A lot of authors see publishing a book as an end in and of itself, but you can actually use it as a catalyst for your career and life goals. Something magical happens when you publish a book. You become an expert. Whether your book's genre is self-help, business, history, memoir, or fiction, pick any category, it doesn’t matter. It’s the fact that you possessed the knowledge to pen an entire book on a subject or idea that now makes you an expert, someone whom others accept as an authority. One of the best ways to expand that authority is professional speaking.
Benefits of Professional Speaking
Here are a few benefits of adding professional speaking to your author platform:
- It doesn’t cost anything
- Has the potential to generate significant income through paid engagements and on-site book sales (more on that later)
- Helps you connect with readers on a human level
- Creates a word-of-mouth machine
- And most of all, puts you out there as someone who is making a difference
If you’re an author, doing speaking engagements is a game changer. Conversely, if you’re already on the speaking circuit or recognized for a topic area, adding the distinction of author to your name is the next natural step. It works both ways. That’s what makes speaking such a win-win.
Do You Have What it Takes?
If you’re uncomfortable about the idea of getting up in front of people, that doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes. One of the biggest myths about speaking is that it’s not an option for someone who’s quiet or shy. On the contrary, you don’t need a big, outgoing personality to be a powerful speaker. All you need is to be present and in the moment, open and fully yourself. There is nothing more captivating than a speaker who doesn’t put on airs and communicates from the heart. That and a little practice and you’ll be stunned at the speaker already inside you that was simply waiting for a chance to come out!
You don’t need a speaker’s bureau to jump into the water. There are organizations in your own community that are always looking for speakers. You can research them online. Start with rotary clubs, PTA groups, places of worship, chambers of commerce, park districts, schools, and community centers. Once you begin researching, you’ll find an abundance of opportunities. Reach out to these entities and ask them if they’d be interested in having you as a speaker for their next event. You’ll be surprised how many doors it will open.
You can build gradually, beginning with small talks at local events, and hone your skills over time. This will allow you to accumulate some experience on the logistical end too, such as understanding the type of room set up you like best, the kind of microphone that you prefer, as well as refine your presentation.
Also, you don’t need an expensive author website to get started. A narrative bio that talks about your expertise, how you’re connected to the subject matter, the story behind your book, and a one-sheet describing what your talk is about, are all you’ll require initially.
Speaking sells books. There’s B.O.R. or “Back of the Room” sales in which you bring copies of your book to the speaking engagement, ask that a table be set up, and then sell and autograph them on-site at the conclusion of your talk. People love an opportunity to meet the author and obtain a signed copy of their book. Speaking also generates post-event sales with online retailers and local bookstores.
Build Your Author Brand
If you’re looking to build your author brand, getting out there and speaking is a public relations super-charger. It lets you connect with your target audience, live and in-person, cultivate an ongoing mutually rewarding relationship with them through other forms of outreach such as newsletters, email blasts, webinars, podcasts, etc. and can also generate publicity as local television shows and newspapers often cover events with speakers.
I’ve been speaking professionally for over twenty-years and I know first-hand the impact it’s had, not just for me as an author, but in my life, personally. There is no substitute for that moment when you’re addressing a live audience, and you feel that click, when every person in the room is with you, listening, fully engaged. Like I said, it’s a game changer.