At the last meeting of the ever-wonderful Verulam Writers’ Circle we had a workshop led by Miles Barden – who, you may recall, was one of the members of Obstacle Productions who did a few staged readings of (amongst others) a story of mine last year. The theme of the workshop was essentially how to read your work in public without making a complete idiot of yourself, and we learnt lot of useful things, including a bizarre range of warm-up exercises and the importance of not doing silly voices.
Reading your work aloud is a skill that writers ignore at their peril, because it’s a massively important weapon in your marketing and promotion armoury. I’ve done maybe half a dozen live readings now and I think it’s fair to say that the quality has been somewhat variable, although I think I’m getting better with practice. I actually quite enjoy it, which helps, and I do intend to do more of it over the rest of the year.
And here are a couple of excellent examples of promotional readings done by a couple of other VWCers. First up is Julie Mayhew reading from “Red Ink” – although she is cheating just a little bit because she is, quite apart from being an immensely talented writer, a professional actress. Secondly, here’s Kevin Bennett reading from “Pike”. Kevin’s not a professional actor but still manages to imbue his reading with bucketloads of character – and he does some great voices towards the end, too. (By the way, both “Red Ink” and “Pike” are fantastic books and deserve to have someone publish them. There, I’ve said it.)