Public speaking is a wonderful way to get the word out about your book. However, you’d be surprised at how much advanced planning is involved in setting up even the smallest of events. Coordinating with a local book club or business group could take months, and major conferences select their speakers up to a year in advance!
If you want to secure speaking engagements, you need to start way ahead of time. Before you start your outreach, you should create brief yet compelling descriptions about yourself, your book, and the topic(s) on which you can speak. Include a professional headshot and cover art of your book. If you have any testimonials from individuals or organizations that have heard you speak, include those as well. Save this document as your “speaking bio” and update it regularly with anything impressive about you or your book, e.g. awards, press mentions, or other organizations to which you have spoken.
Next up is outreach. In last week’s post, I stressed the importance of tracking your marketing efforts, so if you took my advice and have already created a marketing spreadsheet, that’s one less thing on your to-do list. As you begin your research and outreach, keep track of each organization you contact (or plan to contact) with enough detail to refresh your memory the next time you visit the document. The purpose of the tracking document is to keep you from reinventing the wheel, so be sure to note relevant information, which can vary for each organization.
As you go, you’ll probably receive multiple replies along the lines of “We’d love to have you speak at [insert name of conference/event/club/etc. here], but we’re all booked,” so you’ll quickly learn the importance of starting early. But that’s okay! There’s always next time, and you’ve already done the research for that particular organization. Plus, each time you reach out, you’re not only networking, but also making contact with a potential reader – and that never hurts.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2012 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.