Tag Archives: public reading

Why joining Toastmasters might be important for a new writer

If you want to sell books nowadays, the sad reality is that you, the author, has to be prepared to do most of the heavy lifting.  You have to have a platform (people following you on Twitter & Facebook), a marketing plan, and yes, a video.

We all know that many writers are introverts. They like being by themselves, creating their stories out of thin air. But now, they have to wear a public face to market their novels. Standing up in front of a crowd, describing your novel, let alone reading it, is not for everyone. Many suffer from stage fright.

If you are one of those people who cringe at the thought of speaking before an audience, then the best thing you can do is to join Toastmasters. Toastmasters is a group of people who get together to hone their public speaking skills. Typically, their meetings are an hour long, and follow a structured format. There are the introductions, then everyone listens to 3 or 4 people give a 5-7 minute speech. Other members evaluate these speeches. Then there is Table Topics, in which anyone can be asked a question about current events, and has to reply, off the cuff, in a 2-3 minute speech. The meeting ends with reports from the Timekeeper and Grammarian.

As you can tell, I belong to Toastmasters. My club meets in an elegant mansion just north of Dupont Circle in Washington DC. Known to be maverick, Cap 2 meetings last an hour and a half, so that we can enjoy lunch together. People do not always give manual speeches, but there is a lot of fun and laughter at our club.

There are so many Toastmasters clubs, that if you live in a big city, you will be spoiled for choice. All of them are committed to help people become comfortable at public speaking. Don’t worry about making mistakes, everyone does. Take an hour out of your day, go, and enjoy yourself. You will find a warm and supportive environment, perfect for making new friends.

–Cynthia Haggard writes historical novels.  She has two completed manuscripts that will be published in the coming year. THWARTED QUEEN  is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear. FAMILY SPLINTERS is  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Filed under How to Publish Your Novel, Promoting Yourself