Selling Books as an Author/Speaker

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.

selling books
Today I asked Tweed to share with you how he sells so many books right after he speaks.

Tweed Scott:

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.

selling books

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

You May Also Enjoy…

Ten Questions to Develop Your 2022 Writing Goals

Ten Questions to Develop Your 2022 Writing Goals

Ten Questions To Develop Your Writing Goals Answering the ten questions below will help you develop your writing goals. Are the questions a definitive list of what you want to ask yourself? No. Are the questions going to change your life? No, but they could change...

Amazon Quits Accepting Reader Reviews of Unverified Book Purchases

Amazon Quits Accepting Reader Reviews of Unverified Book Purchases

News Flash: Last month Amazon quit accepting reader reviews for unverified purchases. You may have seen this message when you tried to upload a review of a galley or a borrowed book. "Amazon has noticed unusual reviewing activity on this product. Due to this activity,...


  1. I already have a copy of Tweed’s book. It’s a great, informative & entertaining read & makes me proud to be a Texan! 🙂

  2. Nice piece Stephanie and really good insights about marketing. Thanks for posting.

  3. This is good information for those of us who are self published. This information also works for fiction writers, like myself. I would add, that as a self published author, you need to present yourself and your work to as many bookstores as you can. Many will not take your book if they have to buy from Amazon or the likes, but since I don’t have anyone beating the bushes but me, I find that consignment works. That way the bookstore is only out a little space to carry your book(s) and many times will offer book signings.

  4. I took a road trip through Texas a few years ago and asked several people, “Is Texas part of the midwest or the south or the southwest?” Everybody said, “Texas is TEXAS”. They weren’t in the least bit interested in my multiple choice question/answer. Tweed Scott’s marketing plan is helpful and reminds me that writing is no longer a matter of sitting alone in a room. Rather, we go out and talk to the potential readers, something that sounds like fun to me.

  5. Thanks for this interesting post which I enjoyed greatly. This book sounds like a real treasure. Many thanks.

  6. Having corresponded with Mr. Scott via FB, I was already impressed with his charm. I’m certain he is a welcome speaker wherever he goes and that his books sell quickly because people like what he has to say and the way he says it. Nearly everybody likes Texas (I think!), and find stories about it intriguing. Especially when presented by a handsome personable man. Guess I’ll have to buy this one if I don’t win it.

  7. I have loosely figured that I spend 15% of my time creating and 85% marketing. But I think Tweed’s numbers are probably more accurate. I have a number of titles, and I read from 5-6 of them in my programs. My goal is to sell one book for every person present. I think Tweed’s advice is right on.

  8. Oh, yes — it really does help book sales to do talks, and absolutely, an assistant at these things is beyond price! My poor daughter handles the cash box and tells people how to make out checks — and all the while, I am signing the book and talking to the customers.

  9. Tweed is one of the most skilled people I know at marketing his work. And he is always happy to share his secrets with others. This book sounds like a fascinating collection.

  10. Such terrific advice from an old schoolmate! I must agree with Tweed…books just don’t sell themselves as some authors might think. One needs the full package–an informative, entertaining presentation, and an immediate sale to a captive audience. Sounds very much like Tweed has a proven recipe!

  11. Great suggestions for authors of any type of book. When we travel, we buy books of the area we visit and its history. Your book is one we would look for in the museum shops we visit. We have see a few authors at park visitor’s centers and gift shops. A good venue for sales, at least we almost always buy.

    I’ll be looking for your book the next time we go to Texas. It certainly is a state with its own strong personality. It sounds like an interesting read.

  12. Having heard Tweed Scott speak, I can tell you that he does know how to market his work.

  13. I love Tweed! He is one of the most amazing people I’ve met in a long time. I love chatting with him. He knows so many interesting things. Never a dull moment. I miss seeing him since he doesn’t spend much time in Austin these days. Reading this makes me think I should write a book, so I can sell it. He makes it sound so easy. The selling, not the writing. 🙂

  14. Great advice from one who has gone through the wringer. I’ll have to work on my speechifying and see what happens. Not being a Texan, I may have to buy Tweed’s book anyway.

  15. I have always had a thought in the back of mind of publishing my thoughts someday–about my childhood, years of teaching Do’s and Don’ts, or children stories about positive things in life. Speaking is easy to me. Good advice to add to my plan.

  16. I love your blog. I would love to have a copy of the book Texas in Her Own Words. Born and reared Texan for ??years.

  17. Texas is TEXAS!!! Love it! Makes me a bit homesick and can’t wait to read Tweed’s book!

  18. I’m going to have to get this…sounds like a great read. I’ll have to get one for my Yankee son-in-law – maybe it’ll help him understand wife’s family better!

  19. Looking forward to have a book or two of Tweed’s on my book shelf one day!!!

  20. I believe only a true Texan can write about true Texas experiences!

  21. Marketing is so very important and collecting these email addresses for future research is pretty good too. Hope the book soars in sales. I will be checking it out if it is about Texas.

  22. The postings on this blog sound great. I will have to get this book as I married a Texan and was raised there. I know my husband would enjoy it also since we have been living in AZ, my home state for the last 20 plus years. His heart and soul belong to Texas even though his body is here. I am sure it would hold fond memories for he and for our kids who were also born in Texas.

  23. I love Texas and all that represents our great state. This book sounds like a great read.
    I will soon benefit from this great marketing advice, and pass it on to others I know who may benefit as well.

  24. Am looking forward to reading this. I was born and raised in Texas and know there’s no place better on earth.

  25. This was wonderful information and I will look forward to the book, as I am in the process of writing a book on a divine intervention experience, I will be saving this site and contact information.

  26. I look forward to reading this one!!

  27. This will be a great read as anything that has to do with Texas can be nothing other than great. As my grandfather, who was born & raised in Dallas always told me, “There is no republic on this earth as beautiful, true, honest or as sincere as The Great & Glorious Republic of Texas”.

  28. There is nothing like the great state of Texas!

  29. Howdy! Impressive information that sticks. You are right; writing is only the creative segment that is allowed to occur in the dark, but getting your writing noticed takes good-old-fashioned pavement pounding, day and night. Putting creative marketing “flashers” around your effort is a must-do, if a person wants to sell their book. I would absolutely LOVE to read this book. Moreover, I’d love to have this book find a PERMANENT ADDRESS on my bookshelf! Texas is home and the frequent guests that come through my house are allowed to “check-out” a book from my treasured private library. Any guest can see by my books that I’m a Texan and darn proud of it!

  30. My sister-in-law is now living in Minnesota and while she doesn’t miss the heat she is proud to let all know she is a Texan! I’ll have to get both of us this book!

  31. Thanks for the good information. I look forward to reading the book. As a twelfth-generation Texan, my hobby is Texas history and all things Texan. The subject never gets dull.

  32. I would love the book and hope I win it!

  33. I welcome the marketing advice and love to read books about Texas. Hope I win a copy so I can read and spread it around to others!

  34. I am also a native Texan and hope to be able to use this as inspiration when it comes time to tell the story of my family and their incredible lives.

  35. Great tips. I’ll remember them when I write a book.
    I’m a Daughter of the Republic of Texas, always on the lookout for good books related to Texas history.

  36. I just wanted to first, thank Stephanie Barko for asking me to write this blog post for her. I have known her a long time and consider her one of the best in the business. I’m flattered & honored she asked me to participate. I also want to thank everyone for their kind comments about the post and Texas in Her Own Words. If I can save you a single hassle while you’re out there promoting & selling your book then I’m a happy camper. Writing is not only a craft; so is the marketing. Feel free to contact me anytime.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This