As an authorpreneur it is easy to get caught up in the digital web of social media and technology platforms.  They are, of course, great marketing tools and can bring about huge benefits. But remember that, no matter what your genre, the best marketing tool is yourself. And that means that you have to be prepared to speak publicly about yourself and your work.

It’s no secret that most people cringe at the idea of public speaking. Usually this is because they have had little experience, or their past experiences of it have been negative. It is certainly daunting to stand up in front of a crowd of people – even a small one, but it can pay dividends. There is a lot of truth to putting a “face” to the name. How many times have you been only mildly interested in a topic or publication only to have that change when you had the chance to see and hear and the person live? So try and overcome your fears, put aside your doubts, and be prepared to speak. Still not convinced? Then consider the following:

  • People who can sell themselves can sell products. And people who are well versed in the art of speaking can sell more products.
  • No one can talk about your book better than you.  
  • Speaking publicly enables you to talk more freely and come across more passionately than the sound bite style social media permits.
  • You can get real-time feedback from people who turned up because they are interested or intrigued by your work and not because they are family, friends or ‘followers’.
  • It’s a chance to link up with the community and spread the word on a local level. As well as meeting people who you may not reach online or who do not use online forums.
  • You can make connections; meet potential sponsors and potential buyers. (NB make sure you have a way to get people’s contact details.)
  • You can video your speech/presentation/Q&A session and use it for webinars.
  • You can test the water about ways to further promote your work.
  • You can gauge if there is likely to be interest in a second book.

Before embarking on any kind of promotional speaking make sure you are prepared. Although there are some people who seem naturally versed in the art, most of us need some practice and coaching along the way. There are clubs and organizations that offer this opportunity; make use of them. Get advice from your publishing and print consultants as well. They can help make recommendations. Try and attend the next speaking event at your local library or special-interest group. It will give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t.

You don’t have to be a great orator but you do have to capture your audience’s attention to get your message across. The more compelling and relatable you are the more likely people will buy your book. So make sure your marketing effort is complete and allow yourself access to live audiences.

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Mary Vaux-ClarkMary Vaux-Clark is a freelance editor, proof-reader and writer. Her areas of interest include current affairs, travel, history and sport. She has travelled widely and worked in Hong Kong as an editor and ESL teacher for over ten years.