At some point during the promotion of my book, I'll be stepping up in front of a crowd (well, at least a few people who aren't relatives) to do a little public speaking. Whether it's at a book signing, a library event, a conference panel, or on the platform waiting for a Metro train, I'll be talking about DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD.
I'm sure you've all heard about the polls where the fear of public speaking "beats out" every other fear, including fear of death.
I'm no exception. I usually don't look forward to getting up in front of an audience, where all eyes--and ears--are on me.
Most of the time, I do fine. No major stammering, no fainting, no projectile vomiting. I'll prepare a few comments beforehand and wing the rest. Taking a lot of questions from the crowd seems to work well. My goal usually is to "not suck." Although I don't fall flat on my face, I feel I can--and should--do better.
I think it will help that I'm very (very!) enthusiastic about my book and about writing. It's much easier talking about something you love. As a reader/fan, I'm always enthralled by whatever a writer has to say about the writing process and the publishing business, even if that person isn't the most dynamic of speakers. So I've got that going for me, too.
I'll try to be engaging and funny and charming and interesting and compelling. I want to totally rock.
I'm planning to prepare several different presentations, tailored to different audiences. I may put together a PowerPoint slide show (the engineer/businessman in me), and I'll work up some good handouts (with help from Photoshop, of course). I'll probably even practice my spiel once or twice.
What other things should I consider to help me get ready? Toastmasters? Offer the neighborhood kids free donuts to listen and critique my delivery? Should I videotape myself? Should I wear costumes? Go in drag? Learn how to speak with a British accent?
Or should I just employ the services of a stand-in, so I can stay home and write?
As usual, all suggestions welcome.