Talk shows, news programs, newspapers, magazines and blogs are always on the lookout for a fascinating book topic written by an interesting author. The problem is, a lot of authors do not know how to deliver the goods in an interview and are missing this opportunity to introduce their book to countless prospective readers.
Here's what to do and not do in a media interview.
1. Read your book again. This time, look for three messages from the book that will entice the audience to go online or head to the store and buy your book. The messages should fall under the old journalism axiom; tell them something they don't know. Intrigue them with new information or a different way at looking at the world, their life, their business or whatever you've written about.
2. Don't give away the store. There is a tendency among authors to tell too much about the book to the point where the would be reader thinks, "I've got the essence of this book. I don't need to buy it."
3. Be interesting. A dull, boring answer to a question sends the signal to the audience that the book will be too. A little enthusiasm goes a long way.
4. Anticipate questions. If you're being pre-interviewed (which is often the case for TV shows), you are in essence being given the on air questions. The host more often than not follows the questions that you were asked by a producer during the pre-interview. Also, think about sending "suggested questions" to the producer/host/writer. You'd be surprised how often they are used during the actual interview.
5. Practice being an interesting and well informed guest. Write every question you could possibly be asked. Then have a friend interview you. Record it with a smart phone or any other device and keep doing it until you like the way it came out. Put yourself in the place of a member of the audience. Did you get your messages across? Would you buy this book based on what you saw and heard?
6. Tell stories. Illustrations and examples to bring to life what you are saying; that is what will make your interview memorable.
7. If you're booking yourself, look for programs or sites that are compatible with your topic. For example, Jim Blassingame hosts a syndicated radio show called "The Small Business Advocate." If that's your topic, that's the place you want to be. It may not have the audience the size of the Today show, but 100 percent of Jim's audience is interested in how to be more successful at being an entrepreneur or small business operator.
8. Do your homework. Go online and check out interviews or stories that your host or reporter have done in the past. You'll get a sense of their style, interests and biases.
9. If you're booked on a TV show, ask if the producer will show a slide of the cover of your book or have a link from the program's website to yours. You could also offer an excerpt of the book to be posted on the show's site.
10. If you are a part of a panel discussion with other authors, look for opportunities to show how your book is different without putting down the work of your fellow panelists.