How to Create a Community Speaking Tour - article

You’ve written your latest book. You’ve printed it. Your book has been distributed. You’ve blogged about the release of your book. You Tweeted and posted an announcement on your Facebook page about its release. You’ve updated your website. Nevertheless, you are still interested in getting word out even further about your novel. You want people outside of your circle of friends, family, and fans to read it. So, what is the next step?

Going on a book tour is a great way to increase your recognition and the number of your fans. When you speak to various groups, readers who may not yet have picked up your novel might develop an interest in it. When planning a tour, you have the choice of dozens of outlets that will be useful in publicizing your novel.

Before you jump in and phone just anyone who might be interested in hearing you speak, think about your audience. For example, if your book is about fashion of the 1920’s, it is unlikely to interest a men’s group. Does that mean no one will be interested? Of course not! It just means you should choose your speaking engagements appropriately. Besides, you can’t be everywhere all at once.

Starting local is a great way to begin your tour. There are so many places to discuss your novel – at coffee houses, at book clubs and with various associations. Later on, you can go out of state, coast-to-coast, and even overseas, if you’re book becomes that popular.

One outlet that reaches many ears is local radio. Many stations have programs featuring local artists. You could read an excerpt from your novel and also discuss the piece in an interview.

The library, a bookstore, a sorority, fraternity or club, as well as a coffee house -- all are great places to stop over on your community tour. At any of these venues, you can read a passage of your book and answer any questions the audience might have. You can bring along promotional items, such as bookmarks and postcards (which can be made very quickly and cheaply), and you can offer to sign the books. Autographing books is often a big drawing factor for people to attend an event.

Other outlets are available, depending on the subject of your book. If it has an historical aspect, you could appear at an historical association. If your book focuses on an artist, you could speak to an art association. In such venues, a book reading might not be the best approach. Instead, try a discussion of how art or a certain event played a role in your creation process. Again, postcards and bookmarks will serve as great handouts. It would also be wise to have copies of your book on hand that you can offer to sign if people want to buy them.

After you’ve decided where you would like to speak, make a list, get contact information, and start making phone calls. If all goes well, several groups will be interested in having you as a special guest. Good luck!

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