Friday, May 29, 2015

How Speaking Increases Book Sales

(Thanks to Jeanette Levellie for providing this post.)

You have something important to say or you wouldn’t be a writer. Whether you write novels to entertain or non-fiction to enlighten, your words have the power to change lives. And the more books you sell, the more scope you have for changing lives.

Although the majority of writers feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts at the keyboard, public speaking can help your writing career flourish and lead to increased sales. Just as you improved your writing skills, you can learn and grow in public speaking skills until you’re comfortable in front of a crowd.

I don’t consider myself an accomplished public speaker, but I love people and I love words. I take every opportunity to speak at a myriad of venues—civic clubs, church groups, even nursing homes. I ask God what each audience needs to hear, and pray that the exact people he wants to attend will be present to hear my message.

I may speak to a Rotary Club about the culture shock of moving from Los Angeles to rural Illinois or tell a group of senior citizens in wheelchairs that God still has a use for them. If I speak to a church group, I gear my message to a Christian audience.

I try to be transparent during my message to make people laugh or to help them relate to my foibles. I focus on how I can help them enhance their lives.

And I always read at least one chapter from one of my books.

I don’t make a huge commercial out of that aspect of my talk; I simply shine a light on my writing. After my message, I sell books at an artfully decorated table at the back of the room. If the crowd is large, I pre-arrange for someone to help me sell books, giving them a signed copy of a book as a thank-you gift.

I keep professional-looking brochures about my speaking and writing career on the table with the books, as well as freebies—colorful pens with my website address, a sample chapter from my first book in pamphlet form, and candy—so people will feel valued, and have a way to contact me later.

These speaking gigs have led to TV interviews, additional speaking gigs, and increased book sales.

—Jeanette E. Levellie has published hundreds of humor/inspirational columns, articles, greeting cards, and poems. She is the author of three books, Two Scoops of Grace with Chuckles on Top, The Heart of Humor, and Shock the Clock: Time Management for Writers and Other Creative Types. www.jeanettelevellie.com

18 comments:

  1. It makes sense to me. You speak well before an audience and that helps those in attendance relate to you. I think it is natural for them to want more insights--hence giving your books a try.

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    1. Thanks for saying I make sense, Slamdunk! That'a a high compliment for a writer/speaker!

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  2. Great points and tips, Jen! Many writers enjoy their solitude, but there are benefits to being out and about too. Had a speaking engagement a few weeks ago - it's the first one I've done in years. Despite the nerves, my prayer was to be a blessing to others. :) Cec, thanks for hosting Jen!

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    1. Good for you, Karen! I know you've been writing a lot lately, but it's fun to meet new people who become new readers!

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  3. It's a fantastic resource. I am happy. law Essay

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  4. I am able to identify with a speaker, if he or she is transparent. I know you are, Jeanette. You did a very good job making your point here.

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    1. Thanks, Quietspirit. You always encourage me.

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  5. Great tips, Jeanette! I love the writing--but the speaking is where I tend to gravitate. Broadening my speaker's reach now that I'm actively publishing.
    Joy!
    Kathy

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    1. That's great, Kathy. The two go hand in hand, to help us spread our message.

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  6. Hi Jen - Great tips! How do you go about getting speaking engagements? Thanks, Susan

    P.S. I tweeted this post. :)

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    1. The answer to that one is a whole blog post, Susan, but in short, I make my presence known. I added the word "speaker" to my business cards after "author," I signed up on a speakers' website, I've sent letters to area churches, and I have a "speaking" tab on my website, inviting people to contact me, with a list of possible topics I speak on.

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  7. Great reminder that all of us as writers should also take advantage of speaking opportunities God brings our way as well! Thanks!

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    1. Thanks for your compliment, Vonda! I appreciate you.

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  8. I'm finding it hard to get started, but I agree totally. I work full time afternoon turn to aid the writing muse in the morning, the last few years. I also have to pay those bills and get health care, now the law.
    I offered to churches that my novel would be great for book clubs. It is short, but has a powerful message. It could easily be read in a month and the conversations would be engaging. I'll have to promote that again.
    Maybe I need to branch out more with offers. I love history, too. Trying to get into the local historical societies.
    This post encourages me. Thank you.

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    1. I'm happy the post encourages you, Mollie. Try the brochure approach, where you tell some about yourself, your writing, and how to contact you. Then hand it out to people you meet, or mail to churches and clubs.

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    2. That is a great idea. Thanks.

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