How to offer workshops based on your books

One way authors can utilize their books to make money beyond selling copies is by offering workshops. As an author – especially if of a nonfiction book – you’re an expert on the topic you wrote about and so can teach others about it. People will pay for expert advice, so workshops about your subject matter can generate revenue all on their own while drawing attention to and boosting sales of your titles.

Workshops often prove successful because they are intimate settings you which you get to work personally with potential or current fans of your writing. When you spend a few hours or a day with them, imparting your knowledge and experiences, you develop a long-time reader or client.

The first step in setting up a workshop is to determine your presentation’s topic. To do that, simply look at chapters of your book. Ideally, you’ll find a topic that draws upon various sections of your book; for those who’ve bought your book, this then is not just a repeat of what they read, as the repackaging allows them to see and experience your book in a new light. In addition, if you already have a speech or talk written that you’ve deliver, you can expand upon it to fit the workshop’s time length.

Once you have a topic, you’ll need to prepare your presentation. Begin by penning an outline then writing a manuscript you work from. As writing the manuscript, add audience involvement such as written exercises, group exercises, group discussions, or questions you can ask participants so they can better understand or self-discover your points. Their participation will ensure they pay more attention and help them connect with you. Then create visuals to go with the presentation; pictures and summary points in a Power Point-style approach helps attendees better grasp your key ideas. Lastly, create some resources, such as checklists or guides, that you can hand out during the presentation. This helps focus their attention on your key points and to can useful for them to take home and refer to when applying your techniques or ideas.

Next, you’ll need to book a location and date. It might be a hotel conference room, could be done at a conference already underway, or in a library or other civic area that rents space. Book the workshop in a city where you probably can get a large enough audience to attend. The booking should be done at least a couple of months out from the actual date you plan to give the workshop, as you’ll need to promote it. Saturdays or weekday evenings other than Friday tend to work best. Never plan a workshop on a holiday or during a holiday weekend. For example, the Saturday before Thanksgiving usually is fine but the Wednesday before Thanksgiving through the Sunday after should be off limits. Too many people simply have family obligations or will be traveling, reducing attendance.

How much to charge for the workshop will depend on how well known you are and the cost of presenting it. The newer you are to the workshop game, the less you can charge; you can make up for this by aiming for a larger audience. As you do more workshops and publish more successful books, your reputation speaks for itself and the more you can charge. Always make sure, though, that you can earn enough to cover your expenses, which include renting a room, photocopies of handouts, snacks at the workshop, and any hotel-meal-gas expenses you may have in getting to the workshop location. Whatever you do, though, don’t underprice yourself. See what other workshop speakers are charging and go with it.

Lastly, you’ll need to promote yourself. This means posting it on your website, your social media accounts, and sending out a flier about it to everyone on your email list. Also, send press releases to local media in the market where you’re giving your presentation. Always include information about where people can sign up for your workshop, which should be your website.

During the presentation, be sure to include a table with all of your books on it. Before the workshop, during breaks, and after the presentation, you’ll want to have the table manned so you can sell copies and interact with attendees.