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What Really Sells Books? Tip 3 — Speaking Events Work

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In this series of posts, I’ve been looking back at my last almost 10 years of working as professional author and reviewing out of all the things I’ve tried, what has actually sold books.

My motto lately has been, “promotion and awareness is great but what actually sells books?”  The last two posts I covered two tips. One was the basics and the other was about doing book signings the right way.

This week’s tip is about something that I know sells books immediately, doing speaking engagements.  And I don’t mean wasting your time trying to put together your own groups of people but rather speaking at pre-existing groups that are always hungry for new speakers.

My first novel was an urban love story. Yet I sold hundreds of books at Rotary Clubs all over the country. I was invited to speak as far as Nigeria.  Rotary Clubs are generally local business people. So, how did I manage to book gigs there? I focused on my back story, of how I came from very humble beginnings (having lived in my car as a teen) and accomplished my dream of being an author.  And this was before I landed the Warner Books contract with the same book.

I absolutely loved speaking to these groups all over the place and after my 15-20 minute presentation, I sold books in the back of the room.  Usually on a bad day, half the people who attended bought copies but generally 70-90% of those in attendance bought books.

That’s my tip for you, find groups such as Rotary Clubs, Elk’s Clubs, Women’s Organizations, Business Associations that are looking for speakers. Send them a quick email introducing yourself and offering to speak for free in lieu of being able to sell books after the engagement.

There are a lot of details that go into doing this but that’s the gist of it and it works!

Next post, we’ll discuss a way you can sell books without leaving your house.

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