About a week and a half ago I posted this on Facebook:

It’s two and a half weeks until my book talk in the Sun City library. I’m trying not to think too much about it yet, because I’m not comfortable with public speaking. On the other hand, I’m excited to get to meet readers and talk about my books. Usually, I plan out what I’m going to say in advance and then read what I wrote, then take questions afterwards. I’m thinking this time I might try to be more casual about it. If anyone has any public speaking tips to share, I’d appreciate it.

The response I got was amazing. People gave me some wonderful advice and encouragement, for which I’m grateful, and I thought I should share some of that for other authors who are struggling with public speaking.

-You will do fine. Go back to your third sentence- you are excited to meet readers and talk about your books, and remember they are excited to meet YOU and talk about your books! You already know your material, so the first part of the talk will be like a one-sided conversation where you will give the audience the information they need for the second part of the conversation and the questions will be easy! I also agree with Kathleen. A lot of people, especially retired, now have time to write but they don’t have the confidence to start, so that is a good hook. You can tell them about your current thought process deciding who the culprit will be in your new book.

-I always like the questions part. Gives the readers a chance to talk to you.

-Can you give a PowerPoint talk? One of the most successful talks I every gave was PowerPoint presentation where I talked about the historical details in my novel. You could also talk about your research, how you found certain information you needed.

-Relax, enjoy..we are just people..like you!

-I had the same problem , it is all in our ego , afraid of what people will think of us , learn to put the ego aside and say what you will.

-I prepare for weeks before a talk. Write it out word for word and then walk around the house talking to chairs and the dog until I know what to expand and what to cut. I practice until it sounds off the cuff, until I can give the entire speech with a few notes. Then I practice some more.

-I like to prepare but sometimes the unexpected happens and you just have to roll with it. Most of us do a lot better than we think we will do.

The ONLY way to do such a talk is to make it as natural as possible. Thin k of it this way, all you are doing is holding a conversation with a friend over coffee. They have asked you about your book, other books you might be thinking of etc and you are telling her/him. You wouldn’t need to plan it out for them, so don’t for this. That is all a talk is, t’s a conversation, but to more ‘friends’ over coffee. Think about it that way and it’s easy. They ask questions, you answer them. I have never read or written out a speech, as that makes it stilted and boring to listen to. Think about what you want to say and make just five pointers to remind you of the important bits if you need to, then just talk about those things naturally. You know your subject, so have no need to study it. Just tell others about it and good luck.

-You will do great, Susan! You’re an author, you write from your imagination. More than 80% of the population wants to write a book, but never will. Just to listen to you will give them inspiration to try. Go YOU!

-You are a great person! You will do fine!

I took several public speaking classes when I was working and one of the tips I learned was to picture everyone in the audience naked. The theory is that you have the upper hand and it installs confidence. Not sure if I wanted to see them naked so I tried picturing them in their underwear😊. Seriously, the more you do it the easier it becomes. You will do great because you have a genuine outgoing personality. Just keep telling yourself that you are a published author selling your product.

-I hate it too. But I can’t prepare too much as it just sounds fake to me. I’d rather be able to react to the kids. I’m talking to a sixth form college tomorrow. I have an A4 sheet of pointers, but I’ll just wing it according to the mood on the day. I’m planning on asking them why they think they are there and take it from there.

-Don’t be Susan Finlay (person). Be Susan Finlay (published author). Susan (author) is badass and can do so many things Susan (person) can’t. You’ve got this.

-You are not… A public speaker- you are a PERSONAL speaker- and that is your gift! You made me feel I have known you forever the first time we met! You will be fine!

-Give them less and leave them wanting more – so I’ve been told, but have not yet mastered this.


And last, but not least, here’s a link to another blog that has an article about public speaking, written by author Lesley Sudders–https://phxpublishingandbookpromotion.wordpress.com/…

If you live in the Phoenix metro area and are interested, please come to my book talk. Below is the information about the event.



Book Talk & Signing


10 a. m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016

The Program Room

Sun City Branch Library, 16828 N. 99th Ave., Sun City, AZ


Books available for purchase at venue