Friday, March 11, 2011

Authors and public speaking: 5 reasons to be an author who speaks

When my humor book, WHY CAN’T A MAN BE MORE LIKE A WOMAN?, was released, I learned about the power of a book when people with budgets are looking for speakers. I heard from Fortune 500 corporations that included Corning, Kraft, and Xerox, and from organizations that needed a light-hearted, upbeat keynote speaker. I was happy to oblige and accept flattering fees for my presentations around the country at sales meetings, networking sessions, and women’s events.

So . . . when Publicity for Nonprofits: Generating Media Exposure That Leads to Awareness, Growth, and Contributions was published, my book marketing plan included securing paid speaking engagements that would allow me to:
  • Provide nonprofits with information they could use immediately to generate publicity
  • Sell books
  • Leverage the book to earn more through speaking fees
In addition to meeting all three goals, I was paid as much to speak about the book’s topic as I was to write the book! Clearly, the time it took to pursue paid speaking opportunities was well worth it for me.

Is it worth it for you? Here are five reasons to consider becoming an author who speaks:  
  1. You can share your message with more people. You have something to say, right? That’s why you wrote the book. Speaking lets you present your core messages in person.
  2. It can lead to more paying work. Many consultants speak to generate leads. If you’ve got a book and you consult on your book’s topic, public speaking can not only generate more speaking invitations, it can also fill your inbox with requests for information about your professional services.
  3. It supports your expert positioning. Whether you acknowledge it or not, you’re considered an expert on your book’s topic. This applies to all types of authors – from nonfiction writers to novelists to memoirists. When you add “speaker” to your list of credentials, you further underscore that expert status.
  4. Your admirers want to hear from you. Whether they deserve it or not, authors are admired by non-authors. For reasons that are hard to understand, many think authors are “cool.” People like to hear what cool people have to say. 
  5. You can earn more money from your book. Sure, you can – and should – accept unpaid speaking gigs offered by local groups or association conferences. But why limit yourself to unpaid opportunities? Why not take that experience to organizations that have money to pay speakers?
I realize that many authors are introverts who find the whole concept of speaking in public too stressful to even consider. But I know from the messages I receive in my e-mail inbox, from the questions my Book Publicity 101 students ask, and from the inquiries I read on writers’ forums that many, many authors are pursuing this option. They ask:
  • “How do I respond when a meeting planner asks, ‘How much do you charge?’ ”
  • “How do speakers’ bureaus work?”
  • “What topics are in greatest demand?”
  • “How do I find paying opportunities?”
I’ll be asking these and other questions when I interview speaking industry expert Mary McKay during a Build Book Buzz teleseminar on March 29, 2011. During From Author to Speaker: How to Get Paid to Speak, we’ll tap into Mary’s three decades of experience booking more than 2,200 paid speaking engagements to learn how to find and secure these opportunities. To learn more, please visit
If you speak about your book's topic, tell us why.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Is your blog quotable?

Journalists are quoting from blogs more often. Is yours quote ready?

My local newspaper recently quoted from a college president's blog when it needed information for an article. If my newspaper is doing it, yours probably is, too.

As somebody who interviews others and is interviewed herself, this is a bit alarming. First, bloggers in general are more casual about their writing than journalists are, which means their "facts" might not actually be "facts." There's more heresay, less fact checking for accuracy. If journalists are using them for information, are they also using some kind of vetting process to make sure the source is reliable and responsible? Second, I'm thoughtful about what I say to the media when I'm interviewed. If a "quote" is pulled from my blog, I'm deprived of the opportunity to make sure what I say is appropriate for the situation or the audience.

I realize my opinion doesn't matter so to make up for that, here are suggestions for anyone who might or wants to be quoted from their blog:
  • Get it right. Think of the harm you could cause if your facts weren't really facts.
  • Choose your words carefully. Take any chunk of your content -- especially a rant or something inflammatory -- and picture your mother reading that in her newspaper or hearing it read by a broadcaster. How does it sound now? Is that what you really want to say -- or the tone you want to use?
  • Monitor your emotions. If you don't want to be quoted, don't get all emotional on us. If you do want to be quoted, tell us how you really feel.
  • Pick your topics carefully. To get quoted, blog on big news current events and do so with a unique perspective. If there's a possibility you'll be quoted whether you want to be or not, stick with the topics you know well to minimize the chance that your shared commentary will be attacked by those who might know more.
  • Add appropriate "about me" information to the blog. You want to be identified appropriately.
This trend will only grow as media outlets continue to cut budgets and ask staffers or freelancers to do more with (or for) less. Quoting from existing material -- whether it's a blog, a book, or an interview elsewhere -- takes less time than securing a personal interview.

Has content from your blog been lifted and quoted by the media? How did you feel about it?