Greetings from Golden Keyes Parsons writing today on how to select a topic when asked to speak to a group. I had been speaking professionally for several years before I became a published author. Believe me when I say that choosing a topic as a published author. . .
. . . is much easier than selecting one as a general inspirational speaker. Here's three reasons why:
1. Tell them when/how you started writing.
One of the questions I always, 100% of the time, get asked is, "How did you get started writing?" I have a funny little story that I can tell. I actually kind of looked down on fiction writers. And now I am a fiction writer!. So I start out with this hook: "I have a confession to make." They are all ears from that point on. I tell them how I came to the realization at a Christian writers conference that Jesus taught truth by telling stories; how sometimes fiction can convey a truth much more forcefully than non-fiction and in a more palpable form; how a non-believer is more apt to pick up a novel, than a Christian non-fiction self-help book. Tell your audience about your writing journey. They really are interested in how you got started.
2. You have a ready-made topic--your books!
Every group I've spoken to as an author, whether a book club, a women's church group, a genealogy club, or a writer's group, also wants to know how you chose to write the book you wrote. How did you arrive at the story line? How did you choose your characters? Tell them about how you did the research for your books. Show pictures on the screen of locations (if you write historicals). Tell them how the covers were developed. You have a myriad of choices at your fingertips.
3. Tell them a little bit about the publishing process.
Groups who invite you to speak are interested in the publishing process as well. To those who have never had any exposure to the publishing world, it is a huge mystery. The reality of it is usually much different than their perspective, and they enjoy hearing about how a person walks through the process.In addition, I've found that many in one's audience have a desire to write and be published and want to know particulars how to go about that.
One thing I've discovered as I speak to different groups is even when I've been asked to speak on a particular subject, say a women's retreat on "New Beginnings," or "Spiritual Spring Cleaning," or some other topic, they still want to hear about my writing journey. So be sure to include, however brief, a bit about it. And if you have your books at the event to sell, talking about them helps draw attention to them.
One additional thought, I have developed an interest in the topic, "What Makes Christian Fiction Christian?" It is intriguing to me how the gatekeepers of the CBA make those designations of what is and what isn't Christian enough to be labeled Christian fiction. So I've done some research and developed a talk around that subject. What are your interests in the writing arena? Develop a talk around it and be ready when the next invitation comes.
"Would you be available to speak to our women's club next fall?"
You will be ready and can respond with a resounding "Yes! I'd be happy to!"
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