Real Mistakes, Real Laughs:

Air bases were built on captured islands of Tinian, Saipan, and Guam but they were barley within the range of the long-range bombers.

(hope the bombadiers weren't on gluten-free diets)

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

WHEN AUTHORS BECOME ACTORS: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Live Readings

Nothing is too humiliating for an author in promotion mode, but even seasoned authors can have reading angst!

Authors must wear many hats nowadays, especially with the current economy clamping down on ancillary expenses like publicity. Even Barbara Walters used a HUGE wad of her own money to finance a tour for her new autobiography, Audition. Yes, hiring a private jet is a bit over the top, especially when I hoard frequent flyer miles as if they were barrels of oil. Most authors pay for the bulk of their book promotion, so when a no-cost opportunity arises, we grab it.

But the very thought of a live reading from one of my own books dries up my mouth long before the scheduled event. I and I alone bear the burden of wowing a captive audience. But then I remember they are not hostages; attendance is voluntary.

Dry Mouth Worry #1: I won't have an audience, to wow or otherwise. What if they gave a reading and nobody came? I've been around long enough to know that such cases are not personal insults...are they?

Dry Mouth Worry #2: I won't do justice to my work. I'm not an actor; I'm an author! I'll read too fast; I'll trip over the words; I'll make some sort of nervous twitch with my head. I'm positive that someone else would do a much better reading. Where is Kelly Ripa when I need her? But I'm small and alone, way up at the elevated podium acting as a barrier between me and an audience the size of California (or so it seems). Surely the audience won't yawn and fidget, or worse, laugh at the wrong time...would they?

Dry Mouth Worry #3: I will finish my bottle of water halfway through the reading. Bring more water? I wouldn't dream of publicly revealing a two-bottle case of reading jitters! Nobody will assume my cotton-mouthed performance is due to an incurable affliction...will they?

Dry Mouth Worry #4: I will forget the Author's Theory of Relativity: for every event that is agony, there is another event that brings ecstasy. I will forget that, when I finish reading, there will be applause. I will forget to enjoy the accolades, struggling to remain cool and professional when I really want to clasp my book to my chest and cry, "You like me! You really, really like me!"

I won't have to get permission from Sally Field...will I?

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