Dan Smith’s 12 Radio Interview Tips for Authors

Despite the advent of the digital age, good old-fashioned radio interviews should still be a staple of most book marketing campaigns. Radio interviews, the vast majority of which are conducted over the phone, should serve as a baseline of a book publicity plan – an author can easily do them while other types of media are pursued.

Here are 12 tips to help you.

  1. Prepare some notes ahead of time including questions you are likely to be asked and review the notes, but don’t use them during the interview as you may come off sounding like you’re reading instead of conversationally answering questions.
  2. Stand up while being interviewed! Your voice should sound better and you’ll seem more relaxed.
  3. Dress up for your interview. Yes, even for phone interviews you want to look and feel professional. Wearing your favorite pajamas while being interviewed may seem fun, but if you’re dressed professionally, you’ll sound more professional.
  4. Have a glass of water ready. You can quietly take a sip it if your throat starts feeling dry.
  5. Plug, but don’t over do itp. You want mention your book when appropriate, but there’s nothing worse than a guest who says in every answer, “… as I say in my book.” It’s a sign of an amateur and comes off terribly.
  6. Let the interview come to you; don’t force it. A good host will skillfully guide the conversation – follow his/her lead and let things come to you.
  7. Avoid mumbling. It’s easy for many people to drift off during answers and start losing sharp enunciation. Pay attention to this and keep your voice clear and sharp.
  8. Keep your answers short, but complete. Long-winded answers break up the flow of an interview.
  9. Don’t just say “yes” or “no” to open-ended questions! When a host asks something like, “Don’t you think people should _______,” don’t just say yes or no. This is an interview killer and often causes dead air, as the host is anticipating a full answer with some detail.
  10. If the host doesn’t mention your website at the end of the interview, it’s OK for you to mention it before signing off. Most hosts will give excellent plugs for authors, but if one doesn’t, you need to do it.
  11. If your interview includes listener call-ins, which many do, be sure to address each caller in a friendly way. When the host says, “We have Bob on the line calling from Memphis,” say “Hi Bob, how are you?” Or something to that effect. It is a friendly conversation opener.
  12. Have fun! Yes, you’re doing radio interview for book promotion, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. It’s exciting to be on the air talking to thousands of people … enjoy it!

In summary, you want to be relaxed yet professional for radio interviews. Try to be yourself and have a conversation with the host. And, do as many as possible! Radio interviews do still help sell books, and remember, you never know who is listening and many exciting things can happen as a result.