What to do in hour before your presentation

Rarely do most authors just show up for a book reading or presentation and start delivering it. Like a professional athlete, you want to “warm up” before the actual show. Doing so can help ensure the presentation itself goes flawlessly.

• Get plenty of rest. Don’t stay up late partying the evening before the presentation or drive all night to get there. If you’re awake, you’ll be more alert and in a better, upbeat mood during the presentation.
• Avoid caffeine, sugar and alcohol before the presentation. These chemicals can exacerbate your nervousness. Instead, stick to water.
• Dress appropriately. You don’t have to be dressed to the nines but look professional or at least match the part. For example, if you’ve written an outdoors book, show up in a nice pair of jeans and a button-down shirt; fishermen don’t wear a suit and tie when on the lake, after all.
• Bring books and pens. Take with you more books than you expect you’ll need (you don’t want to leave any fans disappointed). Sign a few copies in advance. Carry a couple of additional pens in case the ink runs out. If you have electronic equipment, brings power cords, extension cords, and extra batteries if needed.
• Arrive with plenty of time to spare. Get to the location where you’ll be reading and signing books a bit early. You’ll need the extra time to set up and get comfortable.
• Find the event’s organizer/host as soon as you arrive. Introduce yourself and have the host show you where you’ll deliver the presentation.
• Set up as soon as you can. Getting your books, pens, laptop, banners/posters, and anything else you might need in just the right spot will ensure you can easily find them once the presentation begins. Check to ensure any electronics you have are working properly to avoid any technical snafus. Use the bathroom before the presentation.
• Stroll around until you feel at home. Once the set up and potty break are done, walk around the room or store to get a feel for what the place is like. Familiarity breeds comfort.
• Interact with the audience before the presentation. This helps you become more comfortable by creating a relationship, even if a minor one, with the audience and by building your confidence when others respond with interest to you.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.