“The free-lance writer is the person who is paid per piece or per word or perhaps.” ~ Robert Benchley
There is one thing we consistently see across the board. We constantly educate our authors on how their book is not a singular passive revenue stream; but we inform them how their book can become a business with multiple revenue streams. When our clients come to us with such tunnel vision we educate about the “business-in-a-box” business model and slowly light up the tunnel until, “ta-da,” the realization of a business opportunity hits them smack on the side of the head. They finally understand the concept and then they run with it. When you write a book, it is a platform and opportunity to do many other things such as speaking engagements, workshops, and increase your current business activities.
“The answer is out there, Neo, and it's looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.” ~ Trinity, The Matrix
Did someone just give me a mic?
When SMASH: a Smart Girls Guide to Marketing and Public Relations first came out last year, we were immediately flooded with speaking opportunities. The part that was surprising was that the people who were asking us to speak did not even read the book yet. When you publish a book, you are automatically viewed as an expert. Now, between the two of us we do have the marketing and publishing experience to warrant the “expert” status; but to get opportunities without even trying was pretty amazing.
There are several ways to leverage this aspect of the “business-in-the-box” model. You can do what we did and take your stand-up comedy routine on the road. First, you will be asked to start with non-paid speaking engagements that you will need to start building your speaking resume anyway. Now, you may be asking yourself, “Why would I want to do something for free?” Well, for one thing you may not be paid but you will be able to sell your book at the back of the room. We have personally watched some of our authors speak and sell not one, but two or even four books to each person in the room. Second, by speaking in general you will be promoting your core business. If you do not sell a book to everyone in the room you are still a 30- to 60-minute business promo to every single person in that room. The exposure is priceless – and they might turn into several new contracts for your core business.
Once you have built up a resume with the small guys, it is time to start leveraging this experience with the major conferences that are relative to your transcript. One very important question to ask your publicist is to find out if they will create pitch letters for you, and if they can submit them as well. When you are on a major conference circuit you are looking at 5K or 10K or even 50K for any speaking opportunity where you keynote. This is not bad income for the time spent – and most major conferences will cover travel as well. Oh, and P.S. you can write off your trip too. Last, when you speak to a group this large you know your Amazon sales are going to blow up to say the least. And, you will be famous.
Now, I think we need to get real for a minute because some people suck the big one when it comes to public speaking. We have seen some pretty bad speakers and two in particular ended up in our screenplay C-ASS. Terrible speakers usually exhibit one of the following qualities: crappy content/lack of audience entertainment/interest/involvement/nervousness.
“According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you're better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” ~Jerry Seinfeld
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being nervous when it comes to public speaking. Now, if you have a deathly fear of it you might not want to pursue this aspect of your “business-in-a-box” model. However, if your fear is minor and you can correct it with a class (or even a nice glass of Merlot) or start attending a group like Toastmasters … go for it.
Most people, unless they are a born entertainer feel nervous when they start a presentation until they get to know their audience. Once they are in for a couple minutes the nerves subside and they actually enjoy the experience. Most people enjoy themselves because they are talking about a topic they feel passionate about; therefore, the speaking engagement becomes fun. Isn’t that a novel concept? On the flipside there is nothing wrong with not wanting to speak if you truly feel uncomfortable. If you are forced to do something you do not want to do your nerves will cause you to do silly things like blurt out things you do not mean; ask for everyone’s opinion in the room for buy in; and overall make your entire audience uncomfortable while they have one single thought going through their heads, “Please God, make it stop.”
Before you decide to get in front of the microphone you should carefully contemplate content, your audience and the interest factor. Over the last year, we have seen more horrific speakers at various networking events we attend. Most of the time, they are walking, talking infomercials and occasionally we leave wondering what the f*** was that about? When we are really scratching our heads that hard about something despite the horrible content the entertainment factor was usually there for sure. First, make sure you are passionate about your content and look at what takeaways your audience should get out of your performance. I know, I know, you are thinking but what’s in it for me? I just want to talk about my upcoming seminar. See, now you are an infomercial. It is best to stick to helpful, relative or inspirational information where you have your audience engaged. The engaged part is key, because once you have them hooked you will have followers (and possibly stalkers) for life. Last, please do your audience a favor and be interesting. If you are boring everyone in the room – and you see them leaving your snooze-fest – chances are public speaking may not be for you.
Once you are published, your book will be a great platform to launch workshops and seminars. Workshops and seminars can be done both online as well as in person and not only will you generate book sales you will be charging for workshop/seminar attendance as well. What a novel idea!
In an ideal world, you should start working on content for these while your book is at the printer. The content for the book will obviously be done, but you need to figure out how you can turn your book into a workshop and what physical takeaway or written plan your attendees will receive. When you have ironed out these little details you also need to figure out how to market your events. I have to share with you that if you do not market your events, no one is going to show up. It also does not feel good to have no one show up at your book-launch party either. Isn’t that your worst nightmare kind of like one of those dreams where you find yourself in the middle of a crowd with just your underwear … doesn’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy does it?
There are some great marketing tools online and your publicist should be aware … if not fire the person. One of our favorite ways to promote our events is through MeetUp. MeetUp is a great, inexpensive online group service you can sign up for to create your meeting group and market your events. The best part of MeetUp is that once your page is up, MeetUp will invite everyone in their system who is interested in your particular topic. MeetUp also accepts payments, pretty cool right?
Another great way to promote your events is through LinkedIn. We have to warn you about LinkedIn though. In the interest groups we belong to, there seems to be a lot of cranky people with free time on their hands that are ready to mud-sling at any time. Our recommendation is to test the water, find an interest group that is a good fit, participate first and then promote.
Last, we started out this chapter talking about how your book is going to be a platform for your business itself. I can guarantee you that if you own an auto body shop and you write a book on a Smart Girls Guide to fixing your car … you are going to get business from local women simply because you have a book out. If you are reading this, and are wondering if this is you, yes … I am talking about you.