A number of you asked excellent questions today.
First, let me note that I somehow forgot to spell out the dates of the teleseminars on promoting our writing by public speaking. Here they are (all at 8 PM EST/7 PM CST/6 PM MST/5 PM PST):
Monday, October 15, 2007: on Getting Engagements
Monday, October 22, 2007: on Setting Fees
Monday, October 29, 2007: on Preparing for the Engagement
Monday, November 5, 2007: on Building Your Business
In the meantime, can you define “platform”?
Randy sez: Loosely speaking, a “platform” is how visible you are to your target audience. If you speak to 500 people per year, that’s a smallish platform. If you speak to 5000 per year, that’s a biggish platform. If you speak to 50,000 per year, that’s a major platform.
The more people you speak to (or reach via your e-zine, blog, podcast, or whatever), the larger your platform and the more editors will be impressed by your marketability. (Of course, your writing must also be good, but any kind of marketing platform helps.)
When I launched my self-published book in August, I knew I’d need to get out speaking to promote it. Problem is, even though I have two speaking engagements lined up for next year, I’m not sure how to line up more of those gigs and how to sell myself as a speaker. I’m looking forward to the teleseminar – looks like exactly the kind of information I need to boost my speaking (and book sales).
Randy sez: Yes, that’s just what Mary and I will be talking about. As she and I have worked through her information over the past few months, I’ve been mortified to see all the mistakes I’ve been making. I’ve been speaking at writing conferences for about 7 years now, and there is SO much I could have done better. But from now on, I won’t be making those mistakes anymore.
But if you’re unpublished, unconnected and already have a full-time job in a cubicle farm, won’t you have a hard time finding people who are interested in hearing you speak?
Randy sez: There is no doubt about it, time is a huge issue for you. But it’s a huge issue for me too, and for everybody. Every writer I know has to manage his time wisely. Ditto with every speaker. I think in a few days, I’ll talk about time management again. We discussed this last summer, but I have some new insights that I’d like to share.
As for having a hard time finding people who want to hear you speak, I would think you can find them. If there are people who want to read what you have to write, then it follows that you must be interesting enough that people would want to hear you speak. We are not MERELY writers, we are communicators. We have things to say.
If you want to see a full blown panic attack, just put me and “public speaking” in the same sentence.
Randy sez: Long-time readers of this blog and of my e-zine know that I conquered exactly this problem in the recent past. I was diagnosed in 2004 with general anxiety disorder/panic disorder. I was speaking several times per year at that time and was so thoroughly miserable that I decided I had to do something about it. I was having major anxiety attacks every time for about an hour before I had to speak. I finally couldn’t take it anymore and got some professional help. I made enormous progress in just a couple of months, and I’ve continued to improve since then. You can beat fear of public speaking. I did. Many people have. It’s a matter of whether you want to do it and are willing to put the time, energy, and money into winning.
I am soooo looking forward to this seminar! My computer is down right now — will I be able to access it to download it later when I get my laptop back?
Randy sez: Yes. If you miss the teleseminar, you can always download the recordings and handouts later. They’ll always be there.
Anyone interested in public speaking needs to join a local Toastmasters club for a year or two (or more!). Excellent training and best value for the experience (about $100 a year, more or less). I joined a club after reading a recommendation to do so in one of Tom Peters’ books. The main website will direct you to a local club. You learn a lot, meet interesting people, and have a captive audience to talk about your writing to boot.
Randy sez: From what I hear, Toastmasters is great. And there are other organizations that can help train you in the performance part of public speaking.
Note that Mary and I will not be talking about the performance part. We’ll be talking about the business end of things — how you get engagements, set fees, prepare for the engagement, and grow your business.