I gave a reading tonight at the Chester County Book Company in West Chester, Pennsylvania. It went well, but I learned a few additional tips to add to the previous two posts in this series.
First off, since I brought three different selections to read from, I've started adding an "approximate reading time" to the top of each piece. One of the factors in deciding which piece to read should be how much time you have.
It's pretty obvious which choice to make. If you're pressed for time, choose a short piece. You should also pick a short piece if you sense that the audience is getting restless.
On the other hand, if the audience is definitely there to see YOU, then choose a piece long enough to satisfy them. (Although it's always good to leave them wanting more.)
The other thing I'm adding to the top is where this piece was first published. Maybe you've only published in a few places, and you're sure you won't forget. But, if you're like me, you've published your work in many, many places. Magazines, online sites, anthologies, and your own books - after a certain amount of publications, it gets hard to remember them all.
I also add the name of the publisher, as in: this story - Cute As a Speckled Pup Under a Red Wagon - was just published in the anthology "Locked and Loaded, Volume III," published by One Eye Press, best known as the publishers of Shotgun Honey.
I've also added amusing or relevant detail, like so: this piece of flash fiction - Relentless But Regretful - was just published in the online magazine Saturday Night Reader, for which I made a big $5. (But hey, at least they paid me, and did it when they promised they would!)
These may seem like small things...and they are. But the better you prepare yourself for your reading, the more confident you'll be.