Carma Spence, Public Speaking Super Powers

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW’s endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments, and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

Cover: Public Speaking

Cover: Public Speaking


Carma Spence
Author Academy Elite, Sept. 25, 2018, ebook $9.99,
paperback $19.99, hardcover $24.95
Paperback ISBN-10: 9781640853324; ISBN-13: 978-1640853324
Hardcover ISBN-10: 1640853332; ISBN-13: 978-164085333
Ebook: 978-1640853348

Spence reports:

I wrote Public Speaking Super Powers to help readers learn the foundational skills they need to communicate effectively before groups. The book started as a blog post in 2010. Because of that post’s popularity, I decided to expand it into a book. Research on competing books revealed that few covered all skills required to be an effective speaker.

It wasn’t until 2017, however, that things came together. I learned through an NASW listserv of an AI-based transcription service. I discovered a hybrid publisher who provides book coaching and its imprint without taking royalties. Because I wanted to enter the book in a competition, I had a hard deadline.

Most of my books have been self-published. I like having control over my work and higher royalties. My one experience working with a publisher was costly. That book is out of print. Although I have the rights to its content, I can’t use the title. Going with a hybrid publisher gives me the flexibility of self-publishing with the clout of a publisher.

Carma Spence

Carma Spence

To write this book, I interviewed 85+ speakers. Then I reviewed literature to fill out topics not covered well in the interviews. I organized my notes into chapter-focused documents, printed them out, and cut them into individual quotes. Once I organized the slips of paper, I wrote the first draft of the book. Finally, I massaged the text, and then worked with two editors to polish the manuscript.

Had I known how long it would take to piece everything together, I would have started sooner. I wish I had launched the e-book first. I then could have released the physical editions with “best seller” noted on the cover. I also would have hired marketing help at least three months sooner.

Despite the obstacles I faced in getting this book out, it became a Kindle bestseller and a 2018 Author Academy Awards Top 10 Finalist.

My advice: Plan your marketing before you finish your book, even if you have a traditional publisher. Build your platform, and recruit the support you need to make your book a success. Then finish your book!

Contact info:

NASW members: will your book be published soon? Take advantage of this opportunity for shameless self-promotion. Submit your report for Advance Copy.

Tell your fellow NASW members how you came up with the idea for your book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. Include what you wish you had known before you began working on your book, or had done differently.


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Dec. 19, 2018

Advance Copy

The path from idea to book may take myriad routes. The Advance Copy column, started in 2000 by NASW volunteer book editor Lynne Lamberg, features NASW authors telling the stories behind their books. Authors are asked to report how they got their idea, honed it into a proposal, found an agent and a publisher, funded and conducted their research, and organized their writing process. They also are asked to share what they wish they’d known when they started or would do differently next time, and what advice they can offer aspiring authors. Lamberg edits the authors’ answers to produce the Advance Copy reports.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit for information on submitting your report.

Publication of NASW author reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of any publication or the ideas, values, or material contained within or espoused by authors or their books. We hope this column stimulates productive discussions on important topics now and in the future as both science and societies progress. We welcome your discussion in the comments section below.

NYU School of Professional Studies