Writing and speaking, when carefully performed, may be reciprocally beneficial, as it appears that by writing we speak with great accuracy, and by speaking we write with great ease.
When audiences come to see us authors lecture, it is in the hope that we’ll be funnier to look at than to read.
Without a continuing presence in national media, giving presentations around the country is the most effective weapon for you to use to make the world aware of you and your books.
Winston Churchill found his government salary inadequate, so he supplemented it by lecturing. Observed Churchill, “I live from mouth to hand.”
The benefits you gain from talking may include the chance to:
• Make money
• Publicize yourself and your books
• Sell books and other products and services
• Generate sales for booksellers
• Make media and publishing contacts and add promotional events for talks in another city
• Receive feedback on the content and delivery of your talk
• Learn new ideas, anecdotes, and humor
• Make contact with audience members who can book you for other talks
• Add a venue to the list of places where you can talk every time one of your books is published
• Get experience customizing your talk for different audiences
• Add the event to your speaking resume
• Receive a testimonial letter
• Ask for names of other individuals and groups who may want to book you for a talk
• Add names to your mailing lists
• Test the effectiveness of your handouts
Many children’s book authors earn a significant part of their income by speaking at schools and libraries for $500 to $1,500 a day.
Ask groups you speak to how many books you can expect to sell. If the number is high enough and you can afford to forgo the profits from selling them, ask your contact if there’s a bookseller who might want to sell books at the event. If it’s a group like the Rotary Club, whose members own businesses, a bookseller may be a member of the group.
Another alternative if you don’t need the income from book sales: let organizations order the books from your publisher and keep the profits from any sales, a further incentive for groups to invite you. This is especially true for nonprofits, which are in a perpetual fund-raising mode.
If one of the fund-raising techniques the group uses is a raffle at their meetings, see if you can supply a promotional copy of your book as a prize.
Concentrate your talks where they create the greatest short-term and long-term benefits for you and your books. In giving slide shows around the country about their books on Victorian homes, Mike Larsen and Elizabeth Pomada found that the smaller the towns, the more attention their talks received.
Reprinted from “Rick Frishman‘s Author101 Newsletter”
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