12 Radio and TV Interview Tips for Authors

Quality author radio and TV interviews can significantly boost a book marketing campaign. When it comes to how to market a book effectively, connecting with an audience of listeners or viewers can be a significant asset.

Professional book marketers like the experts at Smith Publicity develop broadcast interview opportunities for authors. But final success depends upon the authors themselves doing well when speaking on radio and television – and podcasts too.

If you’re an author planning to be an interview guest on a radio or television program, read through these 12 tips to increase your chances for success.

  1. Tell stories! People love hearing stories; tell one related to your book to draw in the audience.
  2. Have a great answer ready for typical end-of-interview questions, such as, “Do you have any final words of advice for our audience?”
  3. Remember, your job is to inform, educate, entertain, or inspire. The producer and host want you to be an interesting guest. Focus on your message, advice, insights, etc. If you sound like a commercial for your book, it won’t be a good interview.
  4. The best broadcast interview guests avoid rambling or talking for too long after a question is asked. Speak one to three sentences at a time.
  5. If the host has not plugged your book or mentioned your website by the end of the interview, tactfully work it in by saying, “By the way, if anyone would like a copy of my book, it’s available at your local book store or Amazon.com, and visit my website -__________” When giving out your website, remember, you do not need to say “www” before your website name. Letting people know you are active on social media also helps, and you will gain new followers.
  6. Nothing is worse in an author’s TV interview than saying, “As I say in my book …” Plugs for your book will be made by the host (with very few exceptions). There is nothing wrong with mentioning your book once or twice, but let the host plug the book and website, etc.
  7. Follow the lead of the host; let him or her direct the interview.
  8. Remember: People don’t buy books; they buy the benefit a book gives them.
  9. Avoid a common radio interview problem – mumbling. Once you become comfortable in an interview, you may find your voice trailing off at the end of sentences. Stay sharp and articulate and speak clearly throughout the interview. Avoid crutch words and sounds such as “um” and “like.” Test yourself; you will likely be surprised how often you use these.
  10. It doesn’t matter if your interview is 60 seconds or 30 minutes long. You should communicate your essential message early. Additional time should be spent expanding your primary points.
  11. Do every interview that is offered to you. You never know who is listening/watching!
  12. Have fun! The more you enjoy what you are doing, the more it will show, and the more the audience will respond positively to you.

Knowing who your audience is essential to being able to effectively market your book. Connecting with an audience and building rapport during author television and radio interviews can spark book sales, increase your social media following, and help build your author brand.  Also, be open to being a guest on podcasts that are similar to author broadcast interviews. Although audiences may be small, many times, they are keenly interested in the particular subject matter. If a host invites you to be a guest, chances are it’s because she or he knows you, and your book topic will be of interest to listeners.

Because of the significant competition new books face today, every facet of a comprehensive marketing program must be in place. Therefore, television and radio interviews for authors have taken on increased importance. Making sure you follow well-accepted best practices for interview guests can help you maximize every opportunity. Genuinely connecting with an audience, especially in longer-form broadcast interviews, can be akin to meeting people in person at an event. When you’re entertaining and provide useful information as a guest, people are favorably impressed.

Because marketing and publicity campaigns for books build momentum over time, the smaller interviews and podcasts that you do in the beginning may lead to bigger and better things. Producers and interview bookers at large networks like to have a comfort level about your abilities as a guest. If you do well in the early stages, it’s more likely they will invite you to be an interview guest to discuss your book. Also, book marketers have many stories about how guest spots on small stations have produced significant results – because someone very influential and/or popular was listening or watching.

So use these 12 radio and TV interview tips for authors before you appear as a guest, and you’ll be doing everything you can to make your book a success.