I know many speakers who are authors. On the other hand, many speakers haven’t authored books—although some which they had. If you fall into the latter group, you may think of yourself as a speaker rather than a writer, but if you can speak you can write. And your speaking career will flourish when you can hold up you own book when you stand at the lectern.
Why Speakers Should Become Authors
I can think of six reasons why every speaker also should be an author:
- Authoring a book gives you expert status. When the host of a speaking engagement introduces you as “the author of such-and-such book,” and when you hold that book up at the end of your appearance, the audience immediately sees you as an authority on your topic and a thought leader in your industry. Your status as an author makes them hear what you say in a different way. You don’t have to convince them they should believe you. They will trust you because you have written and published a book.
- A book increases your influence. With authorship and expert status comes influence. You become an “influencer” in your industry or subject area. If you have influence, when you speak, people pay attention—and they do what you say. Authors who speak about transformation, self-help or any type of personal, organizational, community or world change have a higher likelihood of getting audiences to adopt their proposed change. Want to start a movement? Write a book, and then go out and speak on that topic. More people will pay attention.
- A book provides you with additional income. As an author and professional speaker, you can sell your book at the back of the room. Give a great speech, and you will sell many copies of your book. People love to take a little bit of you home with them—a way to learn more and remember you and your words of wisdom. Plus, you’ll earn money from book sales.
- Your book provides topics for speeches. Every chapter or subheading in your book represents content for a speech (or a webinar, teleseminar or podcast). Write a book, and you’ll never lack for speaking topics.
- Authors command more pay per speaking engagement. An author always commands more pay than a speaker who has not published a book (unless you are a celebrity). Why? Because that book gives you clout. It makes you stand out as an authority—someone deserving of higher pay.
- Authors attract more clients and customers. If you also are a coach or run a business of any type, you will gain more customers and clients from your speaking engagements if you are an author as well—for all the reasons previously mentioned. The people who hear you speak will be impressed and consider you worth hiring or your products worth buying.
If You Can Speak, You Can Write
As a professional speaker, if you are more comfortable speaking than writing, you still can author a book—and technically you don’t have to write a word to accomplish this goal. Do this by speaking your book. I explain how to accomplish this task in this post, but here are the basic—and simple—steps:
- Plan the content and structure of your book.
- Speak your book (into a digital recorder or using a speech-recognition program).
- Transcribes the tapes.
- Edit the transcripts into a book.
Speakers Make Good Authors
Sometimes professional speakers have an easier time writing books than writers. Think about it: As a speaker you are comfortable with spoken words, which easily flow out of your mouth. You are good at telling stories. And you know how to structure a compelling speech with a beginning, middle and end. You can do those three things for every one of your chapters—allow the words to flow, tell stories and provide content that logically flows from beginning to end—and produce a good book.
However, sometimes speakers flounder with the initial stages of planning their books. Because a book covers much more content than a speech, you might find developing the concept and structure for an entire book a bit more daunting than designing a 30-minute speech. You can resolve this problem with a book coach. Speakers sometimes get stuck in the revision phase of the book as well—when they have to do an initial edit of the transcript. However, a good developmental editor can make sure all the pieces have been include and are in place. An editor can make sense of all that “talking” so it becomes writing. A line editor, for instance, ensures the writing is strong and well crafted.
Don’t let the fact that speaking is your preferred mode of communication deter you from becoming an author as well as a professional speaker. You can increase you effectiveness as a professional speaker and you income by changing your status to “author” or “professional speaker and author.”
Are you a speaker-author? How did authorship affect your professional speaking career?
Photo courtesy of lightpoet.