E2A 074: Nail Your Virtual Book Launch with Bonita Nuttall 

 May 14, 2024

By  Scott A. MacMillan

In this episode of The Entrepreneur to Author Podcast, your host Scott MacMillan speaks with Bonita Nuttall, a seasoned MC, keynote speaker, and virtual book launch specialist. Bonita shares insights into the role of book launches, emphasizing the three P's: Product, Positioning, and Possibilities.  

She discusses the advantages of virtual book launches, such as broader reach and increased engagement, and offers practical tips for planning successful events. Bonita's expertise shines through as she emphasizes the importance of creating a unique and impactful experience tailored to authors' goals and target audiences.


Bonita Nuttall, a leading voice in keynote speaking, leadership development, and public speaking prowess, brings a fusion of expertise and charisma to every stage she appears.

With a background steeped in investigative journalism and TV presenting, she infuses her talks with an engaging storytelling flair, enchanting audiences globally.

Bonita has presented internationally across a multitude of platforms, to a wide range of audiences. She's free dived with Tiger Sharks, interviewed gangsters in the heart of ganglands, and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with sporting great, Martina Navratilova.

Her journey from South Africa to Sydney, coupled with her Kiwi spirit, enriches her insights on human consciousness and personal development.

As a seasoned speaker, facilitator, and coach, Bonita empowers individuals and organisations to increase influence, credibility, and impact through effective communication and authentic leadership.

Whether lending her voice to inspiring change, or guiding others to find theirs, Bonita’s passion and expertise create unforgettable experiences.


Email: Bonita @ bonitanuttall.com

Website: bonitanuttall.com

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/bonita-nuttall-turn-up-the-you/

Instagram: instagram.com/bonita_nuttall/



LinkedIn (@scottmacmillan): linkedin.com/in/scottmacmillan
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Twitter (@scottamacmillan): twitter.com/scottamacmillan/
Medium (@scottamacmillan): scottamacmillan.medium.com

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Episode Transcript

Please note: The transcript is produced by a third-party company from an audio recording and may include transcription errors.

Scott MacMillan

You're listening to the Entrepreneur to Author podcast.


Welcome to the Entrepreneur to Author podcast, the podcast that brings you practical strategies for building authority and growing your business. And now, here's your host, Scott MacMillan.


My guest today is Bonita Nuttall. Bonita is a professional MC and keynote speaker, creative director, and speaker coach with more than 20 years experience in media communications, from TV investigative journalism to TV presenting. And Bonita is especially skilled at MCing virtual book launch experiences, which is why I wanted to bring her on the show.

Bonita, thank you for joining us today on the Entrepreneur-to-Author Podcast.


Hi, Scott. Thank you so much for having me. It's awesome to be here.


Wonderful. Well, listen, to start, I'd love if you could share a little bit more about you and your own journey for our audience.


Yeah, absolutely. Look, I think, thanks for that beautiful intro. I think you've given them a really good taste already of a bit of my background, but I'm originally from South Africa, and I'm also a New Zealand citizen, having lived there for over eight years.

And then I made the move to Sydney one year ago. So I like to think that in three years time, I will become a tri-nation. And so hopefully what that means as well is that no matter who's playing rugby in the world, I'm winning, which is in these parts of the world is really important.

So yeah, look, I mean, I started out wanting to be an actor, if you can believe it, Scott. And I then fell into TV presenting, and I started my professional speaking career back in South Africa. And that's when I started getting into emceeing events as well.

So we're talking over 20 years ago, and not to give too much of my age away. And then I fell into investigative journalism. And I did that for about seven years, which was really amazing.

It was adventurous. It was scary. It was also I got to seven years and I got tired of giving my country bad news.

And I thought, hold on, there's got to be a better way to be able to make a positive difference in the world. And so I came to Sydney and attempted immigration. That didn't work out, but I discovered neuro-linguistic programming and neuro-semantics and coaching.

And so I studied that and I came back and forth for a few years, and then eventually moved through to New Zealand, where I created a niche for myself in public speaking and speaker coaching. And so I've been developing my own training programs and mentoring and coaching from solopreneurs all the way through to C-suite CEOs and all of that, and executives, that sort of thing for a number of years now. And one of the things that remains the same for me is my love and my passion for speaking, for speaking on stage, but also emceeing is such a beautiful art, I think.

