Today my guest is author/speaker Tweed Scott. Tweed’s beautifully designed nonfiction, a paperback with flaps, is a set of interviews with folks like Darrell Royal, Kinky Friedman and Liz Carpenter, who help you understand why Texans are the way they are and where all that attitude comes from. This book has won awards from the Independent Book Publishers Association, USA Book News, and Independent Publisher.
U. S. residents may comment on this post by August 16 and subscribe via FeedBurner to be entered to win a signed paperback of Tweed’s three-time national award winning, Texas In Her Own Words.
You are an author/speaker and you’ve just completed your presentation from the stage. You hustle to your book signing table as quickly as possible. Why?
Although publishing is one facet of the book business, marketing is the ultimate key to making a book a commercial success. The single most important piece of information I ever learned and accepted was that an author will spend 6% of his time writing the book and 94% of his time marketing it.
I have kept this statistic in mind when making several decisions about how I would market my little labor of love, Texas in Her Own Words. I determined that if I could do an effective presentation and sell my book from the back of the room, I would have a greater chance of selling more books than if I did a standard book signing at a brick and mortar store.
To be fair, I had an advantage going in. A retired broadcaster of some 31 years, I’m comfortable speaking before any size audience from eight to a thousand. There is no doubt that my background has aided the success of Texas in Her Own Words. I typically sell one third to one half the room every time I speak. Presenting and then selling to groups has changed my business model from a writer who speaks to a speaker who writes.
Besides recommending that you join Toastmasters if you need to improve your presentation skills, let me share some techniques that I believe will help you sell more books. My initial presentations to promote my book were at Rotary, Kiwanis, Sertoma and any number of civic organizations. These groups are always looking for speakers. Yes, you’ll speak for free but you’ll get to sell your book in the back of the room. When your presentation is over, don’t delay. Go directly to your table. You should always have your book signing table near the exit. Try to make the audience pass by your table as they leave the room. I recommend that you have a helper—someone to handle sales for you. If you handle the money, it will slow you down and prevent you from visiting with your audience. Your job at this point is to sign books and talk with your customers. People love authors.
Try to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for your customers. You’ve just entertained them and now they want your book. Make it easy for them by having a way to process credit cards. Otherwise, you will lose sales. I like to stick a business card in each book as I hand it to the purchaser. Collect your readers’ business cards. Keep in touch and follow up with your customers. Several from your audience will buy more books later.
Be prepared to answer the question, “I loved your presentation. How much would you charge to speak to my organization?” That is when you should start asking questions, like “What’s it for? How many people will be there? What are your expectations? How much do you normally budget for this kind of presentation?” From this information you should have an idea of how much the room will bear. You don’t want to leave money on the table. If you book a speaking gig, you’ll sell even more books.
I’d be happy to share more techniques with you. Feel free to contact me at Tweed@TweedScott.com.