Are you clear on the concept of platform—what it is, why it is important and how to establish one? Let me know if you have any questions about platform or if you’re having difficulty building one.
Today I’d like to talk about promoting your presentations. All of you authors know the value and importance of doing public speaking gigs, giving presentations, conducting workshops and so forth. People are more apt to buy books from authors they have met—who they like and trust. You’ve probably already found out that you will sell more copies of your book to people in a real-time audience than to people who read about you in the newspaper.
Don’t get me wrong—of course, you want to get newspaper publicity for your book, submit articles/stories to appropriate publications, build an interesting website and so forth. It’s all important. But the in-person presentation to the right audience will probably spark more sales than most other promotional attempts. If you hope to sell copies of your book, you definitely want to find a way to be involved in giving presentations.
If you need instruction or more confidence as a public speaker, join a local Toastmasters Club. Find out about one near you at this website: http://www.toastmasters.org. Attend presentations—in particular those by authors who are talking about their books. Determine which speeches are good and which are not and why. Adopt and adapt those elements that make a presentation interesting and entertaining.
Develop interesting and entertaining presentations around the theme/genre of your book and then practice, practice, practice. (See my invitation for help developing your presentation at the end of this post.)
Locate speaking opportunities through civic organizations and clubs. Those that meet regularly are always seeking good programs. Research organizations related to the theme of your book. Plan talks at libraries, schools, places of business, etc. locally and beyond. Learn about conferences that relate to the theme/genre of your book and apply to present workshops for their attendees.
And once you have prepared yourself to be a public speaker, you have located speaking opportunities and you have planned some great presentations, it is time to promote these events. Yes, while some program chair people will send press releases announcing your presentation and while organizers will promote their conferences, you should also spread the word. Sometimes people fall down on their jobs as promoters. That’s why I advise authors to do their own promotion.
• Announce the presentation at your website—you should have an appearances or calendar section.
• Post the announcement at your blog site—in your newsletter.
• Send press releases to local newspapers, appropriate newsletters and websites.
• Send notices and then reminders to those on your mailing list who reside in the city where you will be speaking.
• Do a radio gig prior to the event and announce your pending appearance there.
• Post flyers on the bulletin board at your local library and bookstores or send flyers to the library and bookstores in the city where you will be speaking.
• Contact bookstore owners in the area where you will be speaking to let them know there might be requests for your book.
What are some of the ways you’ve promoted your speaking engagements? We’d like to hear about them.
In the meantime, be sure to bring plenty of books to your event. Find out the estimated number of attendees and bring books for approximately one-third to one-half of them. People LOVE freebies, so create some sort of handout. Everyone in your audience will want whatever you are giving—an article, recipe, magnet with your book cover on it… it doesn’t matter. They want it. And if you don’t have enough to go around, they will complain. They’ll come up and ask you for a copy. But if you hand them a card and invite them to get in touch with you and ask for the freebie, they will not follow through. It’s true. Out of around ten people who did not get a copy of my handout at my last gig, all of them walked up to get my business card so they could contact me with their email addresses so I could send them my packet. And none of them followed through.
It’s best to get their names and email addresses. In fact, I always try to have a sign-up sheet at every book festival, book signing and other presentation. Then I can contact potential customers and clients.
Giving presentations designed to promote your books isn’t rocket science, but in order to be successful, it does require some thought and preparation.
INVITATION for you
Tomorrow, I’ll talk about how to create interesting and entertaining presentations around your book topic. If any of you would like to send me your book topic to use as an example (an opportunity to learn some tips and techniques you can use with your very own book), contact me by 6: a.m. (pacific time) tomorrow–August 22–here: PLFry620@yahoo.com.