Many authors wonder, “Do I need to be a public speaker?”
It’s a tricky question; plenty of authors are skilled with pen and paper but hate the idea of speaking to a crowd. You don’t need to be a professional public speaker in order to reach your audience, but in order to effectively market your book, you should probably have some public speaking skills in your back pocket. At the very least, you’ll want to be comfortable enough with public speaking to do readings and similar events to promote your book. To help you out, we’ve put together some tips on how to feel more comfortable in the podium spotlight.
Tip #1 - Talk about topics you enjoy talking about. If you’re trying to speak on an unfamiliar topic, you’ll most likely be stressed on the stage, and that stress will show. It’s much harder to engage with your audience if you lack passion for the subject matter. Before agreeing to speak at an event, ask yourself what you know the most about. What are you interested in (related to your book, of course)? Is there a subject area that you have spent time and energy learning about? What do you think your audience wants to hear?
Tip #2 - Find a way to personally connect with your audience. One effective way to do this is to open with a personal anecdote that relates to your overall topic. Do you have any life lessons to share based on your past experiences or mistakes? What are some relevant life hacks that you have discovered and want to share with your audience?
Tip #3 - Make sure you’re speaking to groups at locations that connect with your book topic or genre. Ultimately, it isn’t worth spending a lot of time and energy on a speaking engagement that won’t bring new readers to your book. Look for places that cater to your audience’s demographic and seek out speaking opportunities at those locations.
Every author is different, and thus every author’s approach to using promoting their book via speaking engagements is going to be different. The amount of public speaking you want to do is up to you, but it’s somewhat inevitable when it comes to selling your book and promoting yourself. Practice makes perfect, though, and the more experience you have with speaking to an audience, the easier it will become.