Dear fellow authors, Get out there and SPEAK! :)

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Thread: Dear fellow authors, Get out there and SPEAK! :)

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Dear fellow authors, Get out there and SPEAK! :)

    If you write books (especially nonfiction), you should consider giving FREE speeches in your local area to increase visibility and sell books. Speaking engagements not only result in back of the room sales of print books, but also online sales and the opportunity to share your event to a wider audience via social media.

    Case in point: Yesterday, I spoke to a group of aspiring authors at a local college. This author talk was a fun way to connect with my second books target audience, and I sold 8 books. I took pics during the event and posted the following on social media for increased visibility:

    One of the things I enjoy about being an author is the opportunity to help others become authors. Today, I spoke to aspiring authors at Lone Star College-Tomball as part of their Academy for Lifelong Learning program about how to self-publish a book. I hope they enjoyed the class as much as I did!

    Whenever I recommend speeches to authors, I usually hear two objections.

    One is fear of public speaking. This is common, but can be overcome with alcohol. Just kidding! 😄 I recommend practicing in front of close friends/family or joining a local Toastmasters group. Over time, you should build up confidence and hone your speaking skills.

    Another is that some dont know where to find speaking opportunities. I recommend searching meetup dot com for local groups that include your books target audience and send the leader of each group a message to ask if they would be interested in a free speech. You can also ask your local college if they have a community program like the one offered near me called the Academy for Lifelong Learning where volunteer instructors give a lecture on any topic to senior adults. Lastly, you can search for annual conferences that meet in your area. They usually need speakers for breakout sessions. Whenever I speak, I usually discover more speaking opportunities from other speakers or audience members.

    Last year, I gave 17 speeches that resulted in 6% of my annual sales plus additional online sales from attendees who bought my books before or after my talk. You can do this too! You might be amazed at how much fun it is to directly connect with your readership and the impact it has on your book sales.

    Check out my books for authors including SMART MARKETING FOR INDIE AUTHORS and 14 STEPS TO SELF-PUBLISHING A BOOK.
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  2. #2
    Mikey, to add to what you say.

    I have personally know two authors who managed to get rich off of writing. Both where gifted storytellers that spoke to audiences all the time. Bill Caldwell and Peter Parnall both came alive when speaking in front of a crowd. They each had a persona that was bigger than life, they both worked at it, they fine tuned it.

    Bill wrote for the paper, and published a bunch of books, and was a folksy kind of guy. He did down home Maine stories about local people, each time he did an interview you had the desire to get to know those people better, and experience what they had, small town living with charm is the best way to describe it

    Peter, was an entertainer, he captivated the audience with tales of out west, Indians and cowboys, stories of nature. Peter I knew very well. He often told me, "Ya don't want to go to one of my talks Bob, you'll know it is all bullshit." He was right! I have been in is studio when he had guests, and it was like a light switch was thrown. He knew just how hook them and real them in. People bought his books and his art work, I think he had over 85 books published, 100s of prints. To have a piece of Peter a connection to his art work is what they wanted.

    I started out in the ministry; it let me speak in front of an audience that could not boo me, it was either that or stand up comedy, no one heckles a minister when the stink. It took me many years to learn the art of speaking in public and telling a story. I would recommend speaking classes and joining the local community theater group. Get some stage time, get some practice. Just like writing, the first attempts are not going to go well. I still remember some of the sermons I bombed on, more than 40 years ago.

    If you're going to sell what you my mind this is the way to do. Great post letting the others know, there is more to writing then putting it on paper if it is going to sell

  3. #3
    Good feedback! Funny you mentioned stand up or giving sermons. I've never tried giving a sermon, but in the last few years I've started doing stand up a few times a year just for fun at local open mic nights. Talk about terrifying! Yikes!

    But I agree with what you said about getting practice or stage time to perfect your speaking... that is important. I have been fortunate enough to teach a 3-hour night class at the local college once per week since 2001 as a part-time gig. I love teaching and giving author speeches just seems like another form of teaching to me. Of course, all those hours teaching college classes (and telling jokes, teasing my students, etc.) has resulted in many hours of practice that has helped tremendously with my speeches. For example, I usually start off each speech that I give on topics for authors by asking each person in the room for their first name and to give their elevator pitch about the book they wrote/are writing. Afterwards, I repeat everyone's name and they are usually impressed. But I've done this same trick every semester on the first night of class with my students as part of an ice breaker game, and learning their names is a very effective way to grab their attention and keep them engaged (especially when I call on everyone by their name during my speech or during Q&A).
    Check out my books for authors including SMART MARKETING FOR INDIE AUTHORS and 14 STEPS TO SELF-PUBLISHING A BOOK.
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  4. #4
    Mikey, a couple of things you mentioned strike a cord with me. From Dale Carnegie's book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People." which has always been mandatory reading for any of my employees and both my kids. I tell people to test it out, try using it on the waiter or waitress the next time they are out, there will be a notable difference in the quality of service.
    Dale Tip # 6: A person’s name is the sweetest sound

