Posted on Leave a comment

The Power of Free (Talks)

November 8, 2021– Wait…I know what you’re thinking…we’ve already talked about freebies and giveaways! Don’t worry; we’re not duplicating what we’ve already learned. We’re talking about The Power of Free Talks to build your credibility and following as an author.

So what does this entail? Well, you’ve written a book, and now you’ve done something that a lot of people haven’t done but may be interested in; this knowledge and the process of self-publishing a book or being traditionally published lets you speak about your experience and how you got from point a (unknown writer) to point b (published author). By offering free talks about your journey, you can not only let people know how to do what you did, what inspired you to write, a bit about your book and where to find it, and tips to share, but you can build a solid following of new readers eager to hear you speak again and ready to buy your books.

Here are five best practices when offering free presentations:

  1. Don’t use PowerPoint. I’m not a fan of slides because I think that people pack way too much information into each one, and the message gets lost; I think it’s very impersonal and stuffy at times too. You want to connect with your audience in a more intimate way, and by standing behind a podium clicking through slides, you create barriers to yourself and your message.
  2. Practice until it’s perfect. Don’t use notes if you can help it. Looking at your notes, or worse, reading from your notes verbatim disengages you from your audience. Practice until your presentation is memorized, but allow room for things to be created organically based on the needs and wants of your audience.
  3. Bring stock. Sell your book at the back of the room.  A good rule of thumb is to bring what you think you’ll need plus half. So, that means if you think (or have confirmed) a dozen people will attend, bring eighteen books to sell.
  4. Anticipate questions. Leave some room at the end of your discussion for questions from your attendees. I like to give about 15 minutes and find that anything longer is too long to allocate for questions.
  5. Sign-ups. At the beginning and end of your talk, let your audience know that there is a signup sheet they can add their email to if they’d like to be added to your email list for upcoming events and information about your new book releases and future talks. Let them know the value of signing up, such as behind-the-scenes info, special offers, and more.

Places to do free talks:

  1. Schools-School auditoriums will often let you rent out their space after hours.
  2. Libraries-Check with your local library about putting on a free presentation or book talk. They’ll usually help you advertise it and put up posters for the event to let their patrons know there will be a special presentation.
  3. Churches- Some churches have community rooms that you can use for free or for a small donation. Check your local listings.
  4. Conference rooms-You’re often able to rent out small rooms above arenas and in corporate spaces.

Some of my most loyal readers and best customers have come from giving free talks at the local library! Give it a shot; you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.