Once The Book is written, published, and marketed, and copies are flying off the shelves, both real and virtual, then what? Yes, do the social media things – Facebook, Instagram, website, newsletters.

Oral Storytelling

And get personal. Oral storytelling offers the option of bringing the page to the stage. I love to capture stories from my life and have done so in books, essays, articles… or over coffee. One of my favorite ways to get personal is an oral storytelling/reading event. I’ve read directly from a book, or told stories by heart, or paraphrased parts or entire stories.

Reading from written material brings its own challenges. Is there a podium? Is there a mic? Will both hands be occupied or one hand free to gesture?

A Simple and Effective Technique

I recently learned a simple technique for handling books while reading aloud. Credit for this goes to my writing colleague, Bill Black, cowboy poet, first-rate performer, and generous supporter of writers.

Reading aloud and holding a book open can be difficult if you want still want to have a free hand. Following one of my “Page to Stage” workshops, Bill ambled over. “I have something that may help in reading.”

He took out what I thought was a spiral journal. I’m paraphrasing here. “Take your paperback book, cut off the spine and have a spiral binding inserted. This keeps the cover for visibility, and allows you to lay the book flat.” Voila! Many thanks to Bill!


Reading Events in Tucson

Many writing groups and organizations offer reading events. Writers Read is a seasonal event here in Tucson. I am proud to say I founded Writers Read in 2014 and today it still goes on. Local writers gather at BREWD and share their work with an appreciative audience. I’ve read from printed drafts of stories, and from my books. The National Writers Union has open mics monthly, UA Poetry Center, Antigone Books, Mostly Books, and many Tucson libraries sponsor writers readings. Sign up for one or start your own.

Feel free to contact me with questions or  about other reading events.

Next blog…Ready to Read Part II. An Intake Event .docx for you. Some tips to physically, vocally, and emotionally bring your written story to life.

Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s been immersed in writing for over 30 years, teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic.