Saturday, July 27, 2019

Sell Your Book Before It's Written by Speaking

by Cathy Fyock @CathyFyock

How can you sell books before the book is written when you’re speaking?

I’m giving a presentation before my book is released. What can I do? Eric Williamson, author of How to Work with Jerks, called Cathy to ask her this question. Here are some ideas.

Just because your book isn’t yet published does not mean that you can’t begin marketing your book! In fact, there are many things authors can and should do to get the buzz going well before the official launch. And, if you have the opportunity to speak for a group before the launch, why not maximize the opportunity?

Use the name of your book as the title for your talk
By using the same title for your presentation, you’ll be strengthening the brand awareness of your book title. You’ll also be setting up more interest for your book.

In your bio/introduction, position yourself as the author of the forthcoming book (title), to be released (date).
Furthermore, include “Author of the forthcoming book” on your email signature for all your correspondence prior to launch. Many of our clients also proudly wear their “Ask me about my book” button to generate conversation at a conference or program. Lois can attest to the power of the button to keep you on task!

Include “Author of the forthcoming book” on your email signature for all your correspondence prior to launch.

During your presentation, made one or more references to the book.
DON’T be a tease and withhold information to the group. DO mention that the book provides a deeper exploration into a topic or issue, and share some of the content. 

Provide a handout that includes your contact information.
A handout may be in traditional format, or it could be a postcard, or better yet, a bookmark. Go ahead and create a mock up cover (go to PowerPoint, and in portrait mode add a graphic, the title, and your name) and include this on the handout. This allows those who hear you speak to be able to connect with you and potentially hire you for other speaking engagements, or to purchase your book.

Have some way for the audience to connect with you.
For example, have a special white paper, checklist, or other handout of value that you send to attendees once you have their contact info. Attendees can access this “Irresistible Free Offer (IFO)” by visiting a landing page. Or, use a response card that attendees complete with their contact information, and request any of the IFOs mentioned in the program. You may also use electronic means to gather information, with programs like The speaker asks audience members to text “IFO” to a keyword the speaker chooses (for example "Lois info”) and the offer is immediately provided and contact information received. 

Pose a question or issue that has people talking to you or about you during the conference that is connected with your book.
Invite people to share a story with you, or use a catch-phrase that is repeated or shared during the conference. For example, with Eric’s book about working with jerks, he asked for examples of jerk stories and was able to gather several new stories for future blog posts.

Offer a "deal" to people who respond to a "pre-publication" offer of the book.
Maybe attendees can pay now and get an autographed book with free shipping. If you offer pre-publication sales, be transparent with your customers about launch dates and keep them posted on publication details. Many have used this strategy to actually fund creation of their book!

Activity: Just because your book isn’t finished does NOT mean you can’t begin promoting it in your next presentation! Consider one of the ideas provided here to include in your next engagement.

One of our favorite stories of how to promote your book when you don’t have actual books on hand was demonstrated by our friend Peter Margaritis, author of Taking the Numb out of Numbers. He was scheduled to attend Influence, the annual convention of the National Speakers Association, and wanted to let his friends and colleagues know about his new book. The problem was that the book would not be available until after the convention. Not wanting to miss an opportunity, Peter, with the help of his publisher Kate Colbert of Silver Tree Publishing, created large postcards the size of his book, with the book’s cover on one side and other book details on the other. Throughout the conference Peter and his author friends posed holding the book (the postcards) and created buzz on social media. The strategy worked so well that when Kate Colbert’s new book, Think Like a Marketer, was released, she also created postcards and continues to sprinkle these when attending meetings and appointments, making others aware of her excellent new book.

Kate adds, “Perhaps key to that story is that both of us had our books already available for pre-order on Amazon at the time we promoted our books via the postcards, so we were able to “close the deal” on the interest we drummed up with the cards because the cards were more than just a buzz-generator or a ‘coming soon’ announcement. The cards were the coming-out party for the books — a sort of ‘Did you know about my new book? Here’s the scoop and a photo. Here’s how to pre-order your copy today. Thank you.’ “


Cathy Fyock is The Business Book Strategist, and works with professionals and thought leaders who want to write as a business development strategy. She is the author of nine books, including her most recent with coauthor Lois Creamer, The Speaker Author: Sell More Books and Book More Speeches. Since starting her business in 2014 she's helped more than 150 professionals become published authors. You can reach her at


  1. Great tips Ms. Cathy. Thank you for sharing ma'am.

  2. It's never too early to start marketing and generating interest.
    Great post with great tips, Cathy!

    1. You are right! Thanks for the vote of confidence!