Here is my reply:
Thanks for writing. One of my favorite things about this business is the letters. I've thought about your question and I have come up with some things I think will be useful to you. Becoming a motivational speaker is an excellent goal. It is the most positive, uplifting and satisfying profession you could have.
I started out with the Dale Carnegie Course for public speaking, which is EXCELLENT! I also did Toastmasters but Dale Carnegie’s course is better, in my opinion. More expensive, but worth it.
Then I started with service clubs like the Rotary, the Lion’s Club, and the Kiwanis, and I recommend that to you. It was a great way to start. They are always looking for speakers, and they are a very appreciative audience. They don't pay you, but they are fun to speak to and will give you good experience and good connections. Every city and town has branches. Look in the phone book or online. Call up the local clubs, tell them what you want to speak about, and most of the time they will set up an appointment with you. Easy. From there you can branch out. It’s amazing how much this world needs speakers. Everybody needs speakers, and most people don’t want to get in front of a group to talk, so the fact that you want to puts you in an elite (and eventually high-paying) group.
Now, in answer to your question: The two books about the speaking business I recommend are:
Success Secrets of the Motivational Superstars: America's Greatest Speakers Reveal Their Secrets by Michael Jeffreys
Money Talks: How to Make a Million as a Speaker by Alan Weiss
That first one is really good. Jeffreys interviews very successful motivational speakers like Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy, and each interview gets a chapter. The book itself will get you fired up about speaking. And give you great insights about the business. You’ll find out what these guys would have done differently if they could do it again. Very useful information.
Both books have a lot of practical advice for making it in the speaking business.
I think also, if you’re going to be in that business, there are a few books that you must read. Here is my list:
Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude by W. Clement Stone and Napoleon Hill
The Success System That Never Fails by W. Clement Stone
Og Mandino’s Og Mandino's University of Success
Dale Carnegie's Lifetime Plan for Success: The Great Bestselling Works Complete In One Volume
Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated by David D. Burns
The Charisma Quotient: What It Is, How to Get It, How to Use It by Ronald Riggio
Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin Seligman
Using Your Brain -- For a Change: Neuro-Linguistic Programming by Richard Bandler
Victory!: Applying the Proven Principles of Military Strategy to Achieve Greater Success in Your Business and by Brian Tracy
And one that doesn’t seem like it should be on this list but that I think you should read for many reasons is:
Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy by Dean Ornish
A few of these books are out of print and may be hard to find, but you can find them if you persist. Also, watch the movies, Rudy and October Sky about ten times each.
Study hard and when you get out, spread your wings and fly. Motivational speaking is a worthy profession. The world needs more positivity, more determination. Many worthy goals are never accomplished because of a lack of motivation. Most people don’t know much about how to maintain their motivation in the face of setbacks, so they give up on goals that really should be accomplished. You can help people stick to their purposes until they are accomplished. Good luck to you. Oh, that’s another good book: The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman.
I hope this helps,