reading

Public Speaking for Authors

 

Lately, this has been the topic I’ve been tackling in my day-to-day life, so I thought I should tackle it here as well.

Stage-Fright-Holding-You-BackLike most writers I know, I’m an introvert. I prefer to write, read, edit, and generally work behind the scenes. When I go out to network, sell books and meet people, I often find myself needing to hole up and recharge afterwards. It takes a lot out of me. But, it’s also a big part of what I do as a publisher and a published author.

Especially this month. Somehow this month’s schedule got filled with speaking engagements, and opportunities to read my book aloud in public. And all of those opportunities happening to fall within the same week and a half have caused my nerves to fray terribly.

So, how, as an introverted person, do I deal with this?

Be prepared

This might seem like a no-brainer, but picking out what section you’re going to read in advance and/or writing out your presentation or speech beforehand and editing it as thoroughly as you might edit your query letter to a publisher will help you feel more at ease with what you’re doing and it will make you more familiar with what you’re going to be reading or saying.

keep-calm-and-let-s-practice-11Practice

Once you have your words picked out, practice saying them out loud. Read to your cats, or like Murandy did, your baby. Read alone, or to someone you trust. It’s all about practicing in a judgment-free zone until you feel more comfortable.

Try not to dwell on it

Whenever you start thinking about it and you feel that anxiety creeping up on you, try to force it down, or will it away. Find something else to focus on and whatever else you do, don’t wallow in that feeling; that will only make it stronger. Find a friend to distract you, or play a video game or something, it will pass.

Speak confidently and slowly

When you get to the actual moment of reading or speaking start loud and keep that pitch, then make sure everything you say is said with emphasis and that you don’t speed up out of nervousness. Speak slowly and enunciate, just like you practiced.

a076a7851bc423dcd8645975b8d4e2c2Make jokes

If you can get the audience to laugh, you’ll feel loads better. If your subject warrants it, or if comedy helps you feel more comfortable, then use it. Engage with your audience and make eye contact with them when you can so speaking to them feels more like a conversation and less like a speech.

Celebrate afterwards!

Never underestimate the value of rewarding yourself for a job well done. If you got over your fear and accomplished what you set out to do, then go celebrate. You’ve earned it.

The Many Worlds of Mirror World Publishing

As you may or may not be aware, we offer a membership program. For just $19.95 a year, members get unlimited access to our ever growing collection of ebooks, early access to new releases, a discount on paperbacks ordered from our store, and SO MUCH MORE…

Not sure yet if you want to join? Well, we also offer FREE SAMPLES of our books in each age category. Order a free sampler through our store and we’ll send you an ebook that contains the first chapter of each of the books listed in a given category AND we’ve thrown a bonus short story into each one! Here’re the links:

 Kids                                           Young Adult                                          Adult

At Mirror World, we’re all about the setting, so here’s a glimpse into a few of the worlds you can visit within our books:disenchanted-2 copy

  1. Historic Wethersfield, CT

The small tourist town of Wethersfield, Connecticut is the setting of Leigh Goff’s Disenchanted. Filled with magic spells, witches, curses, ancient family heirlooms and haunting prophecies, Wethersfield is the perfect place for the occult enthusiast. Oh, and don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers in Sophie’s aunt’s garden, or sample some of her fantastic home cooking.Cover SDOD4

 
2. The Kingdom of Dorlith

Elizabeth J.M. Walker’s She Dreamed of Dragons is set in the magical kingdom of Dorlith. Dorlith is home to magic-users of all kinds and cats. Lots of cats. Enroll yourself in Mage Academy, or dance your way to the palace and sign up to compete in the Royal Tourney. Either way, you’ll have a blast, learn a lot, and maybe, just maybe, end up the next heir to the throne!

