Guest Blog: Selling Every Word by Mark Wayne Adams


Mark Wayne Adams

As an award-winning author, illustrator, and publisher, I speak to thousands of people annually. Public speaking and selling books go hand-in-hand in my success. You may ask, “How could public speaking increase an author’s book sales?”

Writers’ words generate money in many ways. Public speaking is a great platform to sell the author’s story. Below is a brief example I will use during my Selling Every Word: Business of Public Speaking session at the 2014 Florida Heritage Book Festival in September.

My publishing goal was to create a quality product that I was proud to sell. I used a professional editor, illustrations, and printer to create a profitable book. Why wasn’t I selling hundreds of books every month with this great product?
I promoted my book using trusted traditional methods: word-of-mouth, social media, and retail stores. I learned word-of-mouth advertising travels only as far as I spread it. Elementary readers don’t use social media. And major retail exposure was a book spine facing outward on a store shelf.

Where could I reach a high volume of readers in one location? The answer was public speaking. Reluctantly, I accepted a teacher’s request to be a guest author/illustrator in an elementary school. Two hundred fifty students expected me to entertain them for forty-five minutes. My first and last unsuccessful reading was to a group of high school peers. This elementary event would be an epic fail.

With my back to the audience, I planned to wow them with my drawing skill. Wrong! Excited students roared behind me. Teachers hushed them with no success. I faced the crowd. The room fell silent. I turned and proceeded to draw. The students roared. I turned facing them again. The auditorium became silent once more. These students wanted my words. So, I nervously spoke.
I shared a childhood story about an uninspiring friend. The students felt every word. Next, I discussed my favorite book. The students nodded and laughed along with me. The presentation ended in applause. My epic fail was more than I had expected. A crowd of inspired students and teachers surrounded me. Some wanted to become an illustrator or author. Others wanted to purchase my presentation sketches, books, and autograph. Something in my spoken words sold everything I had.

As a public speaker, I was selling inspiration. An uninspiring friend and my favorite book evoked similar feelings within the audience. Students saw me as a peer. Teachers saw me as a mentor.

Public speaking became successful in four ways:

1. I connected with my target consumers.

2. Schools paid me to present.

3. Teachers referred me to other schools.

4. Ten percent of attendees purchased products. One day’s book sales equaled a month’s work using traditional techniques.

Publishers evoke emotion in consumers through author bios, author book signings, and author appearances. Authors in turn can use public speaking as a platform to sell every word.

Mark Wayne Adams was born in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. He graduated college with a BFA in Drawing from Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky. He then moved to Central Florida and has called Florida home for over twenty years. His work experience includes Walt Disney World Company, SeaWorld Orlando, Art Director for GSI Architectural Sign Company, and store manager for Sprint Print, Inc. Mark is now CEO of Mark Wayne Adams, Inc., and serves as President Elect for the Florida Authors & Publishers Association.

Mark has illustrated over thirty children’s books in six years winning numerous children’s book awards. An unexpected reward in his publishing journey has been public speaking. Whether at professional organizations or elementary schools, Mark offers valuable insight, inspiring presentations, and a voice that reaches audiences across the United States.

Mark Wayne Adams can be reached at or via email at Follow him on Twitter: @markwayneadams

Register for the Florida Heritage Book Festival and Writers Conference Today!


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