Congratulations! You’ve received an invitation from the media to be interviewed as an expert or as a guest as part of your book promotion campaign. What do you do now?
Whether you’re a first-time author or you’ve written books and published books before, you’re an author first. Book promotion is not what you want to do. You’d rather be writing books instead. Here are some interview tips for authors who want to maximize every media interview opportunity as part of their book publicity campaign success.
Treat every media interview as if it were important. It is! Even if you’re doing an interview with a local access cable television show and your viewing audience is likely to be small, you’re still on the air. Be as professional as you’d be if you were on “Good Morning America” — and maybe your video clip of your cable television show appearance will help convince national television show producers to give you a chance to appear on their shows!
It’s okay to be nervous. A little bit of stage fright can be beneficial, because that adrenaline rush will give you a boost of energy and animation. Producers like energy and animation! Don’t beat yourself up for being a bit tense. Stage fright happens to even the most experienced authors who are about to do an interview.
Know what you want to say. The best way to approach a media interview is to know the messages you want to deliver in advance of the interview. Think about what you want to say, and the best way to say it. Got sound bites? Great! Are you ready to drill down into whichever points the interviewer wants you to elaborate on? Terrific!
Prepare yourself. Put some time into preparing for every media interview. Do a warm up beforehand just as you would if you were about to jog a few miles. I call this “shaking your sillies out” based on that wonderful, classic Raffi song. Practice saying your book title and your book web site’s URL so you won’t stumble over those words and phrases.
Stay open to feedback. Regardless of the messages you want to deliver, the interviewer will also have an agenda. Be attuned to whether the interviewer is interested in your responses on a certain topic. If not, be ready to segue to the next point. Cues to notice are typing when you’re doing a print media interview (that’s a good thing) and followup questions (that means your topic is hitting home).
Match your interviewer’s pace. As in a personal conversation, it helps to notice and emulate the other person’s style. If the interviewer’s speech pattern is slow and relaxed, then match that mood. If your interviewer sounds more formal and speaks more rapidly, that’s okay, too — just pick up your pace so that have time to answer the questions and make your points.
Maintain your composure. Your key job, during media interviews, is to relay credibility, and to inform or entertain (or both). If you run into a host or journalist who isn’t as professional or kind as you’d hope, handle it graciously. An interviewer can only derail you if you allow yourself to be rattled, so keep smiling, and stay on message no matter what.
Regardless of whether this is your first media interview opportunity or your hundredth, you can turn it into an opportunity to build your audience and let potential readers know about your book. Media interviews can be wonderful book promotion opportunities. When you get that chance, congratulate yourself, and maximize the book promotion potential!
Stacey J. Miller is an independent book publicist and founder of the Massachusetts-based book promotion firm, S. J. Miller Communications. Visit her online at www.bookpr.com. For more articles like this one, click here.