Each month, the Nonfiction Authors Association asks a burning publishing question of our wonderful, experienced members. Here’s what they have to say in July! This month, due to an overwhelming number of responses, we’ve decided to publish this round-up as a two-part post.
NFAA: What topics do you speak about?
I love speaking about issues that touch my heart and my audience’s hearts. As a writer, speaker, and teacher of marketing, that’s not always easy. One of my mentors, Jay Levinson, author of the global bestselling series Guerrilla Marketing, told me of all the successful business owners he had met (and he knew some legendary figures) not one had started their business just for the money. Each was driven by a heart-felt passion for their vision.
So how do you bring heart and passion into a sales funnel or round-up of marketing tactics? You do it through telling authentic stories about overcoming your own struggles, about the life-altering discoveries you made along the way, and about the personal transformation your books or service promise, and hopefully deliver, to your readers. My most well-received speech was supposed to be about a bunch of same-old-same-old marketing tactics. Instead, my talk took a magical turn when I spontaneously abandoned my notes and urged my listeners to find the heart in their own story instead of selling their product. The result: a standing ovation and a line of folks wanting to buy my books; a line so long that the event organizer had to break it up so the next speaker could start.
James Dillehay is author of Soaring to #1: How I Got My Nonfiction Book to #1 in New Releases in 9 Categories in its First 2 Weeks Without Reviews or a Mailing List
JOHN M. MCLAUGHLIN
I write and speak on autism as a change-agent within public education and the disabilities community. My research focuses upon how autism has dramatically changed the disabilities community from an “all-for-one” mentality to an “every-disability-for-itself” reality. The change has transpired due to rapid advances in the neurological and behavioral sciences; the inability of public schools, special education, and federal law to incorporate these advances into practice; and the role social media plays in enabling disabilities communities to advocate for single groups rather than the disabilities community as a whole.
I write and speak on the interface of public education and market-based solutions to improve K-12 education. Beginning in the early 1990s, I devoted my professional career to examining market forces—charter schools, open enrollment, dual enrollment, contracted special education, outsourced services—within public education. I started The Education Industry Report in 1992 and was the first to estimate the amount of money the nation spends on education (around $900 billion) and tagged education “America’s second largest economic activity.” Only healthcare controls a larger portion of America’s economy. I have an extensive speaking record in this area and have been interviewed by virtually every major newspaper, magazine, and broadcast medium on the topic.
Books: We’re In This Together: Public Private Partnerships in Special and At-Risk Education (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015); How Autism Is Reshaping Special Education: The Unbundling of IDEA (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017); The Last Year of the Season (North Star Press, 2014).
John serves on the board of directors and is Writer in Residence at the nation’s largest private special education company, ChanceLight Education www.chancelight.com. He is the Managing Partner of McLaughlin Advisors, a pre-sale advisory for owners of clinics which provide applied behavior analysis for children with autism. www.mclaughlinadvisors.com
I speak about marketing and how simple it is to connect to people on a meaningful level. Marketing is simply communication that connects your ideal audience to the their ideal product (the thing you’re selling) in way that makes them eager to buy it.
Since my product is effective digital marketing I simply demonstrate how to do this to my audience. This shows value up front and that I know what I’m doing and earns my agency new clients regularly. I would suggest speaking about how you deliver the value in your book, product, or service. Make it very clear and simple to understand and use examples from your own experience. Having a very concise and well-structured presentation works wonders as well.
Here are some examples of our spoken content:
My audiences include writing groups, business writers, and nonfiction authors, in-person or online. Speaking topics include:
- The “inner game” of writing: balancing creativity and productivity
- Authority and expertise for nonfiction authors
- Building an author platform that you can live with
- Discount book promotions
- Marketing for subscription-based businesses
Anne Janzer, author of award-winning books including Writing to Be Understood and The Writer’s Process. Find her writing blog and online courses at AnneJanzer.com.
I abandoned my corporate career to become a full-time writer and digital nomad, and now I help writers to navigate the decisions and challenges of self-publishing. I also share how travel writers can use freewriting and their five senses to improve their travel writing.
Non-fiction author Jay Artale writes travel guides and non-fiction books about travel writing and self-publishing. She runs Birds of a Feather Press and hosts the twice-monthly podcast How Travel Writers Self-Publish. Listen to my How Travel Writers Self-Publish podcast
Want to connect with fellow nonfiction writers? Join the Nonfiction Authors Association tribe! Subscribing members can participate in our members-only Facebook group, plus receive many other exciting benefits.