Making Free Talks Pay

To make free talks pay for themselves, ask for:

  • A copy of the group’s newsletter with articles about your talk, publicity materials, and stories about you in local media for your portfolio. This will help when you approach other groups.
  • A testimonial letter
  • The names and contact information for other groups who may be interested in hearing your talk
  • Invitations to your talk to be sent to media people and opinion-makers in your field
  • Time to sell your books afterward
  • A minimum purchase of copies of your books
  • Expenses, if the talk will be out of town
  • Suggestions from the audience of other organizations that might be interested in your talk

]If you’re speaking to a chapter of a national organization, contact other chapters and the group’s headquarters (if they have a national convention) about speaking. This might lead to speaking overseas if the organization has chapters abroad.

If the talk will be in the evening and it’s out of town, ask for dinner, a room for the night, and local transportation if you won’t have a car. If the group is hard-pressed for cash, ask if a member can provide what you need, or if a local establishment might help in exchange for being mentioned at the talk and named as a sponsor of the talk.

Take advantage of your trip to offer a class or book signing while you’re in town.

If your talk will be open to the public, help publicize it to increase attendance. Give the organization’s reps copies of your news release or press kits, and ask them to mention that you are available for interviews before and after the talk. If the group will only send a news release, make sure the media know your media kit is on your Web site, an that they will receive books and media kits on request.

If your talk will not be open to the public and the group won’t publicize your appearance, ask if anyone in the grou has media contacts you can use to publicize your books. If not, research and contact them yourself.

Meet local booksellers and autograph copies of your book if they’re in stock. If they aren’t, give booksellers an autographed promotional copy if you can.

If your book can be used by reading groups, ask booksellers about local groups and see if they would be interested in reading your book and having you present to discuss it. A reading-group guide on your Web site may help them decide.

From Guerrilla Marketing for Writers

Reprinted from “Rick Frishman‘s Author101 Newsletter”
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