Authors and Public Speaking: 5 Reasons to Be an Author Who Speaks

Authors and Public Speaking: 5 Reasons to Be an Author Who SpeaksWhen 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?”

To get the answers to these and other questions, I interviewed speaking industry expert Mary McKay during a Build Book Buzz teleseminar that was recorded and is available as an audio download you can listen to immediately. During From Author to Speaker: How to Get Paid to Speak, I tapped 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, click here.

If you speak about your book’s topic, how do you usually get your speaking engagements?

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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

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6 Responses to Authors and Public Speaking: 5 Reasons to Be an Author Who Speaks
  1. Jacqueline R Banks
    August 4, 2015 | 3:07 pm

    I find this an invaluable piece of information, and yes, I revel in the respect people give me as an author. I have former classmates and people on the street who treat me like a celebrity! (Although I’m not exactly basking in sales yet). I have been told that I hold strong opinions; I also have had traumatic personal life experiences which certainly have contributed to the person that I am. Because of that, I would like to have paid, as well as unpaid speaking engagements.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      August 4, 2015 | 6:41 pm

      Getting to the point where you can be well-paid to speak is definitely something to aim toward, Jacqueline.


  2. Sherrie Miranda
    January 19, 2016 | 3:21 pm

    Excellent post! Thank you, Sandra!
    Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
    Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

    • Sandra Beckwith
      January 19, 2016 | 10:30 pm

      You’re welcome, Sherrie!


  3. Bradley Charbonneau
    January 30, 2016 | 12:15 am

    This is excellent, Sandra!
    Your 1 through 5 in this post are SUPER helpful!
    Thanks for putting this together.

    • Sandra Beckwith
      January 30, 2016 | 7:06 pm

      Thanks, Bradley! I’m glad you like it.


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