How to Talk about Your Book

43. How to Talk about Your Book

No matter how much of your time and effort you pour into your book, talking about it can be difficult.

You don’t want to seem salesy or self-centered.

You don’t want to give away too much too soon.

You don’t want to get it wrong.

But it’s important to talk about your book before you write it, while you’re writing it, and after it’s written.

In this episode, I give you 3 simple ways to talk about your book without getting tongue-tied or feeling like you’re making the conversation all about you.

Mentioned in This Episode

Focused, Fearless, and Fighting, by Nicole Petite

The Memory Room, by Mary Rakow

Episode Transcript

Hey there. Welcome to Nothing but the Words. I’m your author coach, Candice L Davis.

Today, I’m really excited to give you 3 ways to talk about your book. And you should be talking about it before you write it, while you’re writing it, and certainly after you’ve written it.

Have you ever had a celebrity freak-out moment?

Some people freak out when they meet their favorite actors?

Some lose it when they meet their favorite athletes or singers.

I’ve always felt that way about meeting my favorite writers.

My husband works in entertainment, so I occasionally get to meet actors and singers.

Mostly, I don’t care. Even if I enjoy their work, I’m not super impressed to be in the room with them.

I don’t even follow sports, so athletes—meh.

But with my favorite authors, I might look cool on the outside, but inside, I’m screaming like a teenage girl meeting “Off the Wall” Michael Jackson.

When I first got serious about writing, years ago, I read about a book in the LA Times Book Review, went out and bought it, and read it in 2 days.

The author was holding a book signing an hour away from where I lived that weekend, so I grabbed my older daughter, who was probably 10 years old, and we braved the 5 freeway and drove up from South Orange County to

The author was Mary Rakow, and the book was The Memory Room.

After her reading, Mary kindly stayed and chatted with everyone who came. I got up the courage to tell her I was a writer—and how much I loved her book—and I was really proud of myself. Go, me, talking to someone you admire like she’s an actual human being,

But when she asked me what my book was about, I couldn’t for the life answer the question in an articulate way.

I stammered out something generic, and changed the subject.

It all worked out in the end. Mary and I connected and I ended up studying in her workshop for years. She was a priceless mentor.

But I’m certainly not the only author who struggles to talk about their book.

This is a skill I highly recommend you practice and master.

Before you write your book, you may worry about other people stealing your ideas. That’s a huge topic, and a discussion for another day. At the very least, you can talk to people you trust about your book idea.

Before you write your book and while you’re writing it, talking about it will help you nail down what you’re writing about, who your book is for, what your message is, and what you need to include to get your message across to the reader.

Of course, after you write your book, telling people about it is essential. That’s called marketing, but it doesn’t have to be boring or nerve-wracking.

Marketing your book is just talking about your book in a way that gets people interested in it. You can talk about your book on podcast interviews, in your email newsletter, on social media, in videos, and when you give workshops or speak from the stage. You can talk about your book when you’re meeting new people and creating connections.

So here are 3 ways to talk about your book. And this is mostly from the perspective of nonfiction, but fiction writers, you’re not off the hook. Listen up because much of this applies to you too.

The first is to tell people what’s in it for them. If you’re writing fiction, capture the journey your book takes the reader on.

If it’s non-fiction, clearly describe the benefit of reading your book. Get it down to a single sentence starting with the title of your book.

Here’s an example from a parenting book written by one of my coaching clients.

Focused, Fearless, and Fighting gives black parents the tools they need to raise productive and ambitious children by giving them the skills and values they need to compete in a world where the odds are often against them.

That simple sentence tells us who the book is for and what they can get out of it.

You can also talk about your book by sharing your origin story. This is particularly effective in interviews and speeches, when you have more time.

What inspired you to write this book? When did you first have the idea? What was the moment when you knew you had to write it?

Take us to that defining moment. Show us why you were willing to invest yourself in the book so we can feel invested too.

Novelists have the benefit of telling their characters’ stories, which is often easier than talking about yourself. If you’re writing nonfiction, you book’s origin story can be the go-to story you tell.

And lastly, talk about the results your book has created. It doesn’t matter if you write a memoir, a how-to book, or narrative nonfiction (and yes, this can even apply to novels), you can always talk about the results.

If you’re still writing it, tell us what results you’ve created in your life using whatever system, knowledge, story, or wisdom you’ve included in your book. Tell us your story and connect it back to what the book will do for the reader.

Once your book is published, do what you have to do to get it into people’s hands so you can get some feedback to share.

If someone tells you they loved your book, thank them and then probe a little. What did they like about? What might they do with that information?

Find out the details and share their story with their permission or without revealing their identity.

When you talk about your book (or write about it) share your readers’ success stories too. Whether you want them to or not, readers will eventually begin to see you as the expert-on-high—like I saw Mary that day at her book signing.

The more they see you as special because you wrote the book on the subject, the less relatable you’ll be to your readers in some ways. So sharing stories of people just like them who turned to your book for something they needed, keeps it relatable.

So to recap . . .

Talk about your book by:

  1. Telling people what’s in it for them.
  2. Sharing your book’s origin story.
  3. And by talking about the results your book, or the content therein, has created.

Talk about your book, my friends. Talk about it before you write it with people you trust. Talk about it while you’re writing it with people who can give you feedback and help you think through your ideas.

And absolutely talk about it after you’ve written it and want to get it into the hands of readers.

That’s all for today’s episode. If you found it beneficial, please share Nothing but the Words with someone you think can benefit it. If you share it on social media, tag me so I can follow you and say thank you.

Thanks for listening to Nothing but the Words. I’m your author coach, Candice L Davis, and I’ll see you next time.

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