Having just come off a speaking engagement this past Saturday, I thought talking about why this is a good thing would be an apt Monday topic.
I know, I know, we're writers, not talkers, right? I'm sure not a fan of public speaking, personally. However, the more I do it, the more comfortable I get with it. Eventually, I'll be able to sleep the night before. I hope?
So why should a writer be a speaker? One good way to sell books, at this point, is to speak at writer's conferences and other similar workshops and engagements. By presenting a workshop, you get exposure to a new audience, and if you know what you're talking about, there's a good chance you'll gain a few readers for your book. In addition, any advertising put out by said conference/workshop/engagement is free advertising for you.
It's smart to aim for smaller engagements first, in order to build up your resume so that you can ultimately get into a conference. Look for programs at your local library, at book stores around you, and with writer's groups.
Consider what you can speak on with some authority, what you can share with others that will help them along in some way. Put together a workshop. They can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours (and probably outside that window, too, but those are the more common time frames I've seen), so try to have some idea what you're applying for before you figure it out. Aiming for 45 minutes to an hour may be best if no time frame is given. You can always add or take away in order to meet specific time constraints.
Pick a good title - it will be the first thing people see in advertisements. Write up a short blurb about your workshop. They may ask you for a shorter version and a longer version of it, so be prepared for that.
When you apply to do a workshop, you will be asked for information like why you're the one to present this information, your previous speaking engagements, writer's groups you may belong to, publications, contests won, your website/blog, so on and so forth. Each one will be different.
Alright, all of that out of the way, want to know another reason to be a speaker? It can get you free or discounted entry to workshops, presentations and conferences. Food for thought!
Have you ever applied to present a workshop? How did it go? If you haven't, would you consider doing so? Do you have any pros of speaking to add to this?
May you find your Muse.