TV Interviews: Should You Pay to Play?

TV Interviews: Should You Pay to Play?
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Is getting on television your equivalent to hitting a home run when it comes to PR for your book or platform? To many people it is and there is no denying the visibility a television interview can do for your book, not to mention your self-esteem. But is everyone you see on television getting their "big break" or are they really spending big bucks to make it look that way?

As trends in the book industry change, so do trends in book publicity. To get the low down on what is really behind some of these television interviews with authors, I reached out to my colleague, Dan Janal, internet marketer and bestselling author for his insights.

Arielle: Dan, you stay very current in what's happening and what is successful when it comes to strategic planning for marketing and PR. What can you tell us about all of these news/interviews that we are seeing on television?

Dan: There is a new trend going on among local TV shows as well as cable news shows to sell interview spots to authors, speakers and business people for fees ranging from $900 to $4,500. Some people are calling it "branded entertainment" and you can even find it listed on Wikipedia. Infomercials aren't working any longer, so this form of 5-minute interview tied to a news show is the new, bright shiny object that people are chasing after.

Arielle: What should authors do if a producer from a real TV show asks for money?

Dan: First, determine if this is a real show or not. Are they airing all of the segments they record? What is the size of their audience? Second, if the show is legitimate, ask yourself: "Will the money I invest make me as much or more money?" For example, if I pay $900 to appear on this show, will I sell $900 of books, consulting, coaching, speaking or products? If the answer is "Yes," then go for it. That's what advertising is supposed to do.

Arielle: Do you have specific advice authors should follow if they do decide to pay for a show?

Dan: Yes, here are a few key points:

  1. Don't commit yourself to a long-term contract you can't get out of. You might have good success in the beginning. But if the sales start to diminish, you could lose your shirt.
  2. Make sure the show actually does reach your target audience. It is nice to be asked to be on a TV show in Sweden, but will that reach the people who can buy your services?
  3. Make sure the show airs at the prime time to reach your audience. Does your audience watch TV as they eat breakfast, or at 2 in the morning when they can't sleep?
  4. Make sure you get copies of the video to use in any way you want (on your website, social networking sites, etc.) You will want to get the most value you can out of this video. In addition, it will be much higher quality than anything you can do with your Mac and a green screen.
Thank you, Dan. So authors, be aware that this type of branded entertainment is not only happening, it's available to you if you want to pay to play. Just remember to do your homework before you write any checks or sign any contracts.

Dan Janal is an internationally recognized speaker, Internet marketer and best-selling author. He helps speakers, authors, coaches, consultants and small businesses get publicity so they can sell more products and get more speaking engagements. His clients get terrific results from his coaching, consulting, done-for-you services and do-it-yourself tools. For info, go to

Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. To learn how to get started writing a book please visit:

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