Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Speakers - Where's Your Book?

Yesterday I finished reading "Fumes and a Prayer" by Speaker Dennis Bauer.

It's a good book, with some life-changing advice, if one chooses to apply it. Dennis has filled the book with personal anecdotes of his multi-faceted life. One day he runs a film production company, the next he rivets airplanes together, the next he's flying passengers and cargo in a small Lear Jet. He also brings in stories of his heroes, most notably Chuck Yeager, to add weight to his musings. Not just what we all have heard about Yeager, either - kindly, he goes deeper than the average speaker turned author.

The book is wrapped in a larger story about a flight Dennis piloted which resulted in, well, his title - him flying on Fumes and a Prayer. I won't ruin it by saying he survived - oops. The key, of course, is HOW he survived - and how you can use what he's learned to keep yourselves airborne.

If you're tired of the same retread motivational books by the old standard speakers, this will be a breath of fresh air. This book is particularly useful if you're more technically/analytically minded, or have interest in aviation - but I believe anyone who takes the time to read Dennis' insights will be the better for it.

Which brings me to a larger point: Where's YOUR book?

If you're a speaker without a book out there, you're ripping yourself, and your audiences off. The benefit is two-fold - you can make money by selling your book, and your audience will be the better for taking your information home with them so it can continue to make an impact beyond your speech.

Without getting too deep, writing and publishing a book is simply not that difficult anymore.

1. Value Your Work - Accept that your message is worth writing down in a longer form, and that you have more to say than you can ever impart in a 45 minute speech.

2. Write the book - my wife and I spent a year writing her book Thriving with Neurofibromatosis - but if we'd focused, it would have been done in 6 months. You can write it, or hire someone else to write it. Get help editing - I'm still finding errors in my books, but I have yet for anyone to demand a refund. It's the message people want.

3. Publish it - CreateSpace, Smashwords, Kindle - their are many services now available that allow you to self-publish without you filling your garage with books. You can design it in Microsoft Word all by your lonesome, or hire someone on to help you out.

4. Speak & Sell - With a book, you should be able to double or triple the speaking engagements you have, and never leave without have made some money, even at a rubber-chicken volunteer engagement.

Congratulations - YOU are now an author - you are credible - because you took the time and effort to create the book in the first place. Even in today's world of on-demand publishing, the percentage of speakers who actually write and print a book is slim.

Is it really this easy? Yes and no. The process - the actual doing - is pretty easy. It's the mental hurdles that make it tough. Which makes me wonder - where in blazes is MY book? Yeah, I've put out great speech-writing information in Win, Place & Show, and Go Ahead and Laugh - but where is MY book - the one with my story?

Thanks for the reminder, Dennis. And congratulations for being a Speaker who doesn't stop there, but Writes & Delivers as well!


  1. Thank you, Rich, for your post!

    Here are some points about how the book was written:
    1. Everything in life seems to start with that first baby step. One day last fall I sat down with my laptop and wrote the first sentence. It wasn't a difficult sentence, but sitting down at the keyboard was the first step ...and everything flowed from there.
    2. The stories were easy to write. What took time was research to check or find facts (what is the actual range of a Turbo Cessna 206 of the particular model I flew at 65% power?).
    3. I purposely looked for places to use metaphors and similes ...makes the text (and a speech, too!) more interesting.
    4. The first draft of the 250-page book was finished in about 3 months. I was, as you encourage, focused ...writing up to 4 hours a day, but with days off too.
    5. I did not use a professional editor for cash-flow reasons. But I'm pretty good at it myself and, more importantly, I had 8 or 9 professionals read the draft. From that I had a number of typos corrected and several suggestions on structure.
    6. There were three re-writes to incorporate the feedback I received. Even after 20 or so early readers, my dad read the book and found four places where I'd skipped a word ...and no one else caught it!
    7. I went through (Amazon's POD arm). POD = Publish on Demand. I can order as many or as few copies as I want for promotion and for sales of signed copies. It's also, then, available on
    8. Having written a book, I've found an instant, perceived credibility factor as a speaker ...something I'd heard about before, and now am experiencing.

    Thanks again, Rich, for your kind words about the book, and glad you enjoyed it.

    Dennis Bauer

  2. A good and (for me, at least) timely post, Rich. I am 70 pages into my book but have not been at it for a while. I need to find time every day to devote to it if I want to get it out the door. Thanks for the push.


    John Zimmer



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...