As indie authors, securing a slot to talk about your books on radio stations provides a great way to attract new readers for your books – but if you're not media trained and have no experience of broadcasting, the prospect can seem daunting. But don't let nerves put you off accepting – read this post by successful broadcaster and author Rachel Amphlett, and you'll be good to go!
Great! You’re going to be interviewed live on radio – now what?
Any live recording, whether it be on radio or via podcast can seem daunting, but you can manage the process like a pro by following these simple guidelines.
First of all, prepare
If possible, obtain a list of potential questions. Just remember that with live radio, things do change. Jot down a couple of bullet points for each question. You want to sound as natural as possible, and you don’t want to feel flustered if you try to read from a paragraph of prepared text and lose your place.
If the interview has been offered to you, rather than you pitching to the host, do some research about the podcast/programme. What sort of tone is typically set? What’s the presenter’s background? Find some common ground, get an idea of what the presenter is looking for from guests, and adjust your responses accordingly.
If you’re speaking on a podcast geared towards helping other writers, for example, don’t spend the time promoting your own work. Instead, explain how you manage a successful career as a writer and offer tips. It’ll make you more memorable to listeners.
Ask your host how long the interview will run for, and seek guidance on the running order. They’ll typically give you an idea of how they like their interviews to proceeds including timing, gravitas, etc.
On the day, get organised before you start
Before the interview begins, put those pieces of paper with your bullet point answers on a flat surface in front of you. You want to try to avoid picking these up and flicking through them, because microphones are very sensitive – even the little ear bud type you use to Skype with your friends – and listeners will find it distracting.
Have a toilet break before it starts. This sounds silly, but you want to be comfortable! The same goes for having a glass of water to hand. Just remember to take small sips.
If you’re asked a question you’re not expecting, don’t be afraid to ask your host to repeat themselves if you don’t hear them clearly or don’t understand the question.
Go with the flow. If you’re lucky, you’ve already exchanged emails with your host as a minimum or, even better, already spoken on the phone or via Skype to build a rapport.
Finally, enjoy yourself. Don’t fret if the interview doesn’t go according to plan. Live interviews rarely do!
Your host will probably spend some time with you after the recording. Take the time to thank them. If you have more to offer their listeners than could be covered in one session, don’t be afraid to suggest another topic or two that you’d like to discuss further with them.
A day or so after the interview, email your host to thank them. Let them know what you’re up to over the coming months, remind them you’re on hand if they’ve got any follow-up questions or clarifications, and seek an .mp3 file of the interview if you can. Hearing your own voice and how the interview sounded to the host’s listeners will mean you can tweak and improve your approach the next time you’re offered the chance to take part in a broadcast.
OVER TO YOU If you have questions for Rachel or more top tips to share, please leave a comment.