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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  June 24, 2010

Inside Scoop on Publisher’s Speaker Bureaus

Great call the other day on books that brand.  What I didn’t get the chance to discuss was the role of the publisher’s speaker bureaus.  Let’s drill down on this important issue.

First, a little context:  to broaden readership for their authors, publishers have established speaker bureaus to book speeches for their authors.  A relatively new trend, the bureaus sprang up around 2006; a couple (such as Macmillan) launched last year.

Many authors think that the speaker bureaus will go out and get them speaking engagements.  The reality:  nope, the in-house folks are just answering the phone.  When it rings.  For you specifically.  Why?  Because they don’t know how to promote speakers and don’t have the database that the established bureaus have.

Another problem with the in-house bureaus:  they focus on exposure, so they’ll lower your fee at the drop of a hat.  This practice doesn’t make friends and influence people at the bureaus that represented you before the book came out.  Be prepared for the ensuing cat fights.  And, yes, you are the referee.

Before you sign that contract, ask the publisher about their bureau.  Is it outsourced or in-house?  What’s the policy on fees?  How proactive will they be?  To paraphrase an old saying, an ounce of clarity is worth a pound of assumptions.


About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.