B efore we get to the article on speaking venues, I have a couple of quick announcements.
1. Chapter 2 of the serial release of The Samson Effect is out today. If you have not read Chapter 1 yet, you can click on the TOC link at the top of the serial release link and start from the beginning. The Samson Effect is soon to be a major motion picture and NY Times best selling author Clive Cussler called it a “first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure.”
2. The new video tip for my newsletter subscribers is out today. In it, I show subscribers how I added the Twitter counter and Retweet button to my Blogger blog. If you are not a subscriber of my video tips newsletter yet, you can join for free to watch this tip in just minutes from now. In fact, I will give you instant access to over 45 minutes of free video tips just for joining this free newsletter.
Now, on to today’s tip on finding public speaking venues you can schedule today:
One of the best ways to market your book is to get out and press the flesh via a public speaking event. To many authors-and many other people for that fact-public speaking is a terrifying prospect. However, by taking advantage of opportunities to speak, the prospect will become less and less terrifying and more and more enjoyable. But more importantly, it will help you sell many books over time.
One group I would encourage you to consider joining if you have apprehensions about public speaking is ToastMasters. I belonged to a few ToastMasters groups in my life, serving as a president in one of them. Through that group, I also had the opportunity to serve as a Master of Ceremonies of a prestigious civic event in Mobile, AL. My point in saying this is that once you set your sites on speaking, you’ll find opportunities you never knew existed.
Consider these side effects of public speaking opportunities:
- The audience is usually genuinely interested in what you have to say. The group you are speaking to probably works hard to find quality speakers.
- An author is often seen as a celebrity of sorts, even if members in the audience have not heard of you or your book.
- The more you speak, the better you will become. Honest! And more than likely, it will become more enjoyable.
- The more memorable you make your speech, the more people will talk about you and your book.
- The more you can teach your audience through your speech, the more you will be remembered, and maybe even asked back as a return speaker.
- The more experience you get as a speaker, the less you have to find venues and the more you will be approached to be a guest speaker.
- Many times, the organization you are speaking to will publicize your engagement in the local media or to their own membership.
At first, you may not make much money speaking to groups, but after cutting your teeth, polishing your delivery, and gaining a reputation as a first rate speaker, you may see the paid engagements start popping up more and more. Until then, here are some ideas on what groups you can contact today about setting up speaking opportunities.
- Lion’s Club- Civic organizations like the Lion’s Club are great places to gain speaking experience. They usually schedule speakers in advance and are always on the look out for interesting speakers, especially ones in their own community. As with most of the groups on this list, I would strongly encourage you not to deliver a commercial for your book as your speech; rather deliver something of value that they can take away and use, as a group or individually. If you do that well, you will actually be delivering the best commercial for your book because you will be memorable, and people want to read a memorable author.
- Kiwanis- As with the Lion’s Club, Kiwanis is a deeply active and committed community organization. One of the likely benefits of speaking to groups like this is that they are often made up of community and business leaders which can have a domino effect for more lucrative speaking opportunities.
- Libraries/Friends of Libraries- Depending on your local area, your libraries may have educational programs or programs on the Arts that they arrange for their patrons. A few calls may lead to you, as a local author and celebrity, securing a speaking opportunity.
- High Schools- One of my favorite speaking engagements was to the creative writing club of the high school I graduated from. These kids were more engaged than just about any other group I spoke to. While I am here, I will also mention that you shouldn’t limit yourself to high school students. My sixth grade nephew arranged for me to speak to his social science class. Not only did he become the “big man on campus” because his uncle was an author, but I was pleasantly surprised to see other teachers, staff, and even the principal make their way to the room to hear me address the kids and answer their questions. I made sure to bring plenty of bookmarks to pass out which led to quite a few sales coming from that middle school.
- Chamber of Commerce- You may have to join yourself to a chamber in order to speak here, but if you join an active chamber, the exposure can be well worth the membership. And often, an individual membership is availabilities at a considerable discount of the business membership. That said, check with your area chambers. I have been the guest speaker at many chambers that I was not a member of, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
I hope this list at least gets you thinking about possible speaking venues. Remember, the more experience you get, the more opportunities you will find. But the biggest benefit for you is the viral exposure you and your book are getting. Oh, and you will probably be treated to a lot of free lunches as well!
——– Tony Eldridge is the author of The Samson Effect, an action/adventure novel that Clive Cussler calls a “first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure.” He is also the author of the Twitter marketing book, Conducting Effective Twitter Contests.