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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Kate Gingold from Sprocket WebsitesKate has been building websites with her husband Don since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Kate is an author herself. She writes books on local history, including the award-winning "Ruth by Lake and Prairie," a fictionalized account of the true story of Great Lake pioneering to the shores of Chicago and beyond to found Naperville, Illinois. 

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Ruth By Lake and Prairie

Author Tips and Tales

Choosing Your Author Presentation Topic
Kate Gingold Host
/ Categories: Author Tips

Choosing Your Author Presentation Topic

A presentation is a super tool to have in your author marketing toolbox. As we’ve discussed before, it establishes your credentials as an author and as an authority on your book’s subject or theme. A presentation is also an opportunity to make a personal connection between you and your readers that will lead to support and sales. 

So now that we’ve established that you should have a presentation, the question becomes:  “What should I be presenting?”

Your experience as an author is a common topic and should certainly be part of your repertoire. Schools will often hold Career Day events or libraries will hold Author Fair events to inspire writer wannabes. For that audience, hearing about the minutiae of a writing life is exciting and novel. But let’s face it, every author can give that “How I Became a Writer” talk so you’ll also need something different to offer.

Here are some suggestions for finding a topic to create your unique presentation:

  • If your book is non-fiction, of course you’re the expert on that topic. Easy-peasy to create and market a presentation that mirrors your book.
  • If your book is fiction, you still probably had to do some research so you’re an expert on some specific topic. For instance, historical fiction writers learn about life during a specific time period. The writer of a book about a suicidal teen learns about depression symptoms and treatment. 
  • If absolutely no one wants to hear about what you researched, you’re still an expert on how to research. Other writers, genealogists and schools can benefit from your tips.
  • If your fiction appeals to a certain demographic, you are an expert on what appeals to them. Parents and teachers would be interested to know why young people read dystopian novels, as would the young people themselves.
  • If you blog regularly, you no doubt have a treasure trove of material that did not make it into your book but which could make a great presentation. Look particularly for the post that garnered the most comments and readers.
  • If you are especially successful at social media or blogging or running contests or some other marketing strategy, businesses and not-for-profits would love to hear how you did it so they can emulate your success.
  • If you simply can’t figure out what you’re unique topic should be, look at the presentations your library or park district are currently offering to see what’s popular. Play around with how you could give the same presentation but using your book and experience as the inspiration. You’re creative – you can do this. Audiences do go on binges – once their interest is piqued, they want to know “what else have you got?” on a popular topic. 
  • Creating two presentations – one on your unique topic and one on your writing career – may seem like a lot of work, but consider doubling the effort to create a children’s version as well as an adult one for each. Sure, the information is the same for both audiences. Sure, adults have short attention spans and one should never talk down to a child. But you can still optimize your presentation to appeal to those different groups.

Spend time thoughtfully considering presentation topics because what you present is more important than how you present it. The presentation mechanics can be learned or out-sourced. Your unique topic is what will connect you to your audience. 

Photo by cottonbro studio

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Full disclosure:  Writing for Sprocket Websites is my day job, so if you have questions about digital marketing, I'm happy to help!


Marketing Author Interview

Following a presentation for In Print Professional Writers Group, Kate's husband (and publisher!) Don was interviewed by author Louise Brass for WBOM Radio. During the conversation, Don shared many of the marketing tips from his presentation. You can listen to it online here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.



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Kate will be happy to send you her brief Book Signing Checklist. Treat your book promotion like a business - because it is!

AND, since much of your efforts will be online, she'll also enroll you in her Sprocket Report, an email newsletter sent every other Tuesday, that includes 2 Internet Marketing tips and a post from a guest blogger on related business.

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