Ava Pennington

Author, Ava Pennington

Hi, all – Ava Pennington here, with the monthly installment on what I’ve been doing to market my first release, One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God. I’ve already described a variety of activities, but one thing we haven’t touched on is speaking

In the past month, I’ve had three speaking engagements, all related to my book. Here are some lessons I’ve learned as I’ve spoken to various groups:

Know your audience:
Who will you be speaking to? One group I addressed was a university alumni study group from the local synagogue. Another group was a women’s tea at a Presbyterian church. I did not give the same message to both groups!

Know your message:
This is related to knowing your audience. Will you speak on the topic of your book? On the process of writing? On something else?
It might help to have a message or two prepared and ready to go, in case you receive a last minute request. Then you’d only have to tweak the content for your audience instead of beginning with a blank page.

Hone your presentation skills:
If you’re not accustomed to addressing large groups, start practicing! Practice in front of a mirror to identify any annoying body-language habits. Record yourself to identify any bad verbal habits such as the use of filler words (e.g. um, you know).
Consider coaching through a group such as Toastmasters or registering for a CLASSeminar.

Decide on your fee:
Your speaking fee – or lack thereof – will depend on your experience, the finances of the inviting organization, and whether you will have a book table.

Confirm whether you will have a book table:
Don’t presume that a book table will be permitted for every event.
Your decision regarding a speaker’s fee may be impacted by the absence of a book table.

Be prepared:
I have a small box with a file folder, pens, a tablecloth, bookmarks, and a bookstand. Less to forget at the last minute!

Market your speaking availability:
Spread the word! Let your friends know that you’re available for speaking engagements. Post it on your Facebook page, Twitter it, blog about it. All of my speaking engagements came from friends or friends-of friends.

For more information, Jill Williamson wrote a CAN post on this in April.

You’ve poured yourself into your writing. Now get out there and talk about it!

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