Networking, shaking hands, and meeting new people is a great way to drum up interest in the speaking or book signing events you can offer as an author. But your author website can be equally effective at nabbing you some new invitations to speak—if you’re using it right. Imagine: You could be lounging around in sweatpants, binge-watching Netflix, while your author website is hard at work scoring new book promo invitations and more speaking gigs on your behalf.
The marketing experts at Web Design Relief know that when you create an effective “book me” page on your author website, it will help you…
- Get more invitations to speak at (or call in to) book clubs
- Get more nibbles to give readings at libraries and local coffee shops
- Get more invites from teachers who might want you to speak in classrooms
- Get more requests from writing groups for seminars and lectures
- Get more invitations to book fairs and festivals, book signings, and other events
- Get more inquiries about teaching online classes or participating in author forums
By expanding your reach through author speaking gigs and appearances, you grow your audience and potentially sell more books. An exciting, effective “book me” page on your author website can help make that happen!
9 Tips For Getting More Speaking Gigs Using Your Author Website
Pinpoint your target audience. Are you hoping to score more invitations from book groups made up of casual readers? Or are publishing pros your target market (like booksellers, writing groups, librarians, etc.)? If your answer was something like “uh, both?” then you might want to consider creating two separate web pages: one customized for each audience. Or consider dividing your “book me” page into different sections. Why? Writing group organizers and librarians may be looking for different takeaway value from your speaking gigs than casual book readers.
Define your call to action. What action step do you want website visitors to take when they stop by to consider booking a speaking gig or call-in with you? Do you want them to reach out to you directly using your contact form? Or would you rather add them to your author mailing list (and then reach out to your subscribers regularly to let them know about new offerings)? Once you know exactly the step you want your visitor to take, be sure to make it easy for them to take that step.
Make the most of your headshot. People who are interested in meeting you might be more inclined to reach out if your author headshot (photo) shows a friendly, approachable face—you know, the face of a person who is going to be interesting, clever, and thoughtful. If your writing style is more serious or eerie and sinister, feel free to turn down the wattage on your grin for a look that’s more mysterious and intriguing. Whatever the mood of your author brand, use your author headshot to boost your personal interest factor. Learn more: Your Author Headshot: How To Create A Flattering (And Affordable!) Portrait For Print And Online.
List your offerings. Create an easy-to-skim list of seminars, lectures, classes, readings, call-ins, and other presentations that you can present to audiences. Bonus points if you’re mixing up both digital and real-time offers like FaceTime book club appearances for faraway readers as well as readings for local library crowds. Some tips:
- Come up with catchy titles for your talks
- Keep descriptions short and punchy
- Put a new spin on perennial favorite topics whenever possible
- Give audiences what they want (offer a big takeaway value)
- Let people who want more details about your presentations know that additional info is available upon request
Sweeten the pot. Many writers try to tempt audiences to book a seminar/reading with them by offering extra enticements to participants. Here are some examples:
- Offer a gift basket with book-related items and goodies for book club groups.
- Host a fabulous prize giveaway that attendees can opt to enter (plus, you can collect email addresses for your subscriber list).
- Give a free critique to one lucky listener/attendee (great for writers groups).
- Volunteer to donate a portion of any proceeds to a related charity (aka cause marketing for authors).
Promise promo. Sometimes, overworked organizers aren’t able to drum up a lot of pre-event promo—but they LOVE the idea that you might enthusiastically drive new visitors through their doors. You might want to note on your author website that all of your events come with a free prewritten press release, flyers, social media promotion, etc.
Brag by number. If you’ve hosted events with huge numbers of attendees or you have a healthy social media following in your region, organizers would be interested in your fledgling fame and promotional reach. They may be more inclined to host your event if they sense you already have a strong following.
Let’s go to the video. Posting a small snippet of a presentation you’ve given—or even a video of yourself inviting others to reach out to you—can go a long way toward demonstrating your likeability factor. But don’t stress about it! Your video doesn’t have to be fancy to be effective. In fact, some companies have deliberately dropped high-production, slick videos in favor of clips that have a homemade, authentic vibe. But if video makes you look nervous and uptight (because, hey, we can’t all be nightly news anchors), then just skip it and embrace a medium that works for you.
Picture this. You know what they say: A picture is worth a thousand words. A photo or two of you at your events either with fans, standing in front of a crowd, signing books, etc., could hint at the promise that a great time will be had by all.
Be Smart, Be Safe, But Be Easy To Contact
Make it easy for event organizers to contact you—the more hoops people have to jump through in order to connect with you directly, the more likely they’ll say “forget it” before they manage to knock on your door.
That said, we do not recommend publishing your personal email address on your author website. First of all, you’ll want to protect your privacy. But secondly, spammers will be flooding your published email address, and you won’t be able to tell which emails are from humans and which are from spambots. So you might miss out on an important contact.
Instead of broadcasting your personal email address, invite visitors to fill out a contact form, preferably with a CAPTCHA-type security measure in place to vanquish web-trolling robots. Then, be sure to take careful precautions when moving forward with any author speaking gig: Only agree to visit reputable, safe organizations or restrict in-person lectures to public places.
Once your book promotion event is booked, brush up on your book signing etiquette, pack your books and your enthusiasm, and go have some fun!
Question: What strategy do you find is most effective for nabbing author speaking gigs?