“It’s getting harder to find places to sell books.”
Public speaking is still the most effective sales tool for book authors according to many professionals. But with conference attendances lowering, and some closing down, the opportunities are dwindling.
And without a strong marketing plan, you often can’t get a publisher to bite on a proposal anyway.
So what’s an author to do?
You’ve probably heard “think outside the box” when it comes to marketing, but what does that mean?
Don’t lose hope, there are still effective things you can do to strengthen your marketing strategy through speaking. For instance, re-slant your messages to fit groups you might not normally speak to, or have never thought of speaking to.
- If you speak on marriage, have you targeted business groups and associations where couples may work together, or have employees who do?
- If parenting is your theme, have you contacted day-care centers who often spend more waking hours with children than parents?
- If grief or trauma is your message, what about speaking to Chambers of Commerce, or association conferences about how their members can help the hurting, promote good will, and further their mission as a result?
- Is there an awards banquet you can connect a presentation to?
When contacting churches and ministry organizations, ask yourself questions like these:
- What are the biggest problems I see in society today?
- What are my greatest pet peeves?
- What do I hear people complain about most often?
- What do people say they are lacking?
Those are the areas you can target to reach audiences in a relevant way. Many ministries are looking for speakers who can address concerns of a younger crowd growing more jaded, more “accepting,” and more in need of spiritual wisdom than ever. But wrapped in practical twenty-first century applications.
The fact is, human beings all over the planet are drawn to messages of hope and encouragement, and like-minded people flock together. The key is to develop a strategic marketing plan, do your homework, study potential audiences, make consistent contacts, and follow up on a regular basis. Over time you will begin to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. Set goals and stick to them.
To help you get started, here’s a link that offers info on associations of all kinds.
Finally, I must mention the most important thing of all. Partnering with God through prayer, trust, AND practical action.
Here’s my real secret to any marketing success. Based on the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25, I ask God who the bankers are that He wants me to invest my talents with, and then I look and listen. I’m often surprised at the opportunities available; it simply takes looking at things through fresh eyes. Sometimes in the box, and sometimes by stepping out.
Have you discovered any unique ways to market books or sign more speaking events?