All About the Authors

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Category: radio interview

9 steps to success with your radio, print or TV interview

Think you’re ready for your radio, print or TV interview? It might look easy but taking the time to prepare will make all the difference in your comfort level and success. Here are 9 key steps to success:

  1. Prepare

One of the first steps in a marketing program is preparing a media kit. If you have one, you’ve probably created a sample question-and-answer sheet to add to your media kit. These Qs and As will give you a great starting point for your media interview. Make sure to go over the information and send this to the reporter or host.

  1. Research

Just like with writing, research is a critical. Read, watch, and listen to interviews with the media outlet or outlets you are most interested in or which are on target for your book. Become familiar with the interview format, the types of questions usually asked, and the length of time for responses. Your responses need to be succinct and on-point. Also, find out whether the interview is live or pre-recorded. That gives you more flexibility in the length of your answers. If the interview will be published via print or online, you might ask for a list of questions that you can respond to. This gives you more time to prepare your answers.

If it’s a broadcast Interview, practice in front of a mirror or webcam or with a friend. Remember to relax and pause for a deep breath if you need more time to respond.

  1. Help your host

Sometimes, short answers are better because they allow the host to ask another question, take another phone call, or go to a commercial. But, other times, the host will ask an open-ended question that allow
s you the flexibility to expound on your answer. You’ll judge the pacing when you research the show you’re being interviewed on, and by asking the host in advance.

  1. Express yourself

Readers appreciate a relaxed, authentic approach and want to know your story. And, on a radio program, listeners will “hear it” if you stand and mossmiling-phone-operatort importantly — smile. Try to match the host’s energy. Your passion – or lack of it — will really come across to the audience.

  1. Find a quiet spot for your interview

Most interviews will be arranged in advance. If it’s handled over the phone, be sure that you arrange to take t
he call in a quiet place where you won’t be distracted or interrupted. Also, practice your interviews in this space. You’re the expert and the radio host will usually attempt to make you comfortable and at ease.

Take your time and have your talking points in front of you. Make sure to answer questions in a way that presents you and your book in the most positive and interesting way.

  1. Practice makes perfect

With practice, you’ll relax during interviews and put yourself and your book in the best light. Think carefully before responding to questions, and answer with your practiced responses but avoid sounding canned.  The audience will pick up on rote answers so just be natural.

If you feel yourself becoming shaken and nervous, take a deep breath. It’s perfectly fine to tell the host or reporter that you don’t know the answer to the question if you don’t. Just respond that you’ll be happy to find out and get back with them. This gives you another reason to be on the show again!

  1. Be honest and avoid hyperbole

It’s easy to get nervous and misstate information about your book. Be cautious about this because your audience will know if you’re exaggerating or hyping your book. The host and audience appreciates real, in-depth information about you and your book. That’s why you’re on the show. And, if you make a mistake, don’t sweat. Everyone makes mistakes and you’ll improve with experience.

  1. Don’t depend on the host to make the plug

Make sure to mention your book title and where listeners can get a copy of your book such as your website, local bookstores, etc. and ask them to follow you on social media. Also make sure to talk about an upcoming book signing or author talk.

  1. Follow up after the interview

Everyone appreciates a thank-you as a follow-up to the interview via phone or e-mail. This is also a great opportunity to assure that the reporter, editor, or producer who interviewed you has all the information they need to complete their segment. If you have a publicist, this is usually SOP – standard operating practice.

It’s your party! 5 Tips for a Great Book Event

Burkhalter 1Here’s the awesome part! It’s time to tell everyone about your book. Hopefully, you’ve already launched your website or blog and built relationships via social media. So, the buzz has begun. Now, you can begin planning your book signing event or events. Your first step is securing your location/s. Then, begin planning for each event.

Follow these five tips for a great book event:

