In this episode, you are going to learn three simple steps you can take to start getting speaking gigs and use them to sell more books.

Why you should listen to this episode

But Thomas … more people are scared of death, than speaking!

But Jim … there are authors out there that know they want to speak, but aren’t sure how to get started

Why Public Speaking?

  1. Sells Books  
  2. Higher Margins  
  3. Changes Hearts and Minds
  4. Creates a loyal following  
  5. Attracts Publishers & Agents  
  6. Builds and Establishes Your Authority
  7. Hones & Refines Your Messages
  8. Easier Than it Looks (90% of people are too scared to try it)  
  9. This is the day and age we live in … people expect to be able to see and hear the authors they love

3 Steps to Get Your First Gig

Step #1 Create A Speaker Packet PDF

  • Headshot
  • One Paragraph Bio
  • Talk Title(s)
    • How many talks should you have ready?
  • Talk Blurb
  • Contact Info

Step #2 Start Contacting Groups

  • How to make that first contact.  
    • Talk to friends  
    • Talk to friends
    • Talk to friends
  • Be Prepared to speak at a moments notice (Toastmasters)
    • Mount Hermon
    • SXSW
  • Research Groups to Reach Out To
    • Find them on the web – who is the contact  
  • Samples! Record yourself.

Step #3 Embrace Speaking for Free

  • Libraries
  • Rotary
  • MOPS
  • Networking Groups
  • Meetup
  • Toast Masters
  • Why FREE is something you should continue to do even after you start getting paying
  • gigs.

But You don’t want to do free gigs your whole life. In the rest of this course you will learn how to grow into and attract not just paid gigs but good money.

Thomas’ Story

When I was first developing my speaking skills I had a goal to talk six times a month somewhere about something. It meant taking a lot of terrible free gigs to hit that goal. “Yes I would be happy to speak to your rotary club” was a phrase I found myself saying a lot.

When someone asked if I would do announcements at church, I looked at how many times I was speaking and said yes. I did a lot of talks in living rooms in those days.

I recorded the talks and then listened to them to see how I could get better. I also worked on the talk itself to see how to make it better. The more times I give a talk, the funnier and more focused it got.

This practice helped me get better overall as a speaker. I started measuring success by whether someone in the audience invited me to speak to their group.

Sometimes my talks were merely “base hits” where people clapped and told me they liked it but no invite came. But as I kept at it the invites started coming in. One attendee invited me to speak for a week at an event in Hawaii, all expenses paid. That led to an invitation to return to Hawaii with my wife and later an invitation to speak in Switzerland.

Speaking for free is a chance to try out a new talk on a live audience before you take it on the road. One of my web hosting clients is an author who speaks to tens of thousands of people every year. Each year she prepares a new talk to take on the road and she tests it on an audience at a local church in her area. The event is free and is just a way to see how the talk works on a live audience, to get the jokes working, that sort of thing.

In short, never underestimate the power of practice before a live audience. Also, you never know when being faithful in little things will lead to greater things in the future.

Quick Tips

  • Be ready for impromptu speaking.
  • Prep several talks that you are ready to pitch to conferences.
  • Host a meetup group to practice your new talks on.  
  • Practice in your head
  • Get a critique partner


The Tax and Business Guide for Authors

In this course you will learn how to qualify for tax deductions for your writing-related expenses (not all writers qualify) and about 19 tax deductions authors can take advantage of. You will also learn how to start making a writing income even before your first book comes out.

You will also learn business fundamentals like when and how to form an LLC, how to create a business plan and how to reduce your chances of being audited by the IRS. The course is taught by Tom Umstattd a CPA with over 35 years of experience working with authors.

Learn more

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