Article Category: Book Reviews

Book Review: The Wealthy Speaker by Jane Atkinson


If you dream of speaking one hour for $15,000, this book is for you.

If you have absolutely no idea how to get there, this book will show you what is required.

Jane Atkinson’s The Wealthy Speaker: The Proven Formula for Building Your Successful Speaking Business is packed with advice to prepare you to make the jump to $15,000 speaking fees, whether you are six months or six years away.

This article is the latest of a series of public speaking book reviews here on Six Minutes.

What’s Inside? What will you learn from The Wealthy Speaker?

The Wealthy Speaker is a comprehensive insider’s view of the speaking industry. Jane Atkinson guides you through all aspects of a keynote speaker’s business, including:

  • Positioning yourself as an expert first, speaker second
  • Developing your message
  • Setting and negotiating fees
  • Development of marketing materials
  • Creation of your website and demo video
  • Building your contact database
  • Working with speaker’s bureaus and event planners
  • Growing your business and hiring staff
  • Selling products

Throughout the book, you’ll also find worksheets and personal assessments. These exercises are well-designed to help you apply the lessons to your personal situation.

A good speaker can talk on a variety of topics, but a Wealthy Speaker focuses on one topic, one expertise, one set of speech materials — or even one speech — under the same umbrella.

-- Jane Atkinson

The Price

At the time of writing this review, you can get this book for only $11.53 from amazon.com. This is 32% off the list price of $16.95.

What I Loved about The Wealthy Speaker

1. Authority and Expertise

The Wealthy Speaker is written with authority, and Atkinson’s extensive expertise in the speaking industry is apparent. This isn’t a book with theoretical ideas that might work. These are lessons learned from her successes and failures in the trenches.

2. Case Studies

Numerous case studies highlight successful speakers and industry insiders. These are fairly short (1-2 pages), but highly enlightening.

3. Focus on the Business of Speaking

You won’t find much information here at all about honing your speaking skills. And that’s a good thing because that’s not what this book is about. I was happy to see this book kept its focus on the business of speaking, not the mechanics.

What I wish was in The Wealthy Speaker

As much as I learned from The Wealthy Speaker, it’s not perfect. You cannot cover everything in 208 pages. So, what’s missing?

First, as Atkinson states early in the book, the book has a bias towards business models based primarily on keynote speaking. So, you won’t find specific information here to carve out a wealthy career as a trainer, seminar leader, or speaking coach. Perhaps we’ll have to wait for the sequel: The Wealthy Trainer?

There is no better marketing than a great speech.

-- Jane Atkinson

Second, a few topics could use more treatment.

  • For example, the section on website management is thin. To be fair, Atkinson defers to “experts” for this topic. The topics which comprise her core expertise (e.g. positioning, marketing, speaker’s bureaus) are handled much better.
  • The information on contracts also feels skimpy. I expected to find more samples and a richer resource here. Perhaps the rationale here is that wealthy speakers delegate the contract work to staff?

Third, while the table of contents is detailed, there’s no index or appendices (e.g. a list of all the resource websites mentioned throughout the book). This reduces the usefulness of The Wealthy Speaker as a reference tool. Maybe this will be added in the second edition?

The Verdict

The Wealthy Speaker is excellent value, and easily worth the purchase price. An investment of $11.53 is a small, small price for gaining so much knowledge.

About the Author – Jane Atkinson

Jane Atkinson has 15 years of experience helping speakers secure more bookings at higher fees. She is a business coach for speakers, specializing in positioning and marketing. You can read more about her on her website: Speaker Launcher.

Jane previously shared her expertise as a guest author on Six Minutes with 6 Key Steps to Dip Your Toe into the Professional Speaking Pool.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review.

The Wealthy Speaker: The Proven Formula for Building Your Successful Speaking Business by Jane Atkinson Andrew Dlugan 3.5 October 29, 2009 An insider's view of professional speaking with loads of tips and insights for positioning yourself in the industry.

This article is one of a series of public speaking book reviews featured on Six Minutes.
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