And it's something that for me allows me to help others to shine. And it's one of the situations where I get to kind of sit in a, it's a kind of a weird role because I kind of get to sit in the back seat a little, but also be in the foreground. But in the foreground, I'm there not to make myself shine.

I'm there to make whoever it is at that event come alive and to bring them to life. Kind of in the role that you're in now as well, Scott, you know, providing that platform for people to really come and to share who they are with the world. And so a year ago, yeah, I moved over here to Sydney and just been sort of building on all of that.

And virtual book launches has become a real passion of mine because I'm in the process of writing my own book and I know how important it is for authors and speakers and people who have got something really important to say, to be able to share it with the world in a way that it lands and creates the kind of impact that only we can.


Yeah, it's interesting that thread, right? Everything from acting through to, you know, presenting and speaker coaching all the way through to book launches. There's that consistent thread through everything.

And I saw some of your demo reels from back in your TV days. You did some really exciting stuff. That's really, really, I'm really impressed.

But what I'd love to talk a little bit about, of course, just given the audience that we're talking to with this podcast is book launches. Yeah. What do you see as the role of a book launch and, you know, what are some of the benefits specifically for the author?


Yeah, great question, Scott. So I like to think of it as the three P's. So with most things that we do and especially authors, I think a lot of authors are also speakers.

They're also coaches or they're, they're working, you know, there's quite a few different roles that we play. And so with that, we always have the product and that's the first P. There's the product, which is either the book or the program or whatever it is.

And then the second one is positioning. And this is the part where the book launch comes in a little bit and the, which I'll talk more to in a moment. And the third P is in possibilities.

So it's looking at, I've got this product and how do I want to position it? How do I want to position myself in my industry? And for most of us, I think who are authors and speakers and all of that, we want to, we want to set ourselves up essentially to be an expert in a particular field.

Otherwise, why are we doing what we're doing? Because we've got something to say. So if you're, if you're an author and you're listening to this nine times out of 10, like you've studied something or you've researched something, you've had the experience of something that's led you to the point where you go, I know enough and I have enough skill and all of these wonderful things that I want to be, I want to put it into a book that I can give to other people and share my knowledge and send it on to them. And in a way, how do I want to position myself as that expert in the field? And then what are the possibilities that then open up to me when I'm able to do that?

And I think that a book launch really is about opening up possibilities. It's about connecting with the people who we can transfer that knowledge to through giving them and through selling our books. But it's also about the possibilities of, as I say, there's brand expansion and it's about reaching audiences that we otherwise might never have.

It's about being able to elevate who we are to a new position of authority that sets ourselves up for new podcast interviews and new radio interviews and TV interviews. And, and for some people, it might be about the achievement space and look, I achieved all these things and I've got all these accolades and that's okay. If that's important to some of us, that's awesome.

There's nothing wrong with that. But I think even, I think even on a higher level to that, it's like, what is the legacy I want to leave behind? Like, what's the impact that I want to make in the world?

And this book that I've got has the ability to do that because I believe that in the work that I do, your voice is like a fingerprint. There's only one like it. There's no one in the world who can say what you have to say the way that you can say it.

And the same is about a book. I mean, I do, so my book's going to be on public speaking and there are a gazillion books about public speaking out there and probably a million of them are going to be better than mine, but no one's going to say what I've got to say the way that I've got to say it. And so I think a book launch really is, that's so multifaceted, Scott.

And I think that it is a crucial element to being able to market ourselves and position ourselves, brand ourselves. And one more thing, it's about connection. I think connection is ultimately the most important thing.

We can have the best product in the world and it sits on the shelf behind us and nobody ever knows about it. But when we begin to connect with people, that's when the magic starts happening. And I think a book launch is one of the penultimate ways for us to be able to do that.


Yeah. What about the difference, you and I talked about this when we first spoke, the difference between in-person and virtual book launches. I think for many, many years, it was really just in-person book launches, right?

Nobody ever considered the idea of doing a virtual book launch. And I don't think many audiences were open to it even until, of course, we all went through the COVID pandemic and out the other end, people realized that this was an option. What do you see as the main differences between in-person and virtual and perhaps the pros and cons?


