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Ask the book doctor.

Dear Dr. Rosie,

How important are public speaking classes for authors?

Dear Author,

For many people, one of their most common fears is speaking in front of an audience. I think any author who has mastered the art of public speaking has an advantage over one who has not.

While there are a number of courses offered in public speaking, I recommend joining Toastmasters International. There, you will learn how to cut to the chase and get your point across quickly. You'll learn how to respond in an impromptu situation and deal with circumstances where speaking involves time constraints. You'll learn techniques from professional speakers, and Toastmasters International has experts who can evaluate your skills. In most public speaking courses, students are asked to speak in front of an audience at least every other week; each speech is critiqued and evaluated by the instructor. Participants are judged based on the timing of the speech, voice intonation and gestures. A public-speaking class can help writers gain more confidence, which can help increase book sales.

On several occasions I have been asked to speak by nonprofit organizations whose budgets did not allow an honorarium. My question is usually, "how many people do you normally have attending your events?" If the answer is a hundred or more, then it's worth participating. In some cases, I have walked away with $500 to $3,000 in book sales, and $1,000-$5,000 for a speaker's fee.

Being a good communicator is beneficial no matter what career you choose. You don't have to be a speaker to sell books. But authors who are good public speakers will sell more books, even if they don't have an established name.

E-mail your questions to Dr. Rosie at
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Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2002
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