One of the quickest and easiest ways for your book to be noticed is to be a guest on a radio show. People still listen to the radio at work, while driving their cars, or as background at home. Most radio interviews happen on the phone, so you can sell books while in your robe and slippers. In 1999, prior to today’s health craze, we secured 100 radio shows for author, Dr. Lindsey Berkson and her book, Healthy Digestion. With only these radio shows to promote her book, sales went to over 17,000 in a few months. Another client landed a regular TV gig because the producer heard him on a radio interview. Yet another author’s architectural practice multiplied because new clients heard her speak on the radio. One of our quantum physics authors received an invitation to speak at a prestigious conference because he used a CD of his radio interviews to promote himself and his book.
Each one of these authors did not waste air on the radio. They offered tips, were storytellers, and captured the audience’s interest. For most people it’s easy to talk or teach in an interview, however to capture someone’s attention long enough to have them buy your book takes skill and practice.
10 tips to being a successful radio show guest:
1. Make sure listeners know who you are. Give the host an introduction that is exactly how you want to be introduced. What is the most advantageous way of describing you and your book?
2. Never say “the answer is in my book”. Both hosts and the audience hate that. Instead you could respond with “we address that issue through what we call problem solving tools. Active listening is one of the techniques we use. Active listening involves…”
And then you can add “there are a number of other tools we offer in the book.”
3. Practice answering a list of questions in front of the mirror, with family, while driving in your car. Practice until you are easily answering the questions you include in your media kit. Then have your family ask questions not on the list and be spontaneous with your answers. (Or you can hire a radio show coach to guide you through the ropes.)
4. Clearly state how people can purchase your book, and inspire them to action. During the interview talk about your website. What else will people learn by going to your website? Make sure the host knows the name of your website so they can mention it also. Mention how your book might be a good gift for Aunt Susan who likes books on wildlife, or how Dad always wants to know more about cooking. Give them a reason to buy the book for someone else besides themselves.
5. Make a personable connection with the host, and the audience. Say the hosts name when you answer a question. Demonstrate how you want to help the audience. Be engaging. The goal of every interview is to be invited back.
6. Listen to the some of the host’s archived shows to learn how she runs her program, so you won’t be surprised, and can give “good air time”. One of the biggest mistakes authors make is to approach a radio show about new electronic devices with a suggestion for a show about how to keep your marriage alive.
7. The host asks you what you think is a stupid question. What do you do? You don’t say- “Well that is a stupid question!” You say- So many people have asked me that question and… then you bridge to where YOU want to go. You say what YOU want to say. It is called a bridge- and the people who do this best are politicians. Stay focused, don’t get defensive, be polite and then answer it the way you want to.
8. Either hire a publicist to get you on the radio shows, or plan your approach. Do you want to research regional shows that will support regional activities? Or do you want to research radio shows that connect with your topic nationally? Plan on approaching these shows at least a month before the event. Ask the engineer for a copy of the interview either as a MP3 to use on your website, or a CD to send out for speaking engagements.
9. Cover your bloopers if you can with a cough, or a vocalization like hmmm, or a “that’s an interesting question”, or a laugh with “you caught me on that one”. Or you can repeat the question. Dead air scares everyone, and audiences leave.
10. Last but not least, have fun!