I have two readings in the next couple of weeks - the Tales of the DeCongested Launch at Foyles Bookshop in London on 29 June and a second 'south coast' reading for the same anthology in Brighton on 10 July. I love readings and get a buzz from audience reactions, particularly if I'm reading a story about sex, as I am this time.
I know other writers who hate readings and find it almost impossible to deal with an audience. Here are a few tips I've picked up that have helped me find pleasure in the process:
1 - read your story aloud to yourself every day for a week or so until you're used to speaking for that long, it stops your vocal chords getting tired on the day
2 - tape yourself and listen to the recording - once you're used to the sound of your own voice you can work on improving your delivery
3 - print your story to be read in size 14 font - you can't rely on good light in the venue and small print slows you down and makes you strain your eyes
4 - print a second copy and put it in the pocket of the jacket you'll take with you. That way you KNOW you'll have a backup if somebody spills red wine on your work (it happened to me!)
5 - get a friend to sit in the middle of the audience and focus on them as you read - it will make you lift your eyes from your paper and give you a feeling of security
6 - enjoy! It's meant to be fun.