Book Marketing On the Air: Radio and Podcast Tips for Writers
Please welcome bestselling Romance Author Adrienne deWolfe!
In one of my previous lives (which lasted for 20 years) I was a professional publicist. The news media hounded me all hours of the day and night with questions about professional athletes, education reform, and exploding space shuttles.
Now that I’m a published novelist, I often don my marketing consultant “hat,” because my passion is to help my writing colleagues reach for the stars by living their publication dream.
That’s why I was delighted when Nancy Badger asked me to pull together my best tips to help all you fab FF&P readers land podcast and broadcast gigs – and then get yourself “remembered” on the air for all the right reasons.
Write a Pitch Letter
Unless your phone’s ringing off the hook, you must begin your broadcast venture by contacting the show’s staff. A pitch letter is a lot like the query that you wrote to your publisher.
In your pitch, demonstrate that:
1)You’ve Done Your Research
You know what the radio broadcast or podshow’s general focus is, what the host’s interests are, and how your topic is relevant.
2)You Have Something Interesting to Say
Just because you’ve written a novel doesn’t make you newsworthy. What else can you bring to the broadcast’s listeners that is entertaining, interesting, inspirational, or topical?
3)You’re a Good Communicator
If you’re comfortable in front of a microphone, tell the staff. If you’ve been a guest on other podcasts or radio shows, include a link.
4)Your Book Is Interesting
As in any book marketing venture, send your media kit, complete with your bio, photo, cover art, book description, writing achievements, and professional reviews. Think in terms of establishing your credibility.
Don’t forget to include links to your blog (where the host might glean questions to ask you later) and a list of “Talking Points” (1-line sentences in a bulleted format that highlight interesting facts about your book and your writing career.)
Prepping for the Interview:
1)Ask for a list of interview questions.
You may not receive one, and the host may not stick to the ones he sends, but at least you’ll have a place to start rehearsing.
2)Think in terms of “sound bytes.”
Prepare 10-second to 15-second answers for questions. When you open your mouth, the most important things should come out first.
This strategy is especially true if the show is recorded. The host has the power to edit your interview, concentrating the lion’s share of air time (for instance) on all your humorous anecdotes about Fluffy’s fight with Fido. Won’t you feel silly when the show goes on the air, and everything you said about your book was edited out?
3)Rehearse with a recording device.
Do you squeak and giggle when you’re nervous? Do you punctuate every sentence with “you know” or “um?” Do you repeat yourself? Cure these impediments before you get on the air. The goal is to entertain and to speak in sentences that follow your point to a logical conclusion.
4)Be prepared for a short audition.
Not every show will take the time to contact you in advance. However, if you are contacted by telephone in response to your pitch letter, rest assured that you’re being auditioned. To determine that you’re a lively communicator, the caller may profess he has a question about your media kit.
On the Air:
1)DO NOT Read Written Answers into the Microphone
Unless you’re an award-winning Thespian, your speech will sound stilted and rehearsed.
Most hosts will offer open-ended questions like, “Tell me about your book.” Keep your answers to-the-point. You should have practiced enough that you’re not stammering, rambling, or repeating yourself.
3)Focus on Your Agenda
If the host isn’t a “take charge” personality – and leaves the direction of the interview to your discretion – concentrate on the top 2-3 points you want to make. Broach these subjects first. You’d be surprised how fast 15 minutes fly by. If you don’t start talking about your agenda at the top of the hour, you may run out of air time before you get to your book.
4)Use the Bridging Technique
If the host is a “take charge” personality – and neglects to ask questions that pertain to your agenda – then you have to “bridge” to those topics. For example, “That’s a great question, Bob. I don’t know anything about alternatives to tree pulp for paperbacks. But I do know that ebooks are on the rise. For instance, my best-selling novel, Scoundrel for Hire … “
Don’t be afraid to laugh, show warmth, demonstrate your sense of humor, etc.
6)Opt for Diplomacy
Unless you thoroughly enjoy conflict (and don’t mind sounding like a jerk,) opt for diplomacy over controversy. Hosts who want to attract advertising sponsors and therefore, who want to increase their audience, may try to push your buttons because controversy makes their shows more interesting.
7)Never Lie On the Air
Don’t invent answers. You’ll look worse for spewing Urban Myth than for admitting that you don’t know. Handle the situation by bridging. For instance: “Unfortunately, TEEN WOLF isn’t my area of expertise, Bob. But what I do know, is that Urban Fantasy is on the rise … “
8) Audience Questions
Handle them the same way you’d handle questions from the host.
9)Be Your Best Sales Person
Don’t rely on your host to mention your title, where it can be purchased, or your website’s URL. Be prepared to say these things clearly and succinctly at least once – preferably at the end of the interview. That way, you’ll leave your audience with this information.
Frequently repeating this information will make you look like a sales barracuda. So avoid more than 2 “sales pitches” in an hour. (Of course, if the HOST mentions your book title and website, your image remains stellar!)
About Adrienne deWolfe
Adrienne deWolfe is a #1 best-selling author and the recipient of 48 writing awards, including the Best Historical Romance of the Year. Fascinated by all things mystical, Adrienne celebrates Fantasy and Paranormal authors each week on her blog at http://MagicMayhemBlog.com, where she hosts Author Book Tours (with the sneaky intention of gleaning inspiration to finish her own Paranormal Romance.) Adrienne also writes a weekly blog about book marketing and the business of writing at http://WritingNovelsThatSell.com. She enjoys mentoring aspiring authors and offers professional story critiques, as well as book marketing and book coaching services.
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