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From Awkward to Awesome: Smart Ways to Sell Your Book at Speaking Events

Unlock the secrets to lucrative book sales with innovative 'Happy Meal' pricing strategy!

5
minute read
Published on
December 27, 2023

You’ve written a book. Yay!

After months or years of developing your ideas and editing drafts, it’s probably a huge relief to have your book finally ready for purchase.

Now, you wonder, “How do I sell it?”

Today’s topic comes to us from Amanda Kaiser, who just happens to have a new book! (Congratulations, Amanda!) We’re going to dive into a few ways you can sell your book at events the smart way. Plus, you’ll learn how to position a bulk book sale as a wonderful bonus your client will love.

First, let’s look at one of the most common methods your event organizer will offer… a table for book sales! (eek!)

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Don't
Do

The Most Awkward Way to Sell

When Amanda sent us her question, her instincts were spot on…

“A few clients have offered me a table to sell, and something tells me I REALLY don’t want to do that. Book signing = more engagement which is great! Book selling feels like it could be challenging to make engaging.”

Sure, a lot of event organizers will offer you the ability to sell your books at their event bookstore or at a table.  If you take them up on this offer, you’ll find yourself standing beside (or behind) a table handling ALL of the transactions.

You’ll sign each book and chat with each attendee…

… while simultaneously processing their credit card purchase on your phone or tablet and counting out change for cash purchases,

… while standing at the back of the room when you’d rather be flitting around the crowd like a social butterfly.

(Talk about AWKWARD!)

If you’ve ever witnessed or experienced this at an event, you’re probably wondering about a better way.

One exists.  And it’s pretty simple.  Sell in bulk.

Don't
Do

Just Sell That Train!

Let me share a lesson I learned from a financial advisor I worked with years ago when I was running an agency. It really stuck with me.

Basically, he would ask:

“Assuming the commission is the same, would you rather sell a million ice cream cones one-by-one at one dollar each… or, would you rather sell one million-dollar locomotive to just one person?”

The easiest answer is just to sell that train!

Instead of trying to convince a million people to buy one ice cream cone for a dollar, you only need to convince one person to make a high-priced locomotive purchase.

The same thing goes when selling in bulk…

Instead of trying to convince an entire audience of 500 people to buy your book, you only have to convince one event organizer. Here are three primary reasons why this works so well.

Don't
Do

#1 Increased Revenue and Profitability

You’ll want to recall our discussion of Happy Meal Pricing.  Just like with the food items in a McDonald’s Happy Meal, you’ll group ALL of the services associated with your speaking into one lump sum during negotiation.

This means you’re also including the books in your flat Quotable fee.

For example:

I charge $20,000 for a speech and this includes six cases of my books.  I also include a book signing as part of the flat fee.

When you do it this way, there’s an increased perceived value for the event organizer.  This means you’re able to command an even higher fee.

Imagine that I quote $20,000 for my “happy meal” and another speaker also quotes the same $20,000.  But that other speaker is also trying to sell a few cases of books for an additional $5,000.  This means their total fee is actually $25,000.

That other speaker is less likely to win the gig.  Whereas I am more likely to win the gig AND get the books into the hands of the audience.

When you use the Happy Meal Pricing method to include bulk book sales in your fee you’ll end up closing gigs at higher fees.  The same goes for lower priced speakers…

Let’s say I’m competing against something that is only charging $15,000.  They have a book also and are charging an extra $5,000 for bulk books.  This brings their total fee to $20,000, which is equal to mine.

I’ll still have a higher chance of winning this gig because I’m including a book signing!  I’m showing that I’m easier to work with and have a higher perceived value.

Event organizers will also love the added value for their attendees.  They want to make the entire experience as wonderful as possible.  So, if every attendee gets a book in their gift bag, they’ll be thrilled!

And remember, there’s no upselling with this method.  You simply include bulk boxes of books with your total quotable fee.

(Phew… that was a long one. Let’s keep going.)

Don't
Do

#2 Simplified Logistics

If you’re planning to sell ice cream cones instead of locomotives, you might be invited to put your book up for sale at the event bookstore.

In this scenario, you’ll often be responsible for sending your books to the bookstore so they can be sold AND collecting the excess books not sold after the event is over. There are some added expenses and logistics associated with this. And honestly, it’s kind of a pain.

If you’re selling books at a table in the back of a room, you’ve got a whole other set of logistics to figure out.  Again, it’s a real pain in the… ahem… butt.  You’ll have to:

  • Get the table set up before you speak,
  • Make sure your phone is charged so you can take credit card transactions,
  • Have the actual device set up you need to accept credit card signatures,
  • Lug three cases of books into the event… sell only two… and then shlep one case back home,
  • Handle awkward math while standing in front of people trying to have a conversation,
  • Sign the book and spell their name correctly,
  • And have the correct cash change on hand when the book costs $14.95 and they gave you $20.

Okay, you get the point.

