Stage Fright. It has been called an actor’s worst nightmare. But actors are not the only people who experience stage fright. And with the upcoming release of my second novel, Coming Home, it’s something I have to start thinking about – again. I spoke with the director of my local library, and she wants me to do a book signing/reading when Coming Home is released.
I’ve done it before, when In Sunshine or in Shadow, my first novel, came out. I thought nothing of it at first. Get up and read in front of an audience? Sure, I'd love to, I replied. And at that moment, an inner trembling seized my entire body. What have I gotten myself into?
And now I’m feeling those butterflies all over again.
I'm sure other authors have felt the same way in similar situations. Many writers shy away from the limelight. But I was luckier than most, because I was able to consult an expert. A friend of mine, who is also an actor, had been advising me about writing an actor hero, so it seemed natural to ask him about stage fright and what to do about it.
Here's what he told me:
There is no magical formula for dealing with stage fright. Anyone can suffer from it, from the actor stepping onstage for the first time, to the greatest actors. And if you forget a line, you try to improvise.
As far as my reading was concerned, my friend suggested I practice reading in front of family, people I know and trust. That was the key: imagining I was reading to one person I love and trust. He also advised me to take deep breaths, and to take my time.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with stage fright. I made sure I brought my lucky (stuffed) leprechaun, Seamus O’Reagan, to my signing that day, just for an extra confidence booster. But the tips worked. My reading went off without a hitch.
I also sold every book.
Here’s hoping my next signing will be as successful!