 

3. Crimson Winter

Officially the planet has no name, but the desert world of the Crimson Winter Trilogy, by yours truly, is certainly a unique place to visit if I do say so myself. Accessible only through the magic of the gods, this planet has gone eight hundred years without seeing the setting of the sun. Water is scarce, and so is shelter, with the majority of the population, the self-named, Roughlanders, living in ancient military outposts and surviving by means of trade caravans from Taiyou, one of the few remaining fertile areas.

ncbook4. Neo Central

A look into the city of the future! In the world of Neo Central, again by yours truly, only one city remains after the collapse of modern society. This city is a marvel of technology and magic, but it isn’t meant for everyone. Those who can’t feel the city’s current and access the magic it uses to run itself are treated as outcasts and left to live in the ancient ruins of York Slums, or in the dangerous catacombs beneath the city; the Tunnels.

 
Thanks for reading!

August’s Feature is not your average love story. It’s four of them.

This month we’re featuring Unintended by myself, Justine Alley Dowsett, and my sister, Murandy Damodred. Which means, with the promotional code: FEATURE, you can get this book from our store for only $0.99. Or, if you’re a member, you can get it FOR FREE, along with all the rest of our books and some other cool perks. (Find out more about how this program works, here.)

Uncover3Unintended is a comedy of errors co-written by two authors who like to butt heads. It has influences from Shakespeare’s romantic comedies, from The Princess Bride, and believe it or not, from the love triangles common in Korean dramas (we went through a phase, okay?). Set in the fictional world of Ismera, which is part historical fiction, part fantasy, Unintended has four main characters, whose romantic stories intertwine in comedic and often disastrous ways.

Kenzie

As Murandy and I co-write, we tend to divide the protagonists between us. Mackenzie en Shareed, or Kenzie, is written by Murandy. As the daughter of the clan chief of Haldoram, Kenzie must travel south to the capital of Ismera to marry the prince in order to uphold a peace treaty between the two nations. Determined to marry on her own terms, Kenzie performs the marriage ritual immediately upon her arrival at the gates of Ismer, only to find out moments later that the man she’s just married isn’t the prince at all…

Garron

Garron D’Arbonne, written by me, is an Ismeran noble tied to the royal family by his engagement to the princess Margaret. He is sent down to the gates to act as escort for the prince’s arriving fiancee, only to find himself married to the strange, yet beautiful foreign woman before they even reach the palace.

Kadrean

Kadrean Authier, also written by me, is the Crown Prince of Ismer. He doesn’t think much of Kenzie, or their arranged marriage, especially not after their disastrous first meeting. Being who he is though, he knows he’s going to have to make the best of it, even if Kenzie seems to bring out the worst in him and he’d much rather spite his father by making Kenzie spurn him and return home.

Vivianne

Murandy wrote Vivianne, the headstrong, over-curious young lady cursed with visions of the future, who’s desperate to do whatever it takes to get away from her abusive family. Secretly in love with her father’s servant, she’s determined that her father won’t make her flirt with the prince, leaving that task to her sister, Victory, a pawn in her father’s plan to get the foreign princess out of the way so his family can rule Ismera once more.

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All of our beta readers and fans agree that Unintended is our best co-authored book yet, so I hope you’ll use this opportunity to pick it up for $0.99 and give it a try. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. And if you like this book, chances are you’ll like the rest, so why not check out our membership program and get unlimited books for the year?

Thanks for reading!

Why Writers Should Also Be Readers

It’s not a coincidence that most people who write are also big readers. Besides providing entertainment and that window into lives other than our own, there’s a lot that reading can teach us about how to be better writers. To do this though, we have to learn to read critically even as we read for enjoyment. Here’s a few techniques you can use when reading to improve your writing.  

1. Vocabulary

This one may be obvious. The more you read, the more words you are exposed to in the correct context and so the more your vocabulary grows. Having a larger vocabulary gives you more words to draw on when you go to write. Now as you read, you tend to pick up some of these words subconsciously, but why not take this opportunity to learn them consciously? As you’re reading, if you come across a word you don’t know, or don’t know as well, see if you can gather the meaning from the context and if not, take the second it takes to look it up and commit it to memory. Heck, you could even make a list of these words for future use.