When you just include a few cases of books in the quotable fee, most of these logistics just float away.  Instead your process will look more like this:

  • Order the books and have them drop shipped directly to the event organizer at the hotel,
  • Show up with the books already there and maybe help them sort books into gift bags,
  • Pre-sign the books or hold a book signing after you’ve spoken.

This method is way easier.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention one thing. There is no separate invoicing done with the bulk book sales method. You just send one invoice which includes your entire ‘happy meal’ (speech, books, book signing, etc.) This way, you don’t have to try and chase down an additional invoice after the event.

Don't
Do
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#3 Greater Negotiating Power and Flexibility

You have this power when you’re including books in your speaking fee to negotiate the books into the deal themselves.  This means there’s no need to reveal a “per book cost,” “shipping rates,” or any of that.

So, you can use this as leverage during negotiating.

Let’s say I quote someone $20,000 and it includes six cases of books and a book signing.  They say, “Oh, I only have $15,000.”  You can then offer to take out the books and book signing to bring your price quickly down to their budget.

See how quick that was?  You’ve negotiated down without a lot of wheeling and dealing.  That’s one of the major benefits of Happy Meal Pricing.

Bulk books sales mean you also have the ability to get better pricing on the printed books themselves.  I’ve self-published my last two books and find this to be an effective method because I can get really cheap rates on even a small sized volume of books (like 100 books.)

This means you can really maximize your revenue on the book sales. The actual book might cost $4 from the printer and sell for $14.95, so you’re still making $10 a book.

That’s really powerful for you.  You have this extended negotiating power and better pricing on printed books.

Ready to Sell More Books?

So say goodbye (forever) to traditional book sales, and start selling your books in bulk. It's easier, more enjoyable, and more profitable for you.

It's a win-win for you and your event organizer. It's a simple way to help your event organizer keep event attendees happy! After all, who wouldn't love a free book in their event goodie bag?

And not just any book... YOUR amazing book.

Learn More About the Business of Public Speaking

Selling your books this way isn't just a win-win for you and your client, it's also a simple way to increase your perceived value in the eyes of your client. You see, being a professional speaker isn't just about getting up on stage and giving and ovation-worthy speech.

There's a whole lot more to the business side of speaking than you might think.

And while that can seem frightening, there are simple things you can do to run your speaking business more like a business. You don't need an MBA to run a successful speaking business, but having a clear and organized sales process that shows you exactly what to do before, during, and after each gig will make it much easier to be successful.

Take a deep dive into the business side of speaking in HEROIC's GRAD // Speaking Business Mastery program. You'll create the 4 essential assets every speaker needs and discover how to book more gigs, more often. You'll learn everything you need to know about pricing plans, speaker-to-speaker referrals, and the 8 fundamental pillars of speaking business success. Learn more about Speaking Business Mastery today.

Don't
Do

The Most Awkward Way to Sell

When Amanda sent us her question, her instincts were spot on…

“A few clients have offered me a table to sell, and something tells me I REALLY don’t want to do that. Book signing = more engagement which is great! Book selling feels like it could be challenging to make engaging.”

Sure, a lot of event organizers will offer you the ability to sell your books at their event bookstore or at a table.  If you take them up on this offer, you’ll find yourself standing beside (or behind) a table handling ALL of the transactions.

You’ll sign each book and chat with each attendee…

… while simultaneously processing their credit card purchase on your phone or tablet and counting out change for cash purchases,

… while standing at the back of the room when you’d rather be flitting around the crowd like a social butterfly.

(Talk about AWKWARD!)

If you’ve ever witnessed or experienced this at an event, you’re probably wondering about a better way.

One exists.  And it’s pretty simple.  Sell in bulk.

Dont
Do

Just Sell That Train!

Let me share a lesson I learned from a financial advisor I worked with years ago when I was running an agency. It really stuck with me.

Basically, he would ask:

“Assuming the commission is the same, would you rather sell a million ice cream cones one-by-one at one dollar each… or, would you rather sell one million-dollar locomotive to just one person?”

The easiest answer is just to sell that train!

Instead of trying to convince a million people to buy one ice cream cone for a dollar, you only need to convince one person to make a high-priced locomotive purchase.

The same thing goes when selling in bulk…

Instead of trying to convince an entire audience of 500 people to buy your book, you only have to convince one event organizer. Here are three primary reasons why this works so well.

Don't
Do
,

#1 Increased Revenue and Profitability

You’ll want to recall our discussion of Happy Meal Pricing.  Just like with the food items in a McDonald’s Happy Meal, you’ll group ALL of the services associated with your speaking into one lump sum during negotiation.

This means you’re also including the books in your flat Quotable fee.

For example:

I charge $20,000 for a speech and this includes six cases of my books.  I also include a book signing as part of the flat fee.

When you do it this way, there’s an increased perceived value for the event organizer.  This means you’re able to command an even higher fee.