  1. Once you secure your location, work with the bookstore or other retailer. Speak to the person handling the event for the store and find out what she or he will do to promote the event. Most bookstores look to their authors to bring in traffic for the event so coordinate your own efforts with those of the bookstore.
  1. Then, create buzz for your book(s) with press releases that dovetail with social media including Facebook, Twitter posts and LinkedIn as well as email marketing via a newsletter or Call-to-Action marketing piece letting the media and your fans know about the event. You might offer a sample chapter and author information to your local newspaper, magazine and radio station and ask for an interview before your book signing. Your community papers and local radio stations are the best media sources for getting the word out.Burkhalter 5
  1. Develop collateral materials and giveaways including postcards, posters and bookmarks. Send postcards to friends and family with a handwritten note before the event and keep them handy on your table. Several posters displayed in the store as well as one at your table are great point-of-display items that will create interest. Also, ask nearby retailers if they’ll display your information, too. Contact special interest groups like the local Chamber, arts society, your book community, or any other group relating to your book’s topic.
  1. Practice your presentation and/or reading. This helps you be more comfortable in front of a crowd especially when you’re not following a structured speech. Many authors are more relaxed when they speak less formally but it’s always a good idea to have at least an outline of what you’d like to talk about. And, if you’re doing a reading, make sure that you practice reading the excerpt aloud on your own. Most authors talk for about 20 to 30 minutes and then open up for questions from the audience. Have a few of your own handy to get the conversation started.Burkhalter 4
  2. Have a friend on hand to help. When your table gets mobbed by readers as you hope it will, a friend can hand out bookmarks and giveaways, replenish your books, ask customers to join the email list, make announcements, and take pictures of the event. You’ll want to post these on social media as soon as the event is over with a short write-up about the event. Also, send it out to the same media contacts who may run a photo or two with a caption.

There are so many great ways to promote yourself and make the most of the event.  Have fun and do as much as you can to make it successful.  You can always add special touches like food, wine and a designer cake to make the event a celebration.  After all, it’s your party!

7 Things about Book Marketing You Want To Know

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Build demand with consistent messages or “viral marketing”

Hey, is it catching? You certainly hope so! As an author, you want to get the message out to as many people as possible about you and your book. Viral marketing is contagious and describes marketing on the Internet. You goal is to entice people to share your information with their friends, who then share with their friends, and so on. It spreads like a virus if your message is creative and on point.

Be accessible

Authors who are available for comment for news stories in print, radio or television, are sought out by reporters who cover their topic, industry or expertise. Guest columns on social media are another great way to keep yourself and your book in the news. Media and website owners will seek you out – and keep seeking you out — if you’re accessible.  Self-promotion builds if you make it a point to be available, are on-time for the interview, if you’re well-spoken (or written), and keep your promises.

This publicity is free and frees you up to do what you like best – writing. An effective first step is letting media know your availability and including your contact information on all correspondence. Then, stay in touch, especially is there’s a newsworthy event that relates to you and your book. When someone cancels at the last minute, you might be next in line for an interview.

Keep showing up

Why should you keep showing up even if it seems like you’re making little headway? Because it takes five, seven – or even 10 impressions before media and fans begin recognizing you and your book. It used to be the “rule of three” impressions to make an effect in advertising and marketing but now there are so many ways to send your message and so much noise (static from everyone else sending messages) that it’s better to just keep sending them so that you’ll be heard. A caveat is not to annoy reporters by contacting them too frequently. Just remain persistent and helpful. And, remember, double check your contacts to make sure your message is going to the right person or people.

Make them care

Creating empathy with your audience connects you and your book in the same way you’d connect with a friend. Today, relationship marketing pulls at the heart and core beliefs of your followers. Everyone wants to be understood so your mission is to connect on a deeper level than just telling them the facts. What about you and your book is important to your audience? At a book event that I attended this weekend, I was able to hear the story behind many books directly from the authors and all of them were connecting through the heart. For example, Jo Anne Normile, author of memoir Saving Baby, discussed her passion for horse rescue and how it’s transformed her life. And, beyond the passion for horses that I’m sure many people share, a portion of the proceeds from each book sale provides funding for the Saving Baby Equine Charity. You want your reader and fans to believe that you’re talking directly to him or her – and you are.

Find or target your audience

As an author, chances are that you defined your “target” audience before you even began writing your book. This market is the right group to target for your marketing messages. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that everyone is your audience. Age group alone segments book audiences e.g. Young Adult literature, and gender is key. Envision your target and speak to them. In fact, if you haven’t done it yet, write down a detailed description of your reader. Geography is also a good way to segment your audience. Is your book classified as Southern fiction? Or, is it set in the northeast along the coast? All these factors further define your target audience and give you a starting point for marketing.

Next, you’ll want to brainstorm what best matches your audience’s beliefs, opinions, attitudes or intentions. “Every day brings something good!” is the central message within Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening by Carol Wall, now deceased.  Although Carol chronicled her battle with cancer, the overriding message is that life is uplifting if you open your heart. Her friendship with a gardener from Kenya had to do with much more than gardening and is an inspiration for readers looking for this message about life and living.

