Many writers promote their books by giving speeches. But speaking also requires different skills than writing does, and it isn’t as simple as getting up and talking. The next few posts will contain advice from Mark Twain and Ralph Waldo Emerson, both of whom promoted their books (and supplemented their income) by going on speaking tours. But first, here is a reprint of an earlier post on the IWC blog. It was originally published on April 17, 2013 and has been modified to remove outdated information.
Speak to Promote
You've published a book and want to promote it. Or you haven't published anything yet but plan to develop a platform. Have you thought about becoming a speaker?
If you are used to talking to groups, start by deciding what topics you will offer. Then consider joining one or more speakers' bureaus.
But what if you lack experience and are too nervous to follow through? Maybe that writers’ conference you plan on attending has a session or two on public speaking. For more extensive training, check out speech classes at local colleges/universities and park districts. Or join a speaking club from an organization such as Toastmasters International.
Belonging to a Toastmasters' club gives you the opportunity to speak in a non-threatening environment while learning how to prepare and present speeches. Members range in experience from other beginners to people who command significant fees for speaking engagements. They'll all help you gain confidence and become a polished speaker.
New Toastmasters members receive a beginning manual that covers everything from organizing a speech to vocal variety, gestures, and using visual aids. After completing the first manual, members proceed to advanced manuals focused on various types of speaking, such as Persuasive Speaking, Humorously Speaking, and Interpretive Reading.
To find a nearly Toastmasters' club, go to www.toastmasters.org and use the meeting finder at the top of the home page. Guests are welcome, so you can attend a meeting or two before deciding to join.
If you want to speak to promote, you have options.