As a self-published writer I am now finding that writing a book was the easy part. The hard bit is marketing your book i.e. letting people know that it exists and that it is something they would like to buy and read. One of the things I have been doing is speaking at meetings of local groups who might be interested in the subject-matter of my book or are interested in writing. Last night I gave a very informal talk to a small group at a local writers meeting.
I am not vastly experienced in public speaking, so I have to force myself to do this kind of thing. However, I do suggest that if you are thinking of self-publishing then this is a part of your marketing strategy. You should identify such local groups and make contact with them and try to build up a rapport so that they are amenable to you speaking to them. They are often looking for something new to enliven their meetings so there is a good chance that you will be invited to speak, especially if you are not charging a fee – which I suggest you don’t. They will probably give you a slot of 15 to 30 minutes and in my experience that could range from giving a Powerpoint presentation to an informal chat. My suggestions for giving such talks are:
- keep it simple and don’t pack too much in
- if you are not an experienced public speaker, make sure your notes are well prepared and simple for you to follow without you having to read out loud from them. As you are talking about a subject which must be very dear to your heart, i.e. your book, it should be relatively easy to talk enthusiastically even if you are not very experienced.
- gear the talk to your audience so that they don’t go away feeling they have heard a sales pitch and nothing else. Make sure that the pitch is part of the wider subject.
- having said that, make sure that you do communicate in an interesting way what your book is about and why they should buy it
- if you are not already familiar with it, learn how to use Powerpoint and have a simple presentation prepared which you can then amend as required.
- it’s obvious, but remember to take copies of your book for people to buy. Also make sure you have change to give them, as they will be paying by cash.
- have some kind of marketing material which you can give to everyone who attends to take away with them. People may not want to buy your book on the night for various reasons, but they may do so later, so need to know how to find it. I have book marks with the book title, a plot summary and the website where they can buy the book on it and i give these to everyone.
- finally, don’t expect to sell large numbers of books at these talks. They are just part of a much wider strategy which is all about publicising your book as widely as possible.
As I said, I have to force myself to do this kind of thing, but once I get going I have to say that I do enjoy these opportunities to talk about my book and I think that you will too.