In 2009, when I was just starting to build my platform, I read a stellar guide by Christina Katz, Get Known Before the Book Deal. I still have it, bookmarked and dog-eared, in my bookcase. Here is the single most important thing I learned from the book, a truth that continued to resonate throughout the years:
If you’re passionate about something, a book is only one means for expressing that passion.
Christina taught me that a book, a speech, a blog, a workshop, and my body of comments and posts on social media were all methods of promoting my topic (positive aging.) Each one had the effect of sprinkling a few crumbs back to my sales page, whether this website or my author page on Amazon. And based on her guidance, I crafted two “speaking products,” one on positive aging and one on The Writing Life.
You should develop your own speaking products. Here’s why.
When you prepare a speech, it’s a lot like a short story, with a beginning (alerting people to the issue), a middle (delivering the solution), and an ending (closure). You don’t want to have to invent it from scratch for every speaking engagement. Build one around your topic, and update it to reflect new information and the needs of each specific audience.
Christina set me on a strong trajectory for the future. I recommend the book, and you should follow her blog.
Also, I recommend following Jane Friedman. Jane is a former editor of Writer’s Digest magazine. She is brilliant, and she keeps a sharp eye on developments in the publishing world. She’s practical, and won’t encourage you to waste time chasing fads. I met her at a WD conference in Ohio in 2009 (yes, it was a busy year), and I’ve been a fan ever since. Right now, if you subscribe to her wonderfully encouraging and informative blog, she’ll let you download this ebook, free:
Lastly, I want to tell you about a resource that you might want to read or share with a friend. Writing coach Alan Gelb was at a funeral and it bugged him that the minister’s eulogy seemed to have nothing to do with the deceased. Gelb didn’t want that to happen to him, or to you, so he wrote a book about it.
Having the Last Say: Capturing Your Legacy in One Small Story is meant to encourage all of us to write a beautiful anecdote that will capture our voice, share our values, and leave our loved ones with a last gift. The book can serve as a memoir-writing “how-to”, and is a nice starter guide to writing in general. It’s a handy all-around writing reference to have on the shelf. Here’s my review on Goodreads.
Part of being a successful writer is trying new things, sharpening your skills, and keeping up with the business end of things. I hope these resources help and delight you. See you next Tuesday.