Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Five Tips for Beginning Speakers by Beth Ann Ziarnik

If you're like me, the idea of public speaking is enough to make you want to hide in a corner of the attic. But Beth Ann Ziarnik considers those invitations great opportunities for promotion and gives us some pointers to help us climb down those attic stairs and onto the stage with confidence. -- Sandy

Beth: Your first novel releases, and you’re holding your dream in your hands! But along with that excitement comes a massive, mind-boggling swirl of promotions—including invitations to speak.

Stay with me here! You can do it.

Invitations to speak appeared the minute my romantic suspense, Her Deadly Inheritance, debuted. To take advantage of those promotion opportunities, I had to make some decisions. You will face the same decisions.

What will I talk about? The easy answer is: pick topics related to your book. Like “My Author Journey.” How did you become a writer and come write this book? You’re already an expert on that subject.

Another topic related to your novel might be a combination how-to and travelogue where you tell brief stories about how you chose your setting and incorporated on-site research in your novel. Sprinkle it liberally with those fun anecdotes.

How often will I speak? (And still have time to write that next novel and keep up with family and friends). I decided once a month was good for me. Other writer friends speak four or five times a month. The choice is yours.

How much do I charge? As a beginning speaker, I let the sponsoring group decide. Often you will receive an honorarium of $25 - $50. In any case, you will sell books and spread a buzz of excitement about your novel.

Where will I speak? Local writers’ groups are great places for beginners to practice speaking. I spoke at three area writers’ groups who also asked me to bring my books to sell and sign. Writers love to buy books!

Libraries enjoy hosting authors, too. Contact your local library, and then branch out to others. When they book your author event, bring along your books to sell and sign.

Check out community events. When I heard about the Fox Cities Book Festival, I applied to be one of their speakers and had a great time. Also sold a lot of books.

Do I need a helper? Yes, you will need a helper to sell your books while you visit with readers and sign books. It’s also good for someone to accompany you when you travel to an event. A friend rides with me, making it a fun and safe outing for both of us.

For more tips, I recommend Speaker to Speaker by Kathy Carlton Willis.

Do you have experience in public speaking? Any additional pointers or success stories you'd care to share?


A long-time fan of romantic suspense, Beth Ann Ziarnik offers her first novel with all the twists and turns,

Her Deadly Inheritance:
cliffhangers and romantic tension she and readers have come to love. She is a co-founder of Word & Pen Christian Writers in Northeast Wisconsin and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. In addition to her 450 published pieces (several included in anthologies), she is the author of Love With Shoes On, her ten-year devotional column about love in action and based on 1 Corinthians 13.


  1. Good thoughts. In business and in the church, I have had many opportunities to speak. It's not hard; just speak what you know. I'd love to connect with you. I'm a first time author living in Racine, Wisconsin.

  2. Thanks for the tips and encouragement Beth Ann. My debut novel is coming out mid-October. I have two opportunities to speak in November. The first one is at an area writers group meeting. The second is at a book launch/signing party friends are setting up for me. I've already been thinking about what to talk about that might be interesting without giving the entire story away!

    I've found when asked to speak/give presentations, the best thing I can do for myself is to be prepared. If I have my words planned out and have practiced them - even in my head - so I don't have to read the off the paper - I can feel confident and do a much better job of presenting in a natural way. I never want to come off stiff or scared out of my mind - no matter how nervous I am on the inside. ;-)

  3. Beth, I love romantic suspense. Congratulations on your book. Public speaking isn't my forte but I'd definitely be willing to give it a try.

  4. Great pointers, Beth! As I said above, this is one of those things that makes me want to crawl into a dark corner to hide. But I do have a short list of topics--just in case. I suppose I should actually prepare words to go along with them. ;)


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