Building Your Platform Through Public Speaking

In previous posts I’ve mentioned marketing yourself by building a “platform”. Your platform is basically the things you do to publicize yourself, to get your message out there. Obviously, we can’t expect to just write a book or article and expect publishers to come knocking at our door or snatch up the work we send them and go to press with it. Publishers want to know why we should be considered a voice of authority on the subject.

As mentioned in the article “Building a Writing Career” by Sean Murray (excerpted from The Craft & Business of Writing from the Editors of Writer’s Digest Books), “Teaching or giving talks on your subject can be an invaluable way of broadening the platform for your writing career, sharpening your own craft, and building an audience.” A great place to start is with community organizations, rotary clubs, churches, recreation centers and local media. If you’ve already had an article or book published, even better. As Murray points out, this makes you an “instant expert.”

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2 thoughts on “Building Your Platform Through Public Speaking

  1. Elaine Klonicki

    Here’s a tip I learned about speaking at libraries. Many libraries are happy to host local authors, but look for ones that have a "Friends of the Library" group. They often set up and run the author events, and can guarantee a much bigger audience than libraries without them. Some Friends groups are quite large and many publish newsletters with articles or ads about upcoming events. Just search the net for "Friends+the name of the library" to see if they have a group. Also ask about the clientele of the library. My book about my parents’ courtship during WWII interests senior citizens, and I haven’t done well at libraries that cater to young families. Find out who runs the book clubs associated with the library and suggest your book to them. Some book clubs buy their books, resulting in many sales. Some request that the library purchase them for them. Either way, you sell books. People who run book clubs are happy to hear about new books.

    If you have a book that would interest seniors, know that the community senior centers have younger seniors–in their late sixties or seventies–as opposed to senior citizens’ residences, which usually have older seniors (who don’t buy books). I’ve learned a lot by trial and error, but could have saved myself some trouble if I’d known some of these tips.