Posts Tagged ‘speaking’

Note by Will Reed

A few weeks ago, Roger sent me an email telling me he was adapting my One-Year Planning MandalaChart, described in Flexible Focus #64: The One-Year Plan, into a writing and marketing tool for authors. I immediately asked Roger to share his ideas as an ActiveGarage guest post, and he agreed. His post appears below. I think you’ll agree it’s a great example of “tinkering” with an idea and putting it to work in new ways.

Why author’s need an Author MandalaChart


I’ve been following, and learning from, William Reed for most of the last decade. I tend to listen when he speaks. He’s introduced me to numerous creativity ideas and resources, including mind mapping.

I’ve been reading, and saving, his Flexible Focus series since it began. But, I knew that Will had really outdone himself when I saw his One-Year Plan MandalaChart.

The One-Year Plan MandalaChart resonated with me because it addressed several of the most important challenges authors face when planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from a brand-building book: book, including:

  • There’s more to book publishing success than simply “writing.” It’s not enough to provide a clearly and concisely written advice; the advice has to be relevant, and the book has to be visible to its intended readers.
  • Publishing success involves simultaneously addressing multiple tasks. Publishing is not a linear process. Success requires addressing multiple issues at the same time. For example, how authors intend to profit from their book should influence their choice of publishing options.
  • Success requires goals, priorities, and deadlines. In a time-strapped world, it’s more important than ever that goals and tasks be accompanied with deadlines. Without deadlines, days, weeks, months, and years can go by without progress, resulting in a terrible waste of opportunities..

Modeled on, and inspired by, Will’s One-Year Plan MandalaChart, my Author’s MandalaChart provides a visual way to create goals, prioritize tasks, and measure your progress as you move forward.

Author’s MandalaChart matrix

The starting point was to adapt the 8 topics Will addressed in his original One-Year Plan MandalaChart to the specific needs of authors.

Will’s original matrix was addressed the following spheres, or activities, of an individual’s life:

  1. Personal
  2. Financial
  3. Study
  4. Business
  5. Home
  6. Society
  7. Health
  8. Leisure

When adapting the One-Year Plan to my Author’s MandalaChart, I included the following activity areas that authors must address:


  1. Goals. Goals involves answering questions like, Why are you writing a book? and How do you intend to profit from your book? As publishing has changed during the past few years, it’s become more and more important for authors to view their books as new business ventures. Books have to generate income beyond that which comes from book sales. 
  2. Readers. Reader topics include answering questions like Who are your ideal readers?, Why should they read your book?, What do they need to know?, and How will they benefit from your book? Nonfiction publishing success isn’t about how much you know; success is determined by offering the information that your ideal readers need to know.
  3. Competition. Books are not self-contained islands; new books must offer something better than what’s already available. Success requires identifying existing books and analyzing their pros and cons, so you can answer the question, What’s the “missing book” my ideal readers are waiting for?
  4. Message. From analyzing your goals, readers, and competition, you should be able to position your book and organize your ideas into chapters and subtopics within chapters. Your book proposal and press releases must be able to quickly answer questions like, What’s your book’s big idea? and What will readers take away from your book?  
  5. Format. Information can be communicated in lots of different ways, for example, step-by-step procedurals, case studies, personal experiences, question and answer, etc. You can also publish a big book or a small book. Format questions include, How much of a book do you need to write? and How can you simplify your book so you can get it into your reader’s hands as soon as possible?
  6. Awareness. Books are not magnetic, they don’t attract readers like a magnet attracts steel filings. You have to help your reader find you, answering questions like, How can I get my book reviewed? and How can I share my ideas while writing my book?
  7. Demand. Awareness has to be converted into demand, demand must stimulate purchases. Questions to address include, How can I stimulate pre-orders for my book? How can I sell as many books as possible when it’s available? and Where can I sell my book outside ofnormal bookstore channels?
  8. Profit. Finally, authors must leverage books into back-end information products or coaching, consulting, or paid speaking and presenting events. Questions include, How can I help readers implement my ideas? and What kind of marketing materials are speaker bureaus and event planners looking for?

Setting and attracting goals

The most important part of Will’s original One-Year Plan MandalaChart was the way it encouraged users to address each topic in matrix from four perspectives:

  • Current status. Where are we now? What are the strengths and weaknesses of our current position? What are the forces we have to deal with?
  • By December. What are our goals for the remainder of the calendar year? What do we want to accomplish by the end of the year?
  • Image for the end of a year. How can we visually communicate our accomplishments after 12 months?
  • Steps to reach this. What do we have to do to achieve our December and our One-Year goals?

In my version, I made a few simple changes, as follows:

  • Situation. (the same)
  • 90-days. This addresses the fact that “By December” implied an August starting date.
  • 1-year. Rather than a visual image, I felt a description of accomplishments during the past 12 months would be most helpful.
  • Steps to success. (Simple wording change.)

Author’s MandalaChart benefits

Writing and self-publishing involve a curious blend of creativity and self-discipline. Success requires a flexible perspective that combines long-term vision and consistent action in 8 different activity areas.

Although all projects are a work in progress, I feel the Author’s MandalaChart achieves its primary goal of helping authors avoid the common myopia of focusing entirely on writing and makes it easy to maintain a “big picture” view that encourages action in all 8 areas. The Author’s MandalaChart makes it easy to describe short term and long-goals in each area.

In addition, it creates an engaging visual to display on your wall as well as share with co-authors, agents, editors, and—when appropriate—your blog and social market community.

Conclusion

In addition to building on Will Reed’s already strong framework and adapting it for a specific vertical market, the Author’s MandalaChart shows the importance of constantly being on the lookout for ideas and tools that you can put to use in new ways.

The power of idea-sharing venues like the ActiveGarage is that it creates a community of achievers, constantly looking for ways to do a better job to address the challenges we all face, including the need to get more done in less time.

Editor’s NoteRoger C. Parker 37-part ActiveGarage Author’s Journey series offers practical advice for writing a book. He invites you to visit Published & Profitable and download a free proof of his do-it-yourself guide to developmental editing, 99 Questions to Ask Before You Write or Self-Publlish a Brand-building Book

rcp-heming-picRoger C. Parker helps others write books that build brands. He’s written over 30 books, offers do-it-yourself resources at Published & Profitable, and shares writing tips each weekday. His latest book is Title Tweet! 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Article, Book, and Event Titles
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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!

rcp-heming-picRoger C. Parker helps others write books that build brands. He’s written over 30 books, offers do-it-yourself resources at Published & Profitable, and shares writing tips each weekday. His latest book is Title Tweet! 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Article, Book, and Event Titles
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