From Aspiring Author to Dynamic Speaker: Use Your Book to Get Booked
Something we say to prospective authors at Streamline Books: “Your Book is The Hook.” We wholeheartedly believe that statement and my co-founder, Will Severns and I know it to be true in our own lives. As a full-time keynote speaker and author, I meet some amazing people and work with incredible organizations. While traveling for various speaking engagements, I frequently am asked questions such as, “How did you become a speaker?” or “I have a story to tell, how do I get into speaking?”
The truth is, there is no “secret method” to getting paid to speak unless you are a former president, celebrity, or professional athlete. But . . . for most of us, there are specific ways to increase your odds of getting paid for speaking engagements.
WHERE TO START AS A SPEAKER
The first thing I always tell people is that you must be willing to give your content away for FREE. The first 10 speaking engagements I conducted were free. I needed to test my original material, get valuable feedback, and prove to myself I could do it before I ever asked anyone to pay me to speak.
As of this writing, I have been speaking professionally for five years. However, I still speak for FREE occasionally—for reasons which are important to me and you should consider if you want to do more speaking in the future . . .
- If the client is willing to order hundreds/thousands of books for their audience members or their organization.
- If the opportunity will allow me to get my message in front of key decision-makers and industry thought leaders.
- If the speaking engagement allows me to connect with individuals who want to write a book which will enable our team at Streamline Books to help more people make an impact!
- I elect to do a certain amount of pro-bono speaker agreements each year for organizations that align with my values.
- If I create a new keynote or workshop, this is an excellent opportunity to test out new concepts with a live audience.
I recently published my new book, The Sale with my co-author Jon Gordon. For the past six years, I have been mentored by Jon and gained a wealth of knowledge from him concerning the speaking and book publishing industry.
When I first started speaking, Jon told me something I will never forget—a simple phrase with substantial implications. He said, “Speaking leads to more speaking.” I am consistently reminded of this every time I put myself in the arena and share my message knowing it could lead to more opportunities for me to speak in the future.
This is called “spin-off” business—when someone from the crowd resonates with what you share and asks if you will speak at a future event for their organization or group. My goal, at every talk, is to connect with at least three people about a future opportunity at their event.
YOUR BOOK IS THE HOOK
In the same way, you should speak for free at the beginning of your speaking career, you should also be willing to give away hundreds if not thousands of copies of your book for free. Many people assume that when they publish your first book, you will become an overnight success and Oprah Winfrey or Joe Rogan will call you for an interview. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
When you first launch your book, you need to be scrappy and understand you are your brand.
But more than a brand itself, you have a real story and area of expertise to share! And for your story to stand out in a busy world, you need to push and promote your brand! You should feel confident in promoting your book because you believe in the impact it will have. If you don’t believe in the message of your book, you won’t be as motivated to promote it. If you do, you should diligently work to get it into as many hands as possible, and it all starts by giving it away for free.
There is power in meeting someone and giving them a signed copy of your book. You are adding value to them by providing a tangible resource that will hopefully have a positive and lasting impact on their lives.
One magical component of giving your book away for free is that many times, the person who you give your book will then give it to someone else or recommend you after reading it. You gain a raving fan and advocate by giving away your book. When I travel, I bring multiple books with me. When the person who sits next to me on my flight asks what I do for a living, I tell them that I write and speak for a living and I give them a copy of my book. It is a memorable moment that opens the door to all kinds of opportunities.
Those kinds of moments, which you will have as well, speak to how the book really is the hook. It’s something we’ve seen our Streamline authors and speakers do–take and run with their books. We can’t wait to help you do the same in the months and years ahead