Author’s Journey #26: Speak your way to book publishing success

by Roger Parker on June 18, 2010

In this segment of my Author Journey series series, I’d like to encourage you to speak your way to book publishing success by speaking about your book at every opportunity.

Speaking is one of the best ways you can promote your book while planning and writing it. It creates a special bond with your audience, paving the way for book sales and lasting relationships.

Speaking builds anticipation for your book’s publication. Whether your audience is a local chamber of commerce or a networking group, or a convention, speaking provides you with immediate feedback about your book’s title and contents.

Each speech also provides you with a deadline to prepare or refine your message and an opportunity to build anticipation for your book by promoting your speech.

As often is the case, of course, you may benefit more from the speech than those in the audience. Each time you speak, for example, you become more comfortable as a speaker and your delivery is likely to improve. Each time you speak, you’ll probably identify rough spots- -awkward words and phrases- -that you can replace with shorter, easier to say words and phrases.

And, don’t forget what you’ll learn from the audience’s questions! One relevant, unexpected question can provide you with a fresh perspective or open up new avenues for you to explore in your book, or your next book.

What should you talk about?

Your speeches should revolve around your book, approached from different perspectives. Options include:

  • Testing the content waters. Previewing the topic, and approach, you’re taking in your book and testing the ideas developed in different chapters. You could prepare one “generic” speech introducing your book, plus a couple of other speeches focused on individual chapters.
  • The writing experience. Many of the people in the audience may be envious of your position at the podium in front of the room; they’re likely to never write a book themselves. You can tap into their vicarious identification with you by sharing your perspective on what it’s like to want to write and actually act on the impulse.
  • Reflections on your book. If your book has already appeared, your speeches, or a portion of them, can discuss what reviewers and readers have said about your book, sparking dialog and questions, plus providing a compelling reason for attendees to buy their own copy of your book so they can comment and join the dialog.
  • Updated information. After your book has appeared, your speeches can provide you with an opportunity to describe new information, interpretation, and trends, that have occurred after your book’s publication.

To help you prepare your speeches, for a limited time, I’ve added a copy of my Author Speech Planning Worksheet to the other resources on my Active Garage Resource Page for you to download and print.

Use the worksheet to plan your speech around your audience’s goals and needs, and keep your speeches as simple as possible. The shorter your speech, the more time there will be for audience comments and questions.

Making the most of your speeches

Here are some of the ways you can leverage your speeches into book sales and marketing funnel profits:

  • Introduction. Always prepare you own introduction; don’t depend on someone else to know what to say when they’re introducing you. An inappropriate or inaccurate introduction can launch your speech on an awkward, confidence-destroying note. Prepare your own brief, 2 or 3 paragraph introduction, and e-mail it to the event organizer ahead of time. BUT, in addition, bring along a printed copy of your introduction.
  • Networking. One of the best ways you can leverage speeches into a book sales is to circulate before your speech, introducing yourself to members of the audience. A little mingling goes a long way, helping you find out what the audience members you meet are looking for in your speech. In addition, pre-speech mingling builds comfort and familiarity that will pay big dividends when- -during your speech- -you look someone in the eye, they’re likely to smile or nod encouragingly.
  • Handouts. Always prepare and distribute handouts; you never know who will be in the audience. Your handouts can be as simple as an outline of your speech, FAQ-type questions and answers about your topic, or a brief backgrounder about you and your writing project. Your handouts can also be thumbnails of presentation visuals, if you’re using them, or relevant resources, like reprints of articles, blog posts, or a list of appropriate websites. Always conclude with a one-sheet describing your book with URL links to your blog or your book’s description on Amazon.com.
  • Landing page. Consider preparing a special landing page for each major speech, or topic that you frequently address. A landing page is a special page of your blog or website that doesn’t appear in your site’s navigation. Create a special, easy to say and spell, custom TinyUrl link to the landing page, i.e., http://tinyurl.com/DoverChamber. Use the landing page to access bonus content not available elsewhere on your site. In addition, build your list by inviting attendees to receive sample chapters of your book as you’re writing it.
  • Pre-publication offers and advance sales. Create a promotion, perhaps in concert with your marketing partners, offering special incentives to those who order your book at Amazon.com before it is published.
  • Press and media. When appropriate, post a draft of your speech in your site’s press, or media, center, along with your photograph and a photograph of your book’s front cover. Make it as easy as possible for your hosts to promote your speech and leverage your words after the speech.

Video

Whenever possible, arrange to have your speech recorded in both audio and video. (Always check with your hosts, of course, to make sure this is appropriate.)

Even if you don’t use the recording on your website, you’ll benefit from seeing and hearing yourself from the audience’s point of view.

But- -more important- -remember that videos don’t have to be long to be effective. A 20 or 30-second highlight from your speech is all that’s needed to add excitement to your website and generate more speaking invitations by presenting you as an experienced speaker.

Are you using speaking to sell more books?

Although few claim to enjoy, or look forward, to opportunities to speak, the reality is that speaking is one of the best ways to ensure the success of your book; speaking helps you plan and write a better book while building anticipation for your book’s publication. Speak about your book at every opportunity, and leverage each speaking opportunity to the maximum. How often do you speak about your book? What are some of the lessons you’ve learned? What’s keeping you from speaking more often? Share your experiences as comments, below!

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