Nearly every author’s greatest fear is speaking in front of an audience. Most authors are introverts, preferring to spend every hour of every day in the privacy of their rooms, appearing only during mealtimes. But once the book is written and it’s time to get it out into the world, languishing within the comforts of home becomes impossible. While it may sound like one of the most horrifying things imaginable, with a little bit of practice, public speaking can actually turn out to be fun!
This is why cultivating public speaking skills is important. This can directly impact the success of your book and your image as an author. You need to attract your target audience and encourage them to read your book—and for that, you need to speak to them, have a conversation with them, and build connections.
As a writer, there are plenty of instances where you’ll have to speak in front of an audience. These could range from library readings, book launch events, book club and reading group discussions, conferences, book signings, etc. When done correctly, public speaking can play a vital role in your book marketing campaign.
Importance of Public Speaking:
- It creates a way for you to speak directly to your audience
Readers will always have a thousand questions to ask from authors. By having Q&A sessions and live events, you will be giving them a platform to voice their questions. It also enables readers to get a glimpse of your life as an author. This could help build a bond between you and your readers because they realize that you’re just as human as they are.
- It gives legitimacy to your profession as an author
By appearing on screen or in front of an audience, you’re presenting yourself to the world. You’re gradually building your author brand and making your place within the literary community.
- It increases book sales and popularity
“All of these provide an opportunity to reach a wider audience and generate greater book sales. Once established as a professional speaker, the author’s reputation will drive the sales of future books as well, thus laying the groundwork for a long career,” says Diane Wolfe, author and a member of the National Speakers Association. It also helps drive traffic to your website and social media accounts and generate subscribers for your newsletter.
- It lets you interact with other famous authors
By attending conferences and book events, you’re opening up more opportunities for yourself by meeting other authors and building connections within the author community.
- It paves a way for you to be discovered by publishers
This would be especially beneficial because, by showing publishing houses that you have your own platform and a substantial readership, you can easily find contracts with publishers for future books you’re planning to write.
Ways You Can Improve Your Public Speaking Skills:
- Prepare your speech beforehand in written form, but use this only as a structure.
- Tell stories, instead of spewing out memorized content.
- Attend events by other authors and pick up tips on how they organize their content and what appeals most to the listener (because, here, you’ll be a listener yourself!).
- If you have a soft voice that isn’t steady in front of an audience, hire a voice coach for a short period. They’ll teach you ways to make your voice strong and steady and help you sound confident.
- Begin by talking in front of small audiences, like local reading groups or your town’s library. Practice is what will ultimately develop your confidence, and there’s no better way to do it than starting small!
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.