    Today’s Tip: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”
    Dale Carnegie was a smart man; he lived his life in terms of other people. He laughed, he cried, and he cared about them. One way Mr. Carnegie often showed his respect by using names instead of the often-overused “Hey!”
    Using a person’s name is crucial, especially when meeting those we don’t see very often. Respect and acceptance stem from simple acts such as remembering a person’s name and using it whenever appropriate.”
    That’s why Carnegie came up with an easy strategy for remembering names. The LIRAformula.
    1. Look and Listen
    a) Try as hard as you can to focus on the person speaking, and make sure you understand very clearly, what their name is.
    2. Impression
    b) Create an impression in your head of what the person looks like. This includes physical features or the surroundings /situation in the moment.
    3. Repetition
    c) Repeat the person’s name as many times as possible in conversation. Use it when it is appropriate. Use it when you are saying goodbye to that person. Afterward, repeat it in your head as much as possible.
    4. Association
    d) Make associations of physical characteristics, names of landmarks, objects, buildings, companies, etc. Use color nouns and similar words to help you remember the name. We as humans remember things better in pictures.
    After using this, remembering names becomes that much easier. Use names with everyone you interact with, practice this and make it a habit.

    We once had a student in one of our classes who introduced herself to the CEO of her company. Most of the other employees were afraid to approach him, let alone make eye contact with him. After she introduced herself and said hello. The CEO remembers her name.
    This formula can be helpful if you apply it and you’ll never know what kind of good fortune it can bring you unless you try.

    The other talking point you used which also goes back to the early days of trying to teach and preach. "Elevator Pitch" I was told by one of the best speakers I have ever heard, that if on the way out of church, if the parishioner can't summarize the gist of the sermon in a couple of sentences, you have failed to convey your point. One the flip side what I found that if I could not effectively explain to someone the point of what I was saying, then I needed to be clearer in the objective of what I was saying.

    The skill of being able to tell a joke is the best formula to be an effective speaker. The first part is to hook them, give them something they can personally identify with. involve them in the story so they can picture themselves in a similar situation or can look back at someone else who was. In humor the best punch line is the one they did not see coming, you took advantage of their preconceived idea of what was suppose to happen. I think one of the most talented comedians of the day is Anthony Jeselnik, who manages to have perfect timing and the surprise punchline. In sharing a concept, the conclusion of what you are leading to should be as memorable. While you can not always remember the finite details of the joke or story or lesson, you remember the gist of what was said, and the conclusion.

    I would love to see you teach sometime just to study your set up and your timing. Those who do public speaking understand how important the flow is, for those that have never done it, it is the hardest part to learn. Practice, failure and even more practice seems to be the only way to get good at it. All of us know someone who can not tell a joke, and all of us know someone who can turn even the most minor thing into a good one, set up and timing is what it is all about.

    Thanks for sharing...Bob

  5. #5
    All great points. Yes, I'm a big fan of Dale's book (How to Win Friends and Influence...). That is probably where I first heard of using that technique.

    For what it's worth, in my first book (about college teaching tips), I go through all the techniques I use to engage my college students when I teach a 3-hour night class once a week at the local community college (e.g., use humor, memorize students names and call on them frequently by name, use Socratic teaching method, occasionally dress in costume or wear a funny hat, etc.).

    Anyway, I don't have any vids of me teaching class, but I do have a vid of my first time doing standup in case you are curious... (WARNING: contains adult language!).

    Check out my books for authors including SMART MARKETING FOR INDIE AUTHORS and 14 STEPS TO SELF-PUBLISHING A BOOK.
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  6. #6
    Mike, some good bits, you seemed relaxed. I have always liked the funny story verses the funny joke. The one thing about public speaking that has always amazed me is, the better you are at it, it looks like it takes the least effort. Anyone who is a poor speaker it looks like it hurts to do.

  7. #7
    Thx Bob! I wish I could tell you I was totally calm and relaxed, but I was very nervous. There were about 50 peeps in the audience that night, 20 of which were my friends and fam... and it was my first time ever doing standup! I just kept telling myself it was just like teaching one of my night classes and that seemed to help settle my nerves a bit.

    I agree with you... the good public speakers (and comics) make it look easy! Im not good yet as a comic, but maybe with alot more practice Ill work my way up to decent. The main thing is I enjoy it. Im much better as a teacher only b/c Ive had many years of practice.
    Last edited by Mikeyboy_esq; March 5th, 2019 at 05:30 AM. Reason: Fix typo

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