How to Book Yourself for Speaking Gigs to Sell More BooksGetting a book published is the starting line, not the finish line. That is when the race begins to get booked as a speaker.

Speaking is the fastest way to get exposure and build credibility. It’s how every great movement began. It is also the best way to attract high-paying clients.

If you want to get booked as a speaker to sell more books, you need to start with the art of the phone call.

“You need to get on the phone and risk that someone will say yes to you,” says Lois Creamer, a go-to expert on marketing professional speakers.

Every time you reach out and make a phone call one of the first questions you should ask is “When are you going to be in planning mode for the next meeting?” If they are not ready to book a speaker, then that is not the right time to speak to them.

Here are the top five questions Creamer advises authors to use to book more speeches:

  1. When do you begin planning the meeting?
  2. Who have used in the past?
  3. Do you have a specific program date?
  4. Where will the meeting be held?
  5. How is the decision made regarding speakers?

Authors should speak for a fee or sometimes waive their fee, but never speak for free.  Free is the f-word.  One author I know who has sold 70,000 books says he speaks in the $5,000 to $10,000 range, but does do two pro bono speeches each month for groups without the budget to afford professional speakers.

“To influence and connect with others, inspire change, and build your business, it is critical to speak authentically and confidently in front of groups,” says Maria Lynn Johnson, author of a great book titled The World’s Greatest Speakers.

Here are six tips from Johnson on how to get booked to speak:

  1. Research groups and organizations and track down the person who schedules speakers. (This may take a few calls.) When possible, attend the meeting at which you want to speak.
  2. Introduce yourself and ask meeting professionals how you can serve them. (What can you say and do that will ensure they hit a homerun at their event?)
  3. Be ready. Have your speaker sheet, intro and topics written. Try to capture video and photos of yourself speaking, as most places ask for a speaker reel.
  4. Deliver a compelling talk so you get referrals. (Open your talk with a bang by engaging them, then share three key points with supporting stories, and give a call-to-action.)
  5. Practice. Speak as much as possible. Record yourself. Don’t wait until you’re perfect and confident to begin. Beginning is how you get there.
  6. Behave as the expert. Run your practice as a business. You have value and are the expert. Offering your services improves people’s lives. Price yourself accordingly.

But what do you say when you approach groups? Here is a sample email from Johnson to organizations who may need speakers:

Dear Name,

My name is Maria Lynn Johnson. I live in Minneapolis, MN and I teach leaders “WHAT to say, and HOW to say it” so they skyrocket their credibility and brand. (Describe the specific benefit and problem you solve.)

I see your organization is going through (research the company and mention something current that may point to a need – know your stuff). My expertise from 20 years in corporate training and ten years as a successful entrepreneur can help your team (explain the benefit you can provide tying your solution to their needs). And I do it in an engaging, impactful, and playful way. (Quick description of unique expertise). 

Meeting professionals have said they appreciate my preparedness, flexibility, and professionalism. Audiences walk away feeling excited, energized and understood, as well as equipped to take on the world.

Name, I would love to serve your community and help you hit a homerun in your next event! I have openings starting in January 2019 (just in time to kick off the new year with a bang). 

Your Contact Details, email, phone, website

But What If You Have Stage Fright

If you need to learn how to speak, join Toastmasters. Not only is such a group likely to attract other success-oriented professionals, it’s also a great, low-threat way to pick up practical pointers, watch other dynamic speakers in action, and begin to get used to the idea of speaking to groups.

A marketing pro who shared some other great ideas on the subject with me recently is Michelle Stansbury, founder and CEO of Little Penguin PR, a strategic public relations company based in San Diego.

“Stage fright is a common fear that affects many business owners,” says Stansbury. “A successful speech can position you as a thought leader and an expert in your industry.

If picturing the audience in their underwear has not worked for you, here are a few additional strategies to help you conquer your fear:

  1. Focus On Key Points: Instead of memorizing a speech, structure your presentation around three to five key points. A memorized speech typically comes across stilted and if you forget a few words or a sentence it can throw off your entire presentation. Having clear key points also makes your speech easier for your audience to understand and remember. Beginning your presentation with a brief summary of the key points will help your audience recognize the takeaways of your speech.
  1. Interact: One of the scariest parts of public speaking is that it can feel like the entire room is against you. Break out of this isolation by bringing the audience into your presentation.
  1. Start With Why: You need to ask yourself: Why you are there to speak? What is the point of your speech? What do you hope to achieve? Keep your ego aside and understand that the audience is not there to watch you fail, but to find value in what you have to say.

Bottom line: Many non-fiction authors would like part-time work being paid to give speeches. The trick is having something of value to say and then connecting with the people willing to book speakers.

Author Bio:

Henry DeVries is the CEO of Indie Books International, a company that has published more than 100 titles since it was founded in 2014.  He is the author of nine non-fiction books, including his international bestseller from McGraw-Hill, How to Close a Deal Like Warren Buffett.  He speaks to thousands each year on the subjects of how to persuade with a story and how to market with a book and a speech. He has a weekly column with

Henry will be presenting on this topic during the weekly teleseminar July 25, 2018.