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Take Your Nonfiction Book to a Conference

By Patricia Fry

If you've written a nonfiction book, chances are you are somewhat of an expert in your field—or, now that you are an author, you are thought to be an expert. You go out and speak on the topic of your book. You are interviewed for articles on the subject. People contact you for additional information in your field of interest. Authors ask if they can quote you in their books. If this doesn't describe your experience, then you need to get more exposure for your book. One way to do this is to arrange speaking engagements and other presentations at conferences related to the topic of your book.

You've probably attended conferences and workshops in your area of expertise: travel, finance, the sporting business, health, business management, real estate, retirement planning, sales, technology, quilting, elder care, art, education, genealogy, sexuality or advertising, for example. And you know that most conferences include educational presentations for people who are interested in learning more about the topic. Why couldn't you be one of the presenters?

Let's say that you have a book on curb appeal and how this can help you to sell your home. While your book may be directed toward homeowners, your message is also of value to realtors. So why not take it (and your book) to real estate conventions, conferences and workshops throughout the states?

Maybe your book features natural pet care products. The organizers of a pet expo might be interested in bringing you in to speak to their attendees who include pet shop operators, breeders and pet owners.

Your book-based workshop on teaching the autistic child might be of great interest to those who organize conferences for educators nationwide.

What Will You Talk About?

If you are already going out and speaking at civic group meetings and other venues on topics related to your book, you probably have some presentations ready to go. If not, sit down and start listing subtopics you could use to create speeches and workshops. Try these techniques for coming up with some.

  • Glean ideas from the promotional articles you submit to publications.
  • Look at your chapter titles and subtitles for additional ideas.
  • Read through your index items to discover topics you could expand upon.
  • Revisit your blog and locate even more possible topics.
  • Study other related blogs and publications to find new ideas.
  • Brainstorm with friends and colleagues to come up with new twists on old ideas.

I speak frequently and present workshops on writing/publishing-related subjects at workshops nationwide. Here's an idea reflecting the scope of topics I speak on and how I tweak them:

  • Two Steps to Publishing Success
  • How to Establish a Career as a Freelance Article Writer
  • How to Promote Your Book Through Article Writing
  • Write a Book Proposal in 8 Days or Less
  • How to Avoid Writing a Bulldozer Book
  • Book Promotion 101
  • How to Build Your Author's Platform
  • Article Ideas—They're Everywhere
  • Revive Your Stalled Book by Writing a Post-Publication Book Proposal

How to Get the Invitation

Generally, the conference organizer won't come looking for you. Especially while you are establishing yourself as an expert; you'll need to do all of the pursuing.

Start by locating scheduled conferences near you or in cities you plan to visit. Study the conferences listed at All Conferences ( and at the Shaw Guide ( Or do an internet search using keywords such as, "Los Angeles health conference," "Spokane pet conference," "telecommunications conference, New York," for example.

So, what do you do once you locate a conference on your topic? Contact the conference program director or organizer and ask to be put on the schedule. Come up with some good presentation ideas to offer and be prepared with a program description and a bio.

How Much Should You Charge?

Do you get paid for these gigs? Sometimes you are paid expenses, other times you may be offered a stipend and you pay travel expenses. It all depends on the conference and their budget. Of course, once you begin to establish a following—when you become a draw for the conference circuit—the organizers will find a way to pay you for your time.

And don't forget, you can sell your book in the back of the room. Those who don't purchase your book now will know about it. They may buy it later. They'll tell others about it. So, in the process of sharing your expertise, you're making friends, developing customers and, if you also offer services of some sort, you'll gain clients.

–Patricia Fry is the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) and the author of 28 books. Read her hallmark book The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book, revised 2nd edition. and her NEW Author’s Workbook If you are struggling to promote a book, order Patricia’s newest ebook, The Author’s Repair Kit. Visit her informative publishing blog often at



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