A recent Mark Graham Communications client came to us with her book idea after giving several talks to college students about her success coming to terms with and managing her own mental health. Her goals were to end the stigma around mental illness and provide positive reinforcement to the students as they grappled with their own mental health challenges.
“I really want to give more talks like that,” the client said. “It was so rewarding, engaging with those students, telling my story and hearing theirs. I want to have a book ghostwritten for me because as I build my speaking portfolio, I can share the book with those who attend my talks. I can go deeper in a book than in a sixty-minute presentation.”
Many of us want to share our expertise, often with a particular audience in mind. Both public speaking and authoring a book (or having one ghostwritten for you) provide opportunities for us to share what we know.
A published book provides several key benefits for public speakers:
- Credibility. Experienced presenters know that with a published book to their name, their credibility elevates. A well-written, organized, and insightful book builds your reputation both as a speaker and an author. It puts you a step ahead of others who may be vying for the same speaking gigs (at a conference, corporate event, or particular location such as a school or business). According to a 2016 HuffPost piece by Phil Simon, a frequent public speaker and technology authority who has penned eight books, “inasmuch as competition for paid speaking gigs is usually fierce, not having written a book may effectively disqualify you from the start.” Simon goes on to say, “You don’t need to write [a book]…and having written one guarantees nothing. Make no mistake, though: If the ultimate goal is to make a living speaking to the masses, writing a book certainly helps.”
- Marketing. You can use an excerpt from your book to entice organizations to invite you to speak. When you’re getting started, if you’re willing to accept unpaid speaking gigs, some organizations will buy copies of your book instead. This is a win-win, because you receive revenue from book sales and reach a bigger audience, many of whom will spread the word about your book.
- Depth. A book offers the opportunity to expand your story. As our client discovered, a brief talk generally provides insufficient time to explain everything you’d like to say on your subject. If you’re on a panel with other speakers, your time in front of the mic is even shorter. Having a book available to those in the audience who want to learn more allows you to tailor your talk to the most audibly engaging points.
Ready to get started? You know you have a great story. If you need help telling it, please contact us. We’d love to talk – and we’d love to get you (publicly) talking, too!