Write effective marketing pieces

Writing effective marketing pieces is entirely different than writing a book and for some it’s a daunting task. The best marketing pieces are short and catchy. Whatever you’re writing – press releases, letters, website content or an email blast – remember to focus on your reader. First, write a headline that’s succinct, to the point, and interesting. A rule of thumb for email messages is no more than six words in the subject line. I sometimes use more if needed to get the message across. If it’s a press release about an event such as a book launch, I usually include the day and time to express urgency. Next, connect with your readers on a deeper level than just the facts. Telling them some of your story is a great way of connecting. Write copy that talks to your readers directly and include a call to action. This is a direct communication to come to your book launch, buy your book, find out more, subscribe to your newsletter, etc.

Follow-up

Follow-up – or the lack of follow-up – can sink your marketing campaign. All of us struggle with what feels like a sales call. I generally wait until I’m relaxed and have a “smile in my voice” before picking up the phone to follow-up with media or other contacts. If you follow up consistently, with a genuine desire to build an ongoing relationship, people will be receptive. A good guide is to set up a simple list of contacts and make notes regarding date of contact and comments. Then, mark dates to follow-up with them. You’ll build relationships that will be win-win.

Be a PR Superhero!

Why We Love Press Releases (And You Should, Too!)

supergirl - pr superheroWriting a great press release or pitch is essential to telling potential readers about your book. Not only is the job of the press release to announce a book launch, event or other newsworthy event, it’s to gain interest.

That’s the fun but also the challenging part.

Writing for journalists is very different than writing a book. Your mission is to grab attention and get to the point immediately. Journalists are flooded with potential stories or pitches on a daily basis but if you grab their attention and get to the point….and if you’ve done your research and hit the right reporter at the right time…you may just get that news story or radio interview.

In this week’s All About the Authors video installment, I talk about seven ways writers will gain attention and interest with a well-crafted press release. Are you ready to pen a super-charged pitch and gain publicity for yourself and your book?

Here are the seven steps to writing a great press release that hooks reporters who will want to know more:

  1. Create an attention-grabbing headline
  2. Get to the point and stay laser focused
  3. Proofread for perfection
  4. Include quotes often
  5. Keep it short. No longer that two pages – one is better
  6. Include your contact information
  7. Offer access to more information

Before you begin writing, remember that nobody cares. Journalists are very busy and are pitched by many, many people every day who all believe that they have that must-tell story. Use this adage to force yourself to step into the reporter’s shoes. What makes your story interesting? Why should this publication or station and next, this particular reporter, care? Find the angle that will interest him and help him reach his story goals.

Next, follow-up to make sure he received your release and ask if there are any questions. Find out if he would like a copy of your book and in what format. Only send your book when the reporter asks for it.

When working with a young adult author several years ago, I announced the newest book in her teen suspense series to reporters in Northeast Florida because that’s where she lived and worked. It helped that she was published by an imprint of Penguin Group Inc. and that she was a school teacher. The community interest angle intrigued a columnist at The Florida Times-Union who wrote an excellent story in his weekly column, “One of Us”. What makes your story interesting?

Finally, remember the long game when promoting your book. You may not deliver the one-two punch with the first swing but if you practice, pitch and persevere, you’re sure to land a winner (and possibly, save the world).

 

Radio Rockstar: 10 tips to Rock Your Radio Interview

By Dr. Patty Fitzhugh

dr patty cares webThink you’re ready for your first radio interview? It might look easy but taking the time to prepare will make all the difference in your comfort level and success. I host two radio shows, Managing Mid-Life and Morning Coffee, and have done hundreds of interviews. Whether you’re the interviewer or interviewee, you’ll want to follow these easy steps to rock your interview.

  1. Prepare

Most authors I speak to during my Emerging Authors segment have assembled a media kit. If you have, you’ve probably created a sample question-and-answer sheet to add to your media kit. These Qs and As will give you a great starting point for your media interview. Here are some highpoints that will help offer a guideline for both you and your host:

  • Your background, and other interests, ideas, or expertise
  • How you came up with the idea for your book
  • Some of the more interesting ways you researched or learned of the information you used when writing the book
  • How your book connects with local issues and events
  • Authors or books that have inspired or influenced you and your work
  1. Research

Research is a critical. I suggest that you read, watch, and listen to interviews with the media outlet or outlets you are most interested in or which are on target for your book. Become familiar with the interview format, the types of questions usually asked, and the length of time for responses. For example, during my Morning Coffee show on Wednesdays, I have only 20 minutes for the interview. The setting is very relaxed. But, during my Sunday night show for Emerging Authors, I have 45 minutes. Your responses need to be succinct and on-point. Find out whether the interview is live or pre-recorded. That gives you more flexibility in the length of your answers.