Imagine that I quote $20,000 for my “happy meal” and another speaker also quotes the same $20,000.  But that other speaker is also trying to sell a few cases of books for an additional $5,000.  This means their total fee is actually $25,000.

That other speaker is less likely to win the gig.  Whereas I am more likely to win the gig AND get the books into the hands of the audience.

When you use the Happy Meal Pricing method to include bulk book sales in your fee you’ll end up closing gigs at higher fees.  The same goes for lower priced speakers…

Let’s say I’m competing against something that is only charging $15,000.  They have a book also and are charging an extra $5,000 for bulk books.  This brings their total fee to $20,000, which is equal to mine.

I’ll still have a higher chance of winning this gig because I’m including a book signing!  I’m showing that I’m easier to work with and have a higher perceived value.

Event organizers will also love the added value for their attendees.  They want to make the entire experience as wonderful as possible.  So, if every attendee gets a book in their gift bag, they’ll be thrilled!

And remember, there’s no upselling with this method.  You simply include bulk boxes of books with your total quotable fee.

(Phew… that was a long one. Let’s keep going.)

Don't
Do

#2 Simplified Logistics

If you’re planning to sell ice cream cones instead of locomotives, you might be invited to put your book up for sale at the event bookstore.

In this scenario, you’ll often be responsible for sending your books to the bookstore so they can be sold AND collecting the excess books not sold after the event is over. There are some added expenses and logistics associated with this. And honestly, it’s kind of a pain.

If you’re selling books at a table in the back of a room, you’ve got a whole other set of logistics to figure out.  Again, it’s a real pain in the… ahem… butt.  You’ll have to:

  • Get the table set up before you speak,
  • Make sure your phone is charged so you can take credit card transactions,
  • Have the actual device set up you need to accept credit card signatures,
  • Lug three cases of books into the event… sell only two… and then shlep one case back home,
  • Handle awkward math while standing in front of people trying to have a conversation,
  • Sign the book and spell their name correctly,
  • And have the correct cash change on hand when the book costs $14.95 and they gave you $20.

Okay, you get the point.

When you just include a few cases of books in the quotable fee, most of these logistics just float away.  Instead your process will look more like this:

  • Order the books and have them drop shipped directly to the event organizer at the hotel,
  • Show up with the books already there and maybe help them sort books into gift bags,
  • Pre-sign the books or hold a book signing after you’ve spoken.

This method is way easier.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention one thing. There is no separate invoicing done with the bulk book sales method. You just send one invoice which includes your entire ‘happy meal’ (speech, books, book signing, etc.) This way, you don’t have to try and chase down an additional invoice after the event.

Don't
Do
Learn from
Andrew

HEROIC

Speakers

Learn how to give speeches that transform how people think and perceive the world. We’ll teach you how to write, perform, and get booked.
Learn more

#3 Greater Negotiating Power and Flexibility

You have this power when you’re including books in your speaking fee to negotiate the books into the deal themselves.  This means there’s no need to reveal a “per book cost,” “shipping rates,” or any of that.

So, you can use this as leverage during negotiating.

Let’s say I quote someone $20,000 and it includes six cases of books and a book signing.  They say, “Oh, I only have $15,000.”  You can then offer to take out the books and book signing to bring your price quickly down to their budget.

See how quick that was?  You’ve negotiated down without a lot of wheeling and dealing.  That’s one of the major benefits of Happy Meal Pricing.

Bulk books sales mean you also have the ability to get better pricing on the printed books themselves.  I’ve self-published my last two books and find this to be an effective method because I can get really cheap rates on even a small sized volume of books (like 100 books.)

This means you can really maximize your revenue on the book sales. The actual book might cost $4 from the printer and sell for $14.95, so you’re still making $10 a book.

That’s really powerful for you.  You have this extended negotiating power and better pricing on printed books.

Ready to Sell More Books?

So say goodbye (forever) to traditional book sales, and start selling your books in bulk. It's easier, more enjoyable, and more profitable for you.

It's a win-win for you and your event organizer. It's a simple way to help your event organizer keep event attendees happy! After all, who wouldn't love a free book in their event goodie bag?

And not just any book... YOUR amazing book.

Learn More About the Business of Public Speaking

Selling your books this way isn't just a win-win for you and your client, it's also a simple way to increase your perceived value in the eyes of your client. You see, being a professional speaker isn't just about getting up on stage and giving and ovation-worthy speech.

There's a whole lot more to the business side of speaking than you might think.

And while that can seem frightening, there are simple things you can do to run your speaking business more like a business. You don't need an MBA to run a successful speaking business, but having a clear and organized sales process that shows you exactly what to do before, during, and after each gig will make it much easier to be successful.

Take a deep dive into the business side of speaking in HEROIC's GRAD // Speaking Business Mastery program. You'll create the 4 essential assets every speaker needs and discover how to book more gigs, more often. You'll learn everything you need to know about pricing plans, speaker-to-speaker referrals, and the 8 fundamental pillars of speaking business success. Learn more about Speaking Business Mastery today.

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