Only once in my career did I ever think a radio interview was not worth my time and I ended it with a simple gesture - I hung up. About seven years ago I found myself talking to a couple of DJs who were turning my topic about spirituality into a platform for asking inappropriate sexual questions just for shock value. It was obvious their listeners where not my readers and I moved on to bigger and better things.
The flip side of that experience was when I pulled myself out of bed and somewhat horizontal to have a 4:00 a.m. show airing in a small market in Florida. That show was picked up in four other markets and resulted in my book, Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Soul making it to the bestseller's list.
Although the way we listen to radio has changed a great deal over the years, radio interviews are still the old tried, true and trusted marketing outlet for new books and authors. They are one of my favorite ways to promote a book because you get to control the interview. Most of the time the host never bothers to read your book in its entirety (if at all) so they are more than willing to ask you the questions you provide. They'll also read your introduction word for word, so there are no surprises. Of all the interviews I have given over the last several years, 95% of them have asked me my prepared questions in the exact order I provided them. If there is an easier way to almost guarantee book sales and traffic to your website please fill me in.
Why you should embrace the radio interview and how to prepare:
- Radio interviews are relatively easy to set up. You can hire a publicist or PR company to maximize their existing relationships and most often they will guarantee you a certain number of interviews. You can also buy contact lists from various services and set up the interviews yourself.
- It's something you can do every day to continue your marketing efforts for book sales. The best part is you don't have to travel or even get out of your pajamas.
- With so many of the radio interviews being turned into podcasts, your content can live on forever. If the station sends you the link you can share it on your social media platforms and post it on your website.
- Have a great radio one-sheet prepared to send to the producer once the interview is confirmed. It should include your bio, an interesting summary paragraph about your book, the questions you want asked and your contact information with email, land-line and back-up cell phone numbers. Send it along with a jpeg of the book cover and your headshot so they can promote you on their website and social media accounts. It's important to have all of this in one email and within one document rather than expect a producer or host to piece it together.
- Watch your rankings on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com before the interview and then again later that day and over the next few days. It will give you a good indication of how well you did if the rankings changed in your favor. It's also great to have these stats on hand especially when you're pitching the media and you want to be able to tell them about your ranking success over a period of time.
- Be relevant by showing how your topic relates to what's happening in pop culture and in the news. For example, feel free to give your opinion about a current celebrity issue by stating, "In my book I demonstrate how people can easily...."
- Don't be ashamed of asking for help. I strongly encourage every author to get media trained.
- Offer something free to your listeners so they go to your website (or book promo page) to sign up for a free download, audio file, product or seminar.
- My strongest recommendation is: Don't be afraid to give away all of your content in an interview. It's a rookie (and arrogant) mistake to think you should tease the listener and tell them they can get the details in the book. You want to give away as much content as quickly as you can because (1) they'll never remember all of it, (2) you will overwhelm them with great information, and (3) they will see how much juicy content there is in the book and voluntarily want more. Don't withhold - Be totally fascinating.
Have you had an interesting, shocking or phenomenal experience on a radio show during your book promotion? I'd love to hear about it!