A while back, I wrote a LinkedIn article on platform-building for authors, a frequent topic for my speaking gigs and for online posts in general. Today I thought I’d revisit some of that for the blog, discussing how speaking can help an author.

Building a platform means gaining a larger audience, both in-person and online. Authors or aspiring authors must begin this process before publication. Unfortunately, some authors find the idea of marketing distasteful, and for many people the idea of speaking in public is simply too frightening to contemplate.

I had a speaking engagement last year where I was so sick, I wasn’t sure I could get through it. When you’re that sick, you don’t even think about the fact that on people’s lists of worst fears, the #1 fear is public speaking, followed by death at #2. In my case, it could actually have been death caused by having to speak! Still, I was glad to have the opportunity. When I got up to speak, I gave them my best in spite of how I felt…because that’s what you do.

But most people find the prospect of speaking in front of a group so terrifying – even if they’re well-prepared with notes and have spent time rehearsing – that they simply don’t want to do it.

Personally, I love being in front of a group, and if there’s a podium, so much the better. If I have a microphone, that’s fine, but if not…no problem. I can be loud. You might wonder why I like this kind of event. Is it a natural inclination for attention? A love of the sound of my own voice?

Actually, I’m just as much an introvert as the next author. The real reason I enjoy it is that I know I can do it, and I’ve been reasonably successful at it. That means preparation. I’ve been in front of many, many groups, speaking anywhere from 20 minutes up to a couple of hours. (I taught college English back in the day.) So, with or without notes, I can always speak.

When building your author platform, you need to spend time on social media, and all sorts of online activities. But you also need to get out in front of people. Even if you’re just recording a video, as I will be later, you want to make sure you aren’t terrified. You need some practice, and you probably need coaching, too.

I’m always happy to help with that process. If you’re an author, and need platform training, shoot me an email at info@msahno.com or call (813) 528-2622.

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