It’s also a good idea to learn what issues associated with your book are most likely to appeal to the station’s audience. Practice answering those questions. Interview yourself in front of a mirror or webcam or have a friend help you practice. Remember to relax and pause for a deep breath if you need more time to respond with a clear message.

  1. Help your host

Sometimes, short answers are better because they allow the host to ask another question, take another phone call, or go to a commercial – so keep your answers to 30 seconds or less. But, other times, the host will ask an open-ended question that allows you the flexibility to expound on your answer. You’ll judge the pacing when you research the show you’re being interviewed on, and by asking the host in advance.

  1. Express yourself

Listeners will “hear it” if you stand, use well-timed gestures, and smile – even on the radio. Try to match the host’s energy. If it’s an early morning call like my Morning Coffee show, get up early and have your coffee or whatever helps you wake up and be energized for the interview. Your passion – or lack of it — will really come across to the audience.

  1. Find a quiet spot for your interview

Most interviews will be arranged in advance. That’s what I do. If it’s handled over the phone, be sure that you arrange to take the call in a quiet place where you won’t be distracted or interrupted. Also, practice your interviews in this space, too. You’re the expert and the radio host will usually attempt to make you comfortable and at ease.

Take your time and have your talking points in front of you. Make sure to answer questions in a way that presents you and your book in the most positive and interesting way.

  1. Practice makes perfect

With practice, you’ll relax during interviews and put yourself and your book in the best light. Think carefully before responding to questions and answer with your practiced responses but avoid sounding canned.  The audience will pick up on rote answers so just be natural.

If you feel yourself becoming shaken and nervous, take a deep breath. It’s perfectly alright to tell the host or reporter that you don’t know the answer to the question if you don’t. Just respond that you’ll be happy to find out and get back with them. This gives you another reason to be on the show again!

  1. Be honest and avoid hyperbole

It’s easy to get nervous and misstate information about your book. Be cautious about this because your audience will know if you’re exaggerating or hyping your book. The host and audience appreciates real, in-depth information about you and your book. That’s why you’re on the show. And, if you make a mistake, don’t sweat. Everyone makes mistakes and you’ll improve with experience.

  1. Don’t depend on the host to make the plug

Make sure to mention your book title and where listeners can get a copy of your book such as your website, local bookstores, etc. and ask them to follow you on social media. Also make sure to talk about an upcoming book signing or author talk.

  1. Repeat your message during the show

People tend to drop in and out of the interview so do what CNN does best – repeat your message throughout the interview.  Your host will probably help with this throughout by saying, “I’m talking with ___________, author of _____________.

  1. Follow up after the interview

Everyone appreciates a thank-you as a follow-up to the interview via phone or e-mail. This is also a great opportunity to assure that the reporter, editor, or producer who interviewed you has all the information they need to complete their segment. If you have a publicist, this is usually SOP – standard operating practice.

 

Dr. Patty is a White Plains, NY native who has recently settled in Chatham County with her daughter, Anjela. She also has two sons, James Jr. and Joshua. Dr. Patty holds a Bachelor’s degree from Morgan State University, Master’s degree in Accounting from the University of Phoenix and, most recently, she achieved a Doctorate in Ministry from Family Bible University.

Dr. Patty believes in thinking big, and in 2005, she took the challenge to enter a new sphere of influence with the Pastor Pat Radio Show. The show offered a platform for relevant issues affecting the individual as a whole and proved to be a powerful and effective medium for her years of training and life experience.

She next established The Mid-Life Resource Center in 2012 that offers a comprehensive array of resources for people experiencing tremendous challenges and transitions associated with mid-life. She hosts two radio shows, Managing Mid-Life and Morning Coffee with Dr. Patty.

Dr. Patty hosts an Emerging Authors segment where she interviews new authors in her Sunday night programs. For more information about Dr. Patty and to arrange an interview, contact her at info@managemidlife.com.

 

All About the Authors welcomes guest posts from authors and those who are experts in the book industry. If you’re interested in submitting a guest post to All About the Authors, please send your information and topic idea to allabouttheauthors@gmail.com with the subject line “Guest Post”.