Some authors get hundreds of dollars for speaking. In addition, their travel, lodging, and food expenses are paid by the group or organization that invites them to speak. For these authors, giving talks about their books is a second income. Good for them, because speaking isn’t easy, and preparing a talk takes thought and time and confidence.
Author talks can be in-person talks in front of a group, or television talks, or video talks on the Internet. Webinars are another trend and good publicity for authors. I’m a low-tech author—no webinars or Internet talks for me. However, I speak to community groups, have been on television dozens of times, scores of blog talk radio programs, and speak for free.
“Really?” one person asked. I told her it was true, but if I have to travel, I would appreciate gas money and lodging if I have to stay overnight. I don’t ask organizations to pay for my food because I would eat anyway Why don’t I charge for speaking?
Speaker’s goal. A bereaved parent and author of eight grief resources, I speak about grief reconciliation, recovery, and creating a new life. I also give workshops about creating happiness. I don’t charge for these presentations because I don’t want people to think I’m trying to make money from their tragedies.
Public perception. I want community groups and organizations to be able to afford me. In August I’m speaking to a St. Paul, Minnesota health-care group that provides in-home services for families. Charging for the talk would make me feel uncomfortable. When the conference planner asked me about my fee she was relieved to hear I don’t charge for presentations. I asked if she would be willing to pay for my gas and she was more than willing.
Author branding. Giving talks and workshops helps me to develop my brand as a health and wellness writer. Varying my talks helps listeners to learn more about me and the books I’ve written. In addition to speaking for free, I provide handouts for audience members. Handouts help them remember me and, thanks to the contact info at the bottom, makes it easy for folks to contact me.
Several years ago I gave a workshop about anticipatory grief. A woman approached me afterwards and said, “I’ve had these feeling for years. Now I can name them. Thank you.” Giving to others helps me and that’s the main reason I speak for free. We’re all in this life together and speaking for free makes me feel good inside.