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Welcome to the Sing Like No One’s Listening Blog Tour!

To celebrate the release of Sing Like No One’s Listening by Vanessa Jones on September 1st, blogs across the web are featuring original content from Vanessa, as well as 10 chances to win a finished copy plus a grand prize giveaway!

5 Tips to Help Deal with Stage Fright

by Vanessa Jones

We’ve all had it, right? That moment before you’re about to go on stage, or into an interview, when despite your best efforts and most positive Mary Poppins can-do attitude, it happens. The fear. It starts in your heart and usually ends up somewhere in your trembling knees. It’s happened to me so many times, I could write a book on it. (Well, I guess I kind of did, as Sing Like No One’s Listening was originally inspired by my time as a performer in the West End, in particular a period of time when I had terrible stage fright.)

So, as someone experienced in these matters, here are my top five tips on how to deal with stage fright.

1: Breathing

That’s right. Plain old breathing. People say it so often it seems too obvious, but just focusing on your breathing can help to calm you down. There’s an exercise we do in singing where we breathe in slowly for four counts (avoiding raising the shoulders), hold for four and breathe out slowly for eight. For me, it’s also a useful calming mechanism as it almost instantly helps to stop the racing heart and shaking hands. 

2: Be Prepared

Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? If only I hadn’t spent almost an entire career doing the exact opposite—scrabbling around learning lyrics at the last minute, worrying that I’d forget my words or harmonies—all this stress could have been avoided if I’d just sat down a little earlier with my material. Whether it’s a show, audition, interview, or presentation, you want to give yourself the best chance of success, and knowing your subject matter or your material is the best way of doing that. Anything you get asked, you’ll have an answer for. And you know you won’t dry-up. One less thing to worry about.

3: They’re on Your Side

It’s important to remember that largely, your audience wants you to do well. It would be pretty rare to have a panel or audience sitting there thinking, “I really hope this person fails on a grand scale!” If you still can’t get on board with that, then my next suggestion would be to find the friendliest person in the room and direct whatever you’re doing to them.

4: Shift Your Focus

When nerves get the better of us, we’re thinking about “What if my voice cracks? What if I dry-up? What if my legs won’t stop shaking, what if I forget my words?” These are all distractions from the only thing you should be thinking, which is what you’re doing! Move the focus away from yourself and onto your material, and hopefully in doing so the nerves should subside.

5: Trick Yourself Happy

This is actually a tip from my ten-year-old daughter. I asked her what she did to stop herself from getting stage fright (she does a lot of performing) and she said she smiles to try and trick herself into feeling excited rather than scared. I’ve never tried this, but she says it works. She also pulls silly faces when she faces the back of the stage to make herself laugh, but you might want to check there’s no one behind you before you try this!

Blog Tour Schedule:

8/31 – BookhoundsYA
9/1 – A Dream Within A Dream
9/2 – The Fandom
9/3 – WordSpelunking
9/4 – Christy’s Cozy Corners
9/7 – I’m All Booked Up
9/8 – Book Briefs
9/9 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
9/10 – Wishful Endings
9/11 – Diva Book Nerd

“Jones’ novel has the expected Fame vibes that will delight any reader who loves stories of aspiring young stars learning their craft, but its exploration of Nettie’s complexities makes the story unique…. Jones offsets the narrative’s weightier moments with light and quirky ones, making it a fast read with staying power.”
— Booklist

“Anglophiles, music and theater nerds, and those looking for some classic will-they-won’t-they romance will all find something to enjoy here. Jones writes her subject matter authentically, with obvious passion to balance the professional arts’ not-so-pretty struggles…. A touching portrait of healing after loss.” 
Kirkus Reviews

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Excerpt | Discussion Guide | Author Q&A

A moving story of grief and healing – sure to be a pure joy for any musical theater aficionado.

Nettie Delaney has just been accepted into a prestigious performing arts school―the very same school her superstar mother attended. With her mother’s shadow hanging over her, Nettie has her work cut out for her―and everyone is watching. To make matters worse, Nettie hasn’t been able to sing a single note since her mother died. Whenever she tries, she just clams up. But if Nettie’s going to survive a demanding first year and keep her place in a highly coveted program, she’ll have to work through her grief and deliver a showstopper or face expulsion.

All may not be lost, however, when Nettie stumbles upon a mysterious piano player in an empty studio after class. Masked behind a curtain, can Nettie summon the courage to find her voice? Or will the pressure and anxiety of performing come crashing down?

All about finding and raising your voice, and not throwing away your shot, Vanessa Jones’s well-crafted journey of grief and healing will pull readers along with its strong narrative voice and satisfying sense of mystery.

About the Author
Vanessa Jones trained at Laine Theatre Arts and went on to be a musical theater actor in West End Shows, including Sister Act, Grease, Guys and Dolls, Annie Get Your Gun, and Mary Poppins. She began her writing career with a stage play for a fringe theater and also works as a freelance copywriter and editor. She lives in England with her fellow chimney sweep.

Follow Vanessa: 
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


  • 1 winner will receive a finished copy of Sing Like No One’s Listening. Check out the other tour stops for more chances to win.
  • US/Canada only
  • Ends 11:59pm ET on 9/13

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By Nat, the Geek Girl

Southern California native who likes movies, books (Shadowhunter Chronicles, NA, YA fantasy, Red Rising series), TV shows (The Sandman), and San Diego Comic-Con. I also like to write, but don't get to do much of that aside from on here. I fell into the BTS rabbit hole, and I refuse to leave.

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