2. Visualizationapple-clipart-Red-apple-clipart

I learned this one in a creative writing course in University. We were asked to picture an
apple, hold it in our minds, and then afterwards describe it in detail. This is one example of how visualization can help your writing, but even more powerful than doing this exercise is to do it every time you read. As you read, let the words form pictures in your mind. Try seeing the story like it’s a movie, or a dream. Some people do this naturally, but if you don’t, it is a skill worth practising. The more easily you can visualize something, the easier it will be to describe it later when you are writing.

3. Genre

If you want to be a romance writer, read a lot of romance novels. The same goes for any other genre of writing. Once you’ve read enough romance novels, or if you’re reading them critically enough, a pattern will begin to emerge. This pattern will teach you what people expect from the genre you want to write in. Once you know this, you will know how to write in the pattern of the genre and how to break the pattern in new and exciting ways.

4. Foreshadowing and symbolism.

Another skill you can learn from reading a lot, or reading critically, is how to effectively foreshadow events in your own writing. If you pay attention, you can also pick up on common symbols used by storytellers. For example, crossing water tends to indicate a transition of some kind and wearing white can indicate purity or sacrifice. Symbolism can be used to convey themes, for foreshadowing events, or just to clue the savvy reader in to what you are trying to accomplish. Pay attention while you’re reading, especially if you are reading something for the second time to see places where the author leaves you hints for what’s to come. If you can learn to spot these, you’ll be in a better position to know where to put them in your own writing.

symbolism

5. How the experts do it

Perhaps the most beneficial thing a writer can learn from reading is how the experts do it. Reading critically or not, you can already tell which books you like and which you don’t. Reading critically will tell you why you like them and why you don’t. Then, you can use the good books as examples of how to do things well and the rest as examples of what not to do. Reading a lot of books and paying attention to what works and what doesn’t will go a long way towards helping you realize what works and what doesn’t in your own writing. And this is priceless to any writer.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Do you read critically, or just for enjoyment? Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section below! Thanks for reading.

Let us pick your next read

Business_CardLibraryfron copyAs always, we’re keeping busy and we’ve got lots of new developments coming your way. My goal is to develop a community around the idea that if you like one of our books, you’ll like them all. To that end, we’ve developed the membership program. For only $19.95 a year, you get unlimited access to our entire ebook collection, a discount on paperbacks and automatic inclusion into our facebook group where authors and fans meet to chat about their favorite books and their experiences with the writing and publishing process. Not to mention the fact that you get first dibs on all of our new releases, which includes getting them delivered to you well before the release date. It doesn’t get much better than that.

WatcherFront copyAnd in case you’re not ready to dive in and become a member, you can always pick up an e-copy of our monthly featured book for just $0.99. This month that’s Joshua Pantalleresco’s The Watcher and the promo code is: DRAGON So go ahead and try that one out by clicking here.

Now for something a little different. This past week I’ve been working hard to put together a series of quizzes to help you pick your next favorite read! There are three versions of the quiz, one for kids, another for young adults, and the last for adults. And here they are:

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Kids: https://www.buzzfeed.com/mirrorworldpub/which-mirror-world-book-should-you-be-reading-kid-2h3t4
Young Adults: https://www.buzzfeed.com/mirrorworldpub/which-mirror-world-book-should-you-be-reading-now-2h3t4
Adults: https://www.buzzfeed.com/mirrorworldpub/which-of-these-mirror-world-book-should-you-be-rea-2h3t4

I also rearranged our bookstore to make it easier to navigate by these age categories and included a new release section! Also, if you want to see our upcoming novels for this year, please check out our 2016 Catalogue. You can also subscribe to this blog to keep up with all the updates, changes, events, and new releases!

Thanks for reading!