Selling Books After You Speak

When speaking for larger association conferences, you may have the ability to place your book in the conference bookstore. Here are some suggestions for making the most of this opportunity.


Ask if the conference or program offers a bookstore. Not all conferences have a bookstore program, and each is run a little differently. For example, for several years Cathy has run the conference bookstore with colleague Jeff Nally for the KY SHRM Conference. Fifty percent of the Speaker/Author book sales benefit the SHRM Foundation. Cathy sends out a notice to all the selected speakers to determine if they are interested in offering their book for sale.


Know the terms of sales/returns. Most bookstores will provide 50% of proceeds to the author, but be sure to ask about the specific terms of sales and returns. Is it your responsibility as the author to take back unsold books? You may want to work with your publisher for the best arrangements.


Come early and stay late. Speaker/Author Annie Meehan is a pro at maximizing her book sales. When keynoting for a conference, she often comes early and stays late so that she can develop relationships with the attendees and other speakers. She brings attendees with her to the bookstore so they can buy her books. She offers fellow speakers a book as a gift. She takes selfies with her new-found friends.


Ask your introducer to mention your book signing hours at the bookstore, and remind attendees again at the end of the program. This allows you as the author to not directly sell from the stage (a no-no for many conference programs).


Promote your presentation. Does your tribe know that you’re speaking at the conference? Let them know in advance through your newsletter or social media, or by videoing a short promotional clip about your session. Let attendees know that you’ll also be at the bookstore for your signing. Some speakers make up postcards or bookmarks that promote their workshops or keynotes and book signing times and give these out throughout the conference to generate more interest.


Note: This post is excerpted from Cathy Fyock’s and Lois Creamer’s forthcoming book, Speak to Sell: Sell More Books and Book More Speeches. Watch for more information about the launch!


If you have great stories of how you’ve used speaking to sell books, or used authorship to get more speeches, we’d love to include your stories in the book. Please email Cathy at

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