Saturday, July 25, 2020

14 Tips for Selling More Books When You Speak

by Cathy Fyock @CathyFyock

You’re an author and you’re a speaker. How do you sell more books when you are asked to speak?

  1. When you book the engagement, ask the meeting planner if it doesn’t make sense to extend the value of the program by pre-ordering a book for every attendee. It often does make sense, and allows you not only generate more revenue, but also increase the stickiness of your message (not to mention, give everyone in the audience the best calling card ever!).
  2. In the conference program, include the name of your book as part of your title. 
  3. Be sure your introducer uses the name of your book by giving her your introduction in advance, and taking an extra copy of your intro to the conference.  Give a book to your introducer, and encourage her to hold up the book as she mentions your book signing event.
  4. Be sure you mention the name of your book throughout your presentation. State the title slowly and distinctly (you know it so well, but your audience doesn’t). 
  5. Offer a handout, postcard, or bookmark as a takeaway that includes your book’s name and how to reach you (via email, telephone, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Your readers want to be able to connect with you so don’t make them search.
  6. Read from your book, and HOLD A COPY OF YOUR BOOK! Even though you may have it electronically and can read it from your phone or other electronic device, it is powerful to hold the book and let the audience see the cover of your book.
  7. Have a method to collect the names of those attending your session so that you can sell books after the presentation. You can do this by having a sign-in sheet (“sign-up for my free newsletter or blog”), collecting cards and giving a door prize (like your book!), or by offering a free goodie (like a sample chapter or other tangential product). You can do this by asking attendees to send an email to you or to visit your website to download the freebie (in marketing we call this freebie an “irresistible free offer” or IFO).
  8. During your presentation, mention your website and your IFOs (give them a reason to visit your site!). You want readers to engage with you so that you can sell books after the event!
  9. Use a PowerPoint or poster that includes the cover of the book and its title and your contact information. If you want to encourage Tweeting during your presentation, share your hashtag by announcing it at the beginning of your presentation or on your PowerPoint.
  10. Offer your books for sale after you speak, and be sure to announce when and where your book signing will be. Be sure that the conference planners allow plenty of time following your session for individuals to purchase your book. Ideally, position the book store close to your conference presentation site, or set up a sales counter outside your speaking venue. Jockey for position (think food, coffee, restrooms). Remember, “Location, location, location” will also help you sell more books when speaking!
  11. When you sign your books, be sure to get a card or contact information from your reader. Offer to personalize your book for the reader, and offer a bookmark or label for the book that says “autographed by the author.” 
  12. Take pictures of you holding your book with those who have purchased your book. Post these on social media and share the post with your new readers.
  13. Make it easy for attendees to purchase your book. In pricing your book, make it quick and easy. Many attendees come up to me with a $20 bill, so charge $20 and save yourself from making change and holding up the line. Also, bundle products to offer value for attendees.
  14. Accept credit cards by using a card reader. Practice prior to the event, or better yet, find an assistant to help you with sales so that you can schmooze with attendees and sell more books (and book more engagements!).

What are your best ideas for selling your books?


Cathy Fyock is The Business Book Strategist, and works with professionals and thought leaders who want to write a book as a business development strategy. Since starting her business as a book coach in 2014, she has helped more than 160 professionals become published authors. Her most recent book is The Speaker Author: Sell More Books and Book More Speeches. She can be reached at or 502-445-6539.


  1. Cathy,

    I love this series of tips to sell more books when speaking--and realize from the details it comes from a seasoned speaker. The details are important and that emphasis comes through over and over in this article.

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

    1. Thanks Terry! Books don't generally sell themselves!

  2. Thank you for sharing these helpful tips. When I speak to mothers of young children (most of my books are for kids), they live on a tight budget, so I offer a deep discount or I offer a deal like buy 2, get one free. I still break even and it's cheaper than advertising. I love your suggestions!

    1. Yes, you need to know your readers, Crystal, and it sounds like you do!

  3. Excellent advice, Cathy! It looks as though you've had lots of experience.

    1. My first book was published in 1990, so yes, I have some experience!

  4. Excellent article--thank you for that.