Book Promotion: Turning Your Book into a Speech

By: Mary Anna Rodabaugh in Publishing and Book Launch
on September 20th, 2021

You wrote a book because you had a story to tell, right? But that story lives on in all those who read your book. Once the thrill of publishing begins to fade and the sales start rolling in, you may think you’ve arrived. But what if you could continue to share that same story in a different way?

You can turn your book, or at least the main story of your book, into a speech. Research opportunities to share your speech based on its topic. These opportunities can be writer’s conferences, college presentations, podcasts, TEDx Talks, and more. These avenues expose you to a larger audience and serve well for your book promotion along the journey. Here is how to do it.

Identify a story from your book

The first step is to identify a story from your book. It can’t be just any story. The story you choose has to have a very specific beginning, middle, and end. The story should be able to stand alone with little to no context. This means listeners wouldn’t have to have read half your book to understand the story you want to tell.

The story should also contain emotion and vulnerability. It should cause the reader or listener to feel something as well. When we connect through the human experience, we’re more likely to trust one another as authors and readers or speakers and listeners. Emotions, challenges, and triumphs make your story relatable to others. For people to feel or do something, they must be moved.

Book Promotion Turning Your Book into a Speech open book

Select 2-3 key takeaways from the story

What are the things you want to stick with your listeners? Are those articulated clearly in your story? Quiz yourself and find 2-3 key takeaways. This will help you outline your speech and keep it to the allotted time frame. Telling this story doesn’t mean you’ve switched your book promotion. Instead, it entices listeners to find the full story elsewhere, thus wanting to buy your book after hearing your speech.

Add Some Casual to Your Story

Even if your book marketing plan brands you as a serious, strict, stoic individual, you will want to add a little bit of casual language to your story. This will help your story sound less like it is being read off a page and more like it is being shared in conversation. Details are essential when moving an audience to feel or do something, so do not skimp on sensory details.

Ready to write your book?

Time Yourself Telling the Story

Written word and spoken word are absorbed in two very different speeds. When telling your story, you will want to stop for emphatic pauses and occasionally dramatic effect. This is going to add minutes to your presentation. Be sure to rehearse the speech in the mirror and time yourself. You do not have to do the speech verbatim at your event, but you do need to know a rough timeline of how long it takes for you to deliver. A speaker who goes on and on, or worse, gets cut off due to time is bad for book marketing.

Promote Your Book

You don’t want to sound like an advertisement after your speech or presentation, but it doesn’t hurt to shamelessly mention you have a book for sale. Even better if you bring copies of your book to the function (organizer permitting) and sell copies after your speech. In addition to self-promotion, you will typically be introduced by a host or moderator. During the introduction, make sure your host or moderator mentions you’re the author of your book.

If you are unsure where to start with this aspect of your book marketing plan, start with a quick internet search on “keynotes wanted” or “speakers needed.” Determine if any of the requests are in your area of expertise or your book’s wheelhouse. You can also search for upcoming conferences in your area of expertise and pitch your speaker services to the organizers.