Monday, July 24, 2006

How to Brand Yourself and Sell Lots of Books

Guest post by Peter “The Humorator” Fogel

Congratulations! You’ve done it! You’ve had your book published. From idea to proposal to final creation it certainly was an arduous journey, wasn’t it? Whether you’re a fiction, or non-fiction writer you must now decide what to do with the marketing of your baby. Yes, having a media blitz with a hired publicist or doing your own grassroots campaign is very important.

But know this: If you have loftier ambitions such as branding yourself as an expert in your chosen field and selling lots of books (Cha-Ching!) one of the quickest and fun ways to do that is through public speaking. Now if you have a fear of public speaking…

Realize 90% of Nervousness Doesn't Even Show

Contrary to what you might thing, public speaking is not essentially stressful. Believe it or not, the audience can not see the butterflies, shaky hands, or sweaty palms. A quick way to combat that is to focus on your audience, the passion you have for your book and how will it change their lives.

I promise you once you get on your feet and put your energies into delivering strong content and see the eager faces in front of you – you will lose your nervousness. And guess what?

You Don’t Have To Be Perfect!

Many of us have observed public speakers and thought to ourselves, "Wow, I could never be that smart, calm, witty, entertaining, polished ... or whatever." Well, I've got news for you: You don't have to be brilliant, witty, or perfect to succeed. You see, in the beginning you can be average. You can make mistakes, get tongue-tied, or forget whole segments of your talk. (on a limited scale of course.) That’s because in the beginning your audience doesn't expect perfection.

If they can walk away feeling better about themselves, their job and lives and ways to improve it through your knowledge—then guess what? You were successful!

Want Better Results? Then Make Eye-Contact With Your Audience!

Yes, nerves create a need to hide. So what do you do? You look down or look away and think, “If I we can’t see them, then they can’t see us, right? Wrong! Listen, you’re not hidden in front of a crowd of people. Since that won’t work, you can use the old “look just over the tops of their heads.” But that breaks the audience connection.

Here’s a technique that’s always worked for me. Focus on making eye-contact with someone in the front row. Once you feel comfortable with that person then move down the row to the next friendly face. It really works!

Remember: the secret to selling more books through public speaking is to find your targeted audience that can immediately benefit from it. Take them on a journey with you. Depending on the length of your talk you should focus on three major key points and use a journalist’s technique: The 4 W’s of who, what, where, and why.

Make no mistake: public speaking will sell a lot more books than just doing a bookstore signing where you’re hoping people pass by your table and buy it. Carp diem. Take action. Contact libraries, associations that love having authors present their work. Infuse humor in your presentations, learn the tricks of the trade of seasoned speakers, and you’re guaranteed to exponentially increase your brand, your business, and your book sales.

-- Peter “The Humorator” Fogel is a reinvention and communications expert as well as the author of the book, If Not Now… Then When? Stories and Strategies of People Over 40 Who Have Successfully Reinvented Themselves. He’s also the creator of the program, Peter “The Humorator” Fogel’s Guide To Effective Public Speaking.
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