12 Radio and TV Interview Tips for Authors

Authors often approach us with a simple goal: Promote my new book for me! While this is exactly what the Smith Publicity team does, book promotion is ultimately done by the author. We create the opportunities, but it’s up to you – the author – to make the most of them.

One type of opportunity created in a book promotion campaign are interviews on radio and TV. Interviews should never be interested into casually; good ones require research and detailed preparation. Here are some basic tips:

  1. Tell stories! People love stories, tell one related to your book – to draw the audience in.
  2. Have an 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, and that usually means providing the audience with useful information. Focus on your message, advice, insights, etc. If you sound like a commercial for your book, it won’t be a good interview … and you certainly won’t be asked back!
  4. Avoid rambling. Speak one to three sentences at a time.
  5. If the host has not mentioned your website by the end of the interview, jump in and say, “By the way, if anyone would like a copy of my book, it’s available at your local book store or at Amazon.com, etc.…” When giving out your website, remember, you do not need to say “www” before your website name! (we still hear this in interviews!)
  6. Nothing is worse that 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 lead the interview.
  8. Remember: People don’t buy books; they buy the benefit the book gives them.
  9. Avoid a common problem – mumbling.  Once you get comfortable in an interview, you may find your voice trailing off at the end of sentences. Stay sharp and articulate and speak clearly the entire 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 basic 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.