When you appear at events, you can spread the gospel about your book. If you’re physically in contact with audiences, you can sell copies of your book. When people see and meet you, they frequently buy your book. If you give speeches, you’re almost guaranteed to sell your books because at most events, your books will be available for sale. However, when you try to publicize your book through the media, selling books is iffier.
Learn to become an accomplished speaker because speaking is a major platform for selling books. Plan ahead, early in the book-writing process. Begin speaking at least six months to a year before your book is published, to drum up interest in it and to build your speaking ability and reputation.
If you’re not an established speaker, take public-speaking classes or media training. Join speakers’ organizations. Then speak for free for local organizations where you can polish your craft. Start small and work your way up; build a following and a reputation for being a dynamic, entertaining, and enlightening speaker. Chamber of commerce events routinely feature business authors. Arrange with bookstore owners who are chamber members to sell your books at the events.
Also speak to local branches of industry or professional groups. If you’ve written a sales or networking book, you could speak at meetings of Sales and Marketing Executives International or the American Marketing Association. Try to build your base where you live and work because members of the community where you started will become your staunchest supporters.
When you become an accomplished speaker, assemble videotapes of your presentations, testimonials, a speech description, and your biography in a professional manner. Then, sign up with as many speaker bureaus as possible to get bookings. The top bureaus include the International Speakers Bureau, Leading Authorities, Inc., the Leigh Bureau, and Washington Speaker Bureau.
A powerful strategy for launching your book is to reduce your fee on the condition that the host organization make up the difference by purchasing copies of your book. For example, if you normally command $5,000 for a keynote speech, cut your fee in half and take $2,500 if the host organization agrees to spend the other half buying $2,500 worth of your book.
The benefits you receive are that you’re guaranteed $2,500 worth of book sales that won’t be returned and more of your books get into circulation. Having books circulate builds word-of-mouth publicity, which should be your main objective because every book in a reader’s hands is an ambassador and a publicist for you and your book. If you are an established speaker, you can afford to take less cash in order to move more copies of your book. When you employ this strategy over a number of personal appearances, it can provide substantial book sales and excellent publicity.
By Rick Frishman
Reprinted from “Rick Frishman’s Author 101 Newsletter”
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