my conservative town. But people thought it was interesting. 

In total, I raised $40 for the library by selling four books (two to my sister). My husband donated $10 and keeps asking me for a signed copy because he's my biggest fan. The other author selling books also donated his money to the library, though I didn't ask anyone to do it.

It was a pleasant time, and I'm glad we didn't read to three rows of empty chairs. I'd consider doing it again in the future. 

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