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How to land your first speaking gig as a self published author

17 January 2018

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Writing and publishing your own book is hard work, but once it’s done you can bask in the glory of seeing your masterpiece in black and white (literally).

You can do more, though. Savvy writers know that in order to leverage as many sales as possible, they need to get our there and show the world what they’re all about.

This means stepping out from behind the laptop and putting yourself in the spotlight, and one of the most popular ways to do this is via speaking engagements.

Gigs of this kind aren’t easy to find as an author, but there are ways you can work your way into the field:

1. Explore local options

Is your book geared towards a particular niche? For example, if it focuses on a certain interest (such as photography), or overcoming an illness (i.e. cancer), you could reach out to local groups.

Speak to locals organisations and businesses that relate to your niche. You’ll be surprised by just how many there are and, equally, how many might be willing to give you a guest spot at any upcoming events.

2. Hit social media

Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are perfect hunting grounds for speaking opportunities as an author.

Taking the lead from tip 1 above, it pays to check out groups and hashtags on these platforms that relate to the subject of your book.

Get involved; make yourself known in these digital spaces and, after a while, you should get a feeling for any stakeholders within who could help you in your quest to grab a spot on stage somewhere.

3. Skill up

Even if you’re yet to bag a speaking gig, it’s not too early to start honing your skills for when the time comes to take to the podium.

The brilliant thing these days is that there’s so much free learning material to be devoured online. Take YouTube - one simple search on the world’s largest video sharing platform and you’ll find countless experts willing to help you out with fantastic advice.

It’s also a great idea to watch others in action. Look for speakers who talk about topics similar to that covered in your book and observe the way they go about their craft. Make copious notes.

4. Go to a writer’s workshop

What better place to learn the art of speaking as an author than at a writer’s workshop?

At such gatherings, you’ll almost definitely bump into a fellow writer or two who has been there and done it. It’s your chance to pick their brains or even watch them in action if the workshop puts on guest speakers.

And, who knows - if they do, perhaps you could one day be on the bill!

5. Just say “yes”!

When you’re offered your first speaking engagement as a writer, just go for it.

It doesn’t matter how large or small the venue or the expected size of the audience - grab it with both hands!

You need to start somewhere, and no matter where that ‘somewhere’ is, you’ll gain the golden opportunity to make your first appearance as a guest speaker. It’ll be nerve-wracking and you’ll make mistakes, but you’ll learn so much from breaking out of your comfort zone and onto that stage.

Wrapping up

There’s no time like the present to get out there and find your first speaking engagement.

Just bear in mind that it’ll take time, persistence and the odd knock-back, but once you get that first gig, you should experience a domino effect.

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