One of the best ways to sell books is to speak before a crowd. Yes, good old fashioned contact with humans. Sure you can do radio interviews, guest-blog, Tweet, and get a review in a newspaper, and all of that publicity is not only helpful to generate sales but it’s productive in boosting our brand, building your media resume, and in getting a positive message out to a targeted group of people. But nothing helps more directly with sales than an author speaking – at a bookstore, community, or anywhere that features a gathering of people.
Many, many authors have told me that they always sell books when they speak. Why? Because the author-turned-orator lets not only his or her words say something, but their body language, passion, and sincerity become apparent to those who are potentially interested in the author’s topic. The crowd self-filters—it showed up because it was already predisposed to wanting to hear the message it received.
Speaking, like social media, is not suitable for every author. Some authors are shy or fearful of public speaking. Some don’t feel confident nor comfortable about presenting in person. They may even feel insecure about their voice, appearance, or style. They may be physically unfit to fill the task of standing and talking for 30-60 minutes. But if you can do it, public speaking is guaranteed to sell books. If you set up events and appearances – and don’t sell many books – something is wrong.
So how does one get started?
First, think about what you’d talk about and determine who your targeted audience is.
Second, identify where that target audience gathers and begin to contact those groups or places.
Third, work in advance anywhere from two to ten months. Some busy organizations book up way in advance and are hard to reach or persuade.
Fourth, organize a schedule. Which days do you plan to be available and at what times? How far will you travel? How many appearances can you do in a day or week?”
Fifth figure out how you’ll monetize the speaking event. Will you charge admission, sell books, get paid by a group for speaking, or hope the opportunity allows you to network with people who may order bulk quantities of books?
Initially expect to speak for free with an opportunity to sell books. Find out when the optimal times of the year and day are that you should speak. See how they can promote you through a newsletter, blog, website or social media. If they have sister organizations or affiliates, see if they can introduce you to them. Once you speak, if it goes well, ask to return. Also request a letter of praise that you can use as a testimonial to win additional speaking gigs from other groups. Think of who is similar to them, even a competitor, and go solicit them to speak.
Here are some do’s and don’ts to speaking:
· Sound genuine, concerned, and confident.
· Use humor when appropriate.
· Engage the audience with ideas, questions or stories.
· Have people wanting to know more – they need to not feel they heard it all – they need to take an action step/buy book, signup to your blog, connect on social media, etc.
· Make them feel special, smart and appreciated.
· Don’t just tell them something – share a piece of yourself.
· Leave time for a Q&A – that’s when you really get to interact with your audience.
· Come across as a helpful source as a friend, as an expert.
· Give something out, even if it’s just a flier with tips and contact information.
· Speak slowly, clearly, and talk with authority.
· Reference things people can relate to, especially things in the news.
· Show that you understand their circumstances and can appreciate their situation.
Speaking can be fun. It’s one of the few times you get to directly engage potential consumers to hand-sell them based on who you are, what you know and what you say. You can even videotape your presentation and post it online and gain greater distribution of your message. By meeting people in person you get to let others hear and see all that you have to offer – and often they’ll buy what you’re selling.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016.
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