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Sources for Speaking Engagements

Speaking engagements are highly effective at building an author’s reputation, getting people talking about your book (i.e., word-of-mouth), and selling more copies. Fortunately, there are many organizations that need some desperately speakers for their meetings. Such events create a great opportunity for authors to promote themselves and their books. However, a blatant sales pitch is often discouraged because the organization wants you to provide useful information to their members rather than be a live commercial.

The best way to get started with speaking engagements is to begin small and in your home town area. As you get more comfortable you can begin talking to larger audiences that are farther away from your home. You may even begin earning speaking fees after you’ve established a good reputation.

Before contacting any of the sources identified below:

  1. Have a discussion topic in mind.
  2. Write down reasons why the topic you are proposing to discuss would be relevant to the organization or group.
  3. Remain flexible so you can adapt to meet the needs of the organization or group.

Here are some sources for your next speaking engagement:

  1. Libraries may be interested in authors talking about their book specifically or the topic addressed in the book.
  2. Chambers of Commerce bring in speakers to discuss topics that meet the needs of, or are of interest to, the local business community. Contact the events coordinator or president to discuss how you can meet the needs of the local business community.
  3. Rotary Clubs welcome speakers who can meet the needs of their volunteer-oriented members. Contact the events coordinator or president to discuss your topic.
  4. Churches often have outside speakers discuss topics of interest to their congregation and/or community. Contact your local churches to determine if there is a good fit.
  5. Look under “Community Centers” or “Recreation Centers” in your local phone book.
  6. Associations that are related to the subject addressed in your book have regular gatherings where speakers can discuss applicable topics.
  7. Conferences sometimes have an open application process for people to lead a seminar or session. Whether you are accepted depends largely on the applicability of your talk as well as your qualifications (and having a book certainly helps to establish you as an expert).
  8. Schools, colleges, and continuing education programs are open to having guest speakers who can bring a complementary perspective to the class. Contact the teacher or instructor.
  9. Non-profit organizations, Businesses, and Government facilities bring in speakers to give lunch-time seminars on topics that would be of interest to their employees. Contact the Personnel or Human Relations (HR) departments of non-profit organizations, businesses, and local, state, and federal office buildings in your area.


by David Tortorelli

David Tortorelli is editor of Author Insider and serves as president of the book marketing firm, Book Premieres.


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