A surefire way to get the word out about a book is for the author to launch a public speaking campaign. Authors who give lectures get more exposure for their books. Some authors have single-handedly made their books bestsellers by traveling nationwide and constantly lecturing.
Even if an author is unable to travel and speak extensively due to other life commitments, don’t overlook this important aspect of book marketing. Authors who are willing to give even a few lectures will build a loyal readership and increase sales of their books.
A good place for authors to talk about their book’s subject matter is at local bookstores and libraries. Many bookstores (notably Borders and Barnes & Noble) host short author seminars for their customers. Libraries do this too. Authors who take advantage of these opportunities can sell autographed copies of their books after these events, boosting sales.
Non-fiction writers usually have a built-in topic to talk about. However, fiction and children’s book authors can create opportunities for speaking. For example, during National Literacy Month (September), children’s book authors can volunteer to read their children’s book at a bookstore or library. An author of a young adult novel title may volunteer to lead a short seminar for teenagers on fiction writing at a local library. Crime fiction writers can take advantage of Barnes & Nobles October Mystery Month. These ideas are just a few of the many ways authors can be created to give talks to promote their books.
While building a public speaking business takes time, public speaking can pay off for those authors who adopt this aspect of their book marketing campaign. Initially, authors are generally required to speak for free and use any speaking engagement to sell books. However, once a speaking company is in place, authors can start billing for their speaking services.
If an author is new to public speaking or is afraid of speaking in front of a group of people, consider practicing public speaking by reading books on public speaking or by taking classes. A good place to start gaining skills and confidence in public speaking is to join a local Toastmasters club (www.toastmasters.org).
Secure speaking engagements
Speaking engagements need to be maintained and tracked. Opportunities only fall to those writers who have built up the speaking side of their profession over time. Most new speakers need to spend time grooming speeches.
Authors appear as speakers at all kinds of events. Authors can search for talks by identifying specific events and groups that target their book’s audience as potential talk venues. For example, a book on healthy dating habits for teens could lead to speaking engagements in middle and high schools, and in community and church youth groups.
Once an event or group has been identified as a potential speaking venue, the next step for the author is to contact the group organizers and provide a biography of the author and a speaking topic and summary for review.
How many books can you sell through speaking engagements? The number all depends on the event, the speaker and the audience. Whether book sales hit three or three hundred, remember that every speaking engagement is an exposure. And the presence builds on itself for future book sales.