Yeah. So Scott, I think COVID changed so much for us. It completely accelerated the way that we do business in the virtual world.

And a lot of people have wanted to go back to everything must be in-person. And look, I think that there's definitely a place for that. Some people just prefer in-person everything.

And I'm not necessarily saying that a virtual book launch should replace an in-person book launch. I think they can go hand in hand. However, I think that as an author, we need to sit and think about what do I ultimately want to do?

What do I want to ultimately achieve? Because if we think about an in-person book launch, it's, we're inviting, it's the wonderful opportunity for our closest people to come and get together with us and come and celebrate with us. I think probably a lot of in-person book launches are like mom and dad, like auntie, uncle Greg, can you guys all come over?

Because we're doing this book launch and I need people to be there and have my back. And we've got our partner and short of bringing the fur babies with along, everybody's there to kind of give their support. There's of course, potentially cheese and wine or high tea.

There's all of that sort of stuff, which also can be quite costly depending on how that's done. And then we invite a couple of key people from the local community and from maybe at some of our clients we've worked with before. And we invite a couple of media people if we can to get them there.

And a couple of key people from the industry that our book speaks to. And so what happens is, is we've got this really beautiful space where people can come together. And of course we can have a few drinks together and a few laughs and everybody can clap in person and it's beautiful and it's wonderful and people are connecting and that's great.

But like nine times out of 10, we've got an audience of what, 50 people we're looking at, like maybe about 50 people and that's about it. And then afterwards, I mean, if you wanted to, you could bring some guy along to film it and then get an editor afterwards to go and edit it all together. And that's beautiful.

And all of that costs quite a lot of money. So having an in-person book launch can be quite a costly affair. And let's face it, writing a book, the process of writing a book is already really expensive.

So getting to that point as well can be a bit, you know, um, it does add up, you know, add up in the end. So we've got that as the in-person book launch and then we've got the virtual book launch. And now we're looking at, instead of inviting 50 people, we can invite 500 people and we can invite people from all over the world.

We can invite some experts who are related to the particular industry that we're talking about from Greece or from the UK or wherever in the world, from Australia or the United States. And instead of it becoming really localized and really small, we just go like this. We just open it all up to the entire rest of the world.

And when we do that, now we start playing a bigger game. Now we start looking at it and go, who are the real key people I want to influence? And who are the real people who are going to create the impact for me?

We stand a chance of increasing sales because instead of now selling to 50 people, we've got 500 people or even a hundred people. You've already doubled your audience. Not only that, you know, so from a one to many, we've now created a much bigger event, but also then we have an opportunity to bring people along the journey with us that doesn't only end on the night.

An in-person book launch, we'd have it on the night and then it's done. Everybody goes home and they're like, oh my God, that was amazing. And there are a few posts, a few pictures about it on social media the day after.

And that's it really. Whereas a virtual book launch, we get to record it and edit it and we have all the different things. We can interview people from all over the world, as I say, and create that interview as a standalone segment.

And so we're repurposing content for the website, for newsletters, for being able to send recordings to various other people to share on and to collaborate with other influences for them to be able to share to their audiences. And now instead of 50 people, we're like a hundred people or 500 people and then to everybody else's audience as well. And so yes, we can repurpose that.

We can use it as a podcast even and use snippets of that. The emcee will be there in a virtual book launch to also interview the author in a way that it removes the awkwardness because let's face it, most people when it comes to public speaking, it's one of the things that it's still the most feared thing in the world. And so having an emcee be at a virtual book launch and interviewing people kind of gets rid of that people standing there with a paper and they're shaking and there's all the nervousness that goes with it.

And it's a conversation and it's so much more relaxed and it's so much more personable and there's more connection than what we could possibly imagine. And I think there's something really magic about that.


That's a really wonderful way to put it. Could you talk about the role that you play, how you help people with their book launches and perhaps as you're talking about that, maybe you could drop some hints about some things that you've seen work particularly well to make a book, a virtual book launch successful?


Absolutely. Yeah, Scott. So it's a really exciting journey and it's about having, for me, it's about like if we think about climbing a mountain and you get a Sherpa, it kind of is the same thing with having an emcee at your virtual event.

It's like having somebody there to carry the load for you. You get to climb to the top of where you want to be. You get to look out.

You get to have the full experience, but you get somebody there who's carrying the tent, who's carrying your water, who's carrying your food and you're kind of arriving there in much better shape. And so for me, we start out with this wonderful brainstorming session. We get together and we nut it out.

We go, right, who do you want to be as an author? And we look at what is the impact that you want to make? Who are the people that you want to begin to influence?

We start nutting all of that out and then we work our way backwards and we go, right, who's your audience? Who are the people we want to get to your event? And we start creating a plan for your specific event that is tailored to your specific outcomes because not every book launch is going to be the same.

And so from there, we can start looking at if we're talking to a bunch of lawyers, we're going to have very different kinds of exercises and activities to what we might do if we're talking to people in the personal development space. If we're talking to an audience of people in the personal development space, we might have a guided meditation that is done by the author at some point for everybody to experience something that they've done. Whereas with a lawyer, it might be completely different and something that's far more left brain orientated for them to go and experience.

So it's really about tailoring from what we do to the experience that the audience is going to have together. And I think that's a really key word here, Scott. It's about experience.

At the end of the day, my role as the emcee is to help every single author to create an experience for their audience. I want them to be able to walk away feeling much better than what they did when they arrived. As with any speaker I work with as well, we always look at where do we want to take them from and where do we want to take them to?

And that's really important. And there's three different journeys, right? There's a very practical journey, which is we're going to do this first and then we're going to have an opening and then we're going to play this video.

So that's all of the really practical stuff. And then there's the technical stuff of what are we going to use from a technical point of view? Are we going to get them to use something like Mentimeter, where we have a quiz for everybody to do, which is something that works really, really well with audiences.

It's getting them to actually interact. And so it might be menti.com or mentimeter.com is a fantastic tool that we use and I use in a lot of virtual and in-person events where people get on their phones, they pop in a code, they go to a URL and we do polls or we do a word cloud and the results come up live on the screen. And so it looks awesome and it's fun and everybody's getting involved and they're like, Oh my God, look at those results.

And it's in time, in real time with everybody. So there's the technical aspect of all of that. There's, you know, I wonder if you can hear my sound if I do this over here, but there's, you know, cool little effects and things like that, that we can bring in to really make it fun and exciting.

There's music that gets played at the beginning and videos and all of that kind of really cool stuff. And then there's the emotional journey that the audience will go on. And if we think about it, it's like with everything, Scott, everybody arrives at an event today in one particular state.

And at the end of it, what state do we want our audience to be in? And it's the same with the speakers, right? So everybody who hears something or goes to an event or whatever, we don't want them to walk away feeling crap or worse than when they arrive.

We want them walking out there going, Oh my God, that was awesome. I need that book. I want to work with that person.

I only got to know more about what's going on there. And I feel like somehow I'm inspired to be more, to do more in the face of this beautiful event. And so I've kind of gone on a bit of a tangent there.

Sorry, Scott, but I get really excited and quite passionate about all of this. So there's, those are the three journeys that we kind of map out together to go, right, where do you want to go and how do you want to play? And then from there, we will probably do a bit of a rehearsal.

If there are some interviews that need to be done with people who are in different time zones and my 10 o'clock is your, you know, 3am, we can arrange them at a time or the book launch would be at their 3am. We can pre-record those interviews as well and get them all ready to go. And then on the day I set up all of my own system.

I've got professional lighting and sound and all that good stuff. I work with the author to go, let's work on your framing. Let's work on your microphone, all your technical bits and pieces.

I work with all of the interviewees to make sure that they're also all on track. I will then also together with the author, we will have come up with a list of questions for their interviews. So I will prep them.

We will go through them together. We'll work through it because I'm a speaker coach. I also work with authors in terms of managing their state and their nerves and being able to really connect on camera, looking through the lens and being able to show up in a way that they feel excited with enough nervousness to the point where it's not tipping over the edge of so stressful that they can't actually communicate with impact.

And then it's the big day, right? So people arrive and we're there like an hour and a half beforehand, myself and the author and potentially some of the other interviewees. And I basically carry the technical navigation of the show essentially is what it is.

And this is the exciting part. It's live and we get people waiting in the green room before the event starts. And we're playing music in the background.

People come in and immediately it just this beautiful event kicks off and people are a part of something exciting. And we go through it from beginning all the way through to the end. We'll have book giveaways, which I think are really important as well.

We've got prizes that people can win. And maybe it's discounted vouchers for some of the programs to work with the author. Or maybe it's having, depending on where you are in the world, we can tailor any of the prizes to suit whatever the author wants to give away.

Some of the things that work really well, as I say, is absolutely interviewing people who come online to essentially sing the author's praises in a really authentic way. We don't do cheese unless it's on a cracker is my saying. So we've got to be really authentic in that.

I think having some video content as well coming in there. Maybe there's some clips of something about the author that sets them up to go, this is where it all started for me. And this is me when I first started as a kid or bringing in a photograph of them.

And this was me when I had a dream of being an author. And today I'm here. So it's, again, really tapping into the emotion and tapping into the narrative of why we're there and the impact that the author wants to make.

And I think, yeah, creating pockets of engagement for the audience as well. So as I've mentioned, you know, interactive mechanisms like Comantimeter.com. We also could have one of those spinning wheels where everyone puts their name in and all of a sudden somebody wins a prize and that sort of thing.

So those kinds of things I think work really well. And then at the end, we give the author the opportunity to read a little passage from their book. And I find that the house just goes really quiet.

You know, the virtual house goes really quiet and people lean in to hear the person who's using their voice both in a book form as well as obviously their real voice to be able to share their most remarkable work with the world. And I think that there's something really special with that. And at the end of that, we then say our goodbyes to everybody and the author and I will stay on afterwards to have a bit of a debrief and celebrate together.

And depending on what happens, I will send the recorded version through to the author for them to go away and be able to go and watch it back for themselves as well as a few different clips. Short little one-minutes, I think probably between two and three short one-minutes that they can immediately go and repurpose and go and pop out on social media. And that's all included in everything that I offer and just part of the whole experience.


What I love is that you've given us a real crisp picture of not just what a book launch event, a virtual book launch event looks like and feels like, but also that before and after and kind of the lead up to the event. So I know that's going to be really valuable for our audience. Bonita, what's the best way that people can get in touch with you if they want to learn more and perhaps engage you for their book launch?


Absolutely. Look, I find smoke signals work best. I'm just kidding.

You can get a hold of me on my email is bonita @ bonitanuttall.com. And I'm sure Scott, if you see, you'd be kind enough just to pop that through because the nuttall parts and little bits of double L's and double T's and all sorts of good things there. I also have my website, which is www.bonitanuttall.com.

Feel free to go and pop on there as well. Send me through an email and I'm, you know, come back to you as soon as possible. And we can set up an initial 30 minute discovery call, which is a free consultation with me where we get together.

Let's see if we're a good fit to work together. You've got to feel comfortable with me. I've got to feel comfortable with what we're doing together and it's obligation free.

So just an opportunity for us to get an idea of who we are together, what we might be able to do together. And then we take it from there.


Great. Well, we'll put those links in the show notes and we'll also put the smoke signals in there as well. Bonita, this has been incredibly interesting.

You know, I get asked about book launches all the time by our authors. And so I know this topic is of particular interest and I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today.


Thank you so much, Scott. Can I just add one last thing? You know, I have a few people who a few authors who I've spoken to around virtual book launches, and it's something that a lot of authors and a lot of us would never really consider as something that is an option.

And I think what's really most important about it is I think instead of a question that I'd like to leave the audience with is instead of asking the question, what do I want to do? It's who do I want to be as an author? How do I want to position myself?

Who are the people that I want to impact the most? And what are the possibilities that I want to create and carve out for myself? And I think once you can sit down and get an idea of that, I think everything else becomes a lot clearer.


Well, very well said. Thank you again. Awesome.

Thank you.


Awesome. Thank you so much for having me, Scott. Really appreciate it.

And all of the best to the audience as well.


As we wrap up this episode of Entrepreneur to Author, remember this. Now is the time. Time to write, time to publish, and time to grow.

I'm Scott McMillan. Until next time.

Scott A. MacMillan

Scott A. MacMillan is a speaker, international best-selling author, entrepreneur, and the President and Executive Publisher at Grammar Factory Publishing. He and his team help expert entrepreneurs write and publish books that build their authority and grow their business.

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