We are writers. We have talent. And of that talent, there are many facets. One such facet of our talents, when honed to a fine point, will give you a significant edge that will result in better book sales. And this talent will increase your awareness of what readers want, and give you assertiveness that very few people have.
This talent is something that very few writers can perform, and most of them don’t even want to try.
And the really interesting thing is: you have an advantage on EVERY OTHER WRITER when you unleash this talent.
WHAT IS THIS TALENT, YOU ASK???
Why, it’s being a panelist at a con, or a speaker at a workshop.
Very likely, in your group of writing friends, you will find the number of happy panelist/speaker types at a complete zero.
Well, writers are usually shy creatures, happy to live abroad in gritty hotels, remote isolated places, or someone’s basement. They don’t do a lot of face-to-face interactios if they can avoid it, tending to prefer sitting behind their computer sucking down coffee or alcoholic beverages.
So, how does this help me get readers?
While the majority of writers are isolated with nothing but booze and bad dreams, YOU my dear friend can learn to squash your fears and get out there and try it. You want readers, right? Well, go where the readers are!
Six ways to speak and get reader’s attention
- You can sell books at the event after your presentation. This will require a paperback version for which you will have to buy and resell. Everyone who does public speaking will do this. And guess what? THEY SELL BOOKS.
- The formula for success as a speaker/panelist: Speak more, get better at it, get more invites to speak more. Sometimes you have to VOLUNTEER, translated: no money. But these events mean you are getting seen, getting experience, and being considered as a pro. Not to mention the perks of being a panelist on panels with REALLY famous book people.
- Speaking on subjects you know a lot about, ie. writing and the writing life, are always events where you are considered an expert. It gives you cred.
- Speaking builds up your brand and augments your social media reach. Be sure to ASK for people to look you up and fan, follow, and friend you whenever they are posting on their social media sites about the con/workshop etc.
- Being a panelist or speaker helps to reach an audience that you might never reach any other way. And once they know about you, they will come to seek you out online. It is critical that you have a website, blog, and social media accounts because of the verocity of this behavior. They SAW you in person. They may have TALKED to you after the event. Readers are a possessive bunch. They own you now. So, be sure to make it easy for them. Otherwise you are losing opportunities.
- Sometimes you will feel like a celebrity when you get these speaking engagements. You will feel like one and the audience will consider you one. It’s pretty magical. You are before a rapt group of listeners who are there JUST to hear what YOU have to say. So make it good, dear friend. Speak like a professional. Share relatable things. Give them something to go home and DO when they finish. Be sure to make this time with you the best time of the whole day/weekend/whatever. Make them WANT that bookmark or business card and ESPECIALLY your book!
For some of us (yes, me too) speaking takes a WHOLE lot out of us. It takes a lot to edge up the courage to perform(and really, isn’t that what you are doing up there?) and it leaves us feeling completely drained afterwards. But it is so worth it. You will lose some of the trepedation the more that you do these events.
Don’t ask me how to prep for one though. I usually abstain from food and drink, but that’s because I don’t want to throw up on my audience.
You could go out and read some stuff about how to learn to be a good public speaker. But really? I like going on my empty gut and just doing it. Audiences are filled with readers and they are downright forgiving for your nerves. In fact, I usually tell them about my nerves and how they are some of my best friends. It always gets a chuckle or two. And, by they way, humor is the best medicine, believe that.