This is the second of two columns in which I’m sharing current book-marketing tips for authors. Click here if you missed Part 1, which was headlined Planning a book launch takes step by step preparation.
In this second column, I’m focusing on preparing for interviews with reporters, bloggers or podcasters.
Back in 2019 I published a list of 20 Book Marketing Tips For Effective Authors. One of the tips I mentioned way back then, was to be on the lookout for potential interviewers. I reminded authors that bloggers and podcasters schedule several weeks or months ahead of time. So, as soon as you have an advanced reader copy of your book, you need to start contacting these folks so that you can get on their schedule. One of the websites that I use with good success in booking interviews is www.HelpAReporterOut.com. Sign up for their weekly emails and scour them for opportunities to contribute to a reporter’s story or to be interviewed by a blogger or podcaster.
It’s also helpful to look at the other authors in your book’s category and ask yourself: Who are they landing interviews with? Put the names of those interviewers on your list and be prepared to tell them how you and your book would be interesting to their readers/listeners/viewers.
Once you’ve landed an author interview it’s time to prepare so that you can take advantage of the opportunity and use it to promote your book and your work. Here are some easy steps to follow.
- Know your interviewer—read or listen to their current stories so that you can comment on them appropriately. Find a bio of the interviewer as well.
- Know your audience—do some research and find out who reads this interviewer’s stories so that you can tailor your presentation to them.
- Project a simple background. If you’re making a video presentation, clean-up your background so that it is not distracting or project one that is customized for your book’s style and cover.
- Have a good microphone. Sound quality is very important. Invest in a good microphone for broadcasting. Costs have come way down recently, so it’s not necessarily the more you spend the better the sound is. Record some samples to make sure that your room does not produce a hard or echoed sound.
- Wear nice clothes—your Mom was right, appearance matters.
- Have a “Why did you write this book?” short story ready. Write it down, practice it, practice it, practice it.
- Make a list of main points you want to cover.
- Make a list of minor points you want to cover if you have time.
- Listen carefully to each question, so that you can answer appropriately and effectively.
- Let the interviewer lead the interview, if they seem to flounder – be prepared to pick up the slack with a helpful response to get back on track.
- Be prepared to pivot. Interviewers might take you on an unwanted journey, if it’s not relevant to your book, bring the discussion back to your book and your area of expertise.
- Be ready with a “What’s next for you?” question. Write it down and practice it, practice it, practice it.
- Finish with an advertisement for you and your book – build your audience. Write down your website address, your email address if you want people to reach you that way, and/or your social media channels and your handles (yes, you might actually forget them in the heat of the moment). Remind the audience where they can purchase your book and how they can get a hold of you.
- Remember your manners and write a thank you note to the podcaster/interviewer
- Share the interview on your social media channels and tag the interviewer and the broadcast. Ask that they in turn do the same for you.
- Email your mailing list to let them know about the interview and ask your subscribers to share the news with their friends and/or on their social media channels.
Being an author these days is not just about writing a book and crossing your fingers hoping that it will miraculously sell. Successful authors are also successful marketers. I hope that these suggestions inspire you and encourage you to promote your book in ways that help you to communicate with a broader audience whose lives will be enriched by your book and will reward you for